Thursday, May 15, 2014

Canon Canonet QL19 G-iii – My new rangefinder.

Canon canonet camera
Canon canonet QL19
So. This is my fourth analog camera (so far), yet my first rangefinder ever. And as a street photographer, rangefinders seems to be the preferred choice. Not only because of the technical functions, but also the size, and how you appear to whom you are taking the photos of. Since I got the camera today, this is a first impression review. A more in depth review will come later.

SLRs vs rangefinder.

Instead of hiding behind a big loud SLR, you can have one eye in the viewfinder, and the other one free to see even more of what's happening outside those frame lines. It's small, looks nice, so I thought why not give it a shot? Never the less, it's a classic camera, and a historical piece. I'm sure rangefinders have even more pros than I have discovered by reading on the net, but the way I see it now, in general the biggest advantages compared to SLRs must be: 

• It has no viewfinder blackout when you press the shutter. • The viewfinder is made so you can see what is going on outside the frame lines. I.e. it's easier to plan the shot if people are moving around.

• It's quieter than a SLR. That I think is important when it comes to street photography. Not disturbing the objects too much.

As for the Canonet compared to other cameras.

• All mecanical. Meaning that when the battery is empty, it still works at all speeds, and I can continue taking pictures (without a meter though). 

• The quick load (QL) feature. This is what makes the Canonet special. You simply just get the film roll in there. Drag the tip over to the right side, and close the door. You see a black metal plate on the right side inside the camera. Under that plate is where the tip of the film goes (picture beneath).
Quick Load Canonet
Quick Load Canonet
• Fast focusing. The focus ring only moves 40 degrees, so the focus is very fast. 

• 45mm prime lens (close to 50mm). The 50mm has been on my camera for over a year now. And there's a reason for that. Continuity in my shots, and I always now how close I have to get to frame what I want. You won't have to go so close that you're disturbing people, and at the same time not that far away that it becomes creepy (I've seen examples of use of  telephoto in the streets). 

• The film advancer can be in such a position that you can have your thumb ready to advance the film. Just like on the Leicas (picture beneath).
Canon Canonet QL19
Canon Canonet QL19

Overall feel.

As for the overall feel and build quality is very nice. To be such a cheap camera, I think the Canonet is good (I gave about $100). The weight is good. It feels nice in the hand, good size. Doesn't feel bulky. The film advancer is pretty smooth, focus is fine, but not as smooth as my SLR lenses though. 

All in all, first impression is good. And I look forward to shoot with it . Think my first roll will be Fuji Superia 200 :) 

Again, this is a first impression review. I might have another meaning after a couple of rolls of film. 

Take care :)

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