Rangefinder cameras from the 1970s had fast lenses and enabled you to control the lens aperture. They were quiet. And, if you were confronted by muggers, a weighty Canonet on a neck strap could be used as a defensive weapon.
The downside? They used mercury batteries that were outlawed by the 1990s. Their foam light seals dissolved into gunk by the early 2000s. They didn't have built-in flashes. And some owners struggled to load the film correctly.
These photos came from my Canon Canonet 28, shot on very expired Kodak 200 print film. I hadn't seen the camera for years. (The Parkside photos were shot years ago; the flower images are more recent.)
You'll find Canon Canonets on eBay and thrift shops. If the shutter and rangefinder focus work (they don't need a battery), buy one. But, keep these three things in mind:
- Don't hunt for long-outlawed 1.35-volt batteries. Instead, buy a package of inexpensive 675 zinc-air hearing aid batteries. They hold a constant 1.4-volt current, and can be fitted in place with a small rubber band or O-ring.
- Your film choices are limited to up to ISO 400. With the Canonet 28, you set the film speed manually, and 400 is as high as you can go. Luckily, the fast lens means you'll have ample light.
- Canon built these Canonets 40 years ago, so the light seals will probably need replacement. It's not complicated; buy the kit here, and watch the video below to see how it's done.
|By Filippo C from stockholm, sweden (camera 005) |
[CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)],
via Wikimedia Commons