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Nick's Classic Corner - No. 15 - Canonet QL17 GIII

Discussion in 'Classic Models & Marques' started by Benchista, Oct 18, 2013.

  1. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I first fell in love with one of these when I borrowed my uncle's Canonet many years ago. A lovely small but substantial package with an excellent lens and accurate rangefinder focusing, it's not surprising that they're often known as "the poor man's Leica".
    Throughout the 70s, amateur photographers moved more and more to 35mm, the better-off to SLRs, the rest, or those who preferred smaller cameras, opting often for 35mm compact rangefinders. These came typically with a fairly fast lens, generally f2.8, but in some cases, a fair bit faster - at f1.7, this was one of the fastest, although Canon also offered other lenses. A 40mm focal length was fairly typical, and is for me an ideal standard for such a camera.

    Around the lens is the shutter speed dial, controlling a Copal leaf shutter running from 1/4 - 1/500 - although there is a tripod bush, it's clear this camera was expected to be used hand-held. There's an aperture ring, from f1.7 to f16, and an A setting for - as was usual with Canon - shutter preiority AE. There's a fiddly lever for film speed setting, and another fiddly lever for the self timer. There's a much nicer focus lever, and on the front of the lens is the meter window.

    On the left of the topplate is the rewind crank/door release. In the centre is a hotshoe with an extra contact for a dedicated flash - details later. On the right is the frame counter, and windon lever with the shutter button inset.
    The base houses a battery compartment for the dreaded PX625, a central tripod bush, and a rewind release button.

    On the left is a flash sync socket with a plastic cover.

    On the back of the camera is an indicator that shows the camera is wound on, another that shows it is winding correctly, and a battery check button next to the viewfinder.
    The viewfinder has a parallax-compensating bright frame, a central rangefinder spot, and an aperture scale and needle on the right to indicate the chosen aperture.
    As indicated in the name, the camera uses Canon's QL quick loading system

    This is a solidly-made little camera with a truly excellent lens that makes a functional, reliable and pleasant package to use. These remain extremely popular cameras because they offer a lot of quality in a small package at a decent price. This sort of camera offers SLR quality in a much more compact package, and this is one of the best examples of its type.
  2. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    This thread needs pictures!
  3. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Just a little addition to Nick's comment about flash the G3 had a sync speed of 1/500sec at a time when a typical focal plane camera was working on 1/60sec. I remember Victor Blackman saying that every pro should have one at the bottom of his bag for use when fill in flash was essential.
  4. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Excellent point.

    I will revisit the flash comment when I've tried out the dedicated unit I own for it... I've never actually used it!
  5. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    If you have any problems I have one as well
  6. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Excellent, thank you. Will try to get round to it soon!

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