Episode 18: Canon Rangefinders with Peter Kitchingman

This week on Episode 18 of the Camerosity Podcast, we welcome collector, historian, and author Peter Kitchingman to the show.  Peter is well known through the collector community because of his knowledge with Canon rangefinders and his book, “Canon M39 Rangefinder Lenses 1939-71 – A Collector’s Guide”.

Peter has been collecting Canon cameras for nearly 30 years and has documented hundreds of different lenses, accessories and owns one of the largest private collections of Canon rangefinders, including three of the rarest models ever made.

He is joined by your regular hosts, Anthony, Theo, Paul, and I, along with returning callers Robert Rotoloni, Michael Westcott Loder, Mark Faulkner, Mark Peterson, and first time callers Jess Lantz, Dwight Anderson, and David Ortega.  If you only have a passing interest in Canon rangefinders, this is a terrific episode to get your Canon GAS going, and of course we also manage to find ways to talk about other cameras too!

As always, the topics we discuss on the Camerosity Podcast are decided entirely upon you, so if you’d like to join us, be sure to look out for our next show announcement for Episode 19, which we will record at our normal time of 7pm CST (UTC -6), 8pm EST (UTC -5) on Monday, February 7th.

This Week’s Episode

  • Peter’s Introduction
  • What is a Good First Canon Rangefinder? / Don’t Screw LTM Lenses into the Canon J Mount
  • Where Did Canon Originally Get It’s Optical Glass From?
  • Canon Imported Schott Glass from Germany on Trains and Submarines
  • Canon’s Spinning Prism / Anthony’s Thoughts on the Canon IV Sb
  • Canon’s Spring Loaded Take Up Spool / Canon 50mm f/1.8 Put Canon on the Map
  • Are Serenar Lenses Different from Canon Lenses?
  • Why Did Canon Use a Sonnar Formula for the 35mm f/1.5?
  • Did Canon Accessorize to Help Themselves Be Successful?
  • Why are Canon Rangefinders More Popular than Nikon Rangefinders Today?
  • Canon Did Well with the Military Post Exchange / EP Canons / Most Common EPs
  • Did Canon or Nikon Make any Rare Earth/Thorium/Lanthanum Radioactive Lenses?
  • When Did Canon Stop Using Schott Glass?
  • Nikkor 50mn f/1.1 and the Canon f/0.95 Dream Lens / Canon 7
  • Did Canon Benefit from Out of Work Nippon Kogaku Workers After the War?
  • The Japanese Camera Industry in the Mid 1950s Was Like the Wild West
  • Taron and Petri Made New Models Every Six Months
  • Robert Visits Koichi Sugiyama / Cadillac Sevilles and Super Mario Bros.
  • Canon Made a Subminiature Prototype But Never Produced It
  • Dwight Anderson Picks Up a Canon 7SZ for $7
  • Why Did Canon Have So Many Models?
  • Peter Has a Canon II AF and a Canon 1950 / Who Was Skinner?
  • Youxin Ye and Pro Camera in the US for All Your Canon Repair Needs
  • Why Do Some Cameras Have Metal Curtains? / Crinkled Canon P Shutter / Canon Pellix
  • Why Are Rangefinder Lenses Smaller Than SLR Lenses?
  • Canon Made an Exakta Mount Lens for Mamiya
  • Wide Angle Contax Lenses on Nikon Bodies
  • Theo and Peter Talk About Australian Cameras
  • Peter Dechert’s 3 Rarest Canon Rangefinders / Remembering Dechert
  • The Next Generation of Film Camera Users and Collectors / Samoca 35

Show Notes

If you would like to offer feedback or contact me with questions or ideas for future episodes, please contact us in the Comments Section below, our Camerosity Facebook Group or Instagram page, or email us at [email protected].

The Official Camerosity Facebook Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/camerositypodcast

Camerosity Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/camerosity_podcast/

If you would like to order Peter Kitchingman’s book, email him at [email protected].

Canon Historical Society – https://www.facebook.com/groups/443468112473918/

Robert Rotoloni – http://www.nikonhistoricalsociety.com/p/rotoloni-book.htm

Wes Loder – http://wesloderandnikon.blogspot.com/

Mark Faulkner – https://thegashaus.com/

Theo Panagopoulos – https://www.photothinking.com/

Paul Rybolt – https://www.ebay.com/usr/paulkris

Anthony Rue – https://www.instagram.com/kino_pravda/

Camerosity can also be heard on the following services:

Google – https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkLnBvZGJlYW4uY29tL2NhbWVyb3NpdHkvZmVlZC54bWw

Apple – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/camerosity/id1583252688


  1. This interview is a score, Mike. I have a copy of Kitchingman’s book, and it is superb in terms of content, detail, completeness, and high production values. Good to hear the man’s voice (as it was with Peggy Marsh last episode).

  2. Quite an informative podcast, Mike, especially regarding the lens mounts. I do have a fully working Canon 7 and would have assumed all other bodies would be compatible with L39 lenses, and for a novice like me with Canon, it came as quite a surprise to learn of the lens/mount compatibility issues for many of the earlier cameras.

    I knew from your advance notice of this podcast that the tie-in with Mamiya was coming up. My first slr was the Reflexa with the Canon f1.9/50 OM lens and which I acquired in early 1967. I was looking forward to comment on this tie-up as I’ve long been intrigued as to how it came about, and especially why with the strange, to me, choice of the Exakta mount decision. This is especially odd considering standard Exakta lenses with the auto release can’t be mounted, and neither can Canon’s lens be mounted on an Exakta body. So, apart from the limited choice of Mamiya lenses for the Reflexa, the only Exakta mount lenses that can be mounted on a Reflexa will be fully manual with no body coupling.

    Some years ago, on a nostalgia trip, I set about getting a Reflexa with the f1.9 for my collection. Given the internet, it turned out easier than I thought. Mechanically, the lens and body were fine but it seems that someone thought wire wool was perfect for cleaning the mirror! I sought a second one, with the f1.9, but again a scratched mirror. So, onto a third body, and yet again with a scratched mirror. What is it with Reflexa owners? Back then I used a T-2 mount for the 35mm and 135mm I used. And as part of the nostalgia trip, I picked up the very same 35mm and 135mm T-2 lenses.

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