Finding Range- More Thoughts On The Canonet QL17 G-III

Shooting with a small rangefinder can be liberating, as the photographer is not bogged down with bags and bags of camera bodies, lenses, accessories. After shooting several rolls of film with the Canonet QL17 G-III, I’ve realized that most of the time I have spent out in the field has been limited creatively, and physically, carrying gear. Add a D-SLR to the mix, and well, you’ve got a workout regimen.

The camera has some really neat “hidden” features. It has, in the “A” mode, an exposure lock. You can half press the shutter button, and the meter will lock in the aperture it thinks will result in the best exposure for a given scene. You could maybe meter off of a gray card, or, in a high contrast scene, maybe meter for the sky, lock the value, recompose, and then shoot.

This is not really a “feature” as such, but as seen by the below exposure, double exposures are indeed possible. after getting to the last frame, I was able to somehow wind the film. Thinking the shutter might not fire, I gave it a go, and it did. This last frame of the roll resulted in a very cool double exposure-

Double exposure, Canonet QL17 G-III, Portra 400.

Double exposure, Canonet QL17 G-III, Portra 400.

I see lots and lots of reviews online, from people stating that the outstanding 40mm f/1.7 Canon Lens is not “sharp” wide open at f/1.7. Of course, very few lenses are sharp wide open. But this one certainly can yield some great results. No flash, here at f/1.7-

Shot with only available light, wide open at f/1.7.

Shot with only available light, wide open at f/1.7.

Sharp enough to even see the rivets on the door trim, and the labels on the pipes. Yes, Portra is sharp film. But, you can’t have sharp results without sharp glass. There is indeed some corner vignetting, as seen below in the upper left hand corner of the shot-

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Maybe a shadow, but based on the location, and compared to the previous shot, I think it is a vignette.

This art deco elevator is a great way to show off the spectacular results the Canonet is capable of. Like the others, this had very low available light.

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This Car Up

Color C-41 processing can be fast, convenient, and yes, relatively inexpensive. If you find a lab that does a good job, stay with them. In about four years of C-41 processing, I have really only had one roll completely ruined, and the other, well, the colors shifted through some bad chemistry or temperature. I think I am going to have to try some B&W in this camera, and get into the darkroom. Just to mix it up. Portra 400 itself, unfortunately, is getting quite expensive. Might be a good time to dig into the fridge, and pull out some Tri-X. And, hunt down some 48mm filters. Yes, the Canonet is different, in many ways.

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