Camera Speed Dating – Canon Canonet QL17 G-III Rangefinder

Those that know Nicole and I know that we have what appears to be an on going camera acquisition problem. To remedy this but continue to try out ALL of the cameras we have decided to start borrowing cameras from our fellow camera enthusiasts instead of trying to purchase or hoard them all to ourselves. Not all are winners though and some are just easier or more fun to use but you have to shoot with them first to find out! Thus, we decided if we run a roll through every camera we are interested in, not unlike going on a 5 minute date with a bunch of strangers at a singles night, we can quickly see which are worthy of being added to our collection (or put on our list of “must haves.”) Camera speed dating!

Here is most recent camera I had the pleasure of a quick date with…the Canon Canonet QL17 GIII.


A little bit about the Canonet QL17 G-III….this was the last version of the Canonet produced, being the version III. The Canonet is one the most iconic rangefinder cameras and likely the best selling rangerfinder (with built in light meter) ever. It’s world renowned fame is well-deserved though, as this little camera is a no nonesense, quality camera all around. It’s super fast 40mm f/1.7 lens is very sharp and this camera is incredibly easy to use and quick to focus. Of course being made in the 70s the original battery was a mercury cell, which are no longer available, so when you put in a new battery it can mean the light meter is not quite accurate. This is the case with the majority of old cameras like this and just like my  Konica C35, I just threw a battery in there and shot away. Alot of people will try to adjust or mod the camera to factor this in, but I found both cameras to perform very well without bothering to do that. The QL designation on the Canonet stands for “quick load” and is just another reason why this camera is so easy to use. Loading the film is near foolproof.

This camera was created for the masses, so in general it is very fool proof, and there are quite a few to be had in the world, but because there were so many produced and sold some are a bit worse for wear than others. The Canonet is definitely near the top of my list of fun cameras to shoot and I was beyond pleasantly surprised with the results of its first test roll. I long for the black version, which are much more rare, but this little silver one is great and will stay with me for years to come.  Here are a couple of shots from my first roll, shot on Lomo 400.


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2 replies on “Camera Speed Dating – Canon Canonet QL17 G-III Rangefinder

  • Simon Leung

    This camera featured full shutter priority automatic mode, that was later passed down to the AE-1 of April 1976 – 1984.

    Of course there is a manual overide mode as well for more experienced photographers.

    There is a CdS – Cadmium Sulphide light meter located at the front of the lens that allows the user to attach various filters without compensation.

    I really enjoyed these blogs of vintage and classic cameras…keep up the good work.

    Simon Leung

  • Meghan S.

    Yes! These little Rangefinders with the CDS meters seem to still be very accurate! I love them. Thanks for the comments, Simon!

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