The Travelling Canonet – Original Canonet Roll #1

You can read about the Travelling Canonet project here. We have over 50 photographers on 4 continents waiting to take part. Two Canonets are involved, each travelling in a different direction. The idea is to take 5 or more shots and then send the camera on to the next person on the list.

Canonet front

Original Canonet – Roll #1

As I write the two cameras involved in this project have been through 8 pairs of hands (including me for both cameras). A Canonet 28 is currently in North America, while the Original Canonet has been pottering around the UK home counties.

I’m pleased to report that we have pictures from the original Canonet!

The following pictures have been produced by myself, Max, Adam, Jeff and Matthew – The film was Kentmere 400, developed in R09 and scanned with a Dimage Scan Elite II.

I’m to blame for the captions.


During lockdown I’ve been overusing a lot of my local photographic haunts, but I wanted to show something of my local area – the river is always an inspiration and the barrier at Charlton offers something a little out of the ordinary. Luckily the fast lens of the Canonet means that grey days are less of a problem than they would be with slower optics. I just found myself hoping that I didn’t break the camera before it reached anyone else on the list.

Frame 1. Vastly OoF selfie-ish establishing shot
Frame 2. The Thames at Charlton looking upriver from the Barrier
Frame 3. Walkway beneath the Barier control buildings
Frame 4. Since 1984 the Thames barrier has been making sure that those up-river from Charlton do not suffer wet feet in flooding during high tides. Unfortunately I live just two miles downstream…
Frame 5. The Royal Iris has been a London resident for the last 20 years. Unfortunately she has eshewed boyancy. She now rests on the Thames mud and gets swamped twice daily
Frame 6. Looking upriver along the towpath to the barrier. First show of some artifacts in the lower part of the frame (flare?)
Frame 7. My last frame, which seemed to have some issues with a light leak and a slight blend into the next shots…


Max writes:

“As someone who uses an M4 as their main camera, I immediately found myself comparing the two. The Canonet was both larger and heavier than I would have thought, with it definitely weighing more than the M4 with a lens mounted. In terms of useability, the rangefinder patch left a bit to be desired but I absolutely loved the trigger shutter wind. It definitely it in well to the style of street photography I enjoy, and having seen the results the lens is super sharp and the meter is pretty much bang on. Overall definitely fun to use, and I wish I’d had it for longer! They may have crept into a saved search on ebay…”

Frame 8.

Frame 9 was unexposed. The following shots were taken around the Shoreditch area.

Frame 10. Looks like some form of accidental exposure (the ragged edge looks a bit like a cassette light trap). Underlying shot looks like a diagonal rendering of a local train station…
Frame 11. Train carriage
Frame 12. Shoreditch
Frame 13. Street food
Frame 14. Mulled wine


Adam writes:

“Having always used SLRs, I was keen to counter my long-standing bias with the travelling Canonet rangefinder. The weather had been bright and sunny and I was looking forward to some monochrome chiaroscuro. Naturally, when the moment arrived, the thickest layer of wet murky gloom hung over the London skyline consigning all my plans to the realm of fantasy.  With poor light, a freezing wind and an endless amount of rain, I headed to the historic Greenwich shoreline for some grimy history and a bout of naval gazing.

The Canonet was heavier than many I’ve used but it proved a handy counterweight as I slipped and slid on the mud and algae covered surfaces.  And the hood helped deflect the rain, even if the rain deflected normal souls from their usual larking about.  Focusing the rangefinder patch with frozen hands and wet glasses while slowly sinking into the mud, however, was a challenge I hadn’t fully appreciated before embarking on my expedition, especially with an incoming tide.  Fortunately for the entire future of the travelling project, the camera made it safely back to dry land cocooned in a camera bag, which is perhaps a little more than can be said for its operator.”

Frame 15.
Frame 16. Foreshore at Greenwich at low tide
Frame 17. Foreshore looking up towards the Cutty Sark and the Dome of the southern end of the foot tunnel
Frame 18. Foreshore looking up-river (slight repeat of that flare from frame 6?)
Frame 19. Reflections (and another hint of that flare)
Frame 20. Underside of the massive Jetty that used to supply the riverside power station at Greenwich with fuel.
Frame 21. Cutty Sark masts


Jeff writes:

“When I first heard about the Travelling Canonet I was intrigued, when I read about I was very keen to take part. I could see that I was quite close to where Bob lives so I figured it would be either a year or two or a few weeks before I got to get my hands on it. As it happened, I didn’t have to wait long. I was surprised at how nice the camera looked, I’m a Nikon man and Olympus man so was eager to try it. So eager in fact, I didn’t look up the manual on the internet until after I’d ‘wasted’ two of my five frames. Folkestone is normally a bright vibrant town, but the weekend of my turn, it was winter, grey, and Folkestone was dead and cold. Two more frames down, the harbour and Mermaid artwork overlooking the beach, didn’t look promising as great photos, so I carried the camera to a lovely little location that looks good in any weather and shot the last frame. The Arches.

I packaged the camera up, lovely and secure, and posted off to Bob’s next volunteer. And promptly forgot about it.

A month or so later, I got an email entitled ‘Pictures!!’ I’ll let Bob say the rest…. A lovely little opportunity.”

Frame 22. 3:42
Frame 24. Spot the camera. Rolleiflex, OM1, a premium Nikon digital…
Frame 25. I believe this is the ‘Folkestone Mermaid’ – a sculpture in Bronze by Connelia Parker (rather than a brave winter sun-worshiper)
Frame 26. Low tide
Frame 27. Arches


Matthew writes:

“Using the Canonet was a good chance to get more thoughtful about photography, especially with the 20 second delay on reset of the shutter!*

It was great to use a rangefinder for focus and I enjoyed the simplicity greatly

I was surprised at how easy it was and the quality of images produced.”

*I’m guessing Matthew triggered the delay timer on the barrel of the Canonet – I had never experimented with it.

Frame 28. A classier intro frame than mine…
Frame 29. Suburbia
Frame 30. Streetlife
Frame 31. Bloom
Frame 32. Almost jewel-like, bokeh.
Frame 33

Many thanks to Max, Adam, Jeff and Matthew, along with all the other participants in the Travelling Canonet project.

More soon…

Contribute to 35mmc for an Ad-free Experience

There are two ways to experience 35mmc without the adverts:

Paid Subscription - £2.99 per month and you'll never see an advert again! (Free 3-day trial).
Subscribe here.

Content contributor - become a part of the world’s biggest film and alternative photography community blog. All our Contributors have an ad-free experience for life.
Sign up here.

About The Author

9 thoughts on “The Travelling Canonet – Original Canonet Roll #1”

    1. The current list is pretty long – however you are welcome to send your details in (the email address is in the original article, which is referenced in the first para of this article).
      I would hope that there might be other similar projects (there was previously a ‘Traveling Yashica’).

  1. What is a foreshaw? A foreshore I am familiar with and it’s indicated on Ordnance Survey coastal maps.

  2. This is such a great project. Wonderful to see all your takes on how to use the same camera. Where are those arches in Jeff’s frame #27? Great location for portraits, I reckon.

  3. Ah the timer, that caught me out on my first few frames being the recipient of the camera after Matthew S.
    Looking foward to seeing more results .

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top