My Newest Film camera is 50yrs old!

April 05, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

Hey Ya'll! How's your week going? Mine? Pretty good. It's a rainy day so I thought I would catch up on writing some Blogs. This week I want to talk about an old camera I just got off of eBay for 100 bucks. As you know by reading my blogs I like used and old stuff. I have a photography project shooting film that I'm in the process of and I do have a couple of great film cameras. But I just needed one more! LOL I was looking at a camera that could shoot manual and maybe auto a little and had a fixed lens. There is all kinds of newer automatic plastic camera's but I wanted one a little more advanced and it needed to look good too. I like the rangefinder style of cameras especially for what I'm going to used it for. Street and walking around a EDC (Every Day Carry) film camera.  I have a 1961 Canon Canonet (the original) but it's big and heavy and the lens is 45mm. A little long for what I like for walking around with. I have a Pentax MX a great camera and I have all the lenses to go with it but I will bring all of the lenses (I can't help myself) which makes it too heavy and bulky and no auto on it at all its fully manual. What I decided on was a Canon Canonet 17QL GIII. It is the last version of the Canonet that Canon released in 1972. They produced the camera until 1982.  They were very popular cameras and that means there are lots of them out there so the prices will stay down. Now buying from eBay is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of trust going on because these are not established camera companies that you are buying from . Usually it's an individual that is selling them. I have been very lucky on the things that I have bought and sold on eBay and have had no problems. So I found one and purchased it. One of the main reasons that I got it was because the light seals had been replaced already something that you have to do with old cameras because they just go bad so I just went for it. When it came in I was pleasantly surprised it was in good shape . I cleaned it up and inspected it . Everything seemed to work. There was no visible fungus on the lens and all functions worked. So I had to put it to the test and run a roll of dummy film through it to make sure it advanced and rewinded when I wanted it to. It passed again. Now it was time for a real test . So I got a roll of Kodak Gold 200 and loaded it up.

So now lets talk features of this new to me but old camera. It is a rangefinder camera which means when you look through the viewfinder you're not looking through the lens but through a window on the side of the camera. Inside that window you can see a yellow frame which is where you're photo will be. There is a meter on the right that only works in the auto mode. Auto mode for this camera is Shutter priority . You pick the shutter speed and the camera picks the aperture .  If the camera thinks that you are over or under exposed it will not let you take the photo.  The meter runs off of an odd sized battery. The original batteries were Mercury and newer ones are Alkaline . The mercury ones keep the correct voltage longer so the meter will read accurately longer. Alkaline work but they don't last as long. I checked the meter and it reads accurate with a new battery in it. Meters in older camera's are usually broke or don't read properly so this is a plus for this camera. This camera comes with a battery check button where you can push the button and a light will shine letting you know that the battery is okay. The lens on this camera is a 40mm f1.7 which is a nice fast lens although I would like a wider one but that's what it comes with. The lens is very sharp and crisp and has good contrast. It is a 48mm filter thread which is a odd size. I had lots of filters and lens hood for 49mm so I got a set up ring that goes from 48-49mm so all of my old stuff would work on this camera. When shooting in Manual mode you have to use an external meter or the Sunny 16 rule. I will have a blog on how to meter for film on old manual camera's like this one. You can use a meter or an app off of your phone. This camera is a quick loading camera that means you don't have to thread the film into a slot when loading it you just lay it down and it will do it for you. It has a film indicator window on it so when you advance the film it will let you know that the film is advancing. It also had a ready to fire indicator window that will be orange when the shutter is ready to advance. And of course it has a counter to let you know how many shots you've used. It uses a leaf shutter which goes from B "bulb" to 1/500 of a second. Not super fast so I might need a ND filter if I want to shoot at open apertures in sunlight. This will mainly be a walking around camera so I think that I'll be good with the Sutter speed. It does have a self timer on it although I have read and heard on Youtube not to use it because if it breaks you're camera will not work and this function is prone to failing on this model. Not a problem I have a I phone for that. It does have a hot shoe that I haven't tested . Not planning to shoot flash with it but its nice to know I could.

I took my new little camera with me on a photowalk to Kinston NC about 20 miles from my house and walked around town shooting things I saw. I used either a phone app that I had calibrated to be accurate or my digital camera to compare to make correct exposures.  So when I shot it was a little time consuming. I'd have to Meter , Set the camera , Focus and shoot. Focusing on this camera is a little different than other camera's. There is a little patch in the middle of the screen and when you're out of focus there will be two object there you focus until there is one object . It works really well as I got some really sharp shots from this photowalk. I got kind of into a grove shooting this little camera and enjoyed it quite a bit. The next day I developed and scanned the film myself and was shocked on how good this camera did.  So for about 120 dollars (which includes shipping) I've got a good little rangefinder camera that will shoot in auto and manual with a nice sharp lens! Well that's it for this week . I've been having a ball shooting film again and going through all of the processes of developing and scanning. Until next week . Get out and Shoot!


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