Monday, July 31, 2017

Spotlight: Canon GIII QL17

First released in 1972, the Canon Canonet G-III QL17 is a cool compact 35mm rangefinder with a name that just rolls right off the tongue! Featuring a fixed 40mm f/1.7 lens and an automatic exposure mode, the G-III is a great alternative to the more expensive Olympus 35 SP. The G-III is a tiny camera, easy to bring along with you wherever you go. Its petite frame, versatile wide-but-not-too-wide lens, and nice feature-set make it an ideal travel camera for when you're packing light.


As you can see from the photo above, the G-III fits nicely in the palm of my spindly hand. While relatively diminutive, the ergonomics on the camera are quite pleasing. For a camera of its size, the controls are laid out nicely, and nothing feels cramped. I especially like the nice thumb tab on the focus ring and the short focus throw of the lens.

Both aperture and shutter speed controls are located on the lens barrel, along with a self-timer lever. Aperture stops do not click. Shutter speeds between 1/500 and 1/4 are available. I'm not sure why the 1/2 and 1 second speeds were excluded... seems kind of strange to me. There is also a bulb mode function, but to much annoyance, in order to select "B" on the shutter speed dial, you must first depress a small button on the lens barrel.

If you turn the aperture dial to "A", the camera will choose the appropriate aperture for you, based on the selected shutter speed. This shutter priority mode is a cool feature, but I did not test it on my personal camera because the G-III takes the obnoxiously hard to find 625 mercury battery, of which I have none. Thankfully the camera's shutter is fully mechanical. The one glaring negative of the G-III is how there is no way to measure light while in manual exposure mode. Yep, as far as metering goes, it's either automatic or nothing.

The viewfinder is pretty nice overall. The window is a little dim and blue tinted, but the rangefinder patch is pretty contrasty and easy to focus with. The frame-lines are parallax corrected, and move as you focus in and out.

Here are some photographs I made with the Canon Canonet G-III QL17. I used Ilford HP5+.