Tag Archives: Canonet QL17

QL17 … the final frontier

After I figured out the shutter release and cleaned up the gears, I still had a problem with the aperture … so part III.


  • Screw driver
  • Soldering iron
  • Spanner wrench
  • Dental spatula
  • Ronsonol
  • Lots of Q-tips

The first thing to do is to remove the two leatherette pieces from the front of the camera. Have patience and you will be rewarded with singular pieces. Start from the outer edges and work your way in towards the lens.

Remove top cover. Then remove four screws holding the lens assembly, and pull it off.

Flip it over.

Remove the two screws that secure the baffle.

Pull off light baffle.

Unsolder the wires. Note that the longer one is on the left.

Unscrew rear lens group first. Then you can unscrew the retaining ring that is hidden underneath. This holds the lens/shutter assembly to this plate.

Pull off lens

There are three rings here.

Dark one sets the shutter.

Spacer in between

Silver bottom one trips the shutter release (in this image it was moved off the pin).

Remove them.

OK, now down to the nitty gritty (whatever that means).

The aperture blades are gummed up. The red arrow points to the arm that is moved to open the aperture. The green arrow points to a (pathetic) spring arm that pulls it into an open position.

I washed out this area with Ronsonol … then exercised the aperture … then did it again. Use Q-tips to clean off the blades. Continue the cycle.

Let it dry

Continue the clean, wipe cycle until it flows like butter, or at least until the little spring can pull its weight.

The best way of cleaning the blades is to take the whole thing apart and individually clean everything … I am not that ambitious.

… I would like to thank a couple of Japanese bloggers that posted their experience with taking this camera apart, the photo’s helped (but the translation failed).

Shut(ter) up … Part duex … full frontal.

OK, so I actually started the repair of my Canonet from the front … seemed logical as the shutter was not operating.


  • Spanner wrench
  • Rubber grip
  • Screw drivers
  • Soldering iron
  • Ronsonol

The lens/shutter is layered.

There is a thin outer ring that holds the name plate on … first to go.

After removing the name plate it will reveal the light meter ring … remove that.

Now we have to remove the front lens group.

This just unscrews … so get a grip.

This layer is held on by the three brass inner screws.

Warning … watch out for the wires.

Underneath that you have the … brown, that has wires, and electrical contacts, on a lever thing, plate.

Remove the three large screws.

This is where the soldering iron may be needed if you pull the wire too hard … like I did.

Ok, getting close.

At this point you may just want to wash out this whole thing with Ronsonol … then just exercise everything.

I am going to continue … by removing the retaining ring, then pulling off the speed cam.


… and there it is.

After getting all this way, I figured out that there is a problem with the aperture … it was not opening. I can move the blades, so it was not jammed … this meant that the mechanism that moves it open is broken ?

That is part III.

Quick load … from the top.

Sooo, the Canonet … I thought this was going to be a simple fix. Camera shutter did not fire. My guess, gummed up shutter blades.

I have now taken most of the camera apart.

I will start with the easy part … cleaning the view/rangefinder.


  • Screw drivers
  • Q-tips
  • Rubber ring grip thing-a-mabobs

Unscrew the rewind knob, by opening the back and jamming the spool with a chopstick …

Get your rubber thing (no, that one) and get a grip on the shutter button ring to unscrew it.

See, this is what the rubber thing I mean actually looks like but I cannot actually name at this moment.

Note the brash washers underneath the winder arm.

Remove the three screws holding the top plate on.

Pull off top cover.

To access the viewfinder you need to take off the black cover plate.

The brown thing on the right is the galvanometer for the light sensor. There is a shellacked screw in the center … you can adjust this if your meter is off, or bend the indicator arm.

When cleaning, be aware of the arm that shows the aperture setting … do not bend it out of shape.

This particular camera had a problem where it did not release the shutter. I did actually start by looking at the shutter, then realized the problem was (Saint) elsewhere.

I figured out that when the shutter button was depressed (yes, they do get very sad after not been touched for a very long time) it did not move the release arm enough. I think that over time the metal starts to wear down from friction.

It appears from the design, that Canon figured out that this would happen … so they made the part in a cone shape on an adjustable screw.

When the bolt is released, the cone can be adjusted up or down … in my case it needed to be lowered to add more horizontal movement to the arm.

Great, now the shutter button works … and the viewfinder and rangefinder are cleaner.

I will get to the other parts … when I get finished with the other parts … this is just 1 of 3.



Canon Canonet QL17 … some history.

The first (original) QL17 was made in 1965 … one of a long line of Canonets.

The QL stands for quick loading. This is refering to film loading, as it has a system to clamp down on the film leader and automatically capture the end to attach it to the pickup spool (no fiddling with a narrow slot and slippage).

The 17 refers to the max aperture … and yes, it is f/1.7 (with a 45mm focal length).

This is the great great grandfather of the G-III, and it same as the S but with the quick load mechanism. Commonly when the web refers to the QL17 they are most likely referring to the G-III model … which everyone thinks is the best one … probably because of its smaller size … but all models have been praised about the image quality.

Now as you expect, I have a broken one … yeah, I’m not surprised either. This one came to me with a broken shutter, more specifically the shutter was not releasing. Since this is a mechanical shutter, it probably is either gummed up or the release locking mechanism is stuck.

Of course the first thing I did was play around with the controls … then of course, I took some things apart (well actually many things) … then I read the manual.

It appears that there are some things about this camera that may cause some distress if you did not RTFM … like a safety lock on lower shutter speeds, or properly setting the self timer.

Remember boys and girls … RTFM before thinking it’s broken. Also, from many discussions on the web, it is common that the lens wobbles.

In this camera’s case … it was actually broken (sorta).