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Canon P – Arran Salerno | Photography – Blog

Canon P

I got this little beast a while ago now, but have only got a chance to make a post about it today.
The Canon P (“Populaire”) was made between 1958 and 1961. It’s one of Canon’s last screw mount rangefinders and regarded by many as one of the best looking rangefinders ever produced. All i know is that it works and feels great to use.
They’re were originally made as a base/basic model, but in reality were one of the last truly “bulletproof” cameras produced by Canon, so many are still working as well today as they were over 50 years ago.
Theres not too much to the camera. No light meter, so theres no electrical issues. No fancy features that cause problems. Just a simple, clean looking camera, that works as good as it looks with a smooth film advance, and a satisfying shutter sound. The viewfinder is quite big and very bright with nice clear framelines (maybe mine has been CLA’s recently?).
Why use a camera with no light meter and no features that make life easier? Well, its fun.
Below is a photo of mine with a Jupiter 8 attached i had lying around. The 50mm framelines are particularly well placed in the VF, so i think a 50mm lens will live on the Canon now.
I got this camera for a steal of a price, but they regularly sell for around $100-$150, and at that price i still think they’re great value. If you want a super reliable camera, stripped back on fancy features that will take some of the greatest lenses ever created (Leica Thread Mount), then i cant think of any camera more suitable than the Canon “Populaire”.

canon p

3 Responses to “Canon P”
  1. 07.12.2008

    i was looking at getting one of those recently.
    ended up getting a F-1 body instead. shot with it for the first time last night and am in love with it.
    pushed 2 colour rolls of 400 to 1600 which might not have been a good idea though..

  2. 07.12.2008

    I’ve only heard good things about F-1′s. Never used one, but yeah, they have a terrific reputation.
    You pushed two colour C41 rolls to 1600? Wow, i’ve never done anything like that before. I’m really interested to see how they turn out. It could work really well (depending on the subject matter i guess)
    Good luck!

  3. 09.28.2010

    I had a Canon P a while back, but eventually sold it when I needed money. That wasn’t a good idea, as it is a truly a wonderful camera and I miss it a lot.
    I’ve seen it called a Poor Man’s M3, but really the Canon P can stand on its own quite well.


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