Canonflex….the disaster of Canon SLR

Canon's 1st SLR Canonflex was made for only 3 months.

Canon’s 1st SLR Canonflex was made for only 3 months.

As I told you, Nikon F….the Nikon’s first SLR completely changed the professional photographer’s style.

But, what about Canon?

People say Canon SLR was not successful because they were delayed to the market….but it is not true.

There was only a month difference compare to Nikon.

The biggest difference was, Canon was still selling lots of range finder models and that was how they thought SLR was only one of the many models.

But for Nikon, SLR was everything and they spent all the energy to develop F and that ended up with the big difference.

They say there were only 3 engineers to develop Canon SLR…..!Tell the truth, the catalog spec was about even, but Canon was not as sophisticated as Nikon.

The reason Canon didn’t spend all the resource to SLR was…because of their engineer spirits.

In 1959, SLRs were already as easy to use as range finders….but still there were some problems and which are not cured even today!

  • Finder black out due to the mirror action.
  • Unable to use wide-angle lens due to the mirror action behind lens….wide-angle lens for SLRs are Retro-focus….not real wide-angle lens.

They know there was nothing they could do and that was how they did not think SLR was very attractive to them.

  • Canon was a company they try to do the best they could in their own style.
  • Nikon is a company they don’t mind using someone’s technology and make so so cameras with the best quality control.

Some way, we can say Nikon engineers are more flexible minded and that was how they could succeed with SLR.

At the same time, Canon engineers could not stand those 2 problems and that was how they developed Pellix which had fixed half-mirror to solve those problems.

But as result, it was not successful and after that, Canon started to develop next professional SLR, F-1.

Also there were another problem on Canon at that time.
Originally, Canon was the company of luxurious cameras, but in late 50s, they started to expand market to lower class as well,

Then, they found it made more money in that field and that was the time they finished professional service. Service technicians used to visit News Medias and looked after their equipments regularly…..but they stopped it at that time.

Cameras were not that good and no more professional service….that was how all the professionals shifted to Nikon at that time.

During the Tokyo Olympic in 1964, almost every professional was using Nikon F……and amatures were using Asahi Pentax…..there was not much market for Canon SLR…but they were successful in the entry-level “Canonet”.

We had to wait for Canon’s next professional camera “F-1” until 1971.


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