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1970’s Canon Canonet 28 Rangefinder in the $2 Camera Bin…

Yeah, crazy huh? I have only come across one other old rangefinder in the mess of plastic point-n-shoots at the thrift store's $2 camera shelf, and it was a Sears something-or-other that looked like it got dragged behind a car for 40 miles. You can bet I jumped on this Canonet when I saw it.

Yeah, crazy huh? I have only come across one other old rangefinder in the mess of plastic point-n-shoots at the thrift store’s $2 camera shelf, and it was a Sears something-or-other that looked like it got dragged behind a car for 40 miles. You can bet I jumped on this Canonet when I saw it.

I did all the testing I could without a battery in the store, and knew it needed new light seals. Everything else worked fine in it’s manual modes. When I got it home, though, a fresh battery wouldn’t kick on the light meter or make the camera work in it’s primary “auto” modes. I did a little Googlin’ and found this post, which indicated the battery terminal was the probable cause. Time to get out the screwdriver!

To get off the bottom plate, remove these two tiny screws and carefully lift off the plate. Watch out for the battery door spring, don't let it fly off anywhere!

To get off the bottom plate, remove these two tiny screws and carefully lift off the plate. Watch out for the battery door spring, don’t let it fly off anywhere!

next, remove the screws holding the battery compartment in.

next, remove the screws holding the battery compartment in.

Removing the compartment showed that the main issue is that the negative battery terminal came unglued from the plastic bit and it very corroded.

Removing the compartment showed that the main issue is that the negative battery terminal came unglued from the plastic bit and is very corroded.

The plastic bit. Once the terminal is clean, you stick the plastic bit back in, and electric-tape the terminal to the plastic part, and include a little more tape as padding. This keeps the negative terminal from shorting out against the body, and makes it hold the new 675 battery better.

The plastic bit. Once the terminal is clean, you stick the plastic bit back in, and electric-tape the terminal to the plastic part, and include a little more tape as padding. This keeps the negative terminal from shorting out against the body, and makes it hold the new 675 battery better.

Next, the light seals. I use sticky-back craft felt for seals this large.

Next, the light seals. I use sticky-back craft felt for seals this large.

Scrape out the old icky light seal foam and clean out the bits with alcohol.

Scrape out the old icky light seal foam and clean out the bits with alcohol.

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All light-sealed up and ready for action. Light meter now works and the "auto" mode now fires correctly. Yay! (:

All light-sealed up and ready for action. Light meter now works and the “auto” mode now fires correctly. Yay! (:

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Updated: July 29, 2015 — 10:25 am

14 Comments

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  1. This brings back wonderful memories—I still have with me to this day my grandfather’s camera, a Canonet 28 just like yours. I shot quite a few rolls of film with it that turned out rubbish due to what I assume is the same problem yours had at first—light seals. I’ll see if I can figure out where I put it and try your fix. :D Hopefully that’s the only problem.

    I always loved how this camera felt and looked. It pretty much represents what a vintage camera should look like to me.

    1. Well, alright! Make sure (when you get it running) to keep the lens cap on when not in use. Apparently the light meter is “always on” and will drain the battery if it’s not kept dark.

  2. Great work, Ted! Despite having seen these cameras all my life, I seem to have developed a new respect for these cool rangefinders from the late ’60s and early ’70s. Now, all I have to do is not buy any more of them.

  3. Enjoy. The Canonet 28 is a great camera. Great lens, great quality, a real reliable performer. Being a rangefinder fan, the 28 always rose to the top when it came to real use and real results. I still have mine.

    B

  4. Nice find! Color me jealous!

  5. Thanks a bunch, thanks to your post i had to courage to openup my Canonet 28. I had exactly the same problem as u had. Now because of your tutorial i got it working again. Thanks alot again. <3

    1. You’re very welcome, glad to hear of another one of these little guys running well again! (:

  6. Great post! I’m facing the same issues with my Canonet. How did you clean the corroded piece from the battery terminal?

    Thanks!

    1. white vinegar on a q-tip takes it right off. (:

  7. Hello!
    Nice Post about a lovely camera :D
    I have and use 2 of these!
    The “Always on” regarding the light meter is not entirely true. If you move the “selector ring” from A to any of the numbers the light meter turns of. Works a Little like an on/off switch!
    Hope you still enjoy it! I know i do!

    //Martin

  8. Thank you very much for your little tutorial and the pictures. I bought a Canonet 28 today and sure enough the meter wasn’t working. I was able to repair the battery compartment with these instruction and the camera works like a charm now!

  9. Hello and thank you
    This has been so , so helpful .
    I’ve recently decided to return to shooting film and have picked up a canonet 28 – the seller explained all is working inc light meter and a new battery has been fitted .
    Can you please help me here ? In auto the light meter moves up and down Making me think it must be ok . However when I move th ring to say 2.8 or 5.6 it just stays in the red even when pointing at a range of light sources – any ideas or support would be so appreciated

    1. Hi Lawrence, not sure if you’ll get this comment and read it, but as soon as you take the ring off “A” and there’s no original Canolite D flash fitted, the camera will resort to a shutter speed of 1/30 second automatically and there’s no way to change that.
      TL;DR… Your camera is functioning as intended! :-)

  10. Same thing happend to me but Im missing the entire batter holder. Anything i an do abot that?

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