Canon Rangefinder Model Finder
Even for experienced collectors of Canon rangefinder cameras the naming of the various models can be frustrating. There is simply so much to remember and no obvious logic to the names. For the beginner or casual collector is seems impossible to sort out. Without Peter Dechert’s very excellent book on the Canon rangefinders we would be lost. I want to acknowledge his contribution to this utility right up front. Buy his book. It is an essential tool for the Canon collector.
There are 39 models of Canon classic rangefinder, give or take a couple. We are excluding the Canonets and other “point and shoot” rangefinders here and dealing with the serious photographic instruments used by serious amateurs and professionals around the world. They are, with their date of introduction, as follows:
|Canon J||Jan 1939||Canon II A||Mar 1952||Canon L2||Dec 1956|
|Canon NS||1940||Canon II D||Oct 1952||Canon VTD||Feb 1957|
|Canon JS||Apr 1945||Canon II D1||Oct 1952||Canon L1||Feb 1957|
|Canon J II||Dec 1945||Canon IV Sb||Dec 1952||Canon VTDZ||Apr 1957|
|Canon S I||Dec 1945||Canon II AF||Jun 1953||Canon L3||Oct 1957|
|Canon S II||Oct 1946||Canon II AX||Jun 1953||Canon VL||Dev 1957|
|Canon II B||Jan 1949||Canon II F||Jul 1953||Canon VL2||Jan 1958|
|Canon 1950||Jul 1950||Canon II S||Feb 1954||Canon VI-T||Jun 1958|
|Canon III||Feb 1951||Canon IV Sb2||Mar 1954||Canon VI-L||Sep 1958|
|Canon II C||Mar 1951||Canon II S2||Feb 1955||Canon P||Dec 1958|
|Canon IV||Apr 1951||Canon II D2||Mar 1955||Canon 7||Jun 1961|
|Canon III A||Dec 1951||Canon II F2||Jun 1955||Canon 7s||Apr 1965|
|Canon IV S||Dec 1951||Canon VT||Apr 1956||Canon 7sZ||Aug 1967|
When I have finished this “app” the names in this chart will lead you to descriptions of any of the cameras listed. But to find out which camera you have you will have to follow along answering the questions posed.
Here I have tried to create an app that makes this process easier. It is not perfect because there are many cameras out there that don’t really fit anywhere. But we can be pretty certain in most cases. By answering a few questions about the camera in your hand the idea is to tell you what you have
So let’s get started with some questions.
Is there a Model Name on the Camera
Some of the later Canon rangefinders did have the model name on the camera. That name would appear on the top plate, on the front or on the bottom. If your camera has a name on it in one of these locations chose the button on the left.
Caveat: Canon has not helped this process. During production of their cameras the company often introduced changes in a model without changing the model name. Usually small changes, they did create sub categories. Added to that we have the problem of upgrades to cameras by repair personnel, either at Canon or privately, that created sub categories or even changed a model from one classification to another. These can be confusing. I will comment on these as we go but not all possibilities will be covered.
Serial Numbers: Although I mention serial number ranges for various cameras I don’t rely on them. Canon was not meticulous in assigning ranges to various models. If you find your camera falls outside the ranges given, do more research. You may have a significant variation.
The Fast Finder: You may find the explanations and guidance offered in this app too simplistic for your taste. I know the problem but I am writing for the uninitiated as well and I want to make sure we bring everyone along and that no one gets lost in the jargon. However, if you know all this stuff, then use the Fast Finder. All the questions but no commentary. And if you have a question you can jump over to the Model Finder for an explanation and then jump back to the Fast Finer. The best of both worlds.