Photographica Pages

An online guide to collectable cameras and related stuff

Canon Rangefinder Identification Guide

Canon IV Series

The V series was Canon's first departure from the classic Leica bottom loading design.

The first model of the series is the easiest Canon to identify yet. It is marked Model VT on the front of the baseplate. These are baseplate trigger wind cameras, the first of 5 different models. Production of 15,575 from 1956 and 57.

If your camera is marked Model VT Deluxe, you may think you already know what you have. You don't. The VT Deluxe is actually a series of three different models.

The VT Deluxe VTD can be identified by the lack of a baseplate key to open the back door. This key also opens a Canon (or Leica or Nikon) film cassette. Made only in 1957, production was 3475.

The final two VT Deluxe models are difficult to distinguish without having both of them together to compare. The earlier VT Deluxe VTDZ has a warmer tone finder and cloth shutter curtains. The later version VT Deluxe VTDM has a cooler tone in the finder, and metal curtains. You might think that looking at the curtains is simple enough, but the fact is many of these cameras have had curtains replaced over the years, and they were not always replaced with what they originally had. So the viewfinder is the only sure test of the model. And without having the other to compare to, it's hard to know for sure whether this is the cool one, or the warm.

Production of the VTDZ went from 1957-8 for 4875 units, while the VTDM was 1958 only for 2550 units. If you were counting, that's only four trigger wind units. The fifth is the VI-T, but that's another story, or at least another section.

The V series also included two lever wind models. These carry no model identification. The first model is the VL. Top speed is 1/1000. Made from late 1957 until late 1958 for a total production of 5450.

The VL2 was the companion budget model, lacking the top 1/1000 speed. Produced in 1958 only, they managed to build 8450 of them.