Reviewing the Canon Canonet 28


You all heard about the great Canonet QL17, but what about the more affordable version that was the Canonet 28? Is it worth the money?

Canon Canonet 28 © Alfred

I was at a thrift store the other day and while browsing for interesting stuff, I found a good looking rangefinder camera. It was a Canonet 28. I always liked those old heavy metal rangefinders, but it wasn't the great QL17. Anyway, I decided to buy it because it came with a working battery as well as a dedicated flash Canolite D for Canonet cameras.

Shot on Kodak Color Plus 200, my first test roll with the Canon Canonet 28

This compact rangefinder doesn't allow much freedom. It's a fully automatic camera. I found myself unable to use it on a very bright day or after the sun went down. Once the light meter shows over or under-exposure, the shutters locks. Manual aperture setting is available only with the dedicated Canolite D flash at 1/30 speed. Unless you can get this camera cheap, you should definitely aim for a QL17 as it allows you lot more freedom thanks to its manual control

Shot on Kodak Color Plus 200, my first test roll with the Canon Canonet 28

Now, on to technical data. Released in 1971 and later called Canonet 28, this 35 mm camera boasts of a bright frame finder with 0.6× magnification, a sharp 40 mm f/2.8 lens, programmed shutter with speed/aperture combination 1/30 sec./1:2.8 to 1/620 sec./1:14.5, and ASA speeds from 25 to 400. For the camera to function, the Canonet 28 requires a mercury battery that is quite difficult to source today. Some accessories like a lens hood, self-timer or hot shoe adapter to be able to use aftermarket flashes were also available.

This is a review submitted by Community Member sergio_m.

written by sergio_m on 2011-01-10 #gear #people #35mm #rangefinder #review #camera #canon #canonet-28


  1. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    I love this camera, I found mine for only 8 euro and it work great! Canon lenses are always great lenses and your gallery is the proof! and loaded with a 400 asa film it's easy to shot great indoor or city night landscapes too by setting the camera in manual aperture f2.8 + 1/30 speed

  2. eatcpcks
    eatcpcks ·

    I found mine for 5 euro and i'm getting my first film tonite! Can wait to see it

  3. wallflowersforjane
    wallflowersforjane ·

    my best friend's mom gave me the canonet. everything looks to be in perfect condition except that the viewfinder is fogged up :(

  4. gvelasco
    gvelasco ·

    What a sharp lens. To use it when it's too bright, you can use slower film. You can also force it to let you shoot by setting it to a slower ASA. Most color negative films can handle being overexposed by two stops without a problem. So, if you're using 200 ASA film, you could tell it you're using 50 ASA and you're pictures would probably still be OK. You can also use a neutral density filter. One very nice feature of this camera is that it has an above the lens sensor, so it will automatically compensate for filters. If you shoot black and white, you probably want a red or orange filter on there anyway in the daytime.

    To use it when there's not enough light, you can use faster film or use a flash. You can also force it to let you shoot by setting it to a faster ASA. Most color negative films can handle being underexposed by one stop. If you're already maxed out your film speed, you can consider selecting the largest aperture manually. This will set the aperture to whatever you pick. It will set the shutter speed to 1/30". And, it will disable the lock. You will at least be able to get a shot even if it's underexposed a bit. You can also use this trick to shoot with high-speed film. If you set the aperture to 2.8, you can use whatever speed film you want because the camera won't be metering anymore. You can use 800 or even 1600 speed film. In low light, the camera would pick the largest aperture and slowest shutter speed anyway.

    The flash for this camera is actually very nice for when it came out. It was one of the first dedicated flashes. Because of the shutter design, it will sync at even the fastest shutter speeds which means that you can use it as a fill flash in back-lit situations or to soften harsh shadows in daylight. You should consider just using the flash all the time except when you're trying to be discrete. Great camera.

  5. gvelasco
    gvelasco ·

    You can get batteries that will provide the correct voltage at .

  6. fleur-kelly
    fleur-kelly ·

    I think my Canonet 28 has the accessory shoe missing. Does anyone know if it can be simply replaced?

  7. fleur-kelly
    fleur-kelly ·

    I just did a little bit of research... My Canonet 28 I have was made in 1968 which means it doesn't have a accessory shoe but a 'Flash Cube Socket'... Drats!

  8. mstrathmore
    mstrathmore ·

    I stumbled on this review during a moment of nostalgia while searching for information on the camera that got me into photography: my dad’s Canonet 28. As a kid in the 70’s and early 80’s I loved the feel of that camera and even the smell of a fresh roll of film! Almost every photograph taken in our household was with that camera.

    I still have that camera today, and thanks to Gvalasco’s 10 year old comment (Thanks!) I also found where to get a battery for it!

    As soon as the battery arrives, I’m going to shoot a good old roll of film and relive those memories!

    Thanks to all who posted!


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