Advice on a second-hand Canonet 17 QL III
I am seriously considering buying a small RF with fixed lens and central shutter.
I am presently observing this auction on eBay.
I asked the owner about the precision of the shutter times. He answered that times "within 1/30" were tested and found to be within tolerances. He hasn't got actual results as he did not test the camera personally.
I am going to use the RF which I am going to buy with slides, using an external lightmetre.
The camera seems to be clean, and I suppose the viewfinder and rangefinder have been actually brought to best performances.
The doubt I have is about the shutter. Why did the repairer test only certain times and not others? Is there something I ignore? And what would he mean for "within 1/30"? It's usually slower times or faster times that give more problems?
faster times are always reliable, no need to test them;
faster times are always unreliable, no need to test them;
slower times are always reliable, no need to test them;
slower times are always unreliable, no need to test them;
this camera is certainly not up to take properly exposed slides;
this camera is very likely able to take properly exposed slides;
it's a gamble, you'd rather wait for a camera for which serious tests were performed.
Thanks for any help
PS Would you pay 70 Euros for this camera? (it's the starting price).
I think for US prices, that would be a bit high, but I don't know about Europe.
My policy lately has been; if the seller doesn't blow you away with great communication, thorough understanding of what he's selling and the ability to return, it's a no go. In other words, ask him more questions, like what you're asking here, and if he doesn't come back with straight answers, let it go. Search 'Completed Listings' for an idea of prices.
The most important thing for the shutter is that it's working consistently, not accurately. Other things that can go wrong with the Canonet include the Rangefinder (it can be off infinity focus calibration), winding mechanism (doesn't stop at 1 after loading film, doesn't lock the winder after advancing one frame). All old cameras are a gamble, figuring in the cost of a CLA is never a bad idea.
70 euros is high. Expect a camera like this to sell between £25-45 in the UK, a little more for a real peach.
Thanks for your answers. I'll let this item go.
I have already written twice to the seller, before asking here. Considering he told me in his last answer that he did not service the camera personally, I thought that I would have had better answers here.
My idea is that this seller buys second-hand cameras, has them repaired/restored/CLA-ed, then resells them, but the lab work is not entirely accurate.
Second question: how should I expect to pay for a serious CLA on a camera like this? That would mean calibrating the shutter to precise timings.
PS I understand it's not important a lightmeter is "precise", provided it is consistent, because a lightmeter can have a linear mistake. I don't think that a shutter can have the same mistake on all speeds. If it is not precise, it probably has a "random" mistake for each setting. On the other hand, once it is properly serviced, it should have all times within factory specification.
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I think it would be cheaper to find a mint Canonet than to get a CLA
These cameras are old - they all need a CLA, regardless of condition.
Originally Posted by holmburgers
That's a pretty bold generalization; "Regardless of condition", so even if it doesn't need a CLA it needs a CLA? Gems do exist, and they're not as rare as one might expect.
I suppose I should be more specific - the purpose of a CLA is mostly to check over the internals, replace the light seals and relube everything. Yes, I believe that any camera over 20 years old needs to have this done.
Originally Posted by holmburgers
There are signs that a camera has gone too long without one, such as timings being off or light seals leaking. But, that's kind of like waiting to change your car's oil when the engine won't turn over any more.
Of course, if you are shooting images that aren't important, you are willing to lose, whatever, then playing around with old unserviced cameras is fine. I've just seen too many people crying over issues that should have been prevented with proper maintenance.
Fair enough; I guess I've just had good luck with my old cameras. But it's true, I'm not doing 'work' with any questionable camera.