I found this camera when I was looking for a simple rangefinder with an f2.8 or lower lens. And then I saw this one in a plastic bag with a Japanese manual. The bag meant I could not look closely at it, but it seemed clean so worth the gamble.
These websites will give you all the technical information you might possibly need.
I decided to invest in some proper replacement batteries instead of a workaround. BUT when I put them in the camera, the light meter needle in the viewfinder did not move. I tried wiggling them, cleaning the contacts, but still nothing. Then suddenly the thing started working, no reason. So I took the camera on a walk, but as soon as I tried to use it the batteries seemed dead again. Either way, as you can’t use the camera without the batteries so I put the camera in my bag and used another, I often carry more than one. I tried again a few days later with regular hearing aid batteries and a bit of tinfoil to bridge the gap.
This time the camera stayed working for much longer, but every now and then it stopped again.
It is best to keep the lens cap on when the camera is not in use as the light meter will drain the batteries. Though I don’t think this was happening here. This is Canon’s first camera to have a built-in flash, which is powered by a battery separate to the light meter ones. This example’s flash worked perfectly, which was a nice surprise. In Japanese, this 1977 camera is nicknamed, “Nighter”. This is the name given to nighttime baseball matches. There is no zoom on this camera so you can’t really take photos of the matches, but you can of your friends in the stands.
Focusing is achieved with a rangefinder second image. With regular batteries, you have to set the asa to a lower setting as the camera will underexpose things. I forgot and the test roll was a 100 asa with the camera set to 100asa.
It seems a tiny bit hazy. But it is not so bad. The batteries seemed dead the next time I tried to use. So the issue might be more serious which makes this example very frustrating. Finally, I figured out the batteries were not quite the shape of the ones it was originally made for, so as you walk they slip inside the compartment. A bit of a wiggle puts them back in contact. With that in mind, I tried another roll. This time I used an expired 400asa roll and set the camera to 200asa.
That’s better. By the way, the escalators you see are the smallest in the world and you can see the flash works really well. It was taken inside the More’s mall that you see. I bought a second-hand UV filter in there and the last shots outside were with that attached.
Keep or Sell: With the battery issue, I am unsure what to do with it. I know it is a great camera and a good example, but I found this draining – draining. I will ponder it a while.