Canonet QL17 Battery Question (with a twist)
I am totally new to this website and forum, and completely green as far as rangefinders go. Until recently I didn't really have any need or interest in rangefinders...but...my wife fell in love with a little Canonet at a pawnshop. The camera was in sorry shape and I talked her out of it - but not out of this sudden fascination with rangefinders! Frankly, after playing around with the little camera... I slowly started to understand the "hype"! Now I want one, and the search is on! I have my mind set on a QL17, mainly because I've read good things about it, and because my wife wants "that one!"...
Sorry about the novel, my question is this:
QL17 use the cursed PX625, which is apparently more evil than Stalin, Hitler and Osama combined... but I digress. I did a fair bit of research into the camera, and consequently into the battery issue. I am aware of all the alternatives (MR9, Wein, recalibration, etc). What sent me after more info from people with experience with these cameras is this little blurb from www.photoetnography.com . Its an article by Karen Nakamura that basically gives a thorough background on the little Canonet, and includes this blurb:
"Although it uses the much hated PX625 mercury battery that is no longer available in the U.S., the Canon engineers did the Right Thing and made the circuitry voltage compensating. This means you can use a standard alkaline PX625A battery which you can buy at most larger drugstores or a LR/SR44 battery with liberal amounts of tin foil. Yippee."
Can anyone confirm or deny this little bit of news? I would greatly appreciate your input - thanks in advance!
I recall putting a standard battery in my canonet. It worked, but the meter was off by some amount. I want to say that I had to set the camera for 200 when I used 400 film, but I don't remember the specifics.
This could actually be an advantage. The camera can only be set as high as 800. With the "wrong" battery, you could use something Delta3200 at 1600 and still meter correctly. Again, check the meter with the battery.
Use the mercury battery issue to talk the price down at the pawn shop. Also, check the rangefinder, they can be a bit dim (just like me!). If so, talk them down some more, then clean it up yourself.
I use a standard PX625A without any problems, mine seems to meter a 1/2 stop high from my Weston Ranger 9 which is my reference meter. (I use Molterla wrist pager batteries in the Weston).
I can't confirm this bit of information from another source, but I can say that I would trust Karen Nakamura's information implicitly, based on her input on other fora. She is knowledgeable and thorough, and as you can see from her site, knows a fair bit about older cameras.
Canon did install such 'self adjusting' circuitry in some of their cameras including the EF, which to my knowledge is the only one of their FD mount cameras so equipped
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If you are remotely interested in the Canonet you have got to check this guy out. He is way too funny.
"EVERY film and paper is good .......... for something"
My Canonet is one of my favourite cameras to just haul around. I have tried both mercury and alkaline batteries in mine, and both will work perfectly well. If you can only get alkaline or wein-cells, I would suggest alkaline...They are a lot less expensive and last a good deal longer. Regardless, if you use mercury, alkaline or wein-cell, you will have to calibrate against a good light meter. Even my recently CLA'd Canonet with a mercury battery is 1/3 stop off. The important thing is that it is linear.
Hope that this helps,
Max Power, he's the man who's name you'd love to touch! But you mustn't touch! His name sounds good in your ear, but when you say it, you mustn't fear! 'Cause his name can be said by anyone!
An alternative to the Wein cells are zinc/air hearing aid cells - after all the Wein cell is just a modified version of these, coming with less pinholes and an adapter to make up the size.
A blister of 6 cells costs me 2EUR and each cell is good for 2 - 6 months of usage.
OTOH - with cameras w/o that bridge circuit you can make use of the exposure latitude of negatives films... wouldn´t mind the minimum exposure shift with a P&S camera.
WOW! I do thank all of you for your prompt and thorough responses!!!
I think I hit gold here - this web site seems to be the virtual hide out of all the film and old camera junkies!
Thanks for all the info, I think I will try a Alk. replacement and see how it goes, perhaps checking it with a modern light meter as a reference (It will be mainly used for B&W print film, so I do have some latitude to play with). I am glad to hear that my choice of first rangefinder seems to be well supported by so many of you. I am also glad that Ms Nakamura's writing is as good factually as it is to read - I will keep an eye out for her name, a really, really good read!
And yes, I did go to the Kyle Cassidy page... and my sides still hurt. My wife and I sat there and read everything on his site, laughing our posteriors off well into the wee hours of the morning! The Leica story with Hemingway in it is especially priceless!!!
I too use the Zinc Air batteries in my QL-17. I can't find a package right now and everytime I need to replace them I have to find them because the salespeople say they don't carry them (of course they are there).
They are a bit more expensive than the 625A batteries but they last me for a year or more, so...