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Which canon rangefinder?
Old 12-25-2016   #1
p.giannakis
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Which canon rangefinder?

I am thinking of getting a Canon rangefinder (not Canonet) but there seem to be so many models around (L1, L2..., 7, 7s... etc..). Which one would you recommend?
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Old 12-25-2016   #2
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I've settled with an L2 with metal curtain.
I wrote a review-ish post some time ago.
Ignore the flash sync part, im not sure about it now.

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...d.php?t=155715

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Old 12-25-2016   #3
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What do you prefer? Knob wind, trigger advance, or lever advance? Projected framelines, reflected framelines or no framelines? So many variations when it comes to rangefinder Canons. I prefer the L1 but am currently shooting with a III-A. If you’re not in a hurry, pick up a copy of Peter Dechert’s excellent Canon rangefinder book and see which camera strikes your fancy. Also take a look at the Canon Museum site.

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Old 12-25-2016   #4
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I have an L1 and a P. The big advantage of the latter is a 1:1 parallax-corrected finder with framelines for 35/50/100. Other than that, I prefer the feel of the L1, with just seems a little smoother and more refined. With the parallax-correcting external finders, the L1 is every bit as functional, if slightly less convenient and compact (the P does not have the facility to use these finders).

If you shoot a lot of street, the P's finder makes a huge difference. If you're just looking for a general-purpose camera, the earlier models are just as capable in most meaningful ways.
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Old 12-25-2016   #5
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Another vote for the L1. My only vintage rangefinder, sold all the others a while back. If you wear glasses the 35mm frame in the P can be hard to see and who can resist the slow speed dial on the front of the L1?
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Old 12-25-2016   #6
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I'll vote for the L1 as well. I had one, sold it to get a VIL, didn't like the VIL as much even though it had all the features of an L1 but with one speed dial, a 1:1 viewfinder and metal curtains. Turns out those details don't matter so much to me. The larger viewfinder of the VI series is nice, but with it comes flare and a less-nice RF patch. The smaller VF is clearer and more pleasant to use. Now I have another L1 and I'm keeping it.
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Old 12-25-2016   #7
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It depends on your age and eyesight condition.

Good eyesight and no glasses worn, they are all very good including the bottom-loaders.

With glasses and age related poorer eyesight, the P and the 7 become more difficult to use with the internal reflections in the VF and the squinty RF/VF combo of the bottomloaders can become an exercise in futility.

The overall best finders are of the L1, L2 and Vt family of Canon Cameras for someone with poor eyesight and wears glasses. The Canon VIL and VIT are a step down to these in this case.
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Old 12-25-2016   #8
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Hi guys, thanks for your replies. I wrote the OP in a hurry and I didn't elaborate more.
I already have a LTM Leica and my eyesight is good so far. Most of my work is street photography with 400 iso films.
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Old 12-26-2016   #9
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For street photography the only limitation of the L-series Canons is the VF, which is clear but small (not Barnack small, but not too far off). Depending on your shooting style, an external VF will be either a nice addition or an absolute necessity. The parallax-correcting finders are the ideal choice, but are hard to find (I recently got a 50mm one after looking for years); any good VF will do.
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Old 12-26-2016   #10
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I had a 7s for years and it was a stout camera with great feel and handling. On mine the meter worked well as also. Not sure why I sold it as it was a tank of a body with excellent functionality.
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Old 12-26-2016   #11
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I ended up with three Canon P cameras in the end, and I enjoy(ed) using them all. The P is a robust camera that is basic and that allows me to focus on photography.
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Old 12-26-2016   #12
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I don't have a recommendation, but I can tell you what I own/use now and why:
I have had several Canon RF cameras over the years: Canonette, IVSb and IVSb2, P, Vt, and, most recently, a 7.
I am older and very farsighted.
I liked the IV cameras but not quite enough to keep them--they weren't "bad" but I ended up selling/trading them towards other cameras.
I really wanted to like the P. The one I owned was in good condition and worked well but I found that I did not like the VF on that camera. If I'd been able to physically handle the P prior to buying, I would have passed.
I got the Vt primarily for the lens it came with and, after using a Bessa R2a with its trigger winder, I wanted to use a similar but smaller set up. And the Vt has been quite fun. And I have been pretty happy with the VF on this camera.
And, I recently--October, maybe?--bought a 7. That camera purchase was sort of an impulse buy; I've been attracted by the 7 for quite a while but prices for a decent example were a bit out of my budget. I was actually looking for something else and noticed that prices for the 7 were significantly lower than I had seen for a while. So, I bought one. Not collector grade but very pretty and functional.
Out of the 6 different Canons I've tried, I still have the Vt and the 7. They seem, to me, to offer the best value for money for me. I'd still like to try a few others but for now, these two work for me.
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Old 12-26-2016   #13
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How does the VT compare in size to the IVSB2? Any help appreciated.
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Old 12-26-2016   #14
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http://global.canon/en/c-museum/seri...s2=rangefinder

Canon camera/lens museum shows the dimensions for most of their products. Sometimes it is inconsistent about including protruding parts or not, but you roughly get the idea.

I found those Canons all to be rather long cameras as rangefinders, often hitting 14cm in length.
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Old 12-26-2016   #15
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How does the VT compare in size to the IVSB2? Any help appreciated.
As already mentioned, the Canon Museum site will tell you a lot.

Beyond basic measurements, I can tell you that the VT is substantially bigger than the IVSB2. Adding a bottom wind to a camera really increases bulk. I have an L1 and III-A and the III-A is smaller than the L1, which has a lever wind. Maybe not major, but the size difference is definitely noticeable.

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Old 12-26-2016   #16
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The IVsb2 is similar to a Leica IIIc. The VT is more like an M camera with ltm.
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Old 12-26-2016   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by presspass View Post
How does the VT compare in size to the IVSB2? Any help appreciated.
I can't disagree with the posts above, the Vt is bigger than the IVSb2.
I don't have the IV any more and don't have the Vt to hand right now but my recollection is that the Vt is a bit wider left to right and quite a bit taller. Heavier too.

Numerically, a small difference but in the hand, it is significant. For me, I prefer the feel of the Vt but then I did happily use a FED 5 for several years.
Rob
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Old 12-26-2016   #18
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The IVsb2 is similar to a Leica IIIc. The VT is more like an M camera with ltm.
Foe me, Raid, the Vt seems to be in between, I think the 7 is rather closer to an M camera--feels similar to me to the M4 I owned.


Rob
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Old 12-26-2016   #19
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I have both; a VIT, and 7sz. They were still in the boxes when I purchased them from a Canon Dealers wife after her husband passed on, who I knew very well. I sent them out to Goldberg to completely go through them, as my thoughts were they sat just too many years without use. Both are great rangefinders; but the 7sz has a beautiful large viewfinder that lights up the frames with the lens mm shown. Also, it has a great working meter in case I forget one of my Gossen meters with spot attachments. Both are the same size.
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Old 12-26-2016   #20
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I have the IVSB2 and a VIT, they are very different. The IVSB2 is the last and best of the bottom loaders. A tiny bit bigger and heavier than my Leica IIIc but the finder is better, at least for me. I wear glasses and on the Canon IVSB2 I can see the whole frame and the r.f. patch is very visible, a bit better than my IIIc with the new beamsplitter mirror and much better than my older IIIc. The VIT is big and I don't like the trigger wind but it did not cost much and came with a Canon 35mm f1.5 which is a really nice lens. Canon L1 is supposed to be good but you have to find what works for you. Good Luck. Joe
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Old 12-26-2016   #21
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I have both; a VT, and 7sz. ..... Both are the same size.
Hmm, interesting. I've not measured my 7 or Vt and I am NOT disagreeing here but they certainly feel differently.

This goes to show that subtle changes in shape may make as much (more?) difference to how well a camera "fits" somebody versus the actual size?

Rob
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Old 12-26-2016   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbiemer View Post
Hmm, interesting. I've not measured my 7 or Vt and I am NOT disagreeing here but they certainly feel differently.

This goes to show that subtle changes in shape may make as much (more?) difference to how well a camera "fits" somebody versus the actual size?

Rob
One is a VIT which I just did the edit on. I did measure both before I posted, and yes: the 7sz does feel more heavy.
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Old 12-26-2016   #23
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Foe me, Raid, the Vt seems to be in between, I think the 7 is rather closer to an M camera--feels similar to me to the M4 I owned.


Rob
Hi Rob,

I addressed the question about the IVsb and the VT. Just these two cameras.
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Old 12-26-2016   #24
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I've got all three cameras (IIIa, M3, VI-T) right here.
Here's a quick size comparison shot of them.

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...1&d=1482775012
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Old 12-26-2016   #25
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Quote:
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Hi Rob,

I addressed the question about the IVsb and the VT. Just these two cameras.
Hi, Raid!
Sorry, I was unclear about what I meant. Which was:
the IVSb ifeels like the Leica III and the Vt feels bigger. And, based on my recall of how they feel in my hand, the 7 feels closer to an M camera.

My quote of your post was NOT to dispute your post but to (poorly, as it turns out) talk about how the cameras felt in my hands when I've used them.

Again, this is about my subjective impression of the cameras.

Rob
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Old 12-26-2016   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbiemer View Post
Hi, Raid!
Sorry, I was unclear about what I meant. Which was:
the IVSb ifeels like the Leica III and the Vt feels bigger. And, based on my recall of how they feel in my hand, the 7 feels closer to an M camera.

My quote of your post was NOT to dispute your post but to (poorly, as it turns out) talk about how the cameras felt in my hands when I've used them.

Again, this is about my subjective impression of the cameras.

Rob
If you have big hands and don't mind the extra weight, the VT is very nice.

I have both models VT and IVSB2, and find hand holding lower shutter speeds is more easily done on the VT, plus the finder is now easier to look through for me and film loading on the fly is much easier on the VT.

But some people find the fixed bottom Leica-Vit type film advance on the VT and the extra weigh to carry around is not to their liking and they have a point there.
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Old 12-26-2016   #27
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If you have big hands and don't mind the extra weight, the VT is very nice.

I have both models VT and IVSB2, and find hand holding lower shutter speeds is more easily done on the VT, plus the finder is now easier to look through for me and film loading on the fly is much easier on the VT.

But some people find the fixed bottom Leica-Vit type film advance on the VT and the extra weigh to carry around is not to their liking and they have a point there.
I agree with you on the VT finder, but the 7sz viewfinder blew the socks off anything made in that time period. Today; it still is one of the tops.
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Old 12-26-2016   #28
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I agree with you on the VT finder, but the 7sz viewfinder blew the socks off anything made in that time period. Today; it still is one of the tops.
The 7sz finder did not have the built-in nearsightedness of the 7 and 7s and like you said, blew the socks off anything made in that time period.

And remember, not too many RF cameras had the luxury of reflected frame lines. The Canon 7 series did, the Leica Ms and the Nikon SP and the Yashica YF (Nicca) and maybe the some of the French built Foca cameras did ( I never seen one in real life to confirm this) and some upmarket fixed lens RF cameras also had reflected frame lines in the VF, but very few models did have this feature and of course most of the modern CV made cameras we have today and rare Leica copies like the Red Flag.
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Old 12-26-2016   #29
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Here's a brief summary of the later post-Barnack style Canon screwmount RF bodies.

The Canon P is a wonderful camera if your eyesight is good. The P's finder is 1:1 life size and parallax corrected. The 35, 50 and 100 framelines are projected, and always visible. The 35mm frameline on the P is difficult to see for those with eyesight issues. The P has a silver color coated rangefinder that generally has not held up as well over the years as the gold coated rangefinder of the L1, L2 and L3. The shutter speed range is 1 to 1/1000th with B, and X flash sync. The shutter speed dial is large and clearly marked. Canon made many P bodies, and today the supply of P's is plentiful.

The L1 has a shutter speed range of 1 to 1/1000th plus B, T, and X flash sync. The shutter has separate low and high speeds. Early L1 bodies had cloth shutter curtains, then Canon switched to metal. The P has metal curtains. Note: today, almost all Canon metal shutter curtains have wrinkles. This is typically not an issue.

The L2 has a top shutter speed of 1/500th, and a knob rewind. It has flash sync for flash bulbs but not for flash. The L3 is an L2, except no flash sync of any kind. The shutter speed dial of the L series is smaller than the dial on the P. When compared with the P, the L1, L2 and L3 are much harder to find. Canon made many more P's.

There is a VL series with a standard film advance, also sharing many features of the L1 or L2, and some from the P. These cameras are rare.

There is also a VT series with an integrated bottom trigger winder film advance. Today, these seem to be readily available as the bottom trigger adds bulk, weight, and some users find them awkward in use.

The Canon 7 has five projected parallax corrected framelines for 35, 50, 85, 100 and 135 lenses. The frameline is selected by rotating the dial next to the rewind lever. The 7 has a selenium cell light meter that either doesn't work or works poorly. With age, the selenium cell is prone to losing output. In the best of times it was not good in low light situations. The 7 also has no accessory shoe. The 7 series cameras are larger than the P or L series Canons. The 7 camera is not as plentiful as P's, but more plentiful than L series bodies.

An updated Canon 7, the 7s has an improved CDS meter as well as an accessory shoe. It has a larger rewind lever. It is more rare than the 7. There is a late version of the 7s that is called the '7sZ', which is not Canon's designation. It has an updated viewfinder. These days, sellers are asking robust Leica M film body prices for the 7sZ.
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Old 12-26-2016   #30
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.......And remember, not too many RF cameras had the luxury of reflected frame lines. The Canon 7 series did, the Leica Ms and the Nikon SP and.........
Actually the 7 and 7s (as well as the Leica M-series, Nikon SP) had projected framelines. The Canon P had reflected framelines.

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Old 12-26-2016   #31
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Actually the 7 and 7s (as well as the Leica M-series, Nikon SP) had projected framelines. The Canon P had reflected framelines.

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My bad, I meant to write projected.

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Old 12-26-2016   #32
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Hi, Raid!
Sorry, I was unclear about what I meant. Which was:
the IVSb ifeels like the Leica III and the Vt feels bigger. And, based on my recall of how they feel in my hand, the 7 feels closer to an M camera.

My quote of your post was NOT to dispute your post but to (poorly, as it turns out) talk about how the cameras felt in my hands when I've used them.

Again, this is about my subjective impression of the cameras.

Rob
No problem, Rob. The Canon 7 is close to an M size wise. The 7sz is expensive, and the VI-L is rare. I foolishly sold a very clean VI-L many years ago.
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Old 12-26-2016   #33
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I have the IVSB2 and a VIT, they are very different. The IVSB2 is the last and best of the bottom loaders. A tiny bit bigger and heavier than my Leica IIIc but the finder is better, at least for me. I wear glasses and on the Canon IVSB2 I can see the whole frame and the r.f. patch is very visible, a bit better than my IIIc with the new beamsplitter mirror and much better than my older IIIc. The VIT is big and I don't like the trigger wind but it did not cost much and came with a Canon 35mm f1.5 which is a really nice lens. Canon L1 is supposed to be good but you have to find what works for you. Good Luck. Joe
Joe has a lovely IVSB2 & had the extreme pleasure of holding & looking through it. It is a hefty solid build & a nice VF. I just like the Barnack style of these camera's. Then Joe pulled his IIIC out of his pants pocket & I forgot about the Canon. JK the Canon is very nice, problem is there are way too many to find the right one.
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Old 12-26-2016   #34
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I've had the P, the 7, the L1, and still have a IVSB2. If I were starting over in rangefinders, I'd go for either the L1 or the IVSB2. The L1 has a variable magnification vf the covers both 35 and 50. It's a beautifully designed and constructed camera. The IVSB2 competes with a Leica IIIf but has a variable magnification vf that is sweet for fine focusing. The shutter on my sample is quieter than the shutter on my IIIc. It's also a very rugged camera. Been shooting a lot with it recently.
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Old 12-26-2016   #35
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I've had the P, the 7, the L1, and still have a IVSB2. If I were starting over in rangefinders, I'd go for either the L1 or the IVSB2. The L1 has a variable magnification vf the covers both 35 and 50. It's a beautifully designed and constructed camera. The IVSB2 competes with a Leica IIIf but has a variable magnification vf that is sweet for fine focusing. The shutter on my sample is quieter than the shutter on my IIIc. It's also a very rugged camera. Been shooting a lot with it recently.
Good choice Bingley, I would narrow it down to the L1 now having used an L1 and the IVsb2.

The VF/RF is much better on the L1 and I am appreciating the easier film loading on it now too.
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Old 12-26-2016   #36
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I own an L1 as well as an old Canon III-A (an earlier version of the IVSB2). Yeah, the L1 is a better in-the-field user camera, but there’s something about the III-A’s small, pocketable size and silky-smooth knob advance that has it’s own pleasures. I have a roll of Eastman 5222-XX in my III-A right now. The L1 will sit for another time.

Jim B.
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Old 01-06-2017   #37
p.giannakis
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Eventually i ended up buying a Canon L2.
Got it cheap (110 including Special delivery postage) from an online retailer and it has been serviced. Very smooth advance level, all speeds are working fine and the rangefinder patch is very good.

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Old 01-06-2017   #38
Peter Jennings
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Nice choice. Good luck with it!
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Old 01-06-2017   #39
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Excellent choice. Ringo is with you.

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Old 01-06-2017   #40
kb244
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That L2 looks nice, I prefered the Canon P, which I used to have, but had to sell. I now have a 7 with a working meter.

The 7 is nice in the sense that it has switchable frame lines (35, 50, 85/100, 135) which are parrallax corrected, and has a better magnification to be able to see the 35mm frameline (whereas some people complain of being able to clearly see the 35mm frame line on the Canon P).

I like my 7, but I would like a P better, except the P seems to fetch more than a 7 from my searching around. (plus the P has an accessory shoe, the first 7 does not, so no easy room to put a viewfinder if you want to shoot a wider lens).

The only major issue I can think of with the 7 currently is that it does not seem easy to find a professional repair person who will touch a 7. They seem to work on a P as the latest Canon RF they will touch.
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