Canonflex R2000 - the first SLR with a 1/2000 sec. top shutter speed

This remarkably high shutter speed was achieved with the horizontal running cloth shutter curtain that was typical of focal plane shutters of the time.

The Canonflex R 2000 is a beautiful and rare camera.   It was manufactured between 1960 and 1962 and only about 8,800 were made.   The camera depicted above features a clip-on light meter and is fitted with a non-automatic 135mm f/3.5 R-series lens.   The lens sits in a 'breech-lock' mount, which was typical of early Canon cameras.   (Because of its strong association with the relatively well-known older Canon lenses, one might think the breech-lock was a Canon invention, but that is incorrect.   The German made Praktina cameras in the 1950's already had a breech-lock mount.)

Like its predecessor, the 'original' Canonflex, the R 2000 had a removable pentaprism.   It could be interchanged with a magnifying 'chimney' finder, which also incorporated diopter correction.   The fixed focusing screen had a large microprism spot.   The shutter release button could be locked in the 'down' position by turning a small lever.   (This is suggested by the letters B-T on the shutter speed dial.)   Small windows around the film rewind knob displayed symbols to remind the user what type of film (speed, color, etc.) was loaded in the camera.   The little adjusters for these became visible and accessible when the rewind knob was pulled up.   The camera also had a self-timer with a rather unusual looking (stylish?) switch.

The observant reader would notice the absence of a film advance lever on the above picture.   But no, this camera doesn't have a built-in motor! The film advance / shutter cocking lever was unconventionally placed on the bottom of the camera.   It might feel awkward to operate it first, but with a little practice it becomes quite natural.   However, the one unfortunate side effect is that the tripod socket had to be moved to the side, which is not its ideal location.

The camera back pops open when the lock on the bottom is turned some 120 degrees anticlockwise. In my opinion, this is a much better mechanism than the pulling up of the rewind shaft that later became such a common solution.

The Canonflex R 2000 is a well built camera and nice to handle. This particular example is a treasured piece of my collection.

Further reading:

Click here to leave a comment