Photographica Pages

An online guide to collectable cameras and related stuff

Seiki Kogaku Hansa Canon/Original Canon

Just for clarification, the Hansa Canon and the Canon Original are the same camera. Seiki Kogaku sold most of these cameras through Omiya Trading Co, and these cameras carry the Hansa name above the Canon name on the top. Cameras sold directly were not so marked. Other than the difference in engraving, the cameras are identical and were built concurrently.

Although the Hansa Canon has no revolutionary features, it is one of the most historically significant cameras, putting it in the company of the original Leica. It was the first precision 35mm camera to be produced in Japan. Although Nippon Kogaku had produced camera lenses in small numbers before, this marked their entrance into the production of camera lenses. Nippon Kogaku, of course, became Nikon. This was the beginning of the Japanese camera industry that would one day dominate the world. This camera is the beginning of the miracle that would find a tiny camera company founded by a doctor with no photographic experience that would grow to become the largest camera manufacturer on the face of the Earth.

The bottom of the focusing helical with Nippon Kogaku engraved, along with a mount number.

The lens mount compared to that of the Zeiss Contax. Nippon Kogaku designed the mount, and would later used a similar one (actually a copy of the Contax mount) on their rangefinder cameras after the second world war.

The camera serial number is stamped inside the baseplate.