I just ran some film through the Canonet QL17 that my mom handed down several months ago. The shutter was stuck, so I went in through the front of the lens and flooded the shutter repeatedly with solvent until it stayed working for several days. You can find info online, most of which says to go through the rear of the lens, which requires special tools.
The results are really great, it's a very fine lens, but the finder and focusing ease isn't Leica or Cosina quality, and you only get a 40mm lens. My exposures were consistently good, so the shutter is working at correct speeds now. I also am using either a piece of PVC or an O-ring to hold a hearing aid battery #675 (IIRC) in place and run the internal meter. These batteries are air-zinc and correct voltage like the Wein, but cost less than $1 each in a blister pack of 4 to 12 batteries. At typical prices, the QL17 is a great bargain.
I haven't shot AF cameras myself, but have shot using CV rangefinders side-by-side with two guys using Canon 20D's with 70-210 IS zooms. They post their stuff online to sell, so I can check their results. The 20D seems to put the soccer players on the near edge of DOF, and sometimes in front of the DOF, so you get sharp spectators and soft focus players. Obviously there are many AF systems out there, and they perform differently in different situations, but you may want to check out AF performance before dropping a lot of money. I'd be really upset if I spent the money on a 20D and got poorer results than my R3A or Bessa T and a 135 Hektor that cost $100 in excellent+ condition. And don't get me started on the double line boke on many of the photos from the 70-210 Canon AF zoom vs. the much smoother Hektor.
M u s t s t o p t y p i n g ......
7dayshop.com sell Panasonic PR675H, 6 batteries for 2.99
Shame I just did my 7dayshop order the other week. Can you buy these batteries at chemists (drug stores) ? Is that the right one?
I use two EOS30 series cameras at the moment. The auto-focus is very similar to the 20D. It's very accurate. However I don't tend to use the servo/predictive mode, and it is difficult to predict the movement football players. I use it 99% of the time in single shot mode, sometimes switching it off once I have focus. It is pin point accurate. Sometimes I think auto-focus is miss-named, to get good results the user must tell the camera exactly where to focus. Often for sports where you can predict the direction of movement it's best to focus on a fixed point (just like you would do with manual), frame and wait. Some might say that in that situation auto-focus offers no advantge, but if you pick your point carefully and get focus confirmation, you know it's focused exactly on that spot, there's no guess work. Having said that some folks are amazingly tallented manual focusers, just I'm not.
The auto-focus also works well in low light if you have a fast(ish) lens, it allows me to focus with precision when I'd be guessing with manual focus.
I quite fancy giving the Canonet a whirl. I figure if I shoot 400asa focus shouldn't be too critical. Are there any hyper-focal markings? I can pretty much see how most of it works, but I'm puzzeled by some of the markings.
Also people should pay less attention to it than an SLR, that's the real big appeal for me. Even raising a small SLR to ones eyes seems to set off alarm bells wherever you point it.
Anyway once I have a battery I'll see if she will fire the shutter. I'm probably enquire at the old school camera shop Quiggs in Glasgow about getting her serviced. I belive there's a chap in Glasgow they use who is a dab hand with older cameras and hopefully reasonably priced. It seems a shame not to use such a lovely old camera.
Thank-you for the battery tip.
Hi, Gareth -
Originally Posted by gareth harper
I don't fancy the type of finder that mounts on the top plate either. One option is that you can just learn to estimate for wider shots.
No rangefinder camera - Voigtlander or otherwise - is available with interchangeable finders, although I must say that it strikes me as a good idea. I know that Nikon had something like this on its 1950s' rangefinders, but I don't think that it offered anything as wide as 25/25.
The best solution IMHO is to get a camera with a viewfinder that includes 28 mm frame lines. Since you are not interested in a Leica, there are two other alternatives. The first is a Konica Hexar RFwhich sold for about 4 years (1999 - 2004) before it was discontinued, but which you can still find new if you dig hard enough. They are also available second hand. The other is a Zeiss Ikon, built by Cosina in partnership with Carl Zeiss AG. Cosina is the manufacturer of the Voigtlander Bessa series of rangefinder cameras. It is a brand new camera, scheduled to be released in June.
Rangefinder cameras provide frame lines for composing your picture in the viewfinder. These are "parallax corrected," which means that these frame lines shift slightly as you focus the camera to adjust for your point of view depending on whether your subject is close or far away.
What some people, who disdain auxiliary viewfinders, do is that they use the full view of the finder for lenses the next standard focal length wider than the widest frame lines in the camera's viewfinder. The full view typically approximates this next widest focal length. The full view of the finder on the Voigtlander Bessa R2A, for example, which provides 35/50/75/90 frame lines, approximates the field of view of a 28 mm lens. The viewfinder on the new Zeiss Ikon is said to approximate the field of view of a 24/25 mm lens. The only drawback to this is that there is no parallax correction for shots where the subject is at a closer distance, so you have to learn to estimate. My guess is the parallax corrected 28 mm frame lines would be of some help doing this.
Here are some other websites for rangefinder camera information:
That looks like the correct battery at 7dayshop. The voltage should be 1.35 or 1.4 volts. I cut a very thin slice of plastic 1/2 inch cpvc plumbing pipe to center the battery. I also have some O-rings of the right dimensions to center the battery. The O-ring numbering systems vary, even among suppliers here in the US. The one you see mentioned on the internet is a #13, but I forget the dimensions, which are in fractional inches. If you can't find a reference for the size, get back to me and I'll see what I can find. You should be able to get the zinc-air 675 at almost any chemists. Once you have the battery and camera in hand, you could fit a proper O-ring at a local hardware store.
I've never used autofocus at all, or even read about it in the magazines. It's quite possible, perhaps likely, that the two people I mentioned weren't using it properly, so I'll reserve any final judgement on autofocus until I've used it properly myself. The last time I looked at a new SLR to see how it worked was 1983. The one I use is a 1977 or 1978 design, so I'm really outdated in that regard. That one has an auto-exposure mode, which I used once in 1981 shooting on fisherman's wharf in San Franciso.
There are no hyperfocal markings on the Canonet, but mine has two scales, meters and feet. I think what may be confusing you is the aperture scale. It has f-stops from 1.7 to f:16, then a red A for shutter speed priority with auto aperture, the on the other side of the red A are numbers 28, 20, and 14, which I recall as being the guide numbers for use with the dedicated flash. I don't have that item. The lever for changing the ASA has window, cloud, and sun symbols, but there is a real numerical ASA scale as well.
If you want a DOF scale for any lens and use Windows, visit dofmaster.com. You can download a free program there to print out a DOF dial scale to your own specifications. There's another program there for printing out a hyperfocal chart for multiple lenses. Nice stuff.
Having a Copal leaf shutter, the Canonet is far quieter than any focal plane shutter.
One thing that I haven't mentioned that I like about the Bessas is the trigger winder. You can find info on it at cameraquest.com, and possibly also Robert White. I can get between 2 and 2.5 frames/second out of it, and I like the grip and bulk it adds to fit my large hands. It's an all mechanical trigger advance that's reasonably quiet, no batteries. I understand that either the Hexar or Contax (perhaps both, I haven't used either) has a reasonably quiet motor advance as well.
Thanks for all the info Lee!
I'll see if I can pick up a battery on Monday from the local chemist.
We've got o-ring kits at work, so I should be able to make one up OK.
Now that Konica looks nice, so with a 24mm lens I would be capturing round about the full-viewfinder, that sounds workable. I could always think about the Bessa with the 35mm finder and just accept that 28mm would be as wide as I went. I do like 24mm lenses though. With 24's and 28's and fast film it's easy to pre-set the focus, so focus shouldn't be a problem.
That Zeiss looks lovely, wonder what the price will be though.
Thanks for all that, you've cleared up a few rangefinders points that were puzzling me. Cheers.
I have to say I love auto-focus. With wide angle lenses you don't really need it that much, but with standard or longer lenses it's a real boon, and it's pin point accurate. Oh one thing that does bug me is the EF lenses don't have as good hyper-focal markings as the old FD lenses. Now from 35mm and up I don't really care that much. But I bought a EF24L and the markings are rather poor. Auto-focus is almost pointless on a 24mm, whereas good lens markings almost priceless.
I don't know much about shooting football, I don't know what techniques people will use when shooting such sports, you'll have a much better idea than I. Auto-focus can accurately follow/predict the momement of objects moving towards or away from you, but only if their movement is linear (for want of a better word). With football the guys are all over the place, so I've no idea how the sports guys operate their auto-focus in these situtions. Auto-focus is brilliant, but at the same time it won't perfrom miracles.
Anyway I'll get that Canonet going, get her a service hopefully and have a bash. Such a lovely wee camera I've got to give her a whirl.
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That 24L must be a wonderful lens, inspite of the missing hyperfocal information.
I was prepared not to like AF when I got into my first Nikon D70. Now that I've learned how to use it properly, I love it and feel that it is more accurate than I was with a manual focus SLR in almost every situation. But there is a learning curve. Whether Nikon's AF is better than Canon's is moot, they are both good mature systems. Avoid the early generations of AF cameras though.
The Hexar AF has a really fine AF system - very fast and dead on - and I really can't find any complaints about it.
The 24L is good, in that's it's better than the not very good EF24mmf2.8
Originally Posted by Frank Petronio
I bought a secondhand EF24f2.8 a good wee while ago. It took me a while to warm to 24mm, and part of that was down to the softness of the 24mmf2.8, I kept wondering whether I really did have the focus spot on or not. I even took it to a Canon repair centre to get it checked, they found no problems. So I came to the conclusion that the EF24mmf2.8 was a soft lens, either that or I was asking too much of such a wide lens. Anyway I was falling in love with shooting the 24mm. If you can get really close to stuff it's such a fun lens, and you can fire away like mad without having to check your focus all the time.
So when I took a trip to New York last September I bagged a EF24mmf1.4L, camera gear is much much cheaper in the states than in the UK. I also bought a EF35mmf2 while I was there.
So what of the 24L. Well it's big. It looks impressive, particulary with the lens hood fitted. But that's not always what I want. I'm usually trying to shoot at f8 - f11 for good DOF and focus free operation, so the f1.4 option is wasted on me, though I guess I know it's there if I want it, and perhaps I should try some crazy low DOF wide angle shots for some fun some time.
I find it distorts much less than the 24f2.8, which I have to say is nice, though there is still edge distortion when you get close to things. It's sharper. The sharpness is acceptable, much better than the lousy f2.8 but it's still not sharp enougth, I can get good sharp results with it, but it hasn't blown me away in that respect.
The hyperfocal markings are too small and not detailed enougth, but I've found they are usually workable.
Is it a good lens? Yes. Is it a great lens? No. Is it value for money? No way, but I was desparate for something better than the EF24f2.8 It's the most expensive lens I've ever bought.
That's what got me thinking about rangefinders. I'm a sharpness junkie. I'm still looking for a sharper 24mm, a rangefinder with a 24mm might be the answer. I aslo like the non-threatening, if you like, look of rangefinders.
The cheapie EF35mmf2 is a little gem, even if it does have an annoyingly noisey focus motor (by 35mm I'm back to using auto-focus).
Gareth, the Zeiss Ikon lists at B&H for $1619, but it is available for only 780 GBP ($1425 USD) at Robert White in London.
Originally Posted by gareth harper
If you like autofocus but want to be able to take advantage of the benefits of rangefinder lenses, look at the Contax G2. Pricies are low now.
Bill, yes I have noticed that prices of Contax G1's and 2's are very keen these days. And I understand the optics are excellant. Do you know if the wider lenses have good hyper-focal markings? Or are they pure auto-focus cameras. I think at some point I really need to get my hands on some of these cameras. Next time I'm up North (in Scotland) I'll maybe pop into Ffords, they seem to have a good selction of rangefinders, in fact they seem to have every type of camera you could ever desire.
Originally Posted by Biogon Bill
Only 780? Only? Well I suppose if it's good it's a steal compared to Leica!
Anyway I'll try and get my borrowed Canonet working and have some fun with it.
Oh aye the one I really desire is the Bronica RF645. Lenses are limited and slow, but what a lovely camera! I have been very tempted by Robert White's clearance price on them. I'm amazed he is still advertising them at that price.
I am frustrated by the lack of good compact and fast primes for AF DSLRs too, and spending $1500 for a 24/1.4 isn't really practical for me. What bugs me is that both Nikon and Canon (and Olympus) all made excellent, moderately priced, fast and compact f/2 primes in manual focus, so the lens designs are all worked out - but instead we are forced to choose between plastic crap lens, an expensive and bulky zoom, or totally over the top giant L lenses... Neither of which I want.