Canonet 28

5 Frames with a Canonet 28 and Fuji C200 – By Andrew Bogard

The classic scene: an advert for a bunch of random film cameras that showed no hint of what the cameras actually were. I met with the seller and she showed me a dilapidated box of cameras. Everything reeked to high heaven of old basement but something caught my eye: A Canon branded rangefinder with simple rounded lines that didn’t yell out “Yo! I’m a fancy camera!”

I had never used a rangefinder before, so I paid 12 euros for what could have been a total bust.

Well, it was! The light sealing was more “-ing” than light seal, sticking to every edge of the camera, and it took 2 months for a suitable battery-adapter to come in the mail so I wouldn’t have to buy a battery that cost nearly as much as I paid for the camera (I guess in that sense it lives by the good-cheap-fast rule).

Luckily, once I repaired the light seals, cleaned off the decades of dirt, and plopped in the long-awaited battery/adapter, it came to life. I loaded in some Fujicolor C200 and headed out on a sunny Saturday.

The opera house in its sunny splendor

The focusing mechanism was a mixture of annoyance and fun, having to match a yellow double image in the viewfinder. Because I was a noob with rangefinders, I frequently forgot to use the parallax lines for framing, so sometimes I got wonky compositions back.

This is where using a rangefinder threw me a bit with framing. The faucet was supposed to be centered and the basin fully in the frame!

I enjoyed toting the pleasant looking Canonet around town. Even the traditionally camera-phobic Germans didn’t seem to care when I had the device to my eye.


Although my focusing is suspect, I’m still happy that I got it to take this picture after overriding its automatic shutter lockout for deducing the scene was too dark.

Now that the basement stink is gone and I’m familiar with parallax framing, I can say that I really enjoy the Canonet 28. It does a great job metering, and you can even override its “this scene is too dark” shutter shutout if you click the aperture ring off of automatic. My only frustration is that there is no way to manually select a shutter speed.

Diana gathering ingredients for her upcoming cookbook made for a fun quick portrait with the Canonet

With a nice lens, pleasing appearance, accurate metering, and relatively cheap price, I would recommend the Canonet 28 to anyone looking for a budget friendly rangefinder.

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10 thoughts on “5 Frames with a Canonet 28 and Fuji C200 – By Andrew Bogard”

  1. Pretty pictures, and what a great save from a box of junk!
    The Canonet is actually quite a sophisticated little beastie compared to some, but for example if I’m snapping away (read fumbling for the catch to cock the shutter) with an old 120 folding camera, I’m amazed to hear the bystanders’ amazement- “Hey, does that thing still actually work?” when of course it does, why shouldn’t it?

  2. Andrew, nice job, you have a good eye. I had one of these little Canonet 28s a number of years ago. I thought it was excellent optically. My meter worked well and I even had PX625 mercury batteries at the time. I stupidly sold it when I thought I would transition to digital and before I saw the light (so to speak). Keep yours indefinitely and use it to create more good work. Cheers!

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