The Canonflex is a Canon 35 mm film single-lens reflex (SLR) camera introduced in May 1959. Its standard lens is the Canon Camera Co. Super-Canomatic R 50mm lens f/1.8. The camera was in production for one year before it was replaced by the Canonflex R2000, adding a 1/2000 sec. shutter speed.
By the 1950s, the Japanese camera industry had turned their interest towards the 35 mm SLR camera, which to that point had been exclusively manufactured in Europe, and in particular in Dresden, Germany. The first Japanese 35 mm SLR camera was Asahiflex. It was soon followed by several manufacturers. The Miranda T was launched in 1955. In 1958 Minolta and Topcon followed, while Nikon presented their Nikon F in 1959, by that time a supplier of rangefinder cameras based on the Contax concept. Canon had established itself as a 35 mm rangefinder camera manufacturer, featuring a wide variety of camera models and lenses using the Leica 39mm standard lens mount.
The first Canon SLR camera
The Canonflex was introduced in May, 1959 by Canon of Tokyo, Japan. It is Canon's first 35 mm single-lens reflex camera. Its standard lens is the Super-Canomatic R 50mm f/1.8, using the first version of Canon's breech-lock manual-focus lens mount, which would evolve into the Canon FL and Canon FD lens mounts over the next three decades. The Super-Canomatic lens features fully automatic aperture operation, using two internal connections. Canomatic and R-series lenses use semi-automatic or manual diaphragms. Though the breech-lock mount itself remained unchanged until the introduction of the EF lenses for EOS autofocus cameras in the late 1980s, the actuating levers of the Canomatic or R-series lenses operate differently from their FL and FD descendants.
The Canonflex was inspired to an extent by the company's rangefinder camera models. It has a thumb-operated wind-on lever on the camera's base and a removable meterless finder prism, which slides off after depressing a button on the left hand camera front. The rewind release is situated at the base. Long time exposure is accomplished by sliding a switch next to the shutter release to the left, before or while depressing the release button. It must be returned to terminate the exposure. At the right-hand camera front is a wide accessory shoe taking a selenium exposure meter, which couples to the shutter speed dial. The camera stayed in production for one year before it was replaced by the Canonflex R2000, adding the 1/2000 sec. shutter speed.
- Peter Dechert (1989) . Canon Rangefinder Cameras 1933-68. Hove Foto Books, Hove. ISBN 0-906447-30-5.
- Rudolph Lea (1993). The Register of 35mm Single Lens Reflex Cameras Second Ed. Wittig Books Hückelhoven. ISBN 3-88984-130-9.
- Peter Dechert (1992). Canon Single Lens Reflex Cameras 1959-1991. Historical Camera Publications Washington. ISBN 1-879561-04-2.