A little while ago I wrote about the dreaded Gear Acquisition Syndrome – GAS – grabbing firmly hold of one of my toes. Well, here is tangible evidence of this awful problem. I became keen – read obsessed – with getting hold of a working copy of each of the line of the Canonet rangefinder family. It’s a long story, so here goes.

I was given the front New Canonet QL19 as a non-working to play with. I became interigued with it and saw it as a challenge to see if I could resurrect this nice but oh-so-dead box. It pushed all of my buttons – fast lens, lots of chrome, a rangefinder, fast to use for candids, and so on. It took me a month of my lunchtimes to resolve all of its issues to get it back into working shape. These included battery box corrosion, black wire syndrome, a loosely mounted lens, a non-linked shutter linkage, a stuck shutter, bad door seals, misaligned and dirty rangefinder, and best of all a working but wildly inaccurate meter. If I had known about these when I started out it would have been thrown into the bin. Anyway, the internet provided a trove of repair information, and a month later I covered it in beautiful red skiver book leather in place of the leatherette I had to destroy just to open it up.

Many other Canonets have followed, spanning the golden years of rising Japanese market dominance between 1961 (Canonet) and 1972 (Canonet QL17 GIII). I was even sent a freebie from a Flickr fan in the USA as a gift to add to my collection. All of these have been fixed or tinkered with to get them into good order. The GAS problem was then, what series comes next? I started next on another line of classics, from Yashica. This eventually reulted in me acquiring (among other beauties from the eventual Zeiss partner) a fixed-lens low-light specialist with an f1.4 leaf shutter lens. More to come on that dalliance later.


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