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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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Canon RF 85mm f/1.5 production numbers
Old 12-09-2018   #1
CanonRFinder
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Canon RF 85mm f/1.5 production numbers

A few collectors and users have been asking about production numbers of some CANON RF lenses. Since I produced my book back in 2008, I have managed to collect two OFFICIAL Canon Inc Counter Books, one for the Cameras and the other for the Lenses.
Along with the CANON LENS counter book (1981) I have some written CANON Inc documentation (1946-1956) I received from Peter Dechert (PD) sometime before I went to print.
According to the PD documentation in 1952 there were 137 85mm f/1.5 lenses produced and these would have been marked “SERENAR” and in my book these are T1 versions.
Again, from PD info, in 1953 there was 464 lenses produced, 1954, 205 lenses, 1955, 177 lenses and the final date 1956, 247 lenses making a total of 1093 produced and all these would have been marked CANON LENS.
In my book I mention “6/1960” as the final date of production but at the time of my research I deduced that date when it failed to appear in any official Canon Literature after a certain time frame.
The Counter book has a time line and it ends the production of the 85mm f/1.5 lens as being in JULY (07) so I wasn’t far of the mark.
Between 1957 and 1960 it looks like only 106 lenses were produced in that focal length.
The new 85mm f/1.8 was introduced in 1961 and at HALF the weight (470grm) of the 85mm f/1.5 (735grm), the f/1.8 was a better performer and put paid to the sales of the heavier lens.
According the COUNTER BOOK the total production of 85mm f/1.5 (II) lenses was 1199 lenses but DOES NOT include the 85mm f/1.5 T1 (I) lens as that line is blank.
Adding 1199 + 137 =1336 lenses (SERENAR and CANON LENS) for a total production of the RF 85mm f/1.5 lens between 1953-1960.
SO the total production for the 85mm f/1.5 RF lens is 1336 units.
An interesting lens is the SOLID CHROME 85mm f/1.5 CANON LENS (T2) my calculations that no more than 50 lenses were produced. It would be somewhere between 30 and 50 units were produced making this a VERY RARE lens indeed.
More can be read in my book on pages 130-133.
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Old 12-10-2018   #2
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Further information to above post is what the cost of that lens would be to a working person.
I am using Australian currency which at the time (1957) was in £.s.p (Pound, shilling, pence) and this later on changed in 1966 to dollars & cents.
In 1957 the wholesale cost of the subject lens was £47.5s.0, Retail was £78.15.0 and to professionals it was £61.7s.3p
The weekly minimum wage at the time was £12.16.0.
In 2018 this weekly wage would be $719.20, and the RF lens would cost $2404.00 not much more if you were purchasing a 2018 Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM lens at $2079.00.
Not sure if the 2018 lens will be still around and working in 60+ years’ time?
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Old 12-10-2018   #3
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Thanks for keeping us updated, Peter. Your book is a must-have for Canon enthusiasts.
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Old 12-10-2018   #4
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Great work and valuable information!
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Old 12-10-2018   #5
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As usual, great (and invaluable) information.

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