Lens quality: Konica s2 vs s3 vs Cannon QL17 GIII

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by dimitri_kalakanis|3, Jun 9, 2004.

  1. Please comment from your experience on those three. OK if you must,
    include Olympus RC/RD and/or rollei 35

    I read they are all first class, and I am amazed by the s3 lens
    quality. I just wonder how the others compare the s3 sharpness. I have
    read a lot about the size-weight-futures of each, but little to
    nothing about direct lens comparison.

    As a side note, I use AI/AIS Nikkors and had an olympus XA. The S3 is
    at least as good as my 50mm AI (or 28 AIS). The XA was not as good as
    my epic. And my epic is not as good as my 50 AI.

    Thank you in advance
  2. gib


    see my information page and sample photos of the Konica Auto S2 at: S2 page
  3. If you are happy with the killer lens on the S3, then look no further.

    The main advantage of the older fixed-lens rangefinders is they have an unmetered manual mode, which is handy should the battery or light meter fail. I personally do a lot of "Sunny 16" shooting.

    I own an Olympus 35RD and while its a has good lens, its no Summicron at f/2. I believe your S3 has a vastly superiour flash mode as well, that enables you to do a slow speed fill flash with ease.
  4. The header about says it all. How does the lens quality of the Minolta 7S compare to the Konicas and the Canonet 1.7 GIII?


    Ed B.
  5. I just recently purchased a Canonet QL17 and put my first roll of film through the camera
    this weekend. My main camera has been a Contax G1 w/45mm f2, so that was my frame
    of reference. While it falls short of the Zeiss glass, I was pleasantly surprised at the
    sharpness/contrast I was able to get with the QL17.

    Here are the samples in case you're interested:

    (The shots are nothing to write home about. Just some test images shot wide open. You've
    been warned.)

    While I can't comment on the Konicas, I'm very happy with the purchase of the QL17. Great
    quality for $30(eBay)!
  6. I own or have owned almost all of those cameras. IMHO, both of the Konica lenses are the best, comparable to Leica optics from the same era. Next would be the Olympus 35RD, Yashica Electro 35 and Minolta HiMatic 7s, all tied. Next would be the Canonet GIII QL17. Next would be the Olympus 35RC and XA.

    I've not had a Rollei 35.
  7. Konica used to advertise "The lens alone is worth the price." It wasn't just hype. The f:1.8/38mm lens of my S3 is absolutely as good as my 40mm Summicron (although slightly warmer).
  8. IMHO, Rollei 35 with Sonnar or Tessar lens are the best.
  9. I have a Konica Auto S2 and two Canon Canonet G-III QL17's. I guess my basic opinion is that ultimate lens performance is not really the issue with any of these cameras. Off of a tripod you aren't likely to get the most out of the lens anyway--your ability to hold it steady will be the limiting factor--and if the circumstances are such that you can use a tripod, a bigger camera (e.g., my Yashica Mat EM 6x6 TLR) can deliver appreciably better results. In typical shooting, both can deliver very nice pictures. Also, few today have truly perfect lenses, and lens condition can make a bigger difference than anything else.

    What to buy is another question--they have their advantages and disadvantages. Compared to my Canonets, my Konica is much bigger and heavier, has a slightly longer lens, and has a less useful flash system (shoe is cold, requiring a PC cord, and no auto flash distance/aperture system); on the other hand, it has a better viewfinder and a metered manual mode. The Minolta 7sII (not the 7s) seems to have a lot to offer (perhaps best and most modern lens with multicoatings), the Olympus 35SP has a spot meter, and the Olympus 35RD is supposed to be very nice too.
  10. In general I would say the F2 Xenon on the Retina IIIC is marginally ?better? than the Sonnar on the Rollei 35 which is turn is marginally ?better? than the lens on the Canonet GIII QL17 which in turn is marginally ?better? than the lens on the XA which is about the same as the lens on the original Stylus and XA2. I have had and used all of these cameras and my comments are based on viewing with a high power loupe slides taken around F8 and F11.
  11. My advice is go with Konica! Konica III series in particular are more compact but fairly heavy. Superb optics! Konica Auto S2 & III series are also worth repairing if ever in need. Whereas Canonet QL17 GIII sold well (great marketing), they have proven to be rather unreliable over time and a real challenge to repair (special tools needed, hard to access & clean blades or remove elements, complex interlocks, etc.). Canonet designers jammed too much into a compact size camera including electronics that gets in the way of the mechanicals. Olympus tends to be more reliable than Canonet as well. 35-RD is really the one to compare with Canonet. My 2 cents worth.
  12. Canonet G-III's and Konica Auto S2 the S16 and S3 I have owned and rebuilt them for decades
    The Konica's do have the best optics by far. All cameras are worth having although I use the Konica whenever I can since they give the best results
  13. ]


    Big caveat. The Konica Auto S3 does not have manual override. The excellent Konica Auto S2 does have full manual override.
    James Bryant likes this.
  14. The Auto S3 has AE lock by partially depressing shutter release. Not as useful as full manual but good to have.
  15. I've used Konicas and Canonet QL17 (older model), and prefer the latter.

    I find that when I want a small 35mm, however, I too go most often with my Rollei 35

    My old QL17 is however a very beautiful little RF
  16. Op date is 2004! The Zombies rise again.

    IME lenses in 'cheap' cameras have so much sample variation that comparing between models is pretty pointless.

    For example: 2 Canonets (old underbody leverwinds, not the QL) I owned had lenses that were as similar as chalk and cheese. One was excellent, the other was a pure dud. Same goes for the collection of Jupiter 8 lenses I've accumulated and the various flavours of Tessar lens I've encountered.

    With lenses condition is everything... along with how well they were put together in the first place.
  17. I do love these black Canonet cameras. Recently I bought a box load of Konica Auto S2 cameras and disassembled all of them. I can see by the measurements of the shutters they are the same as the Canonet QL17 cameras made around 1964 and 65. I swapped the lenses from my Canonet and used a set from one of the Konica cameras. Talk about a big difference!! So now I am looking for more Canonet QL17's to modify with the Konica optics

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