Film: Kodak Ektar 100
Camera: Canon QL-17 G-III; Lens: fixed f/1.7
I stumbled on this brave little rangefinder at a local camera store which sells vintage and used gear. It looked very clean, the price was right, and it included a CLA prior to pick up. I’m always a little suspicious when I shoot a vintage camera for the first time. There’re so many things that might not work as expected and as I work through a roll of film, I imagine them all. I had heard that the QL-17 is a great street camera because its shutter is so quiet. I honestly didn’t believe the shutter was firing properly while I was shooting it. I expected the exposure to be wildly under-exposed. I was wrong.
Another problem with old cameras is the light meter. Assuming it is still capable of accurately measuring a scene’s illumination, there’s always the issue of battery compatibility. The original battery form factor may not be available, or modern equivalents may provide a different voltage. The shop usually tweaks the meter to work with modern batteries, but I didn’t explicitly discuss this when I picked it up. The QL-17 has an automatic Aperture Priority mode that relies on the 40 year-old meter. I made many duplicate exposures, first metering with my trusted Gossen hand-held Digisix, and then using the AE mode. I fully expected the automatic exposures to be incorrect. I was wrong.
This is the first exposure I made. Shooting Ektar, I felt it was important to shoot something red. I love the warmth of this film.
A quick shot of boats on Seattle’s ship canal. Lots of detail to check for focus and sharpness. The QL-17 does not disappoint.
Seattle’s Monorail dates back to the 1962 World Fair. Still in operation, two trains shuttle back and forth a one-mile route between downtown and the Seattle Center. When the two trains collided, in 2006, at a narrow spot on the side-by-side concrete rails, the Seattle Opera had the expertise, tools, and vision to duplicate the decades-old sheet metal work. Sharing this awesome story makes me happy.
After a work-related class, I had some time to shoot the QL-17 a bit. The Tulalip Casino Resort wasn’t too far away. I know too much about probability to waste my time and money gambling, but the resort has some extravagant lawn statuary that caught my eye. In a different context, the orca totally looks real. The fifteen-foot tall harpooner, not so much.
I am really delighted by the performance of this snappy little RF, and I look forward to running many, many more rolls of film through it.