Photographica Pages

An online guide to collectable cameras and related stuff

Canon Rangefinder Identification Guide

Canon III Series

If you've come to this section to identify your camera, it should have 1/000 top speed, and no flash sych. If so, it is one of the III (three) series cameras. There were only two models in the III series, both introduced in 1951, readily distinguished by the type of finder magnification lever, and film speed reminder in the wind knob. Many cameras can be found with attributes of both models. These hybrids are not really worth more than either model.

The Canon III has the two peice finder magnification lever, and lacks the film speed reminder. It was discontinued in 1952 after a production of a little over 10,000. A small number of IIIs were marked "For Oscilloscope" on the back. These are rare, and if you have one we'd like to hear about it.

The Canon IIIA has a one piece finder magnification lever, and the film speed reminder. Produced until 1953, 9025 were built. There are IIIAs that were marked "US Army, Signal Corp." on the baseplate. These are also rare, and yes, please let us know if you have one.

You might be wondering why Canon made two cameras that were virtually the same concurrently. Maybe you're not, but I'm gonna tell you anyway. The III, like most of the older models has what is refered to as a semi-universal, or J-slop lens mount. The original threaded lens mount was a slightly different pitch than the Leica mount. During production of the S-II, the lens mount was changed so that it had sufficent slop in it that Leica or J-mount lenses could be used. The III has this mount, the IIIA has the universal, or Leica mount