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  1. #1

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    Canonet QL17 G-III bulb setting

    Hi folks,

    I have just received a Canonet QL17 GIII and I have been testing out its functions to make sure everything is as it should be. For the most part my "new" camera seems to be in near mint cosmetic and operational condition, which I'm rapt about. But I can't get the bulb setting to work. I have been following the manual, taking the aperture dial off the "A" setting and adjusting the shutter speed to "B", but the shutter speed seems to just defaut to maybe 1/30 or so. I wouldn't be too worried if the bulb setting isn't functioning properly because all other fuctions seem to be working perfectly, but if I'm just doing something wrong here when trying to use the bulb setting then I'd love to know. Any thoughts?

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Are you "pressing down on the bulb setting lever" when you adjust the shutter speed to "B"?
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  3. #3
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Welcome to APUG.

    It sounds like you are using 'B' correctly if, as Matt points out, you are correctly setting the 'B' option. It's a pretty obvious setting without any secret tricks required.

    When I obtained my QL17 GIII the Bulb setting also acted very similar to your description. All it took was "exercising" the shutter mechanism over time for the issue to disappear completely. I would keep the unloaded camera handy and each time I had a moment I would run through all of the shutter speeds a couple of times, including 'B'. It did not take long.

    This is a protocol I have always used with my large format lenses as well. Take them out once every month or two and run through the speeds, just to keep things from freezing up over time. It also helps keep the actual speed intervals within tolerance. Currently my QL17 shutter is now within a 1/4-stop or less of correct at all marked speeds, as measured with a shutter speed testing instrument. And 'B' now works perfectly.

    In fact, I am currently "exercising" a recently purchased Graphex (Wollensak) shutter from a 4x5 Crown Graphic. When I got it the 'T', 'B', '1', and '1/2' settings were essentially inoperative. After a couple weeks of gentle effort I just last evening measured the actual speeds. 'T' and 'B' now both work consistently perfect. '1' was measured at only 1/12-stop slow and '1/2' at only 1/16-stop slow. For all intent and purposes, they are now both exactly correct.

    Sometimes all these older leaf shutters need is a little patience and TLC.

    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  4. #4

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    Thanks very much for your replies. I'll try your suggestion Ken of giving the shutter plenty of exercise and see what happens. Hopefully it will come good, but even if it doesn't I'm still very happy with the camera.

    It looks like we have something in common with these old cameras. My other leaf shutter gems include Mamiya TLRs that get a tonne of use in my hands, plus a few others that get used occasionally for a bit of fun (Super Ikonta, Hi-Matics, Rolleicord, etc). I've often wanted to get myself a Speed or Crown Graphic too, but the right one has never appeared when I've had some spare cash.

    Cheers,
    Carl
    Last edited by fenderslash; 08-07-2010 at 07:21 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #5

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    Hey, guess what?? A bit of excercise and the bulb setting came good! Ken, you're a genius!!

  6. #6
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fenderslash View Post
    Hey, guess what?? A bit of excercise and the bulb setting came good!
    Well that's great to hear! Sounds exactly like what happened with mine.

    I have to say that the QL17 G-III was totally unexpected to me. I purchased mine on a lark from a fellow APUG member. Being a long time Nikon F2 user for my 35mm needs, I was pretty set in my SLR ways. But I wanted to see what everyone in the Rangefinder Forum was talking about, so I bit.

    Well, this little rangefinder has converted me. I now take it everywhere. It's small, light, easy to focus and use, and unimaginably quiet. And the lens is very sharp. I was also fortunate in that every single feature on mine works perfectly. And the seller had previously converted the meter to use 1.5-volt silver cells in place of the original 1.35-volt mercury cells.

    I especially like the way the camera uses flash. If one is using the dedicated Canolite D flash, everything is automated. But if one uses a non-dedicated flash the camera can be preset for guide numbers 28, 20 or 14 (in meters) and the aperture setting is then linked to the rangefinder. By leaving your flash on full manual output you will then get the proper f/stop set for whatever subject distance you focus.

    The advantage here is that there is no separate flash meter to be fooled (think of your subject standing outdoors in the dark). All flash exposures are set strictly by the configured guide number. Pretty neat trick.

    Best of luck with yours. If you haven't already, check out Stephen Gandy's CameraQuest Canonet-GIII 17 article. Also worth a read is Karen Nakamura's photoethnography review. And an online copy of the original user manual may be found here.

    Ken

    P.S. There are not many simple, non-dedicated flash units left on the market these days. I purchased a Metz Mecablitz 20 C-2 specifically to go with my QL17 because it's very small, lightweight, and already comes with a guide number of 20 (in meters, 66 in feet) and a full manual mode, so it is directly settable and usable on the camera without any fudging required. It also covers a 35mm lens angle of view and the QL17 has a 40mm lens, so it's a perfect fit there as well.
    Last edited by Ken Nadvornick; 08-12-2010 at 01:00 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Added link to user manual.
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  7. #7

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    Looks like we have more in common than we thought. For years I've divided my time mainly between my Pentax Spotmatic SPII with its great Takumar lenses, and my Mamiya C330f for medium format. But like you I also wanted to experience the rangefinder world. The QL17 wasn't my first choice though. After reading a tonne of stuff online I initially chose the Minolta Hi-Matic 9 (fast lens, sharp lens, auto or fully manual exposure, meter works in fully manual mode, etc). But time hasn't been kind to the Hi-Matics and I couldn't get one in 100% usable condition. The QL17 also has a great rep of course so that was my next choice. Mine is in fantastic condition. Although it hasn't been converted to 1.5v I installed a 1.5v 625 battery which was good enough to make sure everything works, and it all does so I'm very happy. I've got plenty of 1.3v zinc air batteries on hand so I'll devise some kind of spacer to let the thinner battery touch the Canonet's contacts and I'll be right to go. The weather here is going to be perfect over the coming weekend so I'm going to give it a workout.

    Comparing the Canonet to my Hi-Matics the Canonet definitely has better ergonomics. The Hi-Matic is large in comparison and its controls don't fall naturally to hand for me. The Hi-Matic has a big advantage with more manual capabilities though, mainly the fact that the meter is fully functional in manual mode. If I could stick the Hi-Matic's guts into the Canonet's body I'd be very happy!

    Thanks for the links and the info re the flash too. I had discovered those reviews during my research and there's a lot of good info there for potential purchasers.



 

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