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Introduction of the Canon VI-L, VI-T Rangefinder Cameras
With the success of the Nikon SP introduced in 1957 followed soon by the Nikon S3, Canon sought to show significant technical advances in its new offerings. The Canon VI-L and VI-T introduced in the summer of 1958 were its answer to this Nikon challenge.
Canon VI-L, VI-T Characteristics
The Canon VI-L and VI-T had a number of new attributes:
- a new shutter mechanism with a single, non-rotating shutter speed dial.
- with both flash bulb and electronic strobe flash synchronizatrion, a new higher X synchronization speed of 1/55 second was part of the new shutter mechanism.
- slots in the shutter speed dial allowed easy and direct linkage to a compact light meter accessory that could be slipped into the accessory shoe.
- an improved viewfinder with a larger eyepiece, still with the choice of a finder image with 50mm and 100mm projected, parallax-corrected frames and a second choice of a 35mm viewfinder image.
- the cameras were offered with a new Canon 50mm f1.2 lens; faster than the 50mm lenses offered by Leica or Nikon.
Contemporary Leica and Nikon rangefinders use projected viewfinder frames, while Canon used viewfinder frames that were reflected in the viewfinder structure. While this was satisfactory in the new camera, in the years since, the reflective surfaces in these viewfinders have aged, causing flare and diminished visibility of the frames for the various focal lengths. However, the Canon VI-L and VI-T still featured a parallax adjusting pin in the accessory shoe which moved the Canon accessory viewfinder - an advanced feature unique to Canon.