Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Canonet G-III 17

It is hard to think of anything new to say about the Canonet G-III 17.  Lots of people have written about this fine rangefinder, and most everyone praises it as one of the best fixed-lens rangefinder made. If you have ever shot photos with this camera, or even just handled one I think that you understand the enthusiasm. About all that I can add is that I probably see this camera more in the antique shops than I do any other camera of its type. That is not surprising since Canon sold 1.2 million Canonet G-III 17s between 1972 and 1982.  It may be the best selling rangefinder of all-time. I would guess some of the appeal for antique shop owners is that this is such a nice looking camera that it may sell as a decorative item to those who have no interest in film.

On my test roll I made a mistake and had my hand-held meter set to 400 ISO instead of 100 for the first few shots.  I did one hour stand development in Rodinal and notice no difference between the shots that should have been underexposed and those that had proper exposure.  I suppose that is one more good thing to say about Rodinal and stand development. About the only negative thing I can say about the Canonet G-III 17 is that it has the mercury battery issue.  Fortunately it is easy to use in manual mode with an external meter or sunny 16.

On Ebay I see that the prices range from around $30 for ones of questionable working condition to the low one hundreds for good working quality versions.  Considering how many Canonet G-III QL17s were made the demand for this camera must be fairly strong since they appear to fetch what is a good price for a film camera these days. One thing I wonder about with some of these camera descriptions on Ebay is how hard can it be to test and see if a camera's basic functions are working?  I do avoid those cameras where someone says I bought it at an estate sale and have no idea if it works.  I wonder in these cases if they are really saying I know it is a piece of junk, but I hope you will take a chance. If that is not what they are doing than they are probably cheating themselves out of some extra money if they would find by simple testing if the camera may be usable.

I did see one of the black versions of the earlier QL 17 that sold for $132.50.  I actually like the chrome versions of most cameras better than the black, however a black Canonet G-III QL17 is a camera I would not turn down.

For some more details on the Canonet G-III QL17 I found this to be a good link.  Quality Compact 35 Rangefinder