Travelling from Pittsburgh to West Hollywood : Canonet 28 roll #5

By Bob Janes

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. Participants take 5 or more shots and send the camera on to the next person on the list. Previous pictures from the first, second, third  and fourth rolls from this camera and the first  and second rolls from the Original Canonet are also available on 35mmc.

This article covers the fifth roll taken with the Canonet 28 as it makes its way back across the United States from east to west.


Scott writes:

It was a joy to get a week with the Canonet.  It’s a surprisingly heavy little camera and feels very sturdy.  As Bob noted in his review, it has some battery issues.  The light meter needle in the viewfinder also wasn’t giving me much confidence when I used the camera, so I’m happy to see the roll looks reasonably exposed.

These 5 frames were shot in a cemetery in Pittsburgh on a very overcast day.

Frames 1-5 by Scott

The gate to the cemetery.
A mausoleum.  I like the way the contrast came together in this photograph.
A bench next to a (different) mausoleum.
A deer.  The perspective doesn’t quite tell you that I was actually very close to this deer.
Rocks on a headstone.  I was curious to see what kind of results I could get trying to focus on something close.


Sonny writes:

I’m a semi-retired Ceramics teacher living in Reno Nevada with my wife and three cats. I publish a little photography blog called the Daily Lumenbox and occasionally write articles for 35mmc, which is ‘I think’ where I first heard about the Traveling Canonet. I thought it seemed like a brilliant idea and was thrilled when the Canonet arrived on my doorstep.

For these few shots, I thought I should include some locales that were somewhat iconic or representative of Reno. The downtown area of Reno is just a short walk away from my house, so most of these shots are taken there. In retrospect I wish I’d shot some of the beautiful art deco buildings that still remain downtown.

Frames 6-11 by Sonny

The old Reno Arch
El Centro Motel Downtown Reno
The Truckee River facing east
The old Remo Arch again
Urban Decay Downtown

The Canonet was fun and easy to use although I wasn’t particularly confident of its metering. I suppose I should have been though, as the exposures seem fine. I didn’t really use it long enough to have a strong opinion of it, but I would probably recommend one to someone looking for a compact, easy to use camera. Oh also, I did put a new battery in.


Cindy writes:

I took these on a walk around my neighborhood of Glendale, CA, USA, which is a suburb of LA. The street is full of auto mechanics, some with the same cars being worked on for months.

Frames 12-18 by Cindy

Sunbeam in front of checkered garage
Auto Sign with shrubbery
“Auto Body” sign on brick wall
Blank Billboard
Sunbeam on a slant
Truck w/ shrubbery. it’s hard to tell which came first – the car or the shrub.
Psychic Palm & Cards

The Canonet was a joy to use, so much so that I went past my allotment of shots – oops! The camera had clearly been taken care of and well documented on its journey before me, leaving a literal paper trail of fixes and quirks noted by the previous users. This camera must now be better traveled than most people.


Andres wites:

I prefer black and white to colour. Film to digital. Rangefinders [Leica CL] to SLRs. Built-form  to landscapes. The banal to the grand.

TLRs have a special place [Rolleiflex 3,5f with Zeiss Planar, Minolta Autocord, Ricohflex]. Folders do as well [Zeiss Super Ikonta BX 533/16].

Recently taken with scale focus cameras: Minox 35EL and Agfa Optima Sensor 1035. Easy to carry together in a small crossbody.

Frames 19-25½ by Andres

Previously a Staples Building 5405 Wilshire Blvd

Previously Wilshire Beauty, 5401 Wilshire Blvd
Walgreens 5467 Wilshire Blvd
Korean Cultural Center, 5505 Wilshire Blvd.
Marquee, El Rey Theater, 5515 Wilshire Blvd
El Rey Theater, 5515 Wilshire Blvd
Major malfunction. Film jammed and ripped when reaching the.end of the 24 frame roll, fortunately after making the requisite 5 frames. Thought it was a 36 frame roll.

Enjoyed using the camera. Not as simple as a scale-focus camera, or as light. But I liked letting the camera determine the shutter speed and aperture, just like the Agfa Optima Sensor 1035, aka the mini Plaubel Makina.

Still rather like Fomapan, a budget Czech film. Fortunately it’s at Freestyle Photo, which happens to be at 5401 Sunset.Blvd. ¿Coincidence?

Summing up

This post takes the number of people who have shot with this particular Canonet 28 up to 20. Far more than I’d anticipated either camera was likely to last, which is a great tribute to both the postal system and the community who have managed to keep the little ’28’ safe and working.

…and it is still going.

Thanks to all contributors for a fascinating glimpse into their lives and communities – and for showing what can be done with a relatively basic analogue point-and-shoot camera.

Particular thanks to Andres for getting the film developed and to Ivan in Florida for his part in arranging the scans of the negatives.

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About The Author

By Bob Janes
Retired IT guy. Volunteer stem-cell courier. Interested in education, photography and local history. Lives in Greenwich, SE London, UK.
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Alexander Seidler on Travelling from Pittsburgh to West Hollywood : Canonet 28 roll #5

Comment posted: 16/01/2023

The canonet journey is very nice. Thanks !

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Castelli Daniel on Travelling from Pittsburgh to West Hollywood : Canonet 28 roll #5

Comment posted: 15/01/2023

Hi Roll 5 Photographers! This is Dan C. From roll #2. I took my pics on Father’s Day, 2022. I mention this in the context of traveling time/distance. kinda like a NASA satellite going through space. Many nice pics, but what immediately was the different quality of light from Cali. It’s not just sunny (gray days here in CT) but different. I’m glad to see the comments people make about everyone maintaining the camera in good condition, the note taking keeping people informed, and others taking on developing/scanning film. Bob, you started a neat project, it’s united a group of strangers into a photo community. I hope this eventually leads to some type of published piece. I’ll contribute. Dan C. (

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Bob Janes replied:

Comment posted: 15/01/2023

It has been a blast and I've been very impressed with what people have produced with these cameras (to the extent of feeling slightly shame-faced at how tame my own shots were). The main thing for me is the window into other people's comminities. I am amazed at how many hands the cameras have gone through (esp the North American one) - both are now in customs transit - one to Scandanavia and one to South America - so they are more likely to go missing. Fingers crossed though...


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