Canon Finders


A Description of Viewfinders for Canon Rangefinders 1950-1965



First Canon Accessory Viewfinder


In March 1950, Canon released its first wide-angle lens, the Serenar 35mm f3.5. This lens was delivered in a very nice leather case with the lens name stamped on the top. Inside, as well as the lens and lens cap, was a Canon 35mm accessory finder with rear adjusting parallax ring in a fitted pocket in the lid of the leather case.


Canon 35mm f3.5 case

the Serenar 35mm f3.5 lens of 1950 with Canon accessory finder in a well-finished fitted leather case


Later Canon Finders


Since the introduction of the Canon IIB in 1949, all Canon cameras had viewfinders that displayed multiple focal lengths, besides the standard 50mm lens view. These varied from 50mm, 100mm, 135mm in the earlier models to 35mm and 50mm in later, and finally with multiple displays later. Some later model viewfinders had parallax correction and some had bright line outlines of the lens coverage. However, for most lenses, particularly telephoto and wide angle lenses, Canon recommended accessory viewfinders, nearly all of which included parallax correction.


Canon Universal Finder


There were two versions of the Canon Universal Finder. These covered a wide range of focal lengths. Both Universal Finders featured parallax correction.


Canon Universal Finder - 1


In about 1952, Canon introduced an accessory finder which could be inserted in the accessory shoe and adjusted for focal lengths from 35mm to 135mm. I call this the Canon Universal Finder - 1 (not an official name).


Canon Universal Finder


This finder also had an accessory attachment to extend the finder range to include 28mm. This extension, however, was easy to lose - I know from experience - and it is also hard to find on secondary markets.


Canon Universal Finder 2

the Canon Universal Finder - 1 with 28mm viewfinder attachment


Canon Universal Finder - 2


In 1956, Canon introduced a second Universal Finder, which I call the Canon Universal Finder - 2. The Canon VT camera of 1956 and later cameras (listed below) had a number of innovative features, including provision for automatic parallax correction of accessory finders, via a pin in the accessory shoe.


Canon Universal Finder


The 1956 Canon Universal Finder - 2 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.


parallax pin

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


Canon finders

two Canon V-type adjustable finders: 28mm and 100mm showing pivoting base which slides into the accessory shoe,

with arrows pointing to parallax adjustment pins which link to the corresponding pin in the accessory shoe


Canon Fixed Finders


Described above are the advanced finders which automatically corrected for parallex via a pin in the accessory shoe. Canon finders for earlier cameras were fixed in the accessory shoe, and parallex correction was done manually by the photographer, turning a small distance dial on the back of the finder, or sometimes with a manual lever setting as can be seen in the photograph below.


Canon finders adjust

the left finder has a manual distance adjustment for parallax around the eye piece

the center finder has a distance adjustment lever at its base

the right finder has the pin in its base linking to the the automatic parallax correction described above.


Canon finders black


Other Finders Canon also produced other finders as accessories, such as this interesting sports finder.


Canon sport finder

the Canon sport finder for action photography mounted on a 1952 Canon IVSB camera



You can click on the links in the table below to consult other pages of the site.


Navigation: Click Below to Jump to Desired Subject Page
Canon Rangefinder Cameras - 1 Canon Rangefinder Cameras - 2 Canon Rangefinder Lenses
Canon S Canon IVSB2 Canon 19mm
Canon J Canon IIS2, IID2, IIF2 Canon 25mm
Canon NS Canon VT, Canon L2 Canon 28mm
Canon JS Canon L1, L3 Canon 35mm
Canon J-II Canon VT Deluxe Nikkor 50mm
Canon S-II Canon VL, VL2 Canon 50mm
Canon IIB Canon VI-L, VI-T Canon 85mm
Canon III, IIC, IV Canon P Canon 100mm
Canon IIIA, IVF, IVS Canon 7 Canon 135mm
Canon IIA, IID, IID1 Canon 7s Canon 200mm-1000mm
Canon IVSB Minolta Rangefinders Minolta Lenses
Canon IIF, IIS Other Rangefinders other M39 lenses
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Any additions or corrections to these pages would be welcome simply by contacting this site as shown at the foot of this page .


1 Dechert, Peter. Canon Rangefinder Cameras 1933-1968. Hove Collectors Books. West Sussex, United Kingdom. 1985. ISBN 0-906447-30-5.
Peter Dechert's book is the most important expert source of information regarding Canon Rangefinder Cameras.
2 Kitchingman, Peter. Canon M39 Rangefinder Lenses 1939-1971. A Collector's Guide. Published by Peter Kitchingman. Perth, Australia. 2008. ISBN 978-0-646-48144-9.
Peter Kitchingman's book is the definitive study of the more than three decades of M39 format camera lenses developed for Canon Rangefinder Cameras.
3 Nostalgic Canon Camera Book. 懐かしいキヤノン EI Publishing Co. Ltd. Tokyo, Japan. June 2003.
Peter Kitchingman's book is the definitive study of the more than three decades of M39 format camera lenses developed for Canon Rangefinder Cameras.
4 "Canon Camera Museum" history website. published by Canon, Inc. accessed in 2019.
5 Rajner, Hans P. (author), John Wade (editor). Leica Copies. Classic Collections Publications. London, UK. ISBN 13: 9781874485056
Hans P. Rajner's book is an excellently detailed and carefully researched study of camera from around the world which used the Leica M39 lens mount and the same lens to film plane distance.
7 Dechert, Peter. Canon Single Lens Reflex Cameras 1959-1991. Historical Camera Publications. Yakima, Washington. 1992. ISBN 1-879561-04-2.
8 Tomlinson, Shawn M. The Film Photography Book. Lulu Pulbications. 2016. ISBN: 9781365263972
9 Sartorius., Ghester. Identifying Leica Lenses. Classic Camera 19. Tokyo, Japan. 2001. ISBN 4-257-12029-0
10 website consulted 2019.
11 O'Reagan, Douglas M. Allied Exploitation of German Science after World War II. Johns Hopkins University Press. Baltimore, Maryland. 2019. ISBN 9781421428888
12 website consulted 2008.
13 Minolta expert Andrea Aprà has posted information on minoltarangefinders group and other groups and further detailed information by email. (thanks Andrea !)
14 website consulted 2019.

If you have any comments or questions about this Canon Rangefinder site, please e-mail me (Larry Huffman) at e-mail address: