Canon III was a REALLY close Leica copy

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by marc_rochkind, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. I already knew this, but I was still amazed when I put the two next to each other:
    You can see this photo enlarged on my Canon III page.
    Sure, there are differences, chief among them the Canon's combined view/rangefinder. The Leica's ends are rounded, too. Lots of other technical features are different. But in size, shape, layout, and styling, they're near twins.
    (The Leica is a post-war IIIc.)
  2. That's a really interesting comparison, Marc, from the days when the Japanese were imitators rather than innovators. How does the build quality and general engineering compare? The finish looks at least as good, if not better, on the Canon.
  3. From experience I owned a Canon IIb, still own and use a Tower IIIa and several Leicas, II, III, IIIc. IMHO and also from comments on the 'net, the Nicca/ Tower/ Yashica cameras are most Leica-Like in fit, finish, build quality and longevity of original components (shutter cloth included). On the subject of lenses, I am partial to Summicron, Elmar,Konica Hexanon and Nikkor and find each to be extremely fine lenses in the 50mm focal length. Each of the above lenses in mmy collection, date from the 1950's and all benefit greatly by the use of sunshades at all times to produce flare free images.
  4. Rick--

    From what I can tell, fit and finish are the same. I haven't shot with either camera, and, although they are functional, neither is close to being at its best, so I can't judge smoothness of operation (including focus), clarity of view, IQ, etc.

    Regarding Paul's post: I hope I one day can get a Nicca/Tower. I have a nearly complete collection of 1950s Sears Camera Catalogs, and of course these Leica-copy rangefinders get a lot of play.

  5. When Canon started to innovate, things really got interesting. The Canon 7s and 7sZ were really good user cameras, much easier to use than the Leicas they copied. Much as I like my old Leica IIIf, the Canon 7s I used to own was a better "user" camera with back loading film, a better viewfinder and a built in meter.
  6. No question there were some interesting innovations in the Canon, and some were patented to boot.
    The single-window viewfinder, with variable magnification for those times you need critical focusing, is an important innovation.
    The film spool with the pop-up knob for removing it is one. I think it was patented.
    While neither the Canon III or Leica IIIc have flash sync, I think Canon's patented flash sync design, with one contact for FP and X sync, is a better design.
    I suspect that Canon, following Deming's statistical process control, was using all interchangeable parts. Lots of selected parts in the Leica IIIc.
    The IIIc has cams to adjust the trip time of the second curtain latch for 1/500 and 1/1000. Canon saved money by not having this, but it makes locating the shutter curtains when replacing them hyper-critical. (I know by experience.) Canon clearly used a jig to position them at manufacture.
    Having torn both brands down all the way, I'd say that they are equal on fit and finish on the outside and inside.
  7. It's even closer if you line it up against a IIIa, I believe. Other than the beveled ends on the body, the clever viewfinder was just about the only difference.

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