The other day, I purchased a Canon Canonet QL17 G-III from eBay. The Canonet QL17 is a classic, fixed-lens rangefinder camera from the 1960s-70s and widely regarded as one of the best compact rangefinders out there. However, the seller informed me that the light seals require replacement. He was definitely right, the light seals had deteriorated and turned into a gummy, sticky mess. Other than that, the camera is in excellent cosmetic condition and in full working order, I’m looking forward to using it!
Replacing light seals can be a bit daunting, it’s a fiddly process that includes some trial and error. So, take your time and be patient. However, I noticed that the whole replacement process can also be very rewarding, I couldn’t escape from feeling a good sense of achievement after restoring my Canonet QL17 G-III to its former glory. Heck, if this isn’t connecting with a camera, then I don’t know what is!
Without representing myself as a camera repair expert, here’s how to replace the camera light seals:
- Buy a light seal replacement kit, I got mine from Camera Repair Materials. It has everything you need: self-adhesive and non-adhesive foam (3mm and 5mm thick), self-adhesive felt, 10ml of adhesive glue, 10ml of adhesive remover and a pair of tweezers. Don’t worry, you’ll get plenty of foam with this kit, it’s okay to make mistakes and waste some.
- Read the instruction manual! Read it from start to finish and preferably twice. There’s a good, elaborate manual at Favorite Classics, Matt Denton also has some tips and tricks.
- Put a few drops of adhesive remover onto the light seal and let it soak in.
- Add a few more drops and start scraping! Use the wooden scrapers and cotton buds.
- I know it’s tempting to leave a few bits of the old light seals on, but please continue until everything has been cleaned away!
- I cut approximately 7×13,5 mm of foam for the lower part of the film chamber door and 3,5×13,5mm for the upper part. Please do take your own measurements as well! It’s better to cut out a piece that’s slightly too large than a piece that’s too small.
- Gently place the new seals onto the camera with the pair of tweezers. If you’re using the self-adhesive foam, note that it’s very, very sticky, you may have to lick it before you stick it.
- Well, that’s about it, no more bullet points!
Done! I did notice that the camera back closes very tightly, but I figured it’ll be fine when the newly placed foam compresses after a while.
Bryan, thanks for allowing me to use the light seal repair kit image! For more information on the Canonet QL17 G-III, visit the following sites: the Canon Camera Museum, Cameraquest, Matt’s Classic Cameras, and Photoethnography.