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Canonet QL17 GIII vs Yashica Electro 35 GSN?
Old 12-29-2005   #1
Nick
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Canonet QL17 GIII vs Yashica Electro 35 GSN?

I currently have a Yashica GSN, but am looking for something with a brighter viewfinder and within budget. After looking at a Bessa R2a/R3a (and deciding it was too expensive), I've been pointed towards a Canonet.

Anyone had experience with both and can compare the two (viewfinder brightness in particular)?

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Old 12-29-2005   #2
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VF brightness can also be a matter of age or how dirty it's become. I don't find my Q17 any brighter than my GSN, the GSN is just bigger.
For a great viewfinder (and a good price) you should look at the Bessa R. Used at under $200 and inexpensive Russian LTM lenses.
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Old 12-29-2005   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick
I currently have a Yashica GSN, but am looking for something with a brighter viewfinder and within budget. After looking at a Bessa R2a/R3a (and deciding it was too expensive), I've been pointed towards a Canonet.

Anyone had experience with both and can compare the two (viewfinder brightness in particular)?

Cheers
Nick,
All Canonets do not have bright view finder, they are cheap cameras in 70s. Even now, A good condition G-III 17 is about $50. A chrome Voigtlander R body w bright finder alone is $190-$240, then you need a 35/2.5, which comes to $399 in CameraQuest.
The 40mm 1.7 on Canonet G-III and 45mm on your Yashica is also a MONSTER difference, a big 5 friggin mm difference in focal length. This 40mm 1.7, is a MASTERPIECE lens consider it's price when new back in 72, or now $50 Ebay. People like to point oue another masterpiece Olympus SP, very bad that it's a 42mm, BIG BIG differece than a 40mm.
Good hunting for your Canonet!
By the way, all Canonet G-III are made in Taiwan, Taichung to be exact. Maybe some very rare black ones are made in Japan, I've never seen a black one in person in my life.
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Old 12-29-2005   #4
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One more thing, if you have money for the Voigtlander R3A( $539), do not buy that Zeiss Sonnar 40mm 2.8($650, that's right, Six hundred and fifty big clams) with it, this Canonet's 40mm 1.7 from f2.8 and up, will, like the American saying, "Beat the crap out of that Zeiss...."
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Last edited by Taipei-metro : 12-29-2005 at 23:36.
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Old 12-30-2005   #5
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The Canon is more or less a copy of the Yashica ELECTRO. In my opinion, the ELECTRO GSN looks and feels like a better camera than the Canon CANONET QL17 G111.
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Old 12-30-2005   #6
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I have both. In fact i had two of both Used them both.
In short: the canonet feels more solid, better made, and considerably smaller (this can be good or bad for a user). It has full manual option, can be handy sometimes. However it is more limited - shorter ISO range (i loved that i can use neopan1600 at iso 1000 in the GSN), no long shutter speeds (the GSN goes up to 30 seconds!). And there's the battery problem...the GSN can use new batteries with some padding, the canonet needs tricks to have its meter exactly working with alkaline or silver batteries.
Some people who tested it accurately report that the Yashinon lens is better wide open than the canon. I did not notice any real life difference.
I've cleaned the vf/rf of the cameras, and there is NO difference in brightness or ease of focusing.
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Old 12-30-2005   #7
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I like the lens of the yashica better than Canonet, but like the viewfinder of the canonet better.
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Copy !!?!??!
Old 12-30-2005   #8
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Copy !!?!??!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Granovski
The Canon is more or less a copy of the Yashica ELECTRO. In my opinion, the ELECTRO GSN looks and feels like a better camera than the Canon CANONET QL17 G111.

Frank

How can the Canon be a copy of the Yashica ? The GIII's (f1.7 & f1.9) were at the end of a series of 14 Canonet models starting from around 1961. If you check the Canon museum you can easily see the development and improvements in each model, as production and manufacturing techniques improved.

To me the Yashica - although a nice camera - is too big to be a compact; while there are better are more flexible larger rangefinder models from Leica, Nikon and Canon.



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Old 12-30-2005   #9
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The ELECTRO shutter was implemented into the Canon under license from Yashica. How much more Electrofied do you want this Canon to be
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Old 12-30-2005   #10
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The Canonet has an all mechanical shutter. The Yashica has an electronic shutter. The Yashica is aperture preferred automatic; the Canonet is shutter preferred automatic. The Yashica, as pointd out, has a 45mm lens and the Canonet has a 40mm lens. The Yashica is about the same size as an SLR; I used a Yashica J-5 case for one. The Canonet is much smaller. Both cameras use 1-2-2-1 formula lenses.

The Canonet will work on manual, you set both shutter speed and aperture. The meter turns off in this mode.

There are alternatives to both of these, the Minolta HiMatic is often overlooked. The Konica S2 is another full-sized camera with a very sharp lens and top notch viewfinder.

Last edited by Brian Sweeney : 12-30-2005 at 04:41.
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electro
Old 12-30-2005   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Granovski
The ELECTRO shutter was implemented into the Canon under license from Yashica. How much more Electrofied do you want this Canon to be

I don't want it electrofied at all ......
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Old 12-30-2005   #12
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I have both the GSN and G-III. I find the viewfinder brighter on the Canon. The GSN has been cleaned so it's not dirty. The G-III is a little quicker to focus for me. The GSN is bigger, this can be a plus or neg depends on how you look at it. There are issuses with both cameras if your buying them from ebay or some one you don't know. The front element on the G-III can be a problem. Ask greyhoundman and he can give a run down on the things to watch out for. John
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Old 12-30-2005   #13
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I also have both cameras.. I started with a GSN and picked up a Canonet before I really knew its legacy.. I immediately preferred the Canonet.. its smaller size makes it much more convenient.. the film loading is the best of any RF I've ever used (and I've used a dozen different kinds).. the lenses are of equal (superb) quality, but the Canonet focuses much faster

and as for the RF/VF.. my Canonet beats my 2 GSNs hands down.. I even modified the patch on one of my GSNs to convert it into a Leningrad-style to improve focusing

of the two, I would never hesitate to grab my Canonet.. my GSN mostly collects dust unless I'm in the mood for more contrasty images and know I'll have more time to set up a shot
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Old 12-30-2005   #14
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I have both and I agree with most of the previous posts. Here's my opinion, your mileage may vary...

Canonet advantages: Smaller, feels better built, ability to shoot full manual, 35mm film loading does not get any easier than this, you actually know your shutter speed and aperture, meter cell built into the lens ring

Yashica advantages: Aperture priority shooting, easily adapted to new batteries, generally less expensive, wider range of ISO settings

The viewfinder on my Yashica GS has been cleaned so it is marginally easier to focus. The other advantages these cameras and other fixed lens rangefinders have are relatively low prices, FAST glass, quiet operation and smooth leaf shutters that will allow for very slow speed handheld shots if you have a steady hand. The quietness is amazing. My Nikon S3 sounds slr like loud next to the Yashica or Canonet. My main negative to both is that they have very few aperture blades (5 on the Canonet and 6? on the Yashica) that tend to give you less than great bokeh. It's not a deal breaker with either camera though.

Having said all that, you could probably get both for ~$100 so why not do that and see for yourself.
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Old 12-30-2005   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Granovski
The Canon is more or less a copy of the Yashica ELECTRO. In my opinion, the ELECTRO GSN looks and feels like a better camera than the Canon CANONET QL17 G111.
This is the kind of rubbish that litters the 'net.

The Yashica Electro and Canonet QL17 GIII are very different cameras. Although both have a leaf shutter, 1/500s top speed, they are very different both in conception and size.

The Electro is decidedly bigger and heavier. The Canonet is smaller, but although lighter than the Electro, has a nice weight considering its size.

Film loading, although similar, the upload mechanism is different (QL stands for "quick load", and it has an interesting system for keeping the film flat).

The light sensor on the Yashica is on the rangefinder base, while on the Canonet is right above the lens, so that using filters you don't have to do any manual compensation.

The Yashica cannot be operated manually (only operates at 1/500 without batteries), while the Canonet is fully operational without batteries. The batteries on the Canonet are solely for coupling the light meter to the shutter.

So any claim that the Canonet is a copy of the Yashica is, frankly speaking...well...I guess I should censor myself.
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Old 12-30-2005   #16
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the gap widens over the best maker I think each model has it's use and advantages. That's why I have both. And They don't destroy the bank balance ( well not all the time ).
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Old 12-30-2005   #17
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This is the kind of rubbish that litters the 'net.

The Yashica Electro and Canonet QL17 GIII are very different cameras. Although both have a leaf shutter, 1/500s top speed, they are very different both in conception and size.

The Electro is decidedly bigger and heavier. The Canonet is smaller, but although lighter than the Electro, has a nice weight considering its size.
I read that on one of the major classic camera sites.
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Old 12-30-2005   #18
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Copies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Granovski
I read that on one of the major classic camera sites.
That explains it then.
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Old 12-31-2005   #19
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I have both, as well as some other similar RFDR cameras. I prefer to shoot with the GSM for some reason.
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Old 01-05-2006   #20
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I have both, two GSNs and one Canonet QLIII.

I find that focusing is way faster with the Canonet. The viewfinder is brighter on one of the GSN, then, on 2nd place comes the GIII and my first-bought GSN comes third. All cameras had the viewfinders cleaned.

I have prints made from both cameras, and I must say that the pictures taken with the GSNs are a tad sharper (or maybe a little bit more contrasty), but then again, not by much.

The Canonet has a built quality generations above the GSN, it is smaller but very well made.

I find that I prefer the feeling of the GSN on my hands better, it feels more balanced, just like a real camera should feel (YMMV). That's one of the main reasons why the GSN is my favorite one. Don't get me wrong, I like both cameras, when I go on my picture-taking walks, I usually grab both. They both are amazing picture-taking jewels.

The GSN gets more night time shooting, because its shutter speed can go as low as 30 sec without any photog intervention. If you find something, worth having its picture taken, no matter how dark or dim the light levels are, with the GSN is only a matter of focusing, placing the camera on something steady and shooting away.

With the canonet you are limited to 1/4 of a sec or to use the bulb feature which is not very convenient unless you have a shutter release or the ability to turn into stone for however long the exposure is (providing you guess the exposure right).

One major thing in favor of the Canonet is that you can use the camera in manual mode giving you total control for creative shooting or for when a battery is not available.

On a side note, the last GSN I got from the Evil site, was in inmaculate condition, not a single scratch or dent anywhere on the body. As a matter of fact, the original POD was still on the camera, fully intact. Everything on the camera works, just like the day, it left the factory.

If I were you, I get the Canonet anyway (since you already own a GSN), use it for a while and if down the road you decide that it is not for you, you can sell it again with not loss whatsoever. It's a win-win situation.
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Old 01-05-2006   #21
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I've found holding the GSN and focusing a bit irritating. I would prefer the right-hand side to be a bit longer. Either I have to focus with just the one finger on the ridged piece on the focus ring or I find my fingers hitting the hand supporting the camera.

The focus ring on my Canonet has a bit less resistance, so it's quicker to focus for me. The RF is also more contrasty and easier to focus with in dim light; I've cleaned both VF/RFs. So far I haven't really had a use for the GSN that I wouldn't rather use the Canonet for; fill-flash during the day is about the only thing I can think of, GSN being much quicker with it's aperture priority AE.
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Old 01-22-2006   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greyhoundman
I personally would go for a small frame QL17. I have done some research into the lens problem with the GIII's. There appears to have been a problem with the coatings/glass on the lenses starting with their production. Evidently not very sterile conditions.

When you say "small frame OL17" you are meaning? I am currently looking for a QL17 and have never heard that expression before.

You donīt happen to have a QL17 for sale?
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Old 01-22-2006   #23
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I have both, actually 2 GSNs. I prefer the Canonet simply because mine WORKS. I have yet to hold a GSN that actually works. Stupid pad of death. Anybody wanna fix these for me?
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Old 01-22-2006   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zepofan
When you say "small frame OL17" you are meaning? I am currently looking for a QL17 and have never heard that expression before.
Small frame OL17? Me either.

I think what he meant was precisely that: a small frame QL17 rather than a full-frame may have performed better, according to his observations. I may have lucked out, then, because mine rocks, full frame and wide open.
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Old 01-22-2006   #25
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I also have a canonet and a GSN. Actually I just "won" a second Canonet on evilbay. That one looked like it was NEVER used. It came with a box, never ready case [not bad but not great shape] all the paperwork, and a nice nylon padded bag for under $50. [I got it and shipped it off to greyhoundman to do his magic on the battery chamber]

I got the second for my youngest son. I will probably get another for my 2nd son for snowboarding. AND here comes the point, the canonet is [to me anyway] less awkward, able to shoot without batteries, you know what the settings were when you shot, and can be carried over the shoulder/under a coat for a looooong time. The Yashica is much heavier/bigger and would not be as comfortable to carry for long periods. My second son wants to take cameras snowboarding and his MESUPER is too bulky especially if you FALL on it .

On the other hand, your milage may vary. As was mentioned up stream buy both they are cheap enough
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Old 01-22-2006   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greyhoundman
Frame refers to the body size.
Ahhhhh... Never thought of referring to the camera body as a frame.
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Old 01-22-2006   #27
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I have a GSN (as well as some other Yashicas) and found that the RF is not as good as I supposed they were (all of them were cleaned) . The Canonet I have today is the old (big body with full set of speeds) QL 17. Itīs RF is far better than the Yashicas and focusing is a lot easier and faster, even in difficult situations.
Yashicas VF/RF seem (IMO) to have been poorly designed and focusing sometimes becomes a nightmare, specially in dim light with bright spots (internal reflections and poorly contrasted RF Patch).
There is a big diference in VF/RF design between both cameras (colour and contrast of the RF patch) which makes the difference.
Differences in every camera abilities are the reasons why I keep both.

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Old 01-23-2006   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greyhoundman
Frame refers to the body size. There was the QL17 large, and then they switched to a smaller frame(body) for the next in the series.

Thanx a lot for clearing that. Now I just have to find one.



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Old 01-23-2006   #29
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I have both, actually 2 GSNs. I prefer the Canonet simply because mine WORKS. I have yet to hold a GSN that actually works.
For me it was the other way around. I had come across 2 QL17 G111's, but both of them were not working. I never bothered to buy them.
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Old 01-23-2006   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phquest
I find that focusing is way faster with the Canonet.
Several people have noted this. Be aware that this is because the focus has 1/8th of a turn throw. i.e. 45 degrees between closest focus and infinity focus. This limits focus accuracy, but since it has a short RF base anyway I don't suppose that matters. It not only means you can focus quickly by eye, but it is also easy to guess focus. It has a monster focus tab too :-)

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Old 01-23-2006   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greyhoundman
.... I have done some research into the lens problem with the GIII's. There appears to have been a problem with the coatings/glass on the lenses starting with their production. Evidently not very sterile conditions.

How bad/common is that problem? There are a couple of QL17 GIII on ebay that looks nice but maybe I should wait for a non GIII?
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Old 01-24-2006   #32
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I have multiples of both. I'll try not to be redundant with regard to previous posts unless I have a strong opinion.
* I use both for quick street photography, relying on their metering. When I'm doing my own "eye" metering or using a meter, I use my Canon L1 rangefinder.
* I prefer the Yashica - my main axe is a GTN, but I used to usually use a GSN. The GS/GT is pretty much the same without a hot shoe.
* The Yashica is wonderful for low-light photography because of the insane shutter speed length. Mine have taken exposures far beyond 30 seconds, btw. That's the published spec, but I think it can be much longer. Not sure if it's accurate beyond 30 seconds, but I shoot b/w negatives, so it matters a bit less.
* The Canonet sucks in low light in automatic (shutter priority) mode. The slowest shutter speed is 1/4 second, and if you're using its meter, it just won't let you take a photo if it's not going to be a "correct" exposure. That being said, you can't take a photo with the lens cap on! With the Yashicas... um, yeah, I have some blank frames in my archives.
* The Canon has a wonderful flash in theory - the Canolite D. These are readily available. They adjust intensity based on distance from subject. No need to dial in a guide number or do any math. So indoor photography is a snap. I don't find that it's perfect though, but that could be a defect in the Canonet G-III that I usually use.
* I think the Canonet's lens is a little better wide open. I find the Yashica's breaks up a bit at the edges of the frame once in a great while. But I like the overall contrast and look better with the Yashica.
* The Canonet slips into a jacket pocket, the GTN does not (especially if you use a shade). It's not like carrying around an SLR though. I've never felt fatigued carrying it unless it's an all day excursion, in which case I'm also carrying a bag for film, etc.

I also use an Olympus RC, somewhat dented, and it's a champ. It's super-compact, significantly smaller than the Canonet front-to-back and side-to-side, with a really nice lens (though slower at f:2.8). It's also shutter-priority or manual. I don't even have a strap on mine so I can truly slip it in a pocket. It's often my choice when I'm walking my dogs.

In summary, the Yashica G series and Canonet QL17 G-III are best when used to their advantages--shutter-priority or aperture-priority. I prefer to set aperture when shooting on the street to control DOF, but it's pretty easy to adjust on the Canonet due to the viewfinder info which lets you know the aperture selected. So you can turn the shutter ring and adjust aperture if you'd like.

If I'm going to meter (i.e. if I have the time to meter--I'm not good doing it in my head), I'd rather use a rangefinder without a fixed lens. That's why I use my Canon L1 the most, especially when going to a photogenic destination or photographing a family event. I can carry a bag with my 15mm, 28mm, 50mm and 85mm and do whatever's needed with the best lens I can afford.

If you look in my poorly-maintained gallery, you'll see the Canonet at work on The Gates. Many of the others were taken with the Yashica GSN.

One last note: it's really difficult to find a Canonet everready case in good condition. They did not hold up well overall. It's easy to find a Yashica case in good condition. Though rightfully-dubbed "neverready," they're somewhat essential to block the battery test button from being pushed when you're not using it. I've burned through batteries due to the camera back being pushed up against something, and the case helps prevent that. I keep the bottom on anyway to protect the camera bottom.

Sorry so long - hope it helps.
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