Experience & Review: Canonet G-III QL17

If you have ever found yourself drooling over a Leica, but you’ve never had the cash to splash on one. Then this will be something that might interest you. In this episode, we shot with the Canonet QL17 Giii, one of many small (and sometimes not so small) fixed lens rangefinders to come out of Japan in the ’70s.

The youngest brother in Canon’s Canonet series. It’s a fixed lens rangefinder that is light, has a bright viewfinder and a great lens. Of course, this camera isn’t going to have the build, the glass or the badge to show all your friends. But, this camera is a pretty capable camera, that could be all you need to make wonderful photos in most situations. The Canonet QL17 Giii, as mentioned previously, is the freshest face in a highly revered series.

It features shutter priority auto-exposure (which given an average day, I’d probably have made more of an effort to get along with), the QL ‘Quickload’ system and big, bright parallax compensated frame lines that house a clear rangefinder patch. It’s got a sharp, 40mm f1.7 lens, that accompanies a Copal leaf shutter capable of firing between 1/4 – 1/500 of a second. X-Syncing at any speed. I’ve read that the lens is sharpest between f4 – f5.6, so as someone who is more familiar with scale focusing, I spent a long time, trying a little harder than I wanted to, to hit focus.

Personally, I feel that the ergonomics of the camera are somewhere between heaven and hell. A silky focusing knob, a smooth winding lever, and a prominent shutter release do battle with fiddly shutter speed and aperture ring combination. So, if you aren’t a fan of shutter-priority and you are looking to shoot this manually, be prepared to be irritated.

I missed many opportunities trying to meter and switch the camera out of A-mode before I decided to use my phone. It really made me feel like Edward Scissorhands trying to change the Shutter speed or aperture. I felt I had to stop and really think about what I was doing to avoid putting my fingers all over the lens or changing both at the same time. It feels like this camera was designed for little hands and with only A-mode in mind. After shooting the roll, despite my grievances with the camera, I still really enjoyed shooting it. I am acutely aware, however, that my thoughts are totally biased. I feel I have been hypnotized by its dashing good looks and charming personality.

Experience & Review:

Canonet G-III QL17 + Fuji C200

*China Camera Style is dedicated to giving an honest, open review of all the cameras that are currently sat on your eBay watch list, or in your Taobao cart right now. Each camera is loaded with a roll of Fujifilm c200, rain or shine. It is always shot in one day, by the same nerd. It’s taken to the same lab, scanned with the same scanner and posted onto the site, as is received (via. Email).

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