The Canon Canonet 19 is a sleek retro looking camera with great lines and a non cluttered look. It was the first of the Canon Canonet line of cameras. The Canonet line ran from 1961 through the mid 70's and was the first attempt at making cameras for the everyday man that wasn't a professional photographer. Up until this camera Canon was making Leica copies with minor variations. Canon wasn't the strong brand that it is today. A rangefinder type camera Canon had only made one SLR to this point. Rangefinders were still King. This camera is a 35mm film camera with a auto function (shutter priority) and a light meter with no battery! It has a 45mm f1.9 lens and a leaf shutter which makes this a quiet camera to use. This camera is great for street photography and everyday photography with a bright and large viewfinder as rangefinders do. As you can see by the Bell & Howell /Canon logo Canon partnered with Bell & Howell to make this camera. Bell & Howell was a motion picture camera maker based in the United States. But make no mistake this is all a Canon product. This camera can be shot in manual although the meter doesn't work when in manual so you would either have to use the Sunny 16 rule or a external meter. Here are some of the features.
-35mm film and can shoot to ASA 200 in auto. In 1961 ASA's didn't go very high but with a lens with a f1.9 aperture shooting in room light at 1/60 isn't a problem. In manual you can shoot any ASA you want.
-Slenium Photocell wraps around the lens element so any filter that is placed on the camera the photocell see's through it so no compensation is needed. Also no battery is needed.
-The camera in Auto will not let the shutter work if the exposure isn't right. You can push on the shutter button but nothing happens. So in auto you can't shoot under or over exposed.
-The viewfinder like most rangefinders is bright and large. Since your not looking through the lens frame lines are drawn to show what will be in the frame. Also the aperture setting is at the bottom of the viewfinder to let you know what aperture your at.
- Self timer. This camera has a self timer that is about 7 sec long
-The film advance lever is located at the bottom of the camera giving the top of the camera clean lines. Its in a odd place and Canon moved it to the traditional top of the camera in later models.
This camera was touted as the poor man's Leica and sold off of the shelves. You can still find these in yard sales for a great price and they are great lightweight walk around cameras. These are the camera's that gave Canon its popularity from the common man. Still getting used to mine but so far I love it. Right now its a 57 year old camera that still takes great photo's and looks great doing it. Get out and shoot!