View Full Version : Canonet QL17 GIII

04-11-2004, 20:06
Hiya guys

I've a quick query for Canonet QL17 owners: does the camera has mechanical shutter speed? That is the shutter still fires even without battery. Yashica Electro GS/GSN does have it so I'm wondering if Canonet has it too.

I found one on Ebay (not many from Oz) but the seller isn't a photog so I just want to see if the shutter still okay. I don't think I can fix the shutter if it's dead nor willing to spend big bucks on it since I want this camera for curiosity reason. I blame you all who rave about this nice little camera hehehe

Thanks in advance

back alley
04-11-2004, 22:17


these sites might help.


04-11-2004, 22:23
kris, the shutter is mechanical. The battery only feeds the meter, and you won't need to use a 1.35 V for it, as a regular 1.5 V battery will do.

You like going the f16 route? Turn the aperture ring instead. Move it away from the "A" and set your own apertures, and then select your own shutterspeeds in the outer ring of the lens.

And, before you wonder, it does have EL (exposure lock), which comes in handy a lot!

Ask the seller about the light seals, though, and if the shutter isn't stuck. Those are two of the most common problems in a camera this age.

04-12-2004, 07:49
Thanks for the replies guys!

Gandy's Cameraquest was the first website I checked for this Canonet but I didn't find information saying the shutter is mechanical. Maybe I wasn't thorough enough?

Anyway, I'm asking this guy to check if the shutter still works. I asked him to set to any aperture other than A, low shutter speed like 1/4 or 1/2 and see through the lens if the shutter does open.

If this Canonet is still working and there's no rich collectors driving the price sky-high, maybe it's time to give my Miranda RE-II her long-due retirement. Or maybe not because I will surely miss the ability to shoot from waist level with this Miranda.

Giving routine calisthenics to
- Bessa R2 [okay this is my only rangefinder. i'm a blasphemere :)]
- EOS30
- Miranda RE-II

04-12-2004, 13:52
I wouldn't retire that Miranda yet! A Canonet QL17 is a nice camera, but it won't do everything that your Miranda is capable of. I think that particular Canonet model doesn't have shuitter speeds slower than 1/4 sec, and it won't focus as closely as an SLR. Nor wil lit take a decent telephoto or give you TTL metering.


04-12-2004, 13:59
Paul is right. The slowest possible shutterspeed in the Canonet is 1/4 second and then it goes down to B.

If the shutter is slightly sticky... return it. And don't cast away your SLR! If you get to win the Canonet and the camera is in good shape, you'll be glad you got it!

04-13-2004, 04:17
And that Miranda looks too beautiful to be retired ! Remember that she would never do it ;)


04-14-2004, 15:53
Miranda use Soligor lenses ,Do you have the 28mm/2.8 Soligor ?
Put 1.5v in required 1.3v GIII may cause incorrect exposure,need to compensate by asa setting,right?

04-14-2004, 15:56
Nope, that's an urban legend. The meter will work well with the 1.5 V batteries instead of the 1.35. I know it because mine has one of those, and I've checked the meter against a handheld meter. Their readings matched.

And my slides prove it.

So, kris, did you win it? :)

04-14-2004, 16:16
Taipei Metro:
Early Miranda, knob wind ones, uses Soligor lenses. Soligor lenses don't do full aperture metering and have PAD to work with Miranda bodies with front shutter release. My Sensorex EE and RE-II both use the Miranda E series lenses. The Sensorex EE has Shutter Priority AE mode so it works only with E lenses. I don't 28mm lens from Miranda or Soligor. Why are you interested?

With my Yashica GSN, I used 4SR44 or V28PX battery and had to compensate 2/3 stop on ISO setting.

The auction finishes on Saturday evening. I've been asking lengthy questions to the seller for him to check the shutter & lens. Sounds like the camera is still working well. The meter is untested though since he has no fresh battery. I keep my finger crossed.


04-14-2004, 17:19
Hi Kris,
I just have this strange drive to round up as many manual 28mm/2.8 lenses as I can,Soligor is one of them.
A photographer friend of mine used to brag about how great his Contax Zeiss are,at that time I was using Nikon equipment.Many year ago I bought the Canonet 17 GIII(my first camera is a Canonet 19 when I was 13 or 14),and shockingly re-discover how amazing this 40mm lens are.If Canon with GIII's low price can come out w/such kind of lens,there must be some Japanese lens manufacturer can do the same thing.
Sigma wide-II 28/2.8 is one of the great lens.Hexar Ar does not have an 28/2.8.Rikenon 28/2.8 is the one I want badly.I have a EBC-Fujinon 28/3.5 which is excellent,the X-Fujinon 28/2.8 was made by Komine...
I had Leica R6 w 35/2.8 for a while,I sold it thinking that I know how a Leica lens performed and I don't think it's 20 times better then the Fujinon or Sigma wide-II for the price I've paid.
At this time,I don't care about the German name plate but to find a really dark horse 28mm lens.
On page 85,Popphoto May.04 issue,there is a picture of Kobalux 28/3.5 on a Leica M3,this is the same lens as Avenon 28mm/3.5(modern Japanese) for L or M mount that I am searching for...
Am I crazy?
Thank you!

Huck Finn
04-15-2004, 05:36
Hi, Tapei -

Your search is commendable. Good luck. It is interesting to look at the lens ratings on photozone.com. They have a list of SLR lens ratings, summarized from different independent tests & placed on a scale of 1 - 5. The only wide angle SLR lens on their list rating over 4.0 is the Nikkor 35/2 autofocus. In contrast, normal lenses rated as high as 4.65 (Sigma 50/2.8 macro) & teles as high as 4.72 (Canon 90/2.8). While this isn't the be-all & end-all, it demonstrates how hard it is to make a high quality wide angle lens of any length.

More germaine to this forum are rangefinder lenses. Here you can turn to photodo.com, which has similarly interesting results in its lens ratings for both rangefinder & SLR lenses - also on a 5-point scale. While normal lenses rate as high as 4.7 (Contax G 45/2) & teles as high as 4.6 SLR (Pentax 85/1.4 MF & Canon 85/1.2 AF) & 4.5 rangefinder (Leica 90/2.8 & 75/1.4), the highest rated wide angle is 4.2 (Konica Hexanon 28/2.8 & Contax G 28/2.8). For Voigtlander fans, I should mention that they were not included in these tests, which are only current as of 2000.

Rangefinder fans are interested in the low light capabilities of their lenses. Photodos MTF results (100 point scale) are only factored into the lens ratings at f4 & f8. So how do lenses compare wide open? For normal lenses, test results at f2 are as high as 78 MTF (Leica 50/2) & teles as high as 73 (Leica 75/1.4). No wide angle rangefinder was over 70; the best is Leica 35/2 at 69.

The answer to your question about why no lens manufacturer can make lenses of the quality of the Canonet 40/1.7 is that wide angle lenses are just damn hard to make & the wider they are the more difficult it is. Your favored 28mm length is a big stretch from 40mm.

04-17-2004, 02:05
The camera went for AU$130 (around US$100); more than I'm willing to spend. For slightly more dollar, I might get a second hand Color-Skopar 35mm for my R2!

BTW Taipei-Metro, I find the Auto-Miranda 50/1.8 better than Pentax K 50/1.4 so I agree with you that big name and high price tag doesn't guarantee superior performance. Although I never shoot resolution charts (and will never) the Miranda lens produces more vibrant colours than the Pentax K. Nevertheless the Pentax has 1/2 extra stop though, maybe performance has to compromise with that extra 1/2 stop.

Now where's my lovely Miranda? I promise I'd never think of ditching you again...my baby! :D

Brian Sweeney
04-17-2004, 06:34
$100! Hard to believe. I have had 5 Canonet QL17's over the last 25 years. All bought used, all worked, last 3 needed new seals which I did myself. The top is easy to pop and the finder is easy to clean and calibrate. The most expensive was $30, and the most fetched on Ebay was $180 for a Black one in EX- condition.

Huck Finn
04-17-2004, 10:35
I saw a black one recently go on e-bay for $260. Stephen Gandy has a black one for sale for a few months for $450. It's becoming something of a collectible now.

04-17-2004, 11:27
And not sure if this is true, but a repairman told me recently that back then in the 70s nobody wanted to pay the few extra bucks for the black one... go figure !


back alley
04-17-2004, 11:43
i can find no real bargains on ebay these days. i visit the site daily and the prices are just stooopid!

i got my first himatic 7s for about 20 bucks canadian, now they go for near 100. that's too much for me.
an oly 35rc went for nearly 200 bucks last week, why?
i think we started a resurgence in interest.

ok, from now on, we do nothing but bad mouth these little gems and maybe we can drive the prices down.


04-17-2004, 12:02
ok, from now on, we do nothing but bad mouth these little gems and maybe we can drive the prices down.

yeah, in fact, who wants a compact 70s rangefinder when you can have an ultracool digifantastic 2MP P&S ? :rolleyes:

Oth, I saw yesterday a nice Minolta SRT201 SLR with a Rokkor 50 1.7 going for $27, and that IS a bargain... maybe we could start a "bad RF of the month" project so that prices calm a bit :D

I'm afraid the whole thing may be already out of control... But interest can't keep growing forever... or yes ?

back alley
04-17-2004, 12:55
yeah! who really wants one of the OLD cameras when you can get a nice new shiney one for really cheap.
i mean, they use film for heaven's sake, and there are no pixels in them, mega or otherwise. and you have to wait to see the picture. and they use old and hard to find batteries.
bah, humbug i say!


04-17-2004, 16:53
Originally posted by backalley photo
...ok, from now on, we do nothing but bad mouth these little gems and maybe we can drive the prices down.

Yeah who wants this puny OLD rangefinder?! It doesn't motordrive, doesn't have AF, doesn't have 10X zoom, doesn't make you look like a pro and worst, it uses films! If you happen to own one in perfectly working order, just toss it into my rubbish bin!



04-29-2004, 02:30
Man...I'm running out of luck on these Canonets. First the working one is sold for over US$100. Then the one I won, with 'working shutter' and 'thin layer of fungus on the front element' actually has fungus grown on every single lens element AND viewfinder! The viewfinder is next to useless being worse than that of Kodak disposable. The aperture setting ring is stuck, the battery chamber which was said to be "looking pretty clean" is full of green rust! The only thing that work on that sucker is the shutter!

This is definitely the worst deal I had over Ebay. Maybe I'm not meant to have a Canonet. Have to stick to my Voigtländer stuffs.


04-29-2004, 04:34
Bummer Kris. Do contact the seller for a return for a full refund including shipping. If the seller doesn't want to do that, I would encourage you to reward the seller with the feedback deserved.

Good luck on getting a good one. They are apparently nice, but now expensive (since someone nameless :D praised them in another forum). You might want to consider one of the Yashicas, minoltas, konicas, etc, that are also good and certainly less expensive.

back alley
04-29-2004, 07:13
kris, if you like i could look for one here and then ship it to you.
there is a small camera shop here in town that had a few of them the last time i was there. i could run a short roll of colour film to be sure it works and then off to aussie land.
i think they were priced about 150 to 180 canadian.

let me know.


04-29-2004, 07:33
I suggest exercising an extraordinary amount of patience. Cameras seem to come and go in spurts on e-Bay. I have paid too much in lean times only to find a few months later that there is a glut of the same model.

When I have waited, I picked up models like my Miranda F, Minolta Himatic 9, and Vivitar XC4 for not much more than the cost of lunch plus shipping.

It also seems that when collector/buyers are not feeding, it is easier to find a good buy. My QL17 New Model costs less than $30 just 2 months ago. All it required was a viewfinder cleaning.

The same happend when I bought a Retina IIIS a few weeks ago. I picked it up when the collectors were out hunting Easter eggs.

By the way, holidays (Memorial Day coming up) are good times for e-Bay shopping. Watch for auctions closing during the weekened or at in convenient times.

A lot of these cameras are from Estates, and there is a pretty steady source for these.


Another Jeremy
04-29-2004, 15:56
I picked one up in very good condition for 40 bucks last week. Took it on my trip to Toronto even though it needs the light seals replaced. Will get film back tomorrow, but all appeared to be functional.

I got two cameras in the past couple of weeks which had things wrong with them (a Minolta Hi Matic and another QL17). In both cases the seller refunded my money.

04-29-2004, 17:40
Hey Joe, thanks for the offer. I surely am interested. It is pretty hard to get old RFs here Down Under. It has something to do with sparse population I guess.

I had Yashica GS and GSN a while ago when I wanted to see if I would like RF system (and yes RF is great!) but these Yashicas are huge! What really put me off was it use batter power like crazy and leave me with 1/500 when the battery is dry. I bought 4SR44 (V28PX) and it was sucked dry in 2-3 weeks.

I want something that's pocketable so even Canonet is a tad too big. Rollei 35 are perfectly sized but alas they aren't designed to take photos are they with advance lever on the left hand side?! Plus the exorbitant price of those little things!

I don't know much about old RFs (neither new ones) but basically I'm looking for something small, Canonet size or smaller. Mechanical shutter is a big plus. Av or Tv mode is nice but I can live with manual mode only. Leaf shutter is a must for quietness since it's the only thing I miss from my Bessa.


Another Jeremy
04-29-2004, 21:00
Have you considered an Olympus XA? Don't have one, but they're very good, from what I understand and tiny, as well.

05-01-2004, 00:56
Hello All

What can I expect from the Canonet QL-17 GIII, at it's wider apertures (f/1.7, 2, 2.8, 4, etc)


Huck Finn
05-01-2004, 05:20
Modern Photography ran performance tests on this lens back in July, 1970. The camera was its predecessor, the Canonet QL17. Here are the results:


1.7 Good/ Acceptable
2.0 Very Good Acceptable
2.8 Excellent/ Acceptable
4.0 Excellent/ Good
5.6 Excellent/ Excellent
8.0 Excellent/ Excellent
11. Excellent/ Excellent
16. Excellent/ Excellent