Which Canon rangefinder?
I have a Canonet. But I've come to realize its limitations. I bought it more just to have a rangefinder rather than really wanting a Canonet. I am currently looking at the 50s Canon rangefinders. I've narrowed it down to either a Canon IVsb or a Canon P. How much user difference is there between these cameras. Yes, I will admit part of my choice is aesthetics of the cameras. But are the newer ones really that much better that the older ones?
From what I understand out of the newer Canon rangefinders, the QL 17 is the one people want, but I am not sure if it is the old one or the newer G-III QL 17. I really don't know if they are better or not compared to the old Canon rangefinders.
I think most of the newer ones have photocells that could wear out and are dependent on batteries that have become obsolete without adapters.
I personally favor purely mechanical cameras with no dependence on batteries, and the lesser the mechanical complexity the better.
That would not rule out features that might bring up the mechanical complexities in various manners. I would want it still to have adjustable shutter speeds and apertures from f2 or better, as well as good coated glass. I also want it to be able to stand up to a lot of use where the shutter will not fail easily or other issues that could effect mechanical performance.
I am currently working at restoring a Canonet 28, while probably a good and simple camera, I have been told recently it has some major limitations, namely the battery setting the shutter speed and the light cell that the meter reads from.
I have been able to get to do some low light snaps in Auto mode so far, as long as I am close enough to the subject and the meter reads.
Is it a camera that would be easy and quick to repair with minimal effort or inexpensive to have someone else fix it, when something fails in the camera?
Is it a unique, or does it have a newer operational innovation that previous cameras did not have?
These are some of the issues I would think of when considering getting an old camera, maybe other members here could point out some more.
I do not know anything about these 2 particular cameras you are looking at, but if they are for the most part mechanical and fit well into some of the issues pointed out above, I myself would go for it.
BTW that Canon P is very nice looking old camera.
First off, look at the Canon Museum website for an overview of Canon rangefinders:
The biggest differences between the IVSb and the P is in the film advance and viewfinder. The P has a "modern" lever advance while the IVSb has the a knob advance. The viewfinder of the IVSb is often referred to as a "squinty type" while the P is much larger and has reflected framelines. Do take a look through both viewfinders before making your decision. Any old camera can look cool but how a camera fits in your hands and how it operates is probably more important.
I have been looking there and elsewhere at them. I've noticed the viewfinder difference. But, I don't have access to either camera which is why I am asking for user opinions.
I have 8 different Canon rangefinders. While I LOVE the styling of the early ones the best, if I had to pick one for over all usability I would have to pick a VI L Canon VI L Unless you really want the 0.95 50mm lens, the 7 doesn't really justify the extra bulk--but I am a hand held light meter guy. I never use the on-camera ones. Just my two cents. If the styling comes into play, the IVSB is a great choice. Either way you get a great performer for not too much $$$.
I went through the same thing. My best advice is for you to order both from keh.com and return the one that you don't like.
From my experience:
Canon P: Great viewfinder; decent framelines; poor rangefinder patch; great build; good ergonomics.
Canon 7: Great viewfinder; great framelines; decent rangefinder patch; decent build; good ergonomics.
Canon L3: Good viewfinder; no framelines; great rangefinder patch; great build; decent ergonomics.
Canon IVSB: Poor viewfinder; no framelines; great rangefinder patch; great build; decent ergonomics.
I sold the P because the patch was unuseable.
I returned the 7 because the camera looked ugly and felt unrefined.
I returned the L3 because there was a shutter problem but otherwise I would have kept it. This series is my favorite
I kept the IVSB because it was inexpensive and easy to focus.
The older Canon's have warm-toned patches so they have aged better. I'd personally go for one of the older ones but to every man his own. I'd go for a VI L1/L2/L3 for sure. I find the IVSB OK but I feel that I should have gotten a Leica IIIc/f if I wanted a Barnack style because I tend to focus with the viewfinder at the highest magnification.
My debate is whether I should stay with Canon or go Leica M3. It seems that many roads end in Leica.
Oh and another very important question: What lenses/focal lengths do you plan on using? You shouldn't go with the IVSB if you plan on going wider than 50mm, unless you're willing to use an external viewfinder.
To me, it all comes down to the viewfinder. The earlier knob-wind Canons' with their squinty viewfinders are, to me, too small to easily use. I'm not a big fan of the P, mainly because their viewfinders haven't seem to have aged well these past 50 years (at least on the Ps' that I've handled). My viewfinder on my old L1 was OK, but the camera seemed crude. Leica had it right with the M-series (projected framelines) which Canon wisely adopted with the 7 and 7s. Focusing and viewing with the 7 and 7s is light years better than the P or the earlier knob-wind Canons.
I now use a Leica MP, M3 and a Canon 7. Everything else I sold.
Also, are the thread mount lenses the same between all of these cameras?
IVSB is a very nice Leica III copy and it feels like a block of iron in your hands. It's small but surprisingly heavy. I had one that I used mainly with a 21mm lens with an auxiliary viewfinder. I soon found out that bottom feed cameras are not my thing. The Canon P feels and operates like a real RF camera. I never had any problems with the viewfinder. 35mm frames are far in the corners but you soon get used to that. While I had a Canon P I also bought a Leica M4-P but after a year and a half I sold the Leica and kept the Canon(s).