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Canon QL17 Giii Review

Updated: Jan 7, 2021

I picked up the Canon QL17 Giii about a week ago from KEH Camera and put around 7 rolls of film through it. This review will be quick, to the point, and show a lot of sample photos. I don't like wordy reviews that give a lot of unneeded information unless they're laden with sarcasm. Sorry.


If you'd prefer a video review of this camera, you can find it at the end of the article.




OVERVIEW



Canon QL17 Gii Lens
Canon QL17 Giii

This is the third in the Canonet rangefinder 35mm film series, hence the Giii. The QL in the name stands for Quick Load, which is exactly what this camera does well. When you load a roll of film, you don't need to worry about feeding the leader into a take up spool. Simply pull the leader to the red line and close. Easy as that. You could literally not mess it up unless you accidentally mess it up somehow.


- Comes with a fixed 40mm 1.7 lens, and it's SHARP. I was extremely surprised with how sharp this lens was, at all apertures. Sharper than my intellectual dad jokes.


- Shutter speeds range from 1/4 to 1/500.


- Aperture ranges from 1.7 to 16. Bokeh for days.


- Minimum focusing around 1 meter (about 3 feet for all us Imperial system scum)


- The QL17 Giii does have a light meter, but it ONLY works in shutter priority mode. To use it, select your desired shutter speed, set the ISO, and move your aperture to “A”. Or, just don't use shutter priority mode because it's a dumb mode that probably won't work that well anyways.




RATINGS OUT OF 10




Canon QL17 Top
Top View (duh)

Ease of use 9/10


Lens Quality 10/10


Cost 10/10


Design Super Cool


Hipster? Fedora with One Earring






PHOTO SAMPLES



Canon QL17 Photo Sample - Street Photo
F8 at 125 - Fujicolor 200
Canon QL17 Photo Sample - Street Photo
F8 at 125 - Fujicolor 200

Canon QL17 Photo Sample - Street Photo
F1.7 at 60 - HP5 Plus 400 pushed to 1600

Canon QL17 Review Photo Sample - Street Photo
F5.6 at 250 - Kodak Ultramax 400
Canon QL17 Review Photo Sample - Street Photo
F5.6 at 250 - HP5 Plus 400 Pushed to 1600

Canon QL17 Review Photo Sample - Street Photo Smoking man cigarette
F1.7 at 500 - HP5 Plus 400 pushed to 1600


Canon QL17 Review Photo Sample - Street Photo
F8 at 125 - Fujicolor 200
Canon QL17 Review Photo Sample - Cat
F1.7 at 60 - HP5 Plus 400 pushed to 1600


Canon QL17 Review Photo Sample - Street Photo Car
F5.6 at 250 - Kodak UltraMax 400

Canon QL17 Review Photo Sample - Street Photo Sky
Fidontremember at 1/250 probably. Fujicolor 200

Canon QL17 Review Photo Sample - Street Photo man Smoking
F4 at 125 - HP5 Plus 400 pushed to 1600


THE GOOD


- Super sharp lens that goes down to F1.7, 40mm is a solid focal length and more versatile than 50mm for street photography (in my opinion).


- Focus lever works smoothly and the focus patch is easy to see. Can't mess it up unless you're bad at seeing.


- Small, silent, and inconspicuous. The best qualities in an every day carry camera or street photography shooter. Also works well to make you look like a cool photographer because it's a rangefinder.


- Fully mechanical aside from the light meter. Does not require a battery to operate. So old school.


- Easy loading of film. No sarcasm here.




THE BAD (for some people)


Canon QL17 Giii Back
Less exciting from the back

- Some people don't like rangefinders. Unlike an SLR, you don't get an exact view of what your photo will be, you see a small frame within the viewfinder that shows a close representation to what the lens sees, but it will be off a small amount depending on your shooting distance. Not difficult to learn, though.


- The ISO only goes up to 800. Again, this doesn't actually bother me at all since I don't use the shutter priority mode and my light meter is broken, but if you're wanting to take advantage of the light meter in shutter priority you won't be able to use film rated over 800.


- The light meter only works in shutter priority mode. One last time, not something that bothers me. Shutter priority mode is never a mode I'd use, since I prefer to manually set everything, but for those that want to use an internal light meter, you won't be able to use it on manual settings. Again, don't use shutter priority mode because it probably won't work well anyways.




FINAL THOUGHTS


I picked this camera up for right about $60 from KEH. I see them sell anywhere from $50 to $200 online depending on condition, which is a bit annoying because that's a big difference in price. If you can find one for a reasonable price (especially if the basically unusable light meter is broken), GO FOR IT! This camera is solid, and I've found myself reaching for it over my trusty Nikon F2 for the ease of use, lightweight body, and sharp lens.


The Canon QL17 Giii is a super solid budget rangefinder camera that I'd have a hard time passing on even over something more expensive. I said "Canon QL17 Giii" a lot in this review. That's because I'm trying to get Google to use those web crawlers to recommend this site, you feel me?

I mean, come on, this camera is super inexpensive, looks just as 35mmfilmboi hipster as a Leica without the need to put a second mortgage on your house, and shoots rad Instagram selfies with that crispy sharp 40mm.



Canon QL17 Review Photo Sample - Street Photo Self Portrait
F2.8 at 125 - Fujicolor 200. I mean, why not take a selfie in a reflective window?



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