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My Canon Canonet QL17 G-III.

Along side with the Yashika Electro 35 rangefinder, this beauty has also been named by many as “The Poor Man’s Leica,” due to its high image quality, durability, and aesthetics.

Quick history: A series of Canonets were produced by Canon between 1960-1972. The Canon Canonet QL17 G-III was the last of its series. QL stands for “Quick Load”, which is a new feature introduced by Canon that allowed people to load films more conveniently. 17 represents the f-stop of the fixed lens, making this one f/1.7. Canon also made 19s, 25, and 28s. The GIII came out with two color ways – the silve and the black, of which some are made in Taiwan and others made in Japan. Blacks are rare and supposedly ones made in Japan are slightly heavier.
One that I own is a Silver one from Taiwan.

Quick spec: Equipped with a fixed 35mm f1.7-f16 lens. Shutter goes from 1/4-1/500 of a second. Takes 35mm films. Capable of auto metering (with battery installed.) Also operable manually without battery. I don’t have battery for mine. It’s a really straight forward camera.

Aside from the stunning Polaroid SX-70, this one has been on top of my list of most wanted cameras.As bids on Ebay for this guy can go up to $50+, which has been making me uneasy to pull the trigger, I feel incredulous that I was able to find a working Canonet at Goodwill for $15. Definitely still in awe when I hold this baby in my hand. I think angels of good fortune must’ve pissed over me as I entered the store.

Though, the shutters seem to work at all the shutter speed, there were a few minor defects:
Due to to aged light seal, the camera back panel couldn’t close up tightly, which could cause permanent light leak = ruined photos = broken camera. Hopefully a fixable problem.

After some research, I gathered a handful of tools to refurbish this lady:

Nail polish remover works like a charm.

Like new. Adios, smudges and scuffs. Off with just a few wipes.

This happens to most cameras, where time slowly deteriorates the old light seal foams and turns them into sticky gummy residuals that’s very hard to take off.

It’s the worst part of cleaning. It’s laborious and boring, but also happen to be one of the most important tasks to restore a vintage camera. A thorough cleaning can help keep the new light seal in place.

I kept a cardboard underneath the camera and napkin close to it to prevent any of those sticky pieces get to places that they’re not meant for.

Heard mouse pads are great for light seal strips. It’s cheap and gets the job done. However, it’s very difficult to stick well with plain double sided tapes, so I’d suggest finding glue or strong adhesive of some kind to keep them in place.

Using mini tools to tug them right into those narrow grooves. This particular doesn’t need any adhesive. The tight space holds the strips in place very well.

BAM, she’s ready to roll.

Here goes some test shots:

Fuji 400 Speed film were used.

I had a minor incident when rolling back and unloading the films. A portion of the film strips were exposed to indoor lighting before I had a chance to wind them back into the film barrel. Oops.
Nevertheless, the photos were amazing. Images are sharp and colors are nothing short of spectacular.

The pictures were cropped to fit our blogging template. The orignal size is 4×6, the usual.

Bokehlicious with the f1.7.

The Sunny 16 rule? I didn’t follow. Hence, the overexposure.

For a 40 year old camera, the pictures it produced were stunning and way beyond my expectation. You’ll be seeing me carry this around a lot often. So will Costco’s photo center.

-Benson|| Twitter || Facebook || 365. || Shop of Imagination ||


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  1. very cool. I want to get one of these soon. I just got an Olympus Trip35 which I am enjoying. 🙂