Canonet 28 or Yashica Electro 35 GSN

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by colbycheese, Jun 8, 2015.

  1. colbycheese

    colbycheese Mu-43 Veteran

    May 1, 2012
    Way up there.
    I have narrowed down my choices for a film rangefinder and wanted to get either a Canonet 28 or Yashica Electro 35 GSN. Which one is better? How can i asses the condition of the camera before buying? is there anything else i need to look out for? Thank you
  2. listers_nz

    listers_nz Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 22, 2013
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Real Name:
    Batteries can be an issue with these old cameras, so worth checking on is the condition of the battery compartment, and that it isn't corroded from a long dead leaking battery.

    Note that both cameras were designed to use mercury batteries which are no longer available. The Yashica is perhaps slightly better in this respect, as I believe it has built in voltage regulation and can operate on 4.5 to 6.5V and is easy to adapt, see The Canon can also be adapted, but using a 1.4V zinc air battery, which discharge somewhat faster and need air (i.e. you may need to add a small hole in the battery cover).

    Obviously the Yashica has the faster lens, 45mm f/1.7 vs 40mm f/2.8, but that by itself doesn't necessariy make it better, although the Yashica lens is very good - I have extreacted one from a dead Electro 35 and adapted it, which isn't something for the faint hearted!
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  3. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 4, 2010
    If it helps - the Canon is a viewfinder camera (used for framing, focus is purely by lens distance marks), the Yashica is a rangefinder (focus patch will move with the lens as you focus).

    The Olympus equivalents would be the Trip 35 and the 35 SP.
  4. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    The Yashica has an excellent lens.
    On the Canon side surely a QL 19 would be a closer match.
  5. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    Is there a reason you're not looking for a GL17 GIII? They are really an excellent camera. While it is a compact camera, it is not small or light relative to today's digital cameras. The Minolta 7sII is comparable and smaller and lighter.

    Something to keep in mind is unless one of these cameras has had some service done to it this century, it will really need some work done to it. Foam seals will have deteriorated and/or turned to goo, and will have to be replaced. Also, all the finder optics will have a hazy film on their surfaces and need to be cleaned. The shutters may also need a cleaning; all those 40 year old lubricants will have broken down by now.
  6. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    The Canonet 28 is a full rangefinder camera. Like the Yashica Electro 35 GS series, it has parallax marks. The Canonet GIII QL17 has full parallax compensation (framelines move and shift in size).

    The Minolta 7sII, mentioned by b_rubenstein, is only slightly smaller and lighter than the GIII QL17, and both are substantially smaller and lighter than the Electro 35 GSN. They also have full manual modes, something totally lacking the Yashica and in the Canonet 28.

    BTW, be very very cautious of any offering of a QL17 or QL19 that doesn't include "GIII" in the name. There were earlier, larger versions of the cameras (think "Generation i" and "Generation II") that are less desirable. Canonets were also sold before the Quick Load feature was developed and therefore lack the "QL" in their name but are sometimes labeled as QLs on resale sites. There is also a somewhat uncommon veision of the QL17 that is basically an early variant of the GIII but lacks the GIII badge. This variant has a different battery check function and lack the safety switch over the PC outlet that disables the hot shoe when a cord is attached.
  7. ex machina

    ex machina Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 3, 2014
    Northern Virgnia
    Besides what others have mentioned, look for fungus on or in the lens, if inside the lens, pass, if on the outer surface and you're real lucky you might be able to clean it off. I picked up a beautiful $5 Yashica Electro 35 that's lens coating had been eaten into by fungus (cue sad trombone).
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2015
  8. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Real Name:
    I've no experience with the Canonet, but I do have a Yashica Lynx 5000e, which is very similar the Electro.

    As stated, the battery needs are the most prevalent issue that needs to be addressed. If metering is not something you require to have working you can always use a light meter.

    If you can get your hands on some, make sure that the lens and range finder are fungus free. The rangefinder might need adjusting to be 100% accurate. Listen to the shutter and make sure it still sounds reasonably snappy. Turn the aperture and make sure it clicks into place properly.

    When I first got my Lynx 5000e, I ran a quick roll of cheap film through it to verify it. I didn't have batteries for the built in meter, so just cheated and brought along another camera and used the spot meter from that camera for quick tests.
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  9. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    Real Name:
    The Ql17 GIII sells for roughly the same price as the Canonet 28 so I'm not sure why you wouldn't want the faster f1.7 lens versus the f2.8. Anyways, both are dirt cheap unless you try to find a mint black one which sells for much higher.
  10. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    Similar in size and weight only.

    The Lynx series are manual cameras with coupled meters. The 5000e has an electronic meter that is better than earlier models, but a mechanical shutter. It also has a parallax correct VF.

    The Yashica Electrol GS/GSN cameras are aperture auto only, no manual control, with electronic shutters. The VF has parallax correction marks but is no automatic parallax correction.
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  11. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 4, 2010
  12. xxjorelxx

    xxjorelxx Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 11, 2012
    MD, USA
    Real Name:
    I cant tell you anything about the Canonet 28 but I do have some experience with the Electro 35 GSN. I own 3 :) Great camera and easy to use as long as you find a good working unit. There's also a battery adapter you can get for this camera that allows you to use PX28 which is a lot more readily available than the original battery. Some people have already mentioned some of the main things to look our for so I wont mention those again. One thing I would say to look out for is this thing called the Pad of Death (POD). Its a plastic like pad that sits under the shutter release that deteriorates after time and breaks down. One way to check if its still good is to listen for an audible clunk when advancing the film advance lever. If you dont here the clunk then its probably bad and will need to be addressed. Replacing it is a PITA. If you search "Electro 35 POD" on youtube, someone uploaded a video on how to replace it. I've tried it myself and it took me about 1.5 hrs. Another thing to look out for is corrosion in the battery chamber. Open it up and make sure you dont see excessive signs of corrosion on the battery cap and chamber. If you do see signs of it, then theres a chance that you might have to clean and possibly re-solder the battery wires if the corrosion has reach them as well. Check out Ken Rockwells site. He's got some good info about the camera as well. Good luck with the search!
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2015