Photographica Pages

An online guide to collectable cameras and related stuff

Canon Canonflex Cameras

Canon introduced it's first SLR, the Canonflex in 1959, the same year Nikon launched the F. The difference between the approach Nikon used with the F, and Canon the Canonflex were different as night and day. Nikon saw the reflex design as the way of the future, pouring most of their resources into promoting and improving the system. They essentially bet the future of their company on the Nikon F.

To Canon, the Canonflex was just another line of cameras. They continued to improve and promote the rangefinder until 1968. They had expanded their product line to include amateur movie equipment, and soon became involved in building fixed lens, leaf shuttered Canonet rangefinder cameras. The path Canon chose kept it from dominating the professional camera market the way Nikon did. The market they pursued was much larger, and led Canon to become a much larger company than Nikon. When Canon finally took the SLR market seriously, it enabled them to catch, and surpass Nikon. 

In my opinion, the Canonflex was not designed for the professional market, and comparisons with the Nikon F in that respect are unfair. Nikon marketed the F as a professional camera system. Very quickly they had available lenses from 21mm to 1000mm, including a macro lens that focused from 1:1 to infinity. They also had an electric motor drive. Canon, on the other hand, offered few lenses, and never really did build a system around any of their SLR cameras until they introduced the F-1.

Canon Canonflex (Original)

Canon Canonflex R2000

Canon Canonflex RP

Canon Canonflex RM