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Nick's Classic Corner - No. 13 - Canon EF

Discussion in 'Classic Models & Marques' started by Benchista, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    So, back in the 70s Canon's SLR offering was beginning to take on a modern shape - the F-1 at pro level, the FTb for serious amateurs, and the TLb for the more impecunious. With autoexposure beginning to make some inroads, Canon introduced the EF in 1973. The EF was a shutter priority and manual exposure SLR that is extremely well made - build quality is reminiscent of the F-1. The spec is a little schizophrenic - in most ways it's similar to the FTb, for instance non-interchangeable viewfinder and screens, no motordrive - but like the F-1, it lacks the QL system, and has the same combined self timer, stop-down lever and mirror lock-up as the F-1 (and later adopted on the FTb).
    So it's a big, solid SLR - it's also pretty quirky. On the back is an off/on switch - when off, the shutter and meter are locked, but unusally, so is the windon lever. And in fact so is the on/off switch - it requires a press on a release button to bring it into play. Also on the backplate is a "Normal/Flash" switch.
    On the right of the topplate is the framecounter and windon lever, surrounding the shutter release, and surrounded by the shutter speed dial, which overhangs the front of the camera. It's a neat arrangement which makes changing shutter speed a breeze. Shutter speed range is an exceptionally wide (for the time) 30 seconds - 1/1000. The shutter is a vertically-running Copal Square metal shutter with flash sync up to 1/125. The slower seeds, 30s - 1s, are electronically controlled, the remainder are mechanical. On the left is the rewind crank, surrounded by the film speed dial, with a red LED that operates when the battery check button is pressed, or when the electronically-controlled speeds of the shutter are being used. There's also an AE lock button. The hotshoe has two additional contacts for dedicated flash.
    On the front is the combined selef timer/mirror lock-up/stop-down lever - the flash socket is on the left side of the camera, with a plastic cover.

    The base has a red battery check button, the rewind release button, a central tripod bush, and two battery compartments, each for one PX625 mercury cell.
    So,to the viewfinder - mine has a split image/microprism focusing screen. At the bottom is the entire shutter speed range, with the selected speed indicated by a pointer. On the right is an aperture scale, which adjusts according to the lens in use; a needle points to the set aperture in auto, or the required aperture for correct exposure in manual.
    I really like this camera; sure, I prefer aperture priority to manual, and I normally go for something more compact and somewhat lighter, but this is a no-compromise auto camera of its era; it looks and feels great, and is capable of terrific results.
     
  2. Footloose

    Footloose Well-Known Member

    I had one of these cameras until someone nicked it ... A lovely beast, and as with the F1, you could use Canon's proprietary flash system that took the focussing distance off the lens rather than using an electronic sensor in the flashgun. (Harwell bought a few of these, because of this feature, because they found for 'their uses' it was more accurate and couldn't be fooled.) One of the features I loved on this camera was that the shutter speed dial overhung the front of the body, very satisfying to use ergonomically. I think they copied this idea of Zeiss's grand swansong, the monstrously expensive Contarex Electronic.
     
  3. filmlover

    filmlover Well-Known Member

    I used a couple of F1's and an FTb in my early professional years. Lovely cameras to handle. Unfortunately when motordrives became the norm, the drive for the F1 was a monster heavyweight. When Nikon's FM2n became available, I switched. It was more compact, lighter motordrive unit and a 1/250th flash sync.
     

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