Canon 7 - In the Light of Day

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by lou_meluso, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. I’ve had this Canon 7 for a long time but when I got my Contax G1, it got stored away into the back of my camera safe. I thought it was high time to get it out into the light of day and give it some exercise.
  2. This is a 1961 Canon 7 Rangefinder. The 7 series was the apex, and the last, of the Canon rangefinder line and represented decades of cumulative rangefinder knowledge, design experience and production technique. Introduced fast on the heels of the popular Canon P, the Canon 7 was huge success for Canon, producing over 137, 200 units.
    The 7 sported many features that photographers clamored for such as an on-board Selenium meter with high/low sensitivity, clear projected frame lines for 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 100mm and 135mm lenses and a reworked shutter that allowed the addition of a “T” setting on the shutter dial to accompany the X, B and 1-1/1000sec settings.
  3. In use, the 7 is a large camera to hold and not especially lightweight. It feels wonderful in the hands with confidence inspiring heft. The build quality is excellent. The finder is bright as are the projected lines. The film advance lever is short but attractively thick and wins high praise from my eye and my thumb. This is a true classic manual camera and no batteries are found within. The Selenium meter on my primo example is spot on accurate.
  4. The Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens is one of the best, at this speed, from any maker in the early 1960’s. My example is sparkling clean with not so much as a dust speck within its metal-barreled confines. It seems to me a sin to me to keep this marvelous instrument and luminous optic stored in dark safe so out I go to shoot.
  5. To accompany me, I reach into my Canon M39 quiver and cobble a small but potent kit that adds the Canon 35mm f/2.8 and 135mm f/3.5 lenses. My standard brand of Fuji Superia 400 film is used.
  6. A Chair Next to a Stove
    50mm f/1.4 @ f/11
  7. Mailbox #13
    50mm f/1.4 @ f/2
  8. Portrait of Clint
    50mm f/1.4 @ f/5.6
  9. A Man with a Child on a Bridge
    50mm f/1.4 @ f/8
  10. Old School
    35mm f/2.8 @ f/2.8
    This lens is a bit dreamy wide open and perfect for this vintage subject. I pushed a bit more yellow into the tone to enhance the 'old" effect.
  11. Pot of Thyme
    35mm f/2.8 @ f/8
    But stop this lens down and it perks up nicely.
  12. Winged Ford
    135mm f/3.5 @ f/5.6
  13. Last One
    Violin Shop
    135mm f/3.5 @ f/8

    Sharp lens that Canon 135mm. Nice and small too. It was good to get the 'ol Canon 7 out again. Maybe I'll let the Contax sit for a while.
  14. Ah yes, that's the kind of rangefinder that gives SLR's a run for their money. That's one beautiful outfit, Louis, and the photographs do it justice. I particularly like the selective focus in "Mailbox", and the chair and stove is a classic composition, lit in the style of the Dutch Masters.... It's interesting how consistent Canon's design concept was in those early days, with this beauty showing the origins of the later rangefinders and SLR's. Thanks for the usual superb post.
  15. Beautiful camera in excellent shape! And the pictures... Excellent. ,,Old School" is my favourite.
    Thank You for very interesting post!
  16. This is a classic camera, and your pictures are worthy of it.
    I have not much coveted the Canon RFs up to now, but the Nikon ones I want are soooo expensive, and not, I think, better than the Canons.
  17. Wonderful camera and worthy photos to go along with it. Thank you for sharing, and causing me to realize there is another camera out there whose owners I'm envious of. JR
  18. A real beauty, and I know this hood too, for I have the same, almost a collectible item. Your photos are great, great , great.
  19. Oh, my. What a lovely series of photos and camera. Louis, thank you for best 10 minutes of my day!
  20. Louis,
    Wonderful post and pictures. However you just caused me an expensive outlay.
    My Canon 7 has been sitting idle for the last 9 months. I was fiddling with the self-timer and it got stuck. I tried everything I could think of but no go.
    Inspired by your post, I took it off the shelf and once again tried to unstick the self-timer. Well after about a minute it started turning. The shutter clicked and now everything is back in order.
    Now I have no excuse to put off buying that Canon 50mm F/1.4 I have always craved.
    So thanks Louis. No, I really mean it. Thanks. It is nice to have my Canon 7 back in working order.
  21. Louis, loved the post. Thank you for taking the time to share with us. I particularly like the antique ford, and the curves in the violin row. Super kit.
    I looking at the top plate of the rangefinder i find strikiking similarities between this and the my Canonflex SLR. Again, thanks for sharing.
  22. Among classic RF with interchangeble lenses, the Canons seem to be the best value now. I've come close a few times to picking up a Canon 7 with either the 50mm f1.4 or the 1.8. Great shots. I especially like the chair and stove photo. Thanks for posting.
  23. Great shots, I love the Violin Shop.
  24. These are awesome, nice looking gear, I enjoyed all but I think the *old school* was well done.
  25. Thanks for the feedback, guys.
    Rick, would you believe this camera is actually larger than a Canon F-1!
    Maciek, I had desks just like that in grade school myself but they were old even then.
    JDM, That rangefinder lust is hard to shake. Like Mike says, the Canons are the best deal now in a high end, interchangeable lens camera.
    Jeremy, I appreciate your friendly envy.
    Yann, I hear you about that Canon lens hood. Hard to find and expensive when you do.
    Steve, glad you enjoyed the pics.
    Marc, Glad you got your 7 up and running. That 50mm f/1.4 will dent the wallet I'm afraid.
    Ralf, I just got a mint Canonflex RM, I'll have to compare and contrast the two. It is my understanding that the Super-Canomatic R lenses are the same optics as the late model rangefinder lenses in different mounts.
    Mike, I've heard good things about the 50mm f/1.8 lens. Much cheaper too.
    Les, evil is as evil does. I've drooled too many times over your extensive SLR collection. Consider it payback.
    John, yeah cool place that shop. They also have cellos and double basses too. I think there is a full picture story to be found there.
    Jack, yes that 7 is super clean. These cameras have thin stainless steel shutter curtains that are commonly crinkled, though it has no significant effect on the operation. Mine however is pristine. Note the interesting double door lock that has both a bottom key lock and a side sliding lock.
  26. Louis, these are just gorgeous. The camera is a real beauty too. Nicely done.
  27. My favourite would be "Old School". The dreaminess of the lens.
  28. Gorgeous hardware.. I have only ever seenthese in pictures they are very nice and having thje lenses to somplement the show is very enticing! I really liked the portrait of Cliff? and the chair and stove was also excellent The Ford radiator is very cool as is the violin shot, I agree there is probably a whole story of photos there! Oooh very very nice ! Put that G1 way back it can wait a few years the Canon is in it's prime!
  29. Wow, these are great! I have a Canon 50mm f1.4 that I have been using on my M's with an LTM-to-bayonet adapter, and I have to agree that the image quality is wonderful. In fact, I may have to go out for a walk in the woods with it and a roll of film now . . .
  30. It looks clunkier than other LTM cameras but I love the viewfinder. Its great with glasses. I have a Bell & Howell/Canon 7 and a Canon 7s
  31. Rob, Thanks for stopping in and the kind comments
    Hugo, I agree on the dreaminess. It's hard to "fake" that optical effect with filters or photoshop. In other times lenses with this quality would be cherished. Now it seems all anyone can talk about, especially the digital crowd, is "IQ"
    Chuck, yeah, I may stick the G1 in the safe for a time although I love it's compactness and tiny lenses. Gus Lazzari is now working on a late version black Canon 100mm f/3.5 for me. When that gets back I'm sure that will keep me busy with the 7 for quite a while. That's a pretty tiny lens too and my favorite focal length for 35mm.
    LMar, great! Nice to hear my post helped you get out and shoot.
    r.c., Yep, it's a handful but the finder is wonderful. I put a tiny rubber o-ring around the meter hi/lo switch. It works great to protect my glasses from getting scratched.
  32. Beautiful pictures, Louis, IIMRSS. Why am I not surprised? Invidious to pick a favourite, but it would be mailbox #13 if I had to.
    As others have remarked, I'm not sure I can afford to go on reading your posts ...
  33. James, Thank you so much for your nice comments. Actually the Canon 7 is not that expensive. KEH has an EX one right now for $133. A clean, late model Canon 50mm f/1.8 will cost around $100. I have seen both go for less on eBay. Not bad for a top of the line rangefinder camera and sharp lens. Naturally finding a mint one, with high speed glass, will cost more.
  34. Well done, Louis. Great composition as always. I'm particularly partial to the Mailbox and Winged Ford. What car is that by the way?
  35. Hi Capital Q, Thanks for dropping by. I can't be much help on the car model. Some late 30's/early 40's hot rod I saw at a car show here in town. I don't know much about cars I'm afraid. They sure look neat though!
  36. If you have the Mirror Box 2, you can mount additional long lenses on the Canon 7, such as the 135mm/2.5 short mount lens:
    I have a lens like the 135 shown, and can use it on my Canon SLRs together with a 25mm extension tube (Note: to focus exactly to infinity would require a ~24.7mm tube), mainly for portraits.

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