Canon III is a 35mm film Rangefinder camera and manufactured by Canon Camera Company, Inc. Tokyo , Japan. The Canon III is a very close copy of a Leica IIIc. [1] But there are some differences, mainly Canon's combined view/rangefinder which surpasses the Leica, straight body edges, and lots of other technical features. Its finish is fully up to Leica standards. There are some 500 individual camera models originate from about 21 original Leica inspired cameras. Many of these were prototypes or produced low numbers. Main brands that produced large quantities are FED, Minolta 35, Nicca, Yashica YE, Zorki, and Canon III.


  • Produced between 1951-52
  • Lens: Canon Serenar 50mm f/1.9, M39 Leica mount, collapseable, Aperture: f/1.9 - f/11
  • Focusing: matching rangefinder yellow images in viewfinder, when lens changing the focusing lever must be locked in the infinity catch
  • Shutter: double rubber and cloth focal plane shutter, horizontally traveling
  • Speeds:
    • High speeds: 1/40 - 1/1000, +B,
    • setting: via the high speeds dial (HSD) on the top plate, lift and turn, dial turns when winding [2]
    • Slow speeds: stepless but there are marks on the dial, 1/2-1/4-1/6-1/25 +T,
    • setting: via the low speed dial (LSD) on front of the camera, for closing the diaphragm on T mode turn the dial to 1
    • When using HSD, set the LSD on 25, on the contrary set the HSD on 25-1, and for 1/25 shutter speed set both of the dials on 25 and 25-1
  • Winding knob: also cocks the shutter, double exposure prevention
  • Viewfinder: coupled view and range-finder, no parallax correction
  • Range-viewfinder magnification selector: beneath the re-winding knob, marks F, 1x, 1,5x. This feature helps to sharp focusing, also for 100 and 135mm Serenar lense's field-of-views
  • Film loading: drop-in bottom loading, the bottom plate opens by a lock-knob on it, follow the loading instruction drawing on the inside of the camera, Special removable take-up spool, (there was the Canon Film Magazine for bulk film )
  • Other: Cold-shoe; Strap lugs
  • Body: metal; weight: 720g

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. Canon Leica-copy rangefinder in Marc Rochkind's site
  2. The early Leica cameras, and almost any other Leica inspired cameras that winding on also causes the film speed selector to turn, always cock the shutter before changing film speeds.


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