Random Ramblings: My Intimate Review with the Canon Canonet A.K.A. Zoya

Hi guys! It’s me again, and after a few days (again) of inactivity, here I am with another post – this time, it’s the long-awaited (heck what?) review of the Canon Canonet, or in this case, MY Canon Canonet AKA Zoya.

Well, as of time of writing, I’m setting up something to take moar pictures of my beloved Zoya, because during my hiatus in writing here, I’ve been doing serious academic stuff (animation, illustration, petting stray cats, stuff like that.)  Forgive me if I missed out something, so let’s start this madness right now.

Overall Information:

Cute sonofabish, ain’t it?

This is the Canon Canonet. Great intro, right? Well, for starters, this is a Canon classic, meaning this thing is being sought after by collectors due to its rarity or uniqueness – in Canonet’s case, it’s because it is one of the bestsellers in the cheap rangefinder market made by Canon. It is said that after releasing this to the market, it was quickly sold out in just one night. I guess that might be a factor in making it a collector’s item, methinks.

The body itself is made from aluminum (?) and Bakelite – quite heavy for beginners, but if you’re like me who’s used to carry almost 4 kilos of stuff inside a small bag, I think you’ll get used to it.

Design:

It’s just. so. off! WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE LIKE THIS?

Well, I guess this is one of the odd features of the Canonet – the advance lever, together with the knob to open the latch that covers the innards of this beast is located at the bottom. For those used with the advance lever at the top near the shutter button, you might have a hard time getting used to this thing – I mean look at it! It’s just… Urgh!

[Rants on the background; goes back to type]

*Cough* Anyway, besides that odd design, everything else in this camera makes it beautiful in a way. The design of the lines that form the words “Canonet” is just plain gorgeous. As an Arts student who’s trained to look at things in an aesthetic way, it’s something to behold. Plus, for a guy like me whose using money to learn at a top-notch University in my land, this is a cheap replacement for the more gorgeous, more breath-taking Leica.

 

Clean lines, clean top.

Ease of Use:

Well, like I said before, this thing is quite fiddly to use, because the advance lever is just so off. But hey, it’s like training yourself in shooting guns – you use your index and middle fingers (in which order you want) when advancing your film.

Loading the film is not that easy though – when I first tested this with $3 films that I bought, the first two didn’t make it to the cut, just because I missed one important part. You see, there’s a protruding piece of metal that’s located in the loading film thingy. Supposedly, you should put that in one of the holes in your film. Do it wrong… Well, you wasted one roll of film.

Once you’ve passed that annoying part, shooting it is quite a breeze. Heck, when I started shooting this thing, it’s like I’m in a makeshift battlefield, shooting everyone as fast as possible. Until I realized, after 30 minutes of shooting, I realized that I finished off my film.

Now here’s the tricky part – rewinding the film BACK to the canister. There’s a small latch thing that’s located underneath the Canonet. That’s the rewind lever (or wheel, because in my case, I keep spinning that P-O-S until the film’s back in the canister.) Yes, it’s kinda fun at first, BUT BE CAREFUL – If you’re like me who likes hanging at least 4-5cm of film outside to make it easier to unload for development, you’re gonna have a hard time. You must listen or feel the film detaching itself from the metal thing inside, or it’ll roll continuously inside.

Odds and Ends:

Well, fun part’s over, let’s check the stuff I missed in this thing.

First off, here’s one “cute” feature of this thing.

Presenting, the BUG EYE!

Bug-eyed lens makes it weird, but trust me, everything is just fine.

OK, I didn’t have high hopes on that one… Anyway, this is the bug-eyed selenium meter that’s inherent in every Canonet first-gen RF. The meter is activated by light, meaning that this baby’s battery free. Hooray! It’s less expensive than its younger counterparts, but I have to warn you: Don’t rely TOO MUCH on the meter since the Canon Canonet is more than 40 years old, and Selenium meters last till 40 YEARS, so the metering is off. Very. Off.

The next one (and quite common in most RF’s I guess), is the “T-Lock”. This thing surrounds the shutter button of the Canon Canonet, and it’s primary use is to lock the shutter button when doing long time exposures. Aside from that, its locks the shutter button in place, so there are no wasted shots when you keep it inside your bag – quite a bummer sometimes. Come on, you guys have experienced that.

Verdict:

Well, let’s get serious for a moment. Shooting with the Canonet is something that’ll make you experience what the masters of street photography did in the olden days. It makes you relax a little bit and think more of your shots, because for one thing, you’re using film with 36 shots – an equivalent of a 1GB SD Card that’s filled with 76 shots(?) of RAW Format shots. It also makes you admire the classic quality of rangefinders, something that kids today like, since they’re all going gaga with retro film effects on Instagram and the like.

Personally, I could’ve started with an easier RF for me to use (Yashica or the Olympus ones are mostly recommended by the forum people,) but since I love taking the challenge, I opted using this one. And it made me realize that it’s really fun shooting with film. Shooting with the Canonet for a month made me a bit conscious about shooting back to digital, since before this epiphany of mine, I’ve been shooting like a madman on the streets, wasting the precious memory of my 4GB SD Card.

So would I recommend this to anyone? Sure, if you like challenging yourself. This is not for those who likes automatic actions too much – it’s just counterproductive to the analog features of this beast. Well sure, some of its features are a bit auto, but winding the film below, pressing the shutter button above – it’s something that requires patience, and a lot of fiddling fingers. But hey, if you’re like me who loves being challenged by stuff (aside from cats), then I’d gladly recommend this to you.

So there you have it folks, a really confusing review of the Canon Canonet. Questions? Comments? Negative reactions? Questions about why I like cats? Well then feel free to comment down!

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