First, let me explain:
I bought a camera, a Canonet 28 rangefinder 12 months ago from a market in Oswestry and instantly I fell in love with it’s small size and ease of use. That week I ran a film through it and the results were O.K but something was very wrong, I had horrible vertical lines and what looked like half frames over 90% of my negatives and consequently my prints too:
I only paid £3 for it but I was still quite unhappy as I knew what this little beast of a camera was capable of, unfortunately for me those capabilities did not translate through to my pictures.
I thought maybe it was the film, so I tried another. The same results. I thought perhaps it was the lab I was using, so I tried another and yet again, the same results.
At this point I’m gutted and beginning to type ‘canonet’ into Ebay every week to try and find a replacement. There were a few of them listed, but none of them £3. I’m about ready to quit.
I grab my DSLR again and begin using that, but in my opinion nothing can compare to the look and feel of film and also being able to fix a moment in time onto something physical is something that pleases me so once again I grab the Canonet and I proceed to open the back of it. I figure either the shutter is sticking or the rollers have filth in them so I use a small brush and some compressed air and I probe and hope that I can somehow accidentally fix the problem.
It’s 11 months now since I got my mitts on this camera and it’s still acting up but I had just messed with it so I cross my fingers and hope that this time my prints will be crystal clear and free from all unwanted lines and blemishes. I run a test film and low and behold, the results are exactly the same! I still have lines and I still have strange shadows and what look like half frames. A ghost in the camera maybe? I doubt it.
I’m now ready to take this heap of junk and toss it into a fire but I was desperate to take it with me to L’Eroica. The problem is it doesn’t work properly and time is running out for me to find a replacement.
I decide to finally take it to two camera stores with a selection of the dodgy prints to see if they can shed any light on my problem. I got nothing but the web address for a man who could “look at it” for me.
Three days now until L’Eroica and it’s not looking good so I have one last blast at fixing this piece of crap and then, after what seemed like hours of me staring into that back of the camera with a torch and a magnifying glass, like an apple falling onto the head it came to me *rolls drum* all along I’v been shooting rolls of film through this thing and it has no light seals, not anywhere, none!
A quick trip to my local haberdashery and I return with black felt and double sided tape for the DIY repair job. An hour later and I think I’ve solved my problem and just in the nick of time as in two days I fly to Italy for Le Coq Sportif’s L’Eroica. I have just enough time to shoot a roll and have it developed to see the results. These next prints will dictate whether this beauty of a rangefinder ends up either in the fire and burned to death or strapped proudly around my neck in Chianti.
It worked! I win! It’s now fixed and I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am, it’s such an amazing little thing, it really is and all for £3 too. If you are ever after a compact, robust rangefinder and you can’t afford a Leica, go for one of these, seriously, they are that good.
And now some shots from my trip to L’Eroica last week with Le Coq Sportif. All of the following photographs were taken using my repaired Canonet 28;
See the rest of the Canonet group here.
Peep the Le Coq Sportif L’Eroica photopool here.
For more of my black and white photo work peep my Tumblr.