Canon…mistery of the beginning


Kwanon_Original canon cameraToday’s CEO of Canon is a grandson of the founder…..that is how people say.

But, it is not true.

Canon was originally started a movie camera technician Goro Yoshida in 1933 which is only a year later the 1st Contax came out !!

Mr. Yoshida was a movie camera technician and those days, he visited Shanghai quite often to get parts for cameras. Shanghai was quite international and was easier to get imported items there compare to Tokyo.

One day, an American guy told him

Japanese can make good war ships or air plains, so why don’t you guys make own cameras?

That was the moment Mr. Yoshida decided to make his own camera and also it was the beginning of Canon.  At the beginning, he had his brother in low Mr.Uchida as a business partner who was a wealthy financial man and Mr. Mitarai later who became the president was friend of him.

What Mr.Yoshida did was…. completely disassembled bland new Leica and Contax to see how those work.

Then, he decided to make Leica which was much more simply made.
After he disassembled Leica, he took those parts to engineering people to copy….then, replaced with originals.

Seiko….which is known for watches today helped him quite a lot too.

That was how he first made domestic Leica by himself. It sound something stupid….but those days, they could buy a house in Tokyo for 1000 yen and Leica was 600 yen!!
Buy the way, their first product Hansa Canon was 350 yen and that was completely hand-made. They could build 1/week at beginning!!!

There is a copy of famous magazine ad. of early Canon which was originally called Kwanon camera in 1934.
Ad. of Kwanon camera
It says

Submarine….I-1
Air plane…..Type 92
Camera…..Kwanon
All best of the world !!
Imports which we can’t re-export is waste for our valuable resource .

When you see the image, you can see a film advance knob in front of the body like Contax.
Although he started as Leica copy, there was already his originality. Truth was….he wanted to make Contax rather than Leica.

Mr.Yoshida stayed at the company for only a year. During the time, he says he made 10 Kwanons…..but nobody has seen them partly because he was the only engineer at that time.

There are total 4 different type of Ads.of Kwanon Camera and later one does not have film advanced knob in front and their 1st product “Hansa Canon” looks quite similar to final version of Kwanon camera’s illustration. This means I think it was nearly ready on the mechanical side by the time Mr.Yoshida left.

Just to mass-produce, they had to borrow hands from Nikon for the optical side.

Today, there is a camera called Kwanon  kept in head office of Canon and it is considered as one of the original Kwanon.

But, Mr. Yhoshida denied that was his project. Also funny thing was….Canon has always in Tokyo, but this Kwanon was discovered in Osaka after the WW2. But, at least he admitted the lens was his….It is funny story again….Kwanon’s Lens mount is original one. This means someone modified a camera for the lens…..

After Mr.Yoshida left Canon, he was keep working as movie camera engineer or helped to start-up “Nikka Camera” which were the dead copy of Leica to supply for army.

But, after the war, he never did anything with cameras and even did not talk anything about Kwanon cameras.

The founder Mr.Yoshida was there for only a year, the business partner Mr.Uchida left in 5 years…..then, that was the time, Mr.Mitarai became a president of Canon.

Even Canon’s history talks very little about those 2 founders and Mr. Yoshida did not talk a lot. Even we don’t find Mr.Uchida in Wikipedia today.

That is how, The beginning of Canon is like Lost history. Nobody who knows about today alive and the history is lost forever unless someone discover original Kwanon!!

Thing is….he did not want to talk about cameras anymore…..that would be the reason he denied about the Kwanon which exist today.

Amtrak Coast Starlignt_2nd day


Amtrak Coast Starlignt 2nd day 1

When we wake up in the morning, the landscape is totally different. During the night, we passed mountains in Oregon and now, we are in California.

Amtrak Sacramento StationEverything is dry…..Now we arrived to Sacramento Station which is the capital of California.
They are re-charging water tank.

Amtrak Coast Starlignt 2nd day  3Most of Amtrak Stations are located in the old area of city. This means quite many of them are in rough environment.
Due to the financial problem, there is not much they can do.
Amtrak Coast Starlignt 2nd day 4California is the land of farming…….huge area of farming land is everywhere and it is the little part of “green” in this dry land.
Amtrak Coast Starlignt 2nd day  5It does look like desert…..but it is all grass. During the winter time, they have some rain and it is the only time California turns into Green!

The sun is getting low……Train is getting delayed…..

We arrived Los Angels at 12:00 AM. Itwas 36 hours of train trip and was also 3 hours delay………

Later, I took the same line from Los Angels to San Francisco and noticed the landscape in Southern California which I missed this time was amazing……

CONTAX Tvs Digital

Amtrak Coast Starlight


Coast StarlightAmtrak is network of Passenger trains in the United States.

Coast Starlight is running along the west coast of the United States starting from Seattle Washington and going to Los Angels.

Amtrak Coast Starlight Seattle
This is taken at King Street Station at Seattle……It is beginning of 30 some hours of long trip… The reason I say 30 some hours is…..this line delays all the time.

At this point, we were already 2 hours delay.

Look at the Yellow step at the door! That is how we get onto the train.
Amtrak Coast Starlignt 2Washington is the State surrounded by water and green. It is a bit like Vancouver.
Amtrak Coast Starlight 3

Water, forests and heavy clouds…..weather around here is changeable.

Amtrak Coast Starlight 5

It is taken at Portland Union Station, Oregon….it is quite common to see this kind of old carts at Amtrak Stations.

Amtrak Coast Starlight 5

We are in Oregon now. The landscape is….about similar here.

Amtrak Coast Starlight 6

We had some rest at Springfield, Oregon. We had the sunset of 1st day here.

After this, no more photos and just relax in the trains.

CONTAX Tvs Digital

Vancouver, BC, Canada in winter.


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Winter in Vancouver is rainy…..7 days a week.Recently, the weather is a liitle bit better. But still a bit wet….or a bit foggy today.
I went out to Downtown Vancouver in the evening to see some beautiful sky.

When the sun get low, it came out through the heavy clouds.

_1080558Then, I started walking because there was no more sun lighting up the buildings.

Then, I noticed the beautiful snowy mountain is now out of the clouds.

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This is the amazing time of Downtown Vancouver.

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The clock is showing about 4:40PM…..still the winter day is short….but 40 min. longer than the shortest day.

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It is funny to say….bit I like cloudy evening in Vancouver…….

Leica Digilux 3

Minolta Maxxum 7000


Minolta_Maxxum 7000Minolt Maxxum 7000 suddenly attacked SLR market in Feb.1885.
Even those days, we were keep hearing rumour about new upcoming new models quite regularly. But talk about Maxxum 7000, there was completely no rumor at all.

It was shocking news not only because the camera was well made….but also there was completely no rumor around.

The biggest reason was….Minolta was in Osaka, not in Tokyo.
In Tokyo, all the other manufactures around and they are using same supplyers…..actually, that is where rumors comes from.
It was the first “2nd generation” of Auto focus SLR. First generations came out around 1982, but they were expensive, limited AF lens and not enough performance.

Then, after that, All the manufacture shifted to multi-mode AE SLRs and nobody was expecting AF when Maxxum came out.

The biggest difference on Maxxum was its compact & reasonably priced lens system and all of them were ready for AF.

Before that, AF SLRs had only one or 2 AF lens which was expensive, huge and slow because everything was built in the AF lens.

But Maxxum had everything in body and even AF motor was built in camera body. That was how the AF lens were very compact and the price was about the same as other MF lenses.

Even as multi-mode AE camera, Maxxum 7000 was almost perfectly made for back then.
That was how, AF era suddenly arrived and it completely changed the market situation.

Minolta had brand new Lens mount for AF…..so, we never knew what was going to happen to other manufacture.

That was how, Minolta Maxxum 7000 was extremely popular……and at the same time, nobody bought any other cameras at that time because people were worried about the future change.

I have been using SLRs for 30 years….but I would say Minolta Maxxum 7000 had a biggest impact against the market.

From the point of today’s view, Maxxum 7000’s AF is extremely slow and can see them treated as junk. Or, even Minolta does not make cameras any more.

Time has changed…….

This was the camera I really wanted at that time…..but I don’t feel anything. It is the sad thing about Electronics cameras.

Performance is everything and nothing else……

Summer in Auckland, New Zealand


L1020683R2St Heliers bay, Auckland:
It is summer in this time of year in New Zealand. But summer is getting delayed these years and we still don’t have quite clear days.
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Long Bay, Auckland:
This is a New Zealand native tree called Pōhutukawa. This time of year, you can see the pretty red flowers near coast line.

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This time of year, we still have heavy clouds like winter with stronger sun……it create quite dynamic landscape which is also quite different from winter.L1020365You can see the Downtown Auckland far away….and farming land just in front of me.
This kind of lighting is perfect condition for my Leica camera.
You can feel hot & humid summer air from the image.

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St Heliers bay in Auckland:
In the late afternoon….the sun is creating strong contrast. Actually….this is not the good situation for Leica.

It is good to see those photos in dark, wet winter day here in Vancouver this time of the year.

Leica Digilux 3