Canon Canonet GIII-QL17 Rangefinder
The Canon GIII-QL17, produced by Canon Camera of Japan from 1972 to the early 80s. G = grade up, III = the third and final iteration of the Canonet and QL = quick load. Sometimes called the poor man's Leica, the Canonet never pretended or wanted to be a Leica. It is much easier to use than a Leica and boasts an extremely quiet leaf shutter. An added 'benefit' if, heaven forbid, the worst happens and you drop your Canonet on the concrete, it can be replaced without too much bank balance damage. Not so the Leica!
With dimensions of 120x78x60mm It is a solid little camera, being all metal and sporting a fixed 40mm F1.7 lens. This is considered a ‘normal’ view lens with a fast maximum aperture of F1.7. Low light work is no problem with fast high quality glass like this. The quick load film system is a breeze to use – simply bring the film leader over to the orange mark, ensuring it is aligned correctly, close the back and wind on. Works every time. The rangefinder focus patch has reasonable contrast and the tabbed focus ring works smoothly. Shooting on auto you have shutter priority, or manually select your own shutter/aperture combo but without metering. In auto mode a shutter lock prevents the shutter firing when the scene parameters are outside the meter range. The mechanical shutter can be fired without the battery. Required battery Wein MRB625 1.35V. There are two manufacturing versions – 1 made in Japan and the other (same camera) made in Taiwan. The Taiwanese manufacture is just as good but the Japan manufacture commands a significant premium. Pricing for an A+ chrome Japan manufacture ranges between NZ$420 - $510. There is a rarer all black version, commanding a much higher price for no discernable reason. Overall the Canonet is a neat package delivering excellent image results and shooting enjoyment.