Classic Cameras Friday! Canon Canonet 1961

Hello there!

This is a nice rangefinder, I have one, will post photos soon, here some facts:

  • Canon’s first consumer rangefinder
  • $119.50 with f1.9 lens in 1961 ($871 in 2010 dollars)

The Canonet was Canon’s first mid-priced camera, a shutter-priority auto-exposure 35mm rangefinder with the meter around the lens, so it automatically compensated for filters.

Quoting from Canon’s own Camera Museum website: “The camera industry went into an uproar upon learning that Canon, maker of high-end cameras, was to introduce a mid-class 35mm camera with a fast f/1.9 lens for less than 20,000 yen [$56]. However, the Canonet safely went to market in January 1961. A week’s worth of stock was sold out in only two hours. It was the start of the Canonet boom. Two and a half years later, a million Canonets were sold.”

In the coming years Canon would improve the Canonet, and ultimately become successful with mid-priced SLRs, too. This was just as well, as Canon had no pro SLR to go up against Nikon’s F. Nikon, for its part, didn’t have a mid-priced auto rangefinder in the 1960s and 1970s.