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. Faced with the success of the Nikon SP introduced in 1957 and the Leica M-3 regularly upgraded during the 1950s, in the summer of 1958, Canon launched the Canon VI-L. identical to the VI-T, but with lever film advance.

This was an attractive new model, and the new shutter and non-rotating shutter speed dial, without a separate slow speed dial allowed the attachment of the compact light meter. (Leica had introduced a non-rotating dial with the M3 in 1954.) The light meter was slipped into the accessory shoe and a shutter speed dial of the meter clipped into the camera shutter speed dial, below. This provided an integrated f-stop measurement for any selected shutter speed.


Also, the Canon VI-L 35mm focal length viewfinder image was superior to that of the Nikon SP, and to the Leica M-3 which required an accessory finder for the increasingly popular 35mm wide-angle lens. Also, the 50mm viewfinder image was 1:1 which allowed the photographer to shoot with both eyes open, unlike either the Leica or the Nikon.


Flash photography was also improved. The X synchronization speed of 1/55 second eliminated the risk of 'ghost' images possible with the slow 1/15 second flash synchronization of earlier Canons. Also, no photographer switching between flash bulb synchronization and electronic strobe flash synchronization was necessary; this was done internally by the camera according to the lens speed dial setting.


he lever wind Canon VI-L during three years June 1958 to March 1961 sold even more with 10,350 units sold. 1 Both sales were of respectable levels, but were far short of what might have been expected from what was a new generation of Canon rangefinder production. The Canon P which Peter Dechert described as "a simplified VI-L" would sell 87,875 units during about the same period as the VI-L. 


Nevertheless, the Canon VI-L when it was introduced was one of the most able and easy-to-use cameras for amateur or professional - that is before in later years the rangefinder became progressively more cloudy. The VI-L's difficulty was to be competing with the Nikon SP and the Leica M-3, both of which were launched earlier, and which had become the established choice of professional photographers.


Product ($299) SN: **9821
Condition: Excellent (EX)
Warranty: No Warranty (Film Cameras Sold As It Is Due to Age)

What You Will Get 
- Strap Lugs


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*SOLD* Canon VI-L L39 Film Rangefinder Chrome / Silver (used)


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