A Description of Canon Rangefinder 25mm Lenses 1956-1975
Canon's first ultra-wide angle lens: the Canon 25mm f3.5 of 1956
Development and Introduction of the Canon 25mm f3.5
In 1955 and 1956, Canon was working with new rare earth glasses for their rangefinder
lenses. In April 1956 they released the Canon 28mm f2.8. Then, in November 1956,
they introduced the Canon 25mm f3.5. The 25mm f3.5 was a lens of five elements
in three groups.
As with all Canon products of that era, both the lens and the new 25mm finder were
packaged in a fitted leather case.
In January 1957, the Canon rangefinder lens range was re-engineered, and all were
mounted in a light alloy body with black focusing ring. The only exception was the 25mm
f3.5, which remained in its satin chrome on brass finish. 2
Wide angle lenses for single-lens reflex cameras which most people see today are of a
retrofocus design. This allows the rear element of the lens to be far from the film surface,
giving room for the camera mirror to swing. In the 1950s, rangefinder cameras did not have
this need, and wide angle lenses were of a 'short-focus' design. 12. In the
case of the Canon 25mm, the short focus design had a rear element which protruded
deeply into the camera body. Also, the lens mounted on the camera body protruded
only 16 mm.
rear element of the Canon 25mm f3.5
Canon 25mm Accessory Viewfinder
With the introduction of the
Canon VT, an automatic linkage between the camera focus and the accessory
viewfinder was created, allowing the accessory viewfinder to correct, automatically,
for parallax as the camera was focused. The 25mm f3.5 introduced at this same time,
1956, featured an accessory finder which functioned in this automatic parallax
Canon 25mm finder with automatic parallax correction linkage.
Canon V-finders, such as this 25mm finder, had an automatic parallax correction linkage to a
number of Canon models:
- the Canon VT, VTD
- the Canon L1, L2, L3
- the Canon VL, VL-2
- the Canon VI-L, VI-T
Canon Finder Automatic Parallax Linkage
The Canon cameras listed above had a new feature in the accessory shoe.
A pin in the center of the accessory shoe raised and lowered as the
rangefinder focus was changed. This pin linked to a series of new V-type Canon accessory
finders. The finders would rest on this pin in the accessory shoe and raise and lower,
as the pin in the accessory shoe raised and lowered, allowing the finders to automatically
automatically for parallax. This was an advanced feature unique to Canon.
the parallax adjustment pin located in the accessory shoe which links to the matching
pin in the bottom of the Canon V-type accessory finder
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