I just received a Canonet QL17 a few days ago. It was my uncle's old camera and was basically unused. The only problem I could see was that he left the battery in it over all these years and the battery compartment was heavily corroded and the negative-side tab was broken off and needed a little padding behind it to keep the nub on it poking through the hole in the plastic battery compartment piece (some of you will know what I mean).
Anyway, it seems to meter fine. The aperture blades look clean and move freely. The shutter is beautiful, clean and works perfectly at every shutter speed. The problem is, if the meter reads anywhere from f/4 or faster while you're pointing the camera around, once you press the shutter release just slightly, there's a very light "click" sound, the meter jumps down to f/4 or slower and the lens stops down!
So say I point the camera at a scene where it's showing metering at 1/125th of a second at f/1.7. If I press the shutter button down about 1/3 of the way, the meter needle jumps to f/4 and, as I press the shutter release down, the lens does indeed stop down to f/4! The camera REFUSES to keep the aperture open larger than f/4 in "A" mode no matter what even though the meter shows the appropriate aperture before pressing the shutter release.
Odd, right? Also odd is that I hear the camera is supposed to lock the shutter if the metering is beyond its limits at the current setting (ie: showing it needs a speed faster than f/1.7 or slower than f/16) but mine doesn't. Even if the metering needle is above or below the metering range, the shutter fires.
So what are my options here? Is there anywhere I can send this in to to have it looked at? Is this common? Is it something I can fix with a few hours of work? I really don't want to throw it out or give up on it since it was my uncle's.
(PS: The battery seems to be providing ample power as the battery check light lights up fairly bright when I press the check button and the meter reacts quickly to changing light levels)