Canon IIF – some camera history

The Canon IIF rangefinder came out in 1953, made by Seikikōgaku Kenkyūsho … which changed to Canon in 1947. It is a copy of the Barnack designed camera, the classic Leica rangefinders. The first of the Canon rangefinders was the Kwanon, and they started rolling out models after that first prototype.

Kwanon … the name ‘Kwanon’ refers to Canon, the Buddhistic Goddess of Mercy.

Many series II cameras were made, each with slight variations in design.

The Canon IIF model was specifically marketed for export (not available for purchase in Japan), which is why you will typically see them with the E.P. (Post Exchange) stamp on the top … you will find may auctions calling this a Canon EP camera model name in the USA as many military personnel had purchased these cameras.

One unique feature of the Canon II rangefinders is the three position viewfinder magnifier … makes focusing easier and can also be used to reflect the field of view for an image of 50mm, 100mm and 135mm.

I find that the “feel” of this camera is more solid than the Leica IIF that I had … I think it has more metal, and the single view/range finder window is handy. I have only had to service one of them, and there was not much to do as it was in great condition.

Since I am getting into the habit of introductions … my next post will be about the servicing of this camera. This one, as I mentioned, did not require much so it is going to be a short one.

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