Canonet – The Original

I found a grotty old Canonet in a junk bin. The lens had some fungus on it and the hinge seal had rotted away, but the shutter fired and the light meter still worked.

I bought it for $5 and left it in my cupboard for about 6 months. I didn’t want to take the lens apart. Then one day I thought, oh just do it, what have you got to lose…well $5, but that isn’t much. So I got out my bag of tools and got to work.

I took the glass from the front part of the lens off and cleaned it. Much like in the video on this link. Actually, I forgot to take the before photos. That means the glass in the photos above is the cleaned version. This link has a different method with more toxic materials, which I didn’t have or have the nose for. It was much easier to remove the lens than I thought it would be.

Then I put it all back together and loaded a film to test my work. As I was not sure the camera would focus properly I put in a partly used film. I took it with me on this walk.

The second image in the viewfinder was a little light and difficult to focus, but there was enough left that I could at least make an attempt to focus. But golly gosh, it was sharp and the light meter was great on the exposure side too.


That means this original 1961 version of the Canonet now works perfectly. As the slider on this camera has the option for 400ASA film it is the MK3 version. You can get more tech information on this site.

Keep or Sell: I did fix this camera and cleaned the lens, my first attempt. That makes me want to keep it. The selenium cell works, that also makes me want to keep it. BUT, it is quite heavy and a little bit ugly, for me anyway. I probably won’t use it again very much. I will add it to my “ponder pile”.

9 thoughts on “Canonet – The Original

  1. Jim Grey says:

    Very nice! I’ve always wanted to try one of these. I have the Canonet everybody has, the QL17 G-III, and it’s lovely, but I am curious about the ur-Canonet. You did a nice job bringing yours back to life.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Toby says:

    Gorgeous camera, heavy though, but my favourite time period. I seem to recall you recovered one or two cameras in the past. Maybe a new challenge, resurrect a bargain bin classic, cosmetically or mechanically. Cost no more than £10 say and no more than £5 in materials. Lol Olympus trips are great for that and an absolute classic.


    1. windswept007 says:

      You are right, I have got others working again. Either battery or shutter issues, but never fungus removal before. I am getting more knowledgeable.


      1. Toby says:

        See, I’ve done lenses, fungus, hellical cleaning but wouldn’t know where to start on a shutter on a camera.


  3. Scott says:

    I have one of these cameras and never ran a roll through it. Now after seeing that it produces great pictures I like even more thank you for the great little article.


  4. Film Beginnings says:

    Thanks for the post. I was just gifted a Canonent QL19. It seems to be working fine. The seals are obviously suspect but I’m looking forward to putting a roll through. I didn’t realize cleaning lenses in these old cameras was possible. Thanks for the good information. David

    Liked by 1 person

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