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COPYRIGHT (ALL PICTURES AND TEXTS by FRANK MECHELHOFF 2005 (you may use single copies for private use only)
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 Canon 28mm f/35 (1951-1957) at a 1960 Canon P

3.5/28mm CANON / Serenar  (1951)
2.8/35mm CANON / Serenar (1951)
2.0/35mm CANON  (1962)
1.5/35mm CANON  (1958)

Canon SERENAR 1:3.5 28mm
This lens was made from Oct. 1951-Apr. 1956 and was the fastest 28mm lens of its time. Production number was 670 according to RANDOL HOOPER, which seems a bit low to me for a nearly 5 years run, and the fact that 28mm "ultra-wide" focal length was demanded in these years. It was followed by an optical identically "black-chrome" version (200 pieces), replaced by a chrome 2.8/28mm  ( 5.839 pieces). It was CANONs widest lens in 1951 and therefore overstated called "Ultra-Wide-Angle" on the nice leather box which was supplied with the lens and fitting chrome albada optical viewfinder. The chrome finder wasn't parallax corrected, whereas the later black series could be elected either with automatic
(for V, VI, L camera) or manual parallax compensation (P camera).
With 27.000 yen the price was 30% higher than the contemporary 2.8/35mm wide-angle which had a similar design and outfit. It was among the smallest lenses in the CANON screw mount era (solely the 25mm was 4,5mm lower in length).

US Army Signal
The first version of this lens also often occurs with the engraving "U.S.ARMY. SIGNAL CORPS". Full click-stops f/3.5,4-22.
Canon 28mm
                f/3.5 black
The second, even rarer black series of the 28mm f/3.5 with the later style leny-only case  (known numbers: 20310, 21038)
Canon 28mm f/2.8
This was the last "chrome" CANON lens, coming out in June 1957. Similar outfit to the 3.5/25mm (1956)
                  28mm f/3.5 design
CANON 3.5/ 28mm  (1951-1958) - straight Gauss designs were common in the early age of wideangle lenses, but overstrained edge sharpness at this high degree of angle-of-view.
At that time (1935-19955) LEICA offered a f/6.3 28mm lens (Hektor) followed by a Summaron f/5.6 (1955-1963) - much slower and no better  in taking pictures!
Canon 28mm
                f/2.8 design
Also a Gauss Type but with cemented outer elements - there are different oppinions which lens was better.
Bigger elements of both lens are on the film side - with all of my diagrams this is towards the right border.
Leitz Summaron
              28mm  Summaron
The Canon 28mm was introduced in Oct. 1951 together with the 2.8/35 which was very close to the first Leica Gaussian wideangle-lens, the Summaron 3.5/35 of 1948.

Leitz had a true lack of wide-angle lenses at the end of the Berek-era in the 1950's!

Left: Comparison Leitz Summaron 5.6/28m - higher priced by collectors but 1 1/2 stops slower,  finished more simple...

Kind of strange with this lens, the aperture index point is exactly on top (12 o'clock) whereas the focussing point is at the "Canon type" 11 o'clock position". Below you see the leather box for lens and viewfinder. The viewfinder is an optical albada finder (no "hole type") with some distortion but otherwise good optical attributes. The field of view is good visible even if used with (thin) eye-glasses. But the alloy eye-piece don't like your eye-glasses so much as the new Voigtlander finder.

Canon 28mm f/3.5

Technical data in comparison to the smallest rangefinder-coupled Voigtlander lens (same barrel as the 3.5/28mm which was launched 2002)

Canon 28mm f/3.5
Canon Serenar 1:3.5 28mm - 1951
VL28mm 3.5
Voigtlander RF 3.5/28mm -2002
19.9 mm
21.0 mm (without hood)
Minimum focussing / focusiing angle
3 ft (1m) / 190°
0,5m / 90°
7.35 mm
14 mm
Weight (lens with back cap/ finder)
152 g / 50 g
120g / 30 g
Size of viewfinder (wide/ length)
d: 27 mm / 35 mm
35.5 mm /  32.5 mm
Max. diameter / Front-diameter
46 mm / 36 mm
49 mm / 43.2 mm
Filter size
34 x 0.5 mm
39 mm


pictures with the "Japanese Summaron" (click to view larger size)

Canon SERENAR 1:2.8 35mm
Ser 2.8/35mm
Not the same small size and compact - the 2.8/35mm, first version, early examaple (15.416 made from 1951-1956)

LEITZ brought a 6-elements/ 4-groups Summaron 3.5/35mm to production in 1948, enhancing the performance of the 4-elements Tessar-Type Elmar (from 1930) clearly, especially light-falloff, edge sharpness and contrast. Challanger CANON started in March 1950 with its first wideangle lens which was an Elmar copy (3.5/35), but soon replaced (June 1951) by a 6-elements 3.2/35mm lens, fractional faster than the Leica lens and all its rivalry, at a price of 94,- USD (equal to 682,- USD in prices of 2005). Again 4 months later an even faster 2.8/35mm came out, passing the Summaron by half a stop, to differ from the f/3.2-lens just by a more modern black front ring (price 110 USD - 800 USD todays equivalent). It took LEITZ till 1958 to match with that speed.
The Canon 2.8/35 was kept in production until 1962 (later, black-chrome light metal version).
As far as performance is concerned the 2.8/35mm isn't a bad lens compared to the well- reputated successor 2.0/35 shown beneath. It's just different: there is a good old-fashioned feel, less contrasty, less "pushed" touch. Resolution is very good if not excellent.

Leitz Summaron 2.8/35mm
(Doppel-Gauss-Typ) -1958
Canon 3.2/35mm (1951-1954)
Canon 2.8/35mm (1951-1962)

Sernar 2.8/35mm

CANON 1:2.0 35mm
The "Summicron" is the Leica f/2-class lens in 35, 50 and 90mm with highest reputation for performance and all-purpose usage among Leica-owners. The name Summicron has some legendary sound. This lens by some photographers was sometimes called the "Japanese Summicron". For some reasons it could be seen as regression, because Canon already made a 1.8/35 in 1956 (which was together with the Nikkor the fastest at this time, and an excellent lens) and, 1958, an 8-elements 1.5/35 which again was the fastest wide-angle of that time. Oppinions about quality of the latter are divided, some say "speed" was seen more important as contrast and sharpness at design, like it was with the 0.95/50...

Anyway, in April 1962 the 2.0/35 came out and replaced both in production - with 7 elements/ 4 groups a derivation if the 1.8/35, but sharper and more contrasty in the center. And from the formula, very similar to the - later! - 7 elements Summicron design...

Canon 2/35 von 1963
Leitz Summicron 2/35 (pre-Asph) von 1979

Canon 35mm f/2.0    Canon Lens 2.0/35 an einer Canon 7

Furthermore black, small, and lightweight - just a handfull glass and alloy. Finally without "infinity lock". Looks like a Mini-SLR-lens, but disappears in a trouser pocket. The unimpressive outline doesn't hide the excellent working. Not cheap. Rare and sought-after. Whoever owns one don't give it away untill he gets something better. This is - 40 years after debut - available but costs much more.

Idstein Marktplatz

Note, I don't talk about the Voigtländer Ultron RF 1.7/35 as better. I use them both. The Ultron is sharper, but not to an noticable extend in most sitautions. The Canon is more contrasty and color saturation is more naturally (this with a mono-coated lens!). The Ultron is a sharper in very small details, but comperativly dull. Probably it can be expected to be better wide open. But I use my 35mm's closed to f/8 for landscapes as well - as "sunny day lenses". The Canon 2/35 also harmonizes with the Snapshot-Skopar 4/25 and Heliar 4.5/15mm. If you take these two lenses with you and the 1.7/35 you will detect the Ultron pictures as the most dullest. Beside is the Canon more compact and handy as the "big" Ultron

Examples (klick for max. resolution; scanned 13x18 cm prints):
Canon 2/35 RF (1963)
Voigtländer Ultron 1.7/35 RF (1999)

back to Canon part 1 (english)
Voigtländer Bessa Messucher Cameras und Objektive
My pictures with these lenses
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