Canon Canonet QL19 GIII
5 frames with...

5 Frames with a Canon Canonet QL19 GIII and Cinestill 50D in Ilfosol 3 – by Sacha Cloutier

September 12, 2020

In my quest for the ideal kit, or collection, I have tried to narrow down the camera’s that I really want to try. It’s the hope that I can get my purchases under control. I don’t think it’s working. At least I am getting fun cameras out of this. I started this adventure at the beginning of May when I bought a box of cameras. The goal to try as many cameras as I can with a consistent turnaround in stock. I have yet to get rid of a camera since then.

Now my wanted list is a mix of the clichés, suggestions, YouTube video reviews, and articles on this site. Among these was the Canonet QL17 GIII. Sadly the prices, like those of the mju-ii and other online “gems”, have skyrocketed. In my area, that means about $300, which is ridiculous. I kept on the lookout just in case but put it on the back burner.

It didn’t stay there long. After two months, I saw an ad for my elusive Canonet for about half the cost of the others that I had been seeing. I saw that the Etsy vendor was in my home city of Montreal. I sent the guy a message and asked if I could pick it up. He was very willing to oblige, especially since he did not have to give Etsy a cut. So I met up with the dude in a trendy neighbourhood, and one quick money transfer later, I was the proud owner of a… Canon Canonet QL19 GIII. That’s right, not the model I thought I had bought. Now, the ad was accurate, I was not duped, there was no foul play. I’m just… over-exuberant. I was lured in by the lower price and didn’t even know to look at the number after the QL and before the GIII. This is because there are probably a hundred QL17 GIII reviews for every QL19 GIII review, if not more.

This is a huge gap in the internet hive-mind. Why is that? Well I definitely plan to find out! Today I will share 5 images from my first roll but I will be giving a full review in a couple of months, once I have run a few rolls and tested it in as many situations as I can. Hopefully we can find out if the QL19 deserves to be in the same conversation as its sibling. I understand that everyone loves fast lenses but does a difference of 0.2 aperture really warrant twice the price? It might, but does it mean it should be ignored like it seems to be?

Before we get to the pictures, I must mention that my limited experience with a rangefinder is hindering my ability to get all the shots that I want but I am improving. When I got my focus right, the images were super sharp. Another thing is that I really did not meter all of my shots. I will be trying to get one of those small off camera meters that mount on the hot shoe. I got the idea from one of Hamish’s articles here.

To top this all off, I also messed up my film selection. I had non-specifically asked for a roll of Cinestill and was given a roll of Cinestill 50D. This would not have been a problem but I was intending to develop the roll myself. So I shot the roll, put it in change bag, loaded it to a reel, dropped it in the Paterson tank, and sealed it. It was only when I looked up the development times for Cinestill 50D in Ilfosol 3 did I find out that it was a color film to be developed using C-41 chemicals. The film was already rolled and I was not showing up at a local photo shop with a Paterson tank. So I guessed the times and said fuck it, let’s take a gamble on the 3rd roll I develop myself since buying darkroom supplies 10 days ago.

These were then scanned on my Canon 5600F. Sadly you can see that my negatives were scratched by the squeegee.

Griffintown Montreal

One of the first shots I took with the Canonet QL19 GIII

Spiky plant

While not the most impressive or interesting of shots, I was pleased with the sharpness.

Ducks in a pond

This shot was done in harsh sunlight and not metered. It still came out well.

Flea Market

In Quebec, flea markets have re-opened. I left with a Canon T50 and a couple of FD lenses.

No Parking

I am impressed with the range of tones I got from the Cinestill 50D although it was processed in B&W chemicals.

Do you think that a full review of the Canon Canonet QL19 GIII is worth bringing to our community? Do you think that it should be as ignored as it is? Any experience shooting C-41 film in black and white chemicals?

Thanks for reading!

I started a film photography IG: ekpfilmphoto



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  • Reply
    September 12, 2020 at 11:48 am

    love your approach. i vote for full review

    • Reply
      Sacha Cloutier
      September 12, 2020 at 4:01 pm

      Thanks! I replied to your comment on Instagram. A review will be coming for sure.

  • Reply
    Neal A Wellons
    September 12, 2020 at 11:56 am

    I can’t answer your question about a review of the Canon since I know little to nothing about them. My only Canon is a Demi 1/2 frame which I love.

    I had good luck processing Kodak Portra 400 in HC-110. If you, or anyone is interested, there is a Flickr Group “COLOR Films Developed in B/W Chemicals” with 2,031 members, 4,000 photos and 153 discussions.

    • Reply
      Sacha Cloutier
      September 12, 2020 at 4:02 pm

      Oh, I’m definitely check that out! I want to see how various stocks can come out in B&W. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Reply
    Brian nicholls
    September 12, 2020 at 12:53 pm

    Hello Sacha, You and your Canon have done a splendid job here – such pleasing B + W renditions. Let me be the first then to vote for a full revue of the ’19’

    • Reply
      Sacha Cloutier
      September 12, 2020 at 4:05 pm

      Thank you! I will be doing a review for sure. The interest here has sealed the deal. I’m going to be doing it in the fall as I have started also processing in C-41 and want to see this little camera handle the wide variety of colorful leaves.

  • Reply
    Bob Janes
    September 12, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    The first camera that was mine (rather than borrowed from my dad) was a second-hand Cannonet 1.9 – but mine was the older version with the selenium meter around the lens and the ‘unusual’ wind-on setup. It broke the first evening and went back to the shop. I’ve not had a lot of luck with Canon cameras, but think a full review is well justified.

    Do you find the shutter release uncomfortable? The ones I have used seem to require quite heavy pressure and the broad button doesn’t seem to help as much as it looks like it should…

    • Reply
      Sacha Cloutier
      September 12, 2020 at 4:18 pm

      I have been used to Canon cameras over the years with most of my DSLRs being from Canon, as well as getting the AE-1 and the A-1. I’ve always had good luck with them, minus the A-1 having a shutter squeak. None of them as in my collection anymore though, but there are still a few “lesser” Canon SLRs around. Inspired by Hamish’s affection for Pentax camera, I similarly want to get all the T-series SLR cameras. I have the T50 currently and missed a great opportunity for a T80 recently as my funds went to buy a Bronica.

      I find that the shutter button definitely has some resistance, which is making me try to shoot with a high shutter speed because I feel that I move the camera while pressing it. It might just be something that I need to get used to. I got used to it with my OlympusPen EES-2. I will be sure to address that in the review for everyone!

  • Reply
    Marc Wick
    September 12, 2020 at 2:16 pm

    For sure you should do a review! This is what I really like on 35mmc: almost everyday I read about a camera which I have never seen before. I love these articles, always a joy to read about the experiences with the camera and the different film types. As far as I can see, the photos look very good, nothing to criticize. I think because of its size the Canon should be a very good camera for street photography.

    • Reply
      Sacha Cloutier
      September 12, 2020 at 4:30 pm

      Honestly I love this site for the same reason too. There is the opportunity to discover new cameras that I want and others that I now know to avoid. By Hamish allowing both professionals and amateurs (like me) the chance to participate, we have so many bases covered. I try to find a review here if I can before buying my cameras. This being global, wow does that open things up! I saw a FB Marketplace ad the other day where the guy used a 35mmc review as a selling point.

      The size and quiet shutter really do make this camera great for street photography. It’s a little bit heavier than I thought, but it’s not a bad thing. It feels sturdy and well built.

  • Reply
    Michael J
    September 12, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    Thanks for your splendid article and photos! I believe it’s good for us to be thoroughly mistaken sometimes, and you handled your double ‘trompe’ of wrong process and wrong camera very deftly, if I may say so.
    The business of un-metered “exposure by instinct” is generally underrated as well. Hi-tech SLRs and certainly digital/phone photography makes us think it’s difficult when eye/brain is just fine.

    • Reply
      Sacha Cloutier
      September 12, 2020 at 4:36 pm

      Thank you for the kind words. I was missing the days before I went digital when I had my Minolta XG-7. For a good while, I did not even know that cameras had a light meter, I thought the expectations were that you metered by eye. This was pre-Google so I had not researched much. I don’t get that ease of going meterless with many cameras but I feel that I can trust myself with the Canonet. I meter the first shot and then adjust myself. Many films these days offer a good amount of range to play with anyhow.

      And yes, I think photography is made fun because of happy “mistakes”. Unless I am working on a specific idea or for someone else, I find that I can learn more from user error and get results I may not have noticed with a camera glued to my eye.

  • Reply
    September 12, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    Sacha, judging by the first shot it seems you’ve got yourself a good camera. I believe apart from a battery check button, which the 17 has and the 19 doesn’t, the main difference is that the lens for the 19 has 5 elements in 4 groups whereas the 17 has 6 elements in 5 groups.Plus the slightly wider max aperture.
    Whether that makes any real difference is debatable.
    But please go ahead and do a full review.

    • Reply
      Sacha Cloutier
      September 13, 2020 at 6:00 am

      I do agree that this is a nifty little camera. I’m hoping to be able to do some street photography next summer, if the universe allows it! From what I have ascertained, you’re pretty much on the money for the differences. There are just so few articles on this. It is just so odd. I have been impressed by it so far and it definitely deserves it’s own little slice of the interwebs.

  • Reply
    Sergio Palazzi
    September 12, 2020 at 6:19 pm

    QL 19 is not so common, the main difference from legendary 17 is the lens (5/4 instead of 6/5) – should be the same of original “19” , thinking at Canon standards of the time, it should be a good lens too. I have seen only one of these but never tried it. Try it with FP4 and let us see 😉

    • Reply
      Sacha Cloutier
      September 13, 2020 at 6:05 am

      I will get a roll the next time I head out to the photography store in a week or two. I just stocked up on FP4 but it’s in 120 format. I think I’ll run a roll of FP4 and a roll of Portra or 400H through it for my review. I’ll probably write it at the end of the month which hopefully will mean the leaves will have started turning.

  • Reply
    Tobias Eriksson
    September 12, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    Thanks for an earnest take on this mystery – 17 GIII vs 19 GIII!
    I know from experience that Portra 160 does splendidly in caffenol. Considering the shutter on Canonets, I use a soft release for my old (larger) model Canonet 17 and wish I had with the Canonet 28 I exposed a couple of rolls with.

    • Reply
      Sacha Cloutier
      September 13, 2020 at 6:11 am

      This will be my first real review! I really like your articles so it means a lot. Big fan of the your recent Canon comparison, your little minolta comparison, and I learned quite a bit about redscale because of you (although I’m not ready to go down that road just yet).

  • Reply
    Sergio Palazzi
    September 12, 2020 at 9:39 pm

    QL 19 is not so common, the main difference from legendary 17 is the lens (5/4 instead of 6/5) – thinking at Canon standards of the time, it should be a good lens too. I have seen only one of these but never tried it.

  • Reply
    Sergio Palazzi
    September 12, 2020 at 9:42 pm

    sorry I had a draft on one browser then I sent the complete post from another and the first draft arrived on 2nd place !! 🙁

    • Reply
      Sacha Cloutier
      September 13, 2020 at 6:12 am

      No worries! Sometimes the internet has a mind of its own!

  • Reply
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