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.

Cesar L. Diaz

Cesar Here!.... Information Technology run thru my vains from 8 - 5. When not at the Office I drive a Toyota FJ Cruiser Trail Team Edition and a nice Photog Paraphernalia back pack (LowePro Dry Zone 200), inside ===> Nikon Cameras and lenses (Nikon D700, Nikon D300, Nikon F100) and many other tools, of course. Photography and Adventure are ingredients in my day to day life mixed with motorcycles and outdoor activities; and I do want to share My Experiences here with You.

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2 Responses

  1. Robert Kondo says:

    Id like to first thank you for making this little article with such rich history! i had stumbled upon my great uncle’s canon canonet and it is in superb condition! when i look at the picture in your article and the one he owned i am amazed how intact it is, same of course goes for the inside of the camera. So i was just wondering if it would be a good idea to try and take pictures with this little piece of history (would the new type of 35mm film damage the camera at all?), because i am anxious to try it out for myself! THANKS AGAIN

    • Thanks Robert,

      I would like to say that any kind of new 35mm film WILL NOT DAMAGE your Camera, let me tell you a short story: a few months ago I did find a Pentax K1000 in a box, that suppose to be GARBAGE, well to make the story short, un-dust the Pentax, put a Kodak film and the result were fantastic. Take a Look Here

      Every Friday I usually post about Classic Cameras, working in some photos from my Canonet!, will post soon


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