As I sit here I am staring at my Canon 7 rangefinder camera. Arguably the most sophisticated non-Leica rangefinder out there and at it’s time of release probably the most feature-rich rangefinder available. It has everything you could possibly want in a camera; built-in light meter, multiple bright lines in the excellent viewfinder, easy film loading, shutter speeds up to 1/1000 and an excellent range of good quality lenses.
Due to all of the above and an opportunity to get one at a reasonable price I bought it late last year.
It arrived and I immediately I found a problem that was not expected from the sellers description. But being a reputable dealer they took it back, did a CLA on it and returned it too me in good shape. It came without a lens but I already had a Jupiter lens with the LTM mount and started shooting a film straight away. The results came back as slightly mixed, some shots were well focused/exposed and some were not. I wasn’t sure whether this was operator error (probably) or an issue with the lens; these Russian lenses are known to sometimes not be exactly correct for all LTM cameras. Also, my particular lens has a very loose aperture ring and it is very very easy to accidentally move it meaning DOF is not what I am expecting and exposure is off.
So this poor start sowed an element of doubt in my mind.
To progress with this camera I needed a lens I could be confident of.
I was not ready to spend a heap on money on another lens as so started looking around at the options. The right lens to get was obviously a Canon lens made for this camera (or even an earlier Canon Rangefinder). but I was trying to keep the budget low.
Somebody pointed me towards the Leica Elmar 90mm lenses as they can be surprisingly inexpensive and are of course good quality.
I found one and purchased it and as far as I can tell it is a very nice lens.
However, I then struggled to shoot the next film; I think I was not comfortable with this focal length; somehow it just didn’t feel right and it took me forever to finish the film (probably hampered by COVID restrictions too). I haven’t had the film developed yet and so don’t know whether it worked as expected. I know though that, if I want to use this camera, I am going to have to bite the bullet and invest in another lens for this camera even if the images are fine.
So I keep looking at prices and I keep backing off from buying. The more I think about it the less I think I really need this camera and I struggle to justify the spend. I have a really excellent rangefinder in the shape of my Voigtländer Prominent, and my Voigtländer Vitessa and my petite Voigtländer Vitomatic, and in my Minolta V2 (which I have barely used since I got it) plus a few other options. Do I really need to spend probably close to $200 dollars on a lens for a camera that, yes is very good but, is just another camera in an already crowded choice scenario.
I think that I really am at the stage now where I have a good set of cameras for all the situations I can think of and yet sometimes I see something and want it; having desire paired with the ability to spend is a dangerous thing.
So why did I buy it in the first place? I wanted to try it I guess and having multiple bright lines in the viewfinder seems like an excellent feature that I have never had. But I rarely shoot anything other than 50mm on my 35mm cameras anyway so is this really something I will make good use of?
To help myself with this self-imposed conundrum I took out my Prominent and loaded it with film.
Yes, I DO enjoy shooting it and I know it takes excellent images and I had it CLA’d not too long ago so that should settle it… right?
And yet as I sit here typing this I am still staring at the Canon wondering…