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Canon Rangefinders - Peter Dechert and Peter Kitchingman Peter Dechert is best known for his Canon Rangefinder, Canon SLR, and Olympus Pen books, the latter two long out-of-print. He was a monthly columnist for many years for SHUTTERBUG magazine, and has contributed to many others. Most recently he has written about the pre-WW2 Zeiss 35mm cameras, but his interests in camera equipment and optics are many and varied. As a pro protographer and honorary life member of ASMP, Peter is also expert in using the gear! Peter Kitchingman - author of Canon Rangefinder Lens book Peter Kitchingman's 'Canon M39 Rangefinder Lenses 1939-71' book is the definitive source on these very interesting optics. His interests also go to the entire Canon Rangefinder system and beyond.

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a Canon IIB question
Old 12-16-2018   #1
Herb Chong
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a Canon IIB question

greetings everyone, my name is Herb and i am a Canon rangefinder collector. it started only a couple of years ago so i haven't had a lot of time to learn all the nuances but i am having a lot of fun at it.

i acquired a IIB a couple of years ago and took it in for a CLA and adjustment this summer. the viewfinder was out of alignment so it wasn't practical to actually shoot with the camera. now that it's back and in excellent working condition and cosmetically excellent, i have a question about the rarity of certain combinations. in particular, my baseplate has MIOJ engraved which is not particularly rare for a mid-production IIB but what seems to be a harder combination to find is that the tripod thread is the European standard 3/8" thread. Dechert's book only mentions models targeted for Europe in a few places and in particularly for the IIC model. i received my IIB with this baseplate and also with a metric Serenar 50/1.9. this latter lens is not specifically mentioned as existing in Kitchingman's book but i believe it to be an oversight as Dechert's book makes specific mention and has a picture of one in the chapter on the IIC.

my question is if there is an estimate of production of bodies intended for Europe signaled by having a 3/8" tripod thread and also of lenses intended for Europe or Japan where the lens has only a metric scale?

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Old 12-16-2018   #2
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May be the IIB was meant for the home market?

Other than PX stores and sales in the USA for civilian consumers, I doubt there was much demand for expensive and relatively unknown Japanese miniature cameras in most European nations in the late 1940s to the early 1950s.

Most European nations were still recovering from WW 2 and austerity and food rationing and rebuilding was the rule of the day. Plus a quality camera was still perceived as a European made camera (German made mostly) by most Europeans till the mid 1960s at least ( or till the movie "Blow Up" came out ;-) .
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Old 12-17-2018   #3
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Herb, I have Kitchingman's book "Canon M39 Lenses 1939-1971". He says the 50/1.9 Serenar was the standard lens on the IIB among other Canon cameras and was produced from April 1949 to April 1953, serial numbers 20059 to 42187. I have a Serenar of that series that I use on my LTM Leicas and consider it an excellent lens for that period. He says that possibly 25,000 of these lenses were produced but doesn't distinguish between metric or imperial scale. My particular lens is imperial scale and 1950 manufacture.
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Old 12-17-2018   #4
Herb Chong
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if you look carefully at Kitchingman's book, he omits mention of any Serenar 50/1.9 with metric scale while many other lenses mentions specifically having Imperial and metric versions or a dual distance scale. this is the book oversight that that i am trying to resolve - about how many Serenar 50/1.9 lenses were made with a metric distance scale. the metric lens is serial 33399 while my Imperial measure 50/1.9 is serial 21167. both are in excellent condition although the older lens has a infinity focus lock that doesn't lock positively. it is easy to slip the lock when removing the lens from the camera. the newer lens remains locked when i twist it to remove from the camera.

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Old 12-17-2018   #5
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If you are on Facebook, consider joining the Canon Historical Society group and post your question there. Peter K. is a frequent contributor and perhaps can offer some insight into your question.

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Old 12-26-2018   #6
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Hi Herb
Interesting question you have raised regarding the “size” of the tripod screw hole.
I hadn’t really looked at it any detail as the baseplate is part of the camera and I was more interested in the lenses.
I have kept a large database on the SERENAR 50mm f/1.9 lens, but it has been corrupted where I recorded whether the lens was in “ft” or in “mtr” due to me doing a copy/paste of large sections in my Access file. Probably why I hadn’t mentioned metric 50mm f/1.9 lenses as I hadn’t recorded any up to 2008.
Generally, the scale was in the British/Imperial measurement of “feet” which at the time was used by many countries but now only three countries are out of step with the rest of the world who have embraced the metric system.
I checked my five model II-Bs that I own and two of them have the 3/8” tripod thread hole (EU) while the others have the ¼” (USA) thread hole. One of these baseplates has the MIOJ mark as well as the 3/8” hole (#29470) and the other 3/8” baseplate is unmarked and that is from a very early II-B (#25015) which I was told by the previous owner that it was sent to a military big-wig guy in Hawaii direct from the factory hence the lack of MIOJ markings. One of those baseplates with a ¼” hole is on camera #25696 which is in between the two # above. As well as the ¼” hole the baseplate is marked MIOJ and has the <CPO> mark BUT in Japanese characters or ideogram. Page 24 to 31 in my book explains all these markings.
SERENAR 50mm f/1.9 lenses would be unusual to find with metric markings and as to its value that would be up to the seller to describe it as such and to the buyer if he/she is willing to pay a prime price for it. Canon Co were following the European form of measurement (influenced by Leica) to a point as they used millimetres (mm) to identify their lenses but feet (Ft) to identify the movements for focusing.
The main market at the time in Japan and later Korea was the Armed Occupying Military forces who at the time all used the British measurement in their respective countries.
I checked my ten S-II I have in my collection and only three have the ¼ “tripod hole and I also checked my “Canon Camera Holders” and all of them have ¼” holes. Maybe Canon were forcing the buyers to purchase Canon “Camera Holders” for the tripod mount as many do appear on the market but rarely with the MIOJ mark.
On the number of 50mm f/1.9 lenses produced, an official Canon Inc data sheet I own (acquired after 2008 when I produced my book) mentions that 26065 units were produced.
Looking at a model II-B database I have been keeping for some time I notice that 3/8” tripod holes are on early models while later models have the ¼” tripod hole.
So, if your model II-B has a serial # before #33210 it could well have a 3/8” tripod hole? Because after that # most I have recorded have ¼” holes.
Thanks again for an investigating question, Cheers Peter K
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