Canon Camera Holder

This is my Canon Model III rangefinder in what I believe is the original Canon Camera Holder. It holds the camera in a firm padded grip and provides attach points for the camera on the center of the bottom and on the end.

The Camera Holder

Have you ever looked at the tripod mount
on a Canon Rangefinder camera 
modeled
on the Leica II’s and III’s?  In fact, look
at any Canon camera up to and
including the Canonflex and you
will find the mounting socket to be
on the right edge of the bottom
under the film advance knob or lever.
The problem with this is that in this
position it does not support the camera
and puts great strain on the thin metal of the bottom plate when the camera is mounted on a tripod. That is why so many of these cameras have circular indentations around the tripod mounting socket impressed into the metal of the bottom plate by the tripod mount.

And, of course, the matter is made much worse by the use of a heavy lens on the camera. Then the strains on the camera body become severe to the point of risking more than cosmetic damage to the camera.

What was needed was a good “L Bracket” to securely support the camera body when mounted on a tripod. Canon provided this with their Camera Holders. These are neat pieces of camera kit that function really well. These devices are beautifully made out of generous aluminum blanks and finished in black, either gloss or crinkle finish. Some have what appear to be stainless steel feet that are finished in bright metal or gloss black.

When I began to research them I found very little information. There were a few offered for sale but no discussion of them, their history, how many there were or their dates of manufacture. To this point I have bought three that allow me to try them with various cameras. In addition I have searched through the Library on this site and have found references to others. 

What I present here is what I have found to this point. This is far from a complete treatise and I will update this article as I learn more. The photographs of the three I have, the Original Camera Holder, the Camera Holder F and the Camera Holder F3 are my pictures. The other photographs I have gleaned from the Internet. As I acquire further examples I will add photos of those acquisitions to this exposition. 

Canon Camera Holder

This is my Canon Model III rangefinder in what I believe is the original Canon Camera Holder. It holds the camera in a firm padded grip and provides attach points for the camera on the center of the bottom and on the end.

The Original Camera Holder

I am assuming that this is the original, or first, Camera Holder. You can see that the lettering on the piece just calls it the “Camera Holder” and it fits the early rangefinders that are based on the Leica II’s and III’s. However, it is too narrow to accept the new models, beginning with the Model Vt.

This device holds the cameras firmly and supports the bottom plate and protects it from damage. It is a two piece affair that comes packaged in a small leather case. The foot screws onto the base of the Holder for horizontal shooting but it can be mounted on the end as well for vertical shooting. The tripod can also attach directly to the end without the foot plate.

It is hard to imagine doing any serious photography with the camera mounted on a tripod or other mounting without a Camera Holder. It is an admirable device that neatly solved a problem with the early rangefinders.

Canon Camera Holder

The Camera Holder foot could be used on the end for vertical hooting or the tripod could be mounted directly without the foot, as shown here.

Canon Camera Holder User Manual

The User Manual for the Camera Holder is a simple document of only a few pages. After all, this device is pretty intuitive.

Canon Camera Holder

This is the Camera Holder with the steel foot attached to the bottom.

Canon Camera Holder

The steel foot comes off for storage or to be attached differently. The bubble level incorporated into the foot is visible in this image.

Having said all of the above, let me introduce a small complication: there appear to be two Camera Holders with that simple name. There are others with additional letter and number designations but there appear to be two that are called the “Camera Holder”. The difference concerns the top of the right end. In one there is a hole into which the camera strap lug can fit but there is no room for the “D” ring that the camera strap attaches to. On the other there is a cut out so that the lug and the “D” ring can fit allowing the camera to be in the camera holder and still be secured by a camera strap.

I do not know which is the first version but I assume that the one with the hole is less useful and therefor is the earlier one. This is based on the idea that camera devices proceed from less useful to more useful. I propose to call the one with the hole “Camera Holder 1” and the one with the notch “Camera Holder 2. On both types the name engraved is simply “Camera Holder”.

Canon Camera Holder

On the right end (left end in the picture) the top is closed on the “Camera Holder 1” and the camera lug fits through a hole in the end.

Canon Camera Holder

This is a modified Camera Holder 1 that clearly shows the lug in the hole in the end of the device. You can see there is no room for the “D” ring.

Canon Camera Holder

The Camera Holder 1 is shown in the User Manual for the Model III camera (Publication No. 125 in the Library) which was introduced in February of 1951.

Canon Camera Holder

On the Camera Holder 2 the device is identical except there is a notch cat in the end and not a simple hole for the camera lug.

Canon Camera Holder

This is the Camera Holder 2 showing the lug and “D” ring fitting easily into the slot. This allows the camera to be secured around the neck with the camera holder attached.

Canon Camera Holder

The Camera Holder 2 is shown in the User Manual for the IID / IV-S2  camera (Publication No. 230 available in the Library) introduced in October of 1952.

I hesitate to point out that in the User Manual for the IID the Camera Holder appears to have an extra lug that I have never seen anywhere else. Is there a third variation? Boy, I do love collecting!

Camera Holder Modifications

In my travels I have come across Camera Holders that have been modified by creating cutouts in the front. I am not sure of their function or origin. I suppose it is possible that Canon made them to order but I doubt it. They seem to be custom made as the workmanship leaves a bit to be desired. So what is going on?

Well, this is conjecture, but some rangefinder cameras were modified by the addition of devices to the front of the flat area on the right side of the camera. Usually this was a PC or other terminal for a retrofitted flash modification (see the mod to a Canon IIB on page 87 of Dechert’s book). You would need a cutout to accommodate such a change.

 

Canon Camera Holder

This is a Camera Holder 1 with a large cutout on the front which actually cuts through the Canon text. It gives access to the whole of the camera front.

Canon Camera Holder

This is the same camera holder with a camera in it. Machine marks on the front make me think this is not done by Canon. And they would not deface their own text.

Canon Camera Holder

This Camera Holder 1 has a rectangular cutout on the front to give access to the lower portion of the front of the camera for a camera modification.

Canon Camera Holder L

The Camera Holder L is obviously a variation on the original Camera Holder designed for the Model 7 rangefinder.

The Camera Holder L

The Camera Holder L is designed for the Model 7 rangefinder camera. It may fit others as well, such as the 7s, although I don’t see it in the 7s user manual. From its form it is obvious that it is a variation on the original Camera Holder above. It functions in exactly the same way but allows use of the self timer while mounted on the camera.

I do not have one of these but when I have acquired one I will be able to test other camera bodies in it and I will update this note.

As always, the Canon naming convention, if there is one, is no help, as we shall see. 

 

Canon Camera Holder L

It is cut out to accomodate the self timer lever as it swings around.

Canon Camera Holder L

An image from the Internet of the Camera Holder L on the Model 7 camera.

Canon Camera Holder L

The Camera Holder L appears as an accessory in the Model 7 Manual (Pub. No. 5092B).

Canon Camera Holder Vt

The Camera Holder Vt is obviously a variation on the original Camera Holder , the most obvious change being the cutout for the Self Timer lever. I don’t have one of these and this image is from the Web.

The Camera Holder Vt

In 1956 Canon came out with the Model Vt which was a revolutionary camera which broke with the Leica II and III form factor. The body on this camera was too thick to fit the original Camera Holder and there was a self timer lever which had to have room to travel. A new camera holder was required. This was the Camera Holder Vt. It resembled the original Camera Holder with a removable foot piece.

This camera wound film through the use of a trigger on the bottom of the body. When mounted on a tripod or inserted into the camera holder the trigger could not be used. However, the film could still be wound using a flat retractable knob on the top deck.

It may be that this holder fits other cameras. I say “may be” because these holders generally fit several models.

The User Manual for the Model P lists the Camera Holder V as an accessory. The manual refers to it as the Camera Holder V and I wonder if this was a different holder. It does not look different and possibly the manual is not accurately describing it. I can find no other reference to a Camera Holder V.

I don’t have this holder so I can’t test the various models to see 
which will work, however, I will do so eventually.

Canon Camera Holder Vt

In this image we can see the detachable foot screwed onto the right end of the Camera Holder.

Canon Camera Holder Vt

The Camera Holder Vt holding the Canon Vt. The detachable foot is installed.

Canon Camera Holder Vt

A page from the Canon P User Manual (Publication No. C-9503 in the Library)

Canon Camera Holder R

The Camera Holder R

I have found no photographs of the Camera Holder R except for an image in the Canonflex brochure in the Library. It shows a rather complicated device with a Canonflex mounted on it.

This is one more challenge for my collecting future.

Canon Camera Holder R2
Canon Camera Holder R2

The Camera Holder R2 fits all of the Canonflex Cameras except for the RM which does not have a bottom trigger and has the tripod attach point closer to the center of the camera bottom.

The Camera Holder R2

In the User Manual for the Canonflex RP (Publication No. 5071A in the Library) Ifound a reference to a Camera Holder R2 and then I managed to track one down. It is a strange piece of metal! But I think that is a result of the camera it was intended for: the Canonflex RP.

The first problem it had to overcome was the trigger winder on the bottom of the camera. To advance the film one has to swing the trigger in an arc across the bottom plate. Sooooo …. the Holder had to leave the bottom of the camera clear. 

The second problem with the camera is the placement of the tripod socket. Because of the trigger on the bottom of the Canonflex, Canonflex RP and Canonflex R2000 the tripod socket is placed impossibly close to the end of the camera. As a result it does not provide a solid support alone on a tripod, especially with a heavy lens. This means that the camera attach point is at the end of the Camera Holder.

The result is a strange piece of metal but it does provide a reasonably solid support for the camera.

The image of the Camera Holder R above, although a poor image, shows a different shape. I am assuming someone at Canon thought that the R2 was in some way superior. When I find a Holder R and can actually compare them I will let you know what I think.

Canon Camera Holder R2

The Holder R2 is a frame that holds the camera but does not obstruct the bottom of the camera so that the film advance trigger can be rotated across the bottom of the camera.

Canon Camera Holder R3

The Camera Holder R3

I have been a little more lucky with the Camera Holder R3. I find a reference to it in the User Manual for the Canonflex RM (Publication No. 5110H in the Library) and I have found images of it on the Internet. But I have yet to acquire one.

 

Canon Camera Holder R3
Canon Camera Holder R3
Canon Camera Holder R4

The Camera Holder R4

Like the Camera Holder R I have found no images of the R4 except for the User Manual for the Canon FX. The image shows the FX mounted on a camera holder of a new form. From this point the camera holders are for the “F” and “A” series of cameras. But, other than this reference, I no more information on the R4 Holder.

Another challenge!

Canon Camera Holder R4-2

The Camera Holder R4-2

I found the R4-2 listed in the Pellix QL User Manual (Publication No. 5267C in the Library) as an accessory and came up with this photo from the Web. However, I do not have one and can really say no more than this about it.

Canon Camera Holder R4-2
Canon Camera Holder F
Canon Camera Holder F

These devices serve their function really well. If you want to work with a tripod and an old camera to shoot some film, use one. Mount a tripod shoe on the end and the bottom and then changing from horizontal to vertical is a breeze.

The camera holders are essentially “L” brackets only better. They cradle camera firmly and provide a solid mount for rock steady images.

 

The Camera Holder F

And this brings us to the Camera Holder F of which I do have a copy. Like the others, it is well made, heavy and holds the camera firmly. It seems to fit the F series of cameras but not the New F-1 because of its finger grip in the right side. The photos on the left show the F-1 (original) mounted vertically. Below that is an FTb mounted horizontally.

 

Canon Camera Holder F
Canon Camera Holder F
Canon Camera Holder F
Canon Camera Holder F2

This is one of my FP’s mounted in the Camera Holder F2. It is a snug secure fit that greatly enhances the camera’s ability to support heavy long focus lenses. It also allows the camera to be mounted horizontally or vertically

Canon Camera Holder F2
Canon Camera Holder F2

The Camera Holder F2

Page 55 of the F-1n camera User Manual (Publication No. A5366a in the Library) lists the Camera Holder F2 as an accessory. The instruction sheet that comes in the box with this Holder  says that it will fit the F-1, EF, FTb, FTQL, Pellix QL, Pellic, EX-Auto, FX and FP. I have put it on my TX  and TLb as well and it fits perfectly. It appears to be an all around good Camera Holder for the F Series cameras.

Canon Camera Holder F2

Page 55 of the Canon F-1n Instruction Manual which lists the F2 as an accessory for that camera.

Canon Camera Holder F2

This is the Instruction Sheet that came in the box with my Camera Holder F2. It is pretty simple because no instructions are really necessary this device is so simple.

Canon Camera Holder F2
Canon Camera Holder F3
Canon Camera Holder F3
Canon Camera Holder F3

The three  images above show the A-1 camera in a Camera Holder F3.

The Camera Holder F3

And now we come to the Camera Holder F3. This appears to be a camera holder for the “A” series of cameras.

As I have an F3 I have been able to try different cameras in it and it fits the AE-1, the A-1 and the AT-1. I assume it fits the other “A” bodies as well.

The A-1 User Manual (Publication No. C-IE-070x in the Library) lists the Camera Holder F3 as an accessory for the A-1.

Canon Camera Holder F3
Canon Camera Holder F3
Canon Camera Holder F3
Canon Camera Holder F2

The Camera Holder F4

Reference to the F4, the last of the camera holders I was able to find, occurs in a brochure for the T70 camera (Publication C-CE-212A in the Library). There is no picture but in a diagram of the Canon System there lists the F4 as an accessory. I have not been able to find an image of this camera holder or any other reference to it. This may well be the end of the line for Canon Camera Holders.

And there we have it. This is what I have spent my last week working on. It is pretty esoteric stuff but it is part of the Canon System in years past and, as such, is a valid subject for a collector’s interest. Part of my reasons for writing this are the comments I found on the web that suggested that people really don’t know very much about the various incarnations this equipment. I certainly didn’t. I hope this answers those questions. Personally, it gives me a record of what I will be searching for in the future for the Collection.

I am the creator of thecanoncollector.com and the contents of this website are subject to my claim of copyright. However, to be clear, I have no right to the trademarks or printed material, brochures or manuals that originate with Canon Inc. and make no claim to have such rights and I am unable to pass on any rights to these materials and trade marks.

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