Lens Rehousing  -  Canon Rangefinder

Lens Rehousing  -  Canon Rangefinder

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Canon Rangefinder Lenses

This rehousing project started off with the renowned Canon 50mm f0.95 ‘dream lens’. Originally designed and manufactured for stills photography in the early 1960s, this lens was the fastest produced lens for commercial use at the time. Due to the single coated elements, which had an amber tint, it led to the lens earning the unofficial title of ‘dream lens’. The lens has a beautiful character when used wide open and gives a creamy bokeh which is enhanced by the replacement circular iris when the lens is rehoused. This lens was slightly later to the rehousing scene due to the constraints of the cameras at the time. As the rear element sits closer to the film plane, it was not possible to use on film cameras with a spinning mirror. Further to this, the size of the optics toward the rear meant a difficult solution to fit within a PL mount. However, since the adoption of the LPL mount, this gave enough mechanical freedom to begin rehousing.

Once the 50mm f0.95 had started to gain interest, there were more requests for other lenses to match and to create a set of Canon ‘dream’ lenses. From carefully selecting Canon lenses from the same era, with single coated elements (which have the amber tint) TLS started to build a set of lenses. This has now grown into a comprehensive set from 19mm through to 135mm with 10 focal lengths to choose from. Most of these lenses are from Canon Rangefinder series and some early Canon FL lenses too. The 25mm and 28mm lenses are based on the 35mm using different wide-angle adaptors to create these matching focal lengths.

The look of these lenses is different to most options out there. They have a large amount of flares, particularly with any direct light. They are sharp in the centre with a lower contrast than you see with modern day optics. The fall off is gradual around the centre of the lens, but can be quite extreme towards the edges of the frame, especially on the wider focal lengths. This is more pronounced when using the lenses as intended on a full frame sensor.

The close focus on these lenses have been improved during the rehousing process with the 19mm, 25mm and 28mm all reaching less than 8” (20cm) from the film plane. The set is consistent in front diameter of 110mm and all have the same focus and iris gear position in relation to the film plane.

Canon Rangefinder Lenses Specification

50mm f0.95 19mm f3.5 FL 25mm f1.5 25mm f1.7/f1.8 28mm f1.5 28mm f1.8 35mm f1.5 35mm f1.8 40mm Canonet f1.7 50mm f0.95 58mm f1.2 FL 85mm f1.8 85mm f1.5 85mm f1.8 FL 100mm f2 135mm f2.5 SC FD 135mm f2.5 FL
T-Stop 1.1 TBC 1.8 2.1 1.8 2.1 1.6 TBC 1.8 1.1 1.4 TBC 1.6 TBC 2.1 2.8 2.8
Min. Object Distance typ. 16" TBC 8" 8" 8" 8" 13" TBC 11" 16" 19" TBC 2'3 TBC 2'2 3'6 3'6
Front Diameter (mm) 110mm 110mm 110mm 110mm 110mm 110mm 110mm 110mm 110mm 110mm 110mm 110mm 110mm 110mm 110mm 110mm 110mm
Total Length *(mm) 66.6mm TBC 66.6mm 69.6mm 69.6mm 56.1mm 58.6mm TBC 66.6mm 66.6mm 66.6mm 86.6mm 86.6mm TBC 101.6mm 122.4mm 118.8mm
Total Length *(inches) 2 5/8" TBC 2 5/8" 2 3/4" 2 3/4" 2 3/16" 2 3/16" TBC 2 5/8" 2 5/8" 2 5/8" 3 13/32" 3 13/32" TBC 4" 4 13/16" 4 11/16"

* Total approximate length is measured from the flange to the front of lens
** Weight subject to change with further developments

Demonstration Video

Here is a lens test demonstration of the full range of Canon Rangefinder lenses.

'To inspire through innovation, passion and quality'
'To inspire through innovation, passion and quality'