Today i’ll share my experience with my newly acquired canon 7 and my thoughts on rangefinders in general :)
All of the shots here on my blog has been shot with either a film camera, DLSR or a compact camera. never in my life have i handled a rangefinder.
Sure I’ve read about them and have often wondered how handling one would feel, but I’ve never really had the chance to use one…. til that fateful day where i saw a camera ad for a used Canon 7 that fits my budget! The package luckily comes with a free LTM 50mm 2.8 lens, so all i had to do is bring a roll of Kodak film, shoot with it then develop to see my results.
The light meter, as explained by the seller was unreliable and had to be adjusted. but that did not bother me. *gulp*
The canon 7 is my first rangefinder, right of the bat i’ll say this. the camera is great! it’s not the lightest I’ve handled. it is also not the most compact but i like it!
Some Canon 7 Features that i love:
- Built with a Leica thread mount
- Smooth film advance lever
- Switchable frame lines, this is a good thing so i don’t have to buy that ugly turret finder.
- Solid build Quality
- large and bright view finder
- SLR like film loading mechanism
Some Canon 7 Features that i don’t love:
- Handling it is sometimes a pain, because it does not have a protruding grip
- the selenium cell on my copy is wobbly
Meeting with the seller i bought the camera and was amazed at its all metal construction. not that i don’t handle all metal cameras (hello nikon F4s) it’s just that it was solid, except for the light meter cell upfront, i found that on my Canon 7,The protruding light meter moves slightly upward when i rest my finger/s under it.
See that i mentioned it as MY Canon 7, cause this may not be the case for other Canon 7 copies. share with me your experiences regarding this! :)
To be honest handling it was not all that great, sometimes i feel like i will drop the camera, the lack of a bulge for my fingers to grip on was a passable discomfort.
I feel like i will develop callouses while handling this camera, as my finger intensely rubs with its perfectly grippy body texture. I might have large hands or maybe i am just too used to DSLR grips.
This issue however does not take away from the joy of shooting with this camera! it’s just a minor inconvenience that i thought i’d mention! :)
As mentioned above, the light meter needs adjustment so i did not bother reading what it has to say.
Actually, even if i did want to read what the meter says it was just impossible because i don’t know how to read the canon 7 light meter, call me stupid but that’s the truth, i was so used to the Nikon needle implementation or the more modern screen on the F4 that when i saw the canon 7 meter, it left me perplexed. So i had to rely on the sunny 16 rule and lots of guesstimating.
They are not that bad, i could actually get used to them, the shutter was really quiet, people are not afraid when i point my canon 7 at them. i did not get strange looks. rangefinders also have small lenses and are significantly lighter compared to my F4s or my D2H which makes it easier to lug around.
The viewfinder however is a mixed bag for me, yes it is bright and yes there’s no way to track depth of field. It reminded me of the passive viewfinder on my G7. i don’t hate it, but i don’t like it either.
What i enjoyed though is the focusing experience the rangefinder patch excited me and i had fun focusing even if i did not take the shots.
Overall i think the camera was a breathe of fresh air to my photography journey, i loved the method of focusing on a rangefinder it’s such a different experience from my split screen and auto-focus cameras.
I really enjoyed it and i think i can focus faster on a rangefinder than on my split screen Nikon FE2.
The canon 7 is a great camera, it’s solid and it looks like it can protect me from an assailant. it also brings with it a good deal of features that are beneficial for first time rangefinder peeps like me!
So if you ask me, will i give up my SLRs and DLSRs for this rangefinder?
My quick answer will be a resounding no, However rangefinders have their own place in my workflow and from now on i’d like to use them in tandem with my SLRs, just as i have used film and digital.
More rangefinder pics coming soon!
Camera: Canon 7, Rangefinder
Film: Kodak Color plus 200