New Camera: Canon Canonet 28

I got my first film camera this weekend! While my parents were visiting Chithra and me this weekend, we went to the Salvation Army store on 96th and Broadway before taking the subway to Soho. I go there every month or so and usually never find any cameras. Surprisingly, this time there were 7 or 8. Most were cheap plastic autofocus point and shoots from the 80s and 90s.

One camera stood out however. It was in a terribly beaten up Canon case. So, I didn’t expect much. You could probably imagine my excitement when I found an almost mint condition Canon Canonet 28 rangefinder inside. I immediately purchased it for a trifling $8.

Canonet 28

After putting a fresh battery and film inside, the camera came alive. The light meter seems to be fine and the mechanicals seem to be in good working shape. The light seals are a little torn up, but that can be fixed. I just need to see the first prints I get back to confirm that it is indeed working properly.

According to camerawiki, the Canonet 28 was introduced in 1971. That makes this camera almost twice as old as I am. Unfortunately, it is a low-end full automatic model. This translates to no control over shutter speed or aperture. Regardless, it should still be a fun camera to shoot with.

The Canonet 28 is manual focus rangefinder. The focusing mechanism in rangefinders is pretty cool. The image in the viewfinder has a small image that is superimposed in the center. Turning the focus ring on the lens moves the center image. Once the images are perfectly lined up, the image is in focus. I’ve shot a video through the viewfinder to show what it looks like.

Go here to learn how the rangefinder works. Below is the camera with my current digital point and shoot, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3. It is surprising how little camera design has changed in the last 40 years.

Old vs New