Photographica Pages

An online guide to collectable cameras and related stuff

Canon (Seiki Kogaku)

Seiki Kogaku began manufacturing cameras in 1934, starting with a model they named Kwanon. This camera was only produced in prototype form, and only one example is known today, bought back by Canon. The first production model was the Hansa. At this point, Seiki Kogaku was a minor concern, and they relied upon Nippon Kogaku (who would later become Nikon) for lenses, rangefinder assemblies and lens mounts. In 1944 they purchased an optical company, and by the late 1940's, Nikon lenses were phased out.

In 1947, the Seiki Kogaku name was dropped, and they became the Canon Camera Co. Although the cameras made up to 1955 were styled like the contemporary Leicas ( less so in the Seiki days than later) they always improved upon the design. In 1956, they introduced the V (this is a roman numeral five) series, with trigger wind baseplate, and the L series, which was lever wind. These cameras marked a departure from traditional Leica styling. They discontinued the interchangeable lens rangefinders in 1968. The Canonet series of fixed lens/leaf shuttered cameras continued for much longer.

Canon introduced it's first SLR, the Canonflex in 1959, the same year Nikon launched the F. Canon did not aggressively pursue the professional SLR market until the early 1970's, when they introduced their F-1. Although Nikon had a considerable lead in capturing the professional market, Canon has made a contest of it.

Canon Rangefinder Cameras
Canon Rangefinder Lenses
Canon Canonflex Cameras
Canon Canonflex lenses
Canon Canonflex Accessories
Canon FL Bodies
Canon FL Lenses