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Common problems with Canon 7?
Old 12-07-2013   #1
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Common problems with Canon 7?

I bought my first rangefinder about a year ago; a Canonet 28. It is a great little entry level camera which I enjoy using, but I think it's time for a change.

I'm considering upgrading to a Canon 7 (I'm on a rather severe budget or else I'd get a Bessa R). Are there any common problems I should be aware of before buying? For example, with the Canonet 28, if the wiring is shot it's effectively useless because there is no manual aperture adjustment...Stuff like that.

Also, what would be a good lens to go with it?
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Old 12-07-2013   #2
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The Canon 7 is a very solid camera and a very full featured RF camera on par with the Leica M and the Nikon SP but at a more reasonable price. It only lacks a cold shoe for finders from 28mm to 19mm.

The built in selenium meter is ok if it is working, most are not after 50 years but most people use a better quantity separate meter or are very good at guessing exposure settings.

Any Canon 50mm lens like the f1.8 or 1.4 will go very well with this body or even the fine Canon 35mm f 2 lens.

Most examples of the Canon 7 seem to have some wrinkling of the metal shutter curtains but this does not affect function.

It is a big camera as RF cameras go, but that helps to steady it better at the slower shutter speed shots when hand held.

The chrome 7 body was a high production run camera so it is very common and prices are nice and reasonable when compared to the other high end Canon RF cameras.
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Old 12-07-2013   #3
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Well, the first thing to realize is that even though the Canon 7 has a meter, you can pretty much forget about that. In all likelihood, the meter will not be accurate in many situations and should probably not be trusted. If you consider it a meter-less camera you are less likely to be disappointed. The good news is that there are a few smartphone apps that will do well if you decide that you do not want to bother with an actual hand-held meter.

As far as lenses go: If you are into vintage lenses, The Canon/Serenar 35/2.8, 50/1.8, 50/1.4, 100/3.5 are probably your best bet as far as performance/price ratio goes. You can expect to pay $200-300 for the 35mm or 50mm lenses (depending on the model and condition). The 100/3.5 should cost you less than that.
When it comes to modern lenses, any of the Voigtlander lenses in Leica screw mount should serve you well. The most affordable ones of the bunch will be the common 35/2.5 or the 90/3.5 ($300ish). The 35/1.7, 50/2.5, 50/1.5, 50/2 will cost a bit more ($350-500). If you want modern glass in LTM, these CV lenses are your best bets.

It really is a good camera, large in size but undervalued in price when you consider the features. I did enjoy my time with it when making the transition between the many fixed lens 135 rangefinders and the M2 which I am now using.

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Old 12-07-2013   #4
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Only problem that seems to occur with the 7/7S canon's is that the rewind function can lock up. There is a small disc under the rewind knob that can come off or jam the rewind. In all other ways it is one of the best designed Rf's from the 50's. Sturdy shutter mechanism, metal shutter ( a bit louder than the cloth shutter of a M2 or early Nikon S3/Sp). Very slick finder with it's "dial a frame line" set up.
I never really liked the advance lever though - a bit 'stubby". The lack of a "shoe" is usually not a problem - only if you are going to go wider than 35mm and need aux. finder. Not exactly "petit" - you know you are holding a camera! I have a 7 and a L1 - admittedly the L1 gets more use as it is a bit more subtle with its cloth shutter - and it does have shoe for the finder. mainly used with a 25f3.5 Canon and/or the VC 21mm f4.
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Common problems with the Canon 7
Old 12-08-2013   #5
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Unhappy Common problems with the Canon 7

My 7 is the "redheaded step child"of my collection. The meter still works somewhat, the chrome frame fell off from around the cell. The little "button" that retains the delayed timer lever "poped" off. A Canon P is ,I believe, a sturdy alternative to the 7. A rugged camera that accepts a meter if one wants one,a viewfinder for most any lens you choose not covered by the internal frame lines. Issues(?) check the curtains, check the patch. Did I mention, it is a down right purty camera next to the 7? As is sometimes said: beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes right down to da bone.
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Old 12-08-2013   #6
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Canon 7 is an ugly camera due to the old meter. I think Canon 7 is a better user camera than any Nikon RF. The Canon VF is much better than any Nikon VF's tunnel vision VF. Here is a modified version of Canon 7 looks better than the original one. So far the Canon RF is still very low compare to Nikon RF. So as I think Nikon is for collector Canon is for user.
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Old 12-23-2013   #7
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As you say your budget is tight, I think you should think about how much any lenses will cost. Getting a lens of the same quality as the one on the canonet will cost more than the body, most likely. I found the situation limiting. The meter on the one I had worked perfectly.
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Old 12-19-2019   #8
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Originally Posted by Platinum RF View Post
Canon 7 is an ugly camera due to the old meter. I think Canon 7 is a better user camera than any Nikon RF. The Canon VF is much better than any Nikon VF's tunnel vision VF. Here is a modified version of Canon 7 looks better than the original one. So far the Canon RF is still very low compare to Nikon RF. So as I think Nikon is for collector Canon is for user.
Did you rework the top plate yourself? How difficult was that?
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Canon 7 as user
Old 12-19-2019   #9
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Canon 7 as user

In all Canon 7 and 7S models, the potential issue of concern is the shutter. It is unique to those models. It operates under higher tension than other shutters of the type. There are no parts for repair, and almost no repairman who will work on them. About twenty years ago, I acquired a mint condition Canon 7 and sent it to Ken Ruth (Bald Mountain) for a full CLA. Even then, he was only one of a few I could find to work on it. He overhauled the shutter has best as he could, however speeds faster than 1/125 were progressively slower out o0f spec, being 3/4 of a stop slow at 1/1000. Ken reported back that this was the best than could be done without new parts (unavailable) and provided a list of true speeds at shutter settings so I could modify exposure on the fly as needed. He reported that this was a continuing problem with the Canon 7/7S with no solution. I used the camera some, but found it to be too heavy, so switched to my VIT, which I much preferred. I don't have one, but I suspect that a P with a clear viewfinder might be the most convenient user of the bunch. Back then the P was hugely overpriced, but it has become quite inexpensive the last few years.
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Old 12-20-2019   #10
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The Canon7 and its brethren are good cameras, and readily available. But they’re 60 years old with the inherent faults of age. Choose carefully and expect to add the cost of a CLA, sooner if not later. The only wiring on a Canon7 is in the meter, and that’s probably shot anyways — but its lack won’t affect camera function. These are fully mechanical cameras, no auto anywhere.
The Canon P is another excellent choice, also readily available, arguably a more solid build than a 7, and a bit sleeker with no meter box on top. The viewfinders function differently so that may play a part in your decision, but given a choice between the two, I’d choose the one in better condition. (My choice was a P but that’s beside the point.)
Lenses: the Canon 50/1.8 is superb and relatively inexpensive; it’s been called “Indistinguishable from the 50/2 Summicron", which is high praise indeed. Not at all what one should expect at the price point. You can find out the finer nuances of other Canon lenses later, and still never regret the 1.8.
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* Film: Canon P (LTM)~Zeiss Ikon Ikonta35~Nikkormat FTN~Nikon FM~Olympus OM~
* Digital: Fuji X100~Olympus E-PL3 (m4/3)~
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