15 comments on “Meet the Camera: Canon P

  1. Nice! just bought one myself after selling my Oly 35SP, and because I have 2 Jupiter 8’s from defunct Zorki 4’s, and I had a moment of weakness…..!
    I’ll never afford a Leica, and frankly, wouldn’t feel comfortable with an expensive camera, not that the Canon is cheap,it’s just not as Poplaire(!) but from what I’ve heard, is just as well made.
    Also,I have a fetish for rangefinders, and wanted a quality body which would replace the cheap Russian ones which have proved unreliable.
    I toyed with the idea of a Contax, but having a Kiev 4 already, it would defeat the purpose, and be twice as expensive.
    What swayed it, was that my surname is the same, and it looked like a damn fine camera!
    A question though, the Jupiter 12 you have, does it fit? I thought only the black versions worked?

    • I used the J-8 as my standard lens on the P until I bought my Canon 50/1.5. The aluminum Jupiter is nice in that it is considerably lighter than the all-brass Canon, which makes a difference if you’re humping the camera around all day. My J-12 is a bare metal finish model and it fit the P fine – just lock the shutter open on B and watch from the back as you screw it in for the first time. You may find the rear element rubbing the light shield, but that is easily solved by gently bending the shield out of the way; you don’t need much clearance, and the shield is just thin sheet metal and easily bent.

  2. we can go far for reliability… 🙂
    I’m without a rangefinder now that I sold both my daft Kiev 4am and the sleek Konica Auto S3 with weird shutter priority.
    Should I just go back to where I started with rangefinders? (Yashica one lens rangefinders… battery dependent though) Or should I hop on the L39 boat? The P is a high contender. A small Leica CL would be nice (a M2 or M5 even nicer but now we’re getting out of hand -and wallet!)

    How do you like your P so far?

    • I’m really happy with the P, so happy in fact that I bought a very similar Canon L1 so that I could have two LTM rangefinders that I could carry together, either to shoot different focal lengths or color/b&w. I’m heavily invested in the LTM system, with 21/35/50/90/135 lenses available; it’s my primary 35mm setup.

      That said, I’ve used some other RFs along the way, so I’ll make a couple of further comments. I started out in RFs with a FED-2; I still have and use it, and I still think it’s a good camera. The VF isn’t great, but throw an external unit on there (you need one for anything except 50mm anyway) and you’ve got a great street setup. I had and sold a Yashica Electro 35 GSN – spectacular lens, but a big body and aperture priority only. In fact, the only fixed lens RF I’ve been satisfied with is my Olympus 35SP. It has a brilliant lens, manual operation if you want it, battery powering the meter only, and nice ergonomics (plus of course spot metering). I wouldn’t want to, but if I had to work with one single camera/lens setup, it would be really hard to beat the 35SP.

      Not a short or clear answer perhaps, but an LTM system has a lot to recommend it in my book.

      • aah, the sleek fed-2. seems nice! I’ve only fondled one in a dark pub though so I can’t say much for the finder. the long rangefinder base is confidence inspiring though!

        • The finder’s workable, just not up to the standards of later Western cameras. As to the RF, it is quite easy to focus precisely, but the irony is that these days I mostly use the camera for street photography, so I zone focus at 3m and just shoot, never bothering to focus in the vast majority of situations.

  3. Did you have any issues with mounting the Jupiter 12? I have a Canon P and a chance to buy a pristine early (1958) silver Jupiter 12. I have read that there can be issues with the back element.

    • No issues in my case, but there is bound to be sample-to-sample variation. Even if there is interference, however, the fix is really easy: just bend the top edge of the light baffle slightly to allow clearance for the rear element of the lens. Just open the back and lock the shutter open the first time you try to mount the lens so you can see what’s going on.

      • I knew about bending the light baffle but was concerned on the protruding back element. I read the newer black models did not pose a problem, yet I have seen many images of the silver ones on the Canon P.

        • The rear element is why you may have to bend the baffle; nothing else poses any issue. As far as I know, the optical formulae of the early and late Jupiter-12 is identical, so the whole idea of the later ones fitting differently than the earlier ones may be apocryphal.

          • Good to know. As I understood the older (silver) ones were a bit longer. Like I said, a lot of conflicting information. I think I will go ahead and get it.

  4. Nice. I’ve only dipped my toes into the wide world of rangefinders, but a Canon P and/or Canon 7 are at the top of my list. I can’t think of a better way to get into vintage Leica glass, considering how much the bodies go for these days. One of the selling points for me is the thumb lever advance as opposed to a knob.

    • The P and the 7 are certainly good entry points to the LTM rangefinder world. I too was attracted by the more modern controls (as compared to the earlier Barnack-derived bodies), but having now gotten two Leica IIIcs and had more experience shooting with them, the knob wind really isn’t as much of an issue as I thought it would be. If anything, the biggest selling point of the later Canon bodies to me now has to be the viewfinders, which are an order of magnitude easier to use than the much smaller ones on the early LTM models.

  5. I have two of these fine rangefinders. I like them so much, I sent one off to Youxin Ye for a CLA. I shoot mine with Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens.

    • Apologies for the delay in responding – I’ve been traveling.

      The P is a wonderful camera, along with the other V- and VI-series cameras. The body is large enough to balance nicely with the Canon 50/1.4, something that cannot be said about the smaller screwmount bodies. They’re certainly worth the effort and/or expense to CLA if needed.

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