Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Girl with the Arm Tattoo

This is a photo taken minutes before the camera stopped working due to the shutter stuck syndrome.

After using my Canonet QL17 GIII for a few hours I notice the vertical alignment was a little bit off.  I found instructions on the internet on how to align it but in the process I managed to mangle and destroy the film advance lever along with the shutter button and everything in between.  I was very upset with myself. Eventually I was able to open the top face and make the adjustments to the alignment.  The focus was spot on but now I could not use the camera.

The camera sat on the corner of my room for three weeks before I went back to eBay to look for a replacement camera.  While doing that, I found the shutter and advance lever up for sale.  I made an offer to the seller and he agreed.  I got the parts and put the camera back together.  Then I took to the streets.  

The day was marvelous and there was a lot of stuff going in downtown San Antonio.  I started shooting a lot of stuff while enjoying this little camera.  Then all of the sudden, the shutter didn't go off.  I started fiddling with it while a panhandler asked for change.  "I don't have any money" I said in a rather rude voice which is very unlike me.  At that point, I was done for the day.  

I went home and tried to fix the issue by removing the lens elements and cleaning the shutter blades.  Again, I managed to scratch the lens housing and make a whole lot of damage to the insides of the camera but was unable to get to the last lens element because I did not have the right tool which I'm told is called a spanner.

Another three weeks passed and the little-camera-that-could stood on the corner of my room.  I finally decided that one way or another (meaning throwing it against the wall) I was going to get to the last lens element to mitigate the problem.  Without help from the wall or a hammer of any kind, I was able to remove the last element.  I used digital sensor cleaning solution on a Q-tip to free up the shutter blades from themselves.  I then started the process of gently cleaning the blades with the solution as well as the lens elements which by this time had all my finger's fingerprints.  After a few tries of putting everything together everything look OK with the exception of a few scratches that weren't there before.  

I went and got some film and started using it on my dad for his birthday.  I shot a 24 exposure role of Fujifilm Superia 400 in about 30 minutes, and I dropped it off at the neighborhood Walgreen's to get some prints. Within 45 min I had the prints.  I drove back to my dad's house and we opened the envelope together. Wow!  The photos came out great.  I had fixed the unfixable!  The photo clerk at Walgreen's told me as she handed me the photos: "This is the first roll where all the photos came out good."  That made my day. 

Since that day, I have been using the camera and so far so good.  Two days ago I got a Canolite D flash from eBay for my Canonet and I can't wait to use it.   

If you find a Canonet QL17 GIII or any of the Canonet models in working condition, don't hesitate to get it. This camera is amazing for street photography and very fun to use.  

The Girl with the Arm Tattoo
The Girl with the Arm Tattoo by Jesse Acosta via Flickr

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