9other Beauty cameras in my collection:


JapanTaiyodo Beauty Canter 35 [1957]



Instruction manual coverThe Beauty Canter 35 is the full name of this camera, as seen on the instruction manual cover (left), but it's often called the Beauty Canter - without the 35, or the Canter Beauty, because the model/manufacturer names are engraved on the top-plate in that order. I'm going to refer to it as the Canter.

The Canter was the last 35mm rangefinder produced by Taiyodo Koki before it became the Beauty Camera Company.

The Canter came in two varieties - one with an f/2.8 Canter lens, and the other with an f/1.9 Canter S. Each had the same Copal MXV shutter, but there were finish differences between the two models. The f/2.8 model had a silver metal rewind knob, viewfinder and rangefinder window frames, and focus dial, while on the f/1.9 all these items were black.

The Canter lens was made of Lanthanum glass (discovered by Leitz laboratories). Lanthanum is a metallic element, the oxide of which was used to make high quality optical glass, because of its high refractive index and low dispersion. Lanthanum is not appreciably radioactive, and was generally used as an alternative to glass containing Thorium dioxide ... which is radioactive.

film wound indicator studThe only unusual feature found in this camera is a shutter set indicator stud, which is located behind the shutter release button, and pops-up when the shutter is tensioned (the film wound on).

The film reminder dial (on the wind lever hub) includes the options: empty, tungsten colour, daylight colour, and black & white. Often these settings are marked with quite obscure abbreviations or symbols, so it's nice to see meaningful annotations. I've never seen the empty option before, but its inclusion is very logical.

I have no idea what the original cost of the Canter was.

Click here for a complete comparison of Beauty 35mm rangefinder models.



Viewfinder: Coincidence rangefinder integrated with viewfinder, and Albada bright line.

Focus: Coupled rangefinder with manual ring on lens barrel.

Lens: Canter 45mm f/2.8. Thought to be 6 elements in 4 groups, and made of lanthanum glass.

Close Focus: 2'7" (scaled in feet only).

Diaphragm: Ten blades, stopping down to f/16. Not click-stopped.

Shutter:. Copal MXV shutter with speeds from 1 to 1/500th sec,. plus B. Self-timer of about 10 seconds.

Cable Release: None.

Exposure: Manual.

Filter Size: 39mm screw thread.

Flash: Cold shoe and PC terminal. M and X sync.

Film Advance Lever: 180° single stroke (plus 20° offset).

Frame Counter: Counts up. Resets automatically when camera back is opened.

Rewind: Camera-bottom rewind tension release button with top crank.

Back Opening: Sliding catch.

Size: 126 x 84 x 72 mm (w x h x d).

Weight: 701 g.



My Camera

I have been watching-out for a Canter (and other Beauties) for almost a year. They don't come up for sale very often, and sellers have been expecting crazy prices ... like up to £150 ... although the examples available don't sell. I paid €14.50 (£12.20) for my f/2.8 Canter in April 2017. The camera was offered for sale in France, so I had to pay a bit more postage than I'm accustom to. The camera came with its original lens cap, which is a bonus.

I've said this elsewhere, but I like Beauties. Many cameras of this period had a very similar appearance, but I find this particular manufacturer's models stylish, and I cannot explain this in empirical terms. The cameras are very well made (although not to the Voigtlander quality standard). I like the fact Beauty is a name few people are familiar with. This camera feels very usable, and is almost in full working order.

The Canter seems to be especially prone to ceasing of the focusing ring, due to the grease setting rock hard, and my camera is no exception; the focus adjustment is locked solid. The fault was identified by an honest seller, but didn't put me off because it can be fixed. But what's more important, the overall condition of the camera is ... beautiful. The covers are lifting a bit, but that's fine because they would need to be lifted to allow lens disassembly, although I'm undecided whether I'll bother (Beauty Canter 35 disassembly). It almost goes without saying, this 60 year old camera needs new light-seals too.

NB: The link below is to the instruction manual for an f/1.9 model.



Beauty Canter 35

Beauty Canter 35

Beauty Canter 35

Beauty Canter 35

the Diaphragm or Iris

This is the mechanism that makes an aperture. It can be simply two notched pieces of metal, as typically found in point-and-shoot cameras, or a more complex multiple blade apparatus. While higher numbers of blades are often associated with quality, they are also more common in older cameras. The Beauty Canter 35 has a 10 blade iris, while almost all of the rangefinder cameras in my collection have only 5 blades. Higher numbers of blades create more circular apertures. In cameras with fewer blades, the shape of the aperture itself (e.g. a pentagon from 5 blades) can often be seen in defocused points of light, and thus affects bokeh.