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Nick's Classic Corner - No 17 - Canon T series - an overview

Discussion in 'Classic Models & Marques' started by Benchista, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    As we've seen, Canon's A series was pretty much a well-defined set of complementary cameras that shared much in common. In contrast, the T series have very little in common with each other apart from the name, the FD mount, a vertically-travelling metal-bladed focal plane shutter, and a lot of automation. Certainly this automation was the key to the T series - SLR sales were falling, as compact cameras with AF were beginning to take hold. Against this backdrop, the T50 was introduced in 1983, offering programmed exposure only, a built in winder that moved the film up to 1.4 fps (although with manual rewind), and had a fairly automated flash system. This dumbed-down model was designed to be simple for the masses, and is a truly ghastly camera IMHO.
    The following year, the T70 appeared. This was a much more useful camera, with a full range of exposure modes, partial metering as well as centre-weighted, an LCD and lots of buttons and sliders to control it. I rather like this one, TBH.
    In 1985, the infamous T80 appeared. Kind of like a cross between the T50 and T70, but with autofocus - problem was the AF was rather slow. The system was pretty much a composite of the AL-1 QF and FD 35-70 f4 AF. Compared to Minolta's system, it was pretty poor - but it set the scene for body-integral sensor, in-lens motors that has been so successful in the EOS range and has been pretty much universally adopted by other manufacturers.
    The high point of the series appeared late, in 1986 - only a year before the arrival of the EOS system. However, this camera was stunning in many ways, and many of its innovations are still in use in top-end EOS cameras - including the method of control. There's not space in this overview for all the features of the camera, suffice it to say it was jam-packed with just about every feature going - except some form of evaluative metering, and AF, of course.
    Finally, the - well, I was going to say "the odd one out", but all of the T series are odd ones out in some way or other...
    However, the T60 is arguably the oddest. For a start, it's not a Canon but a Cosina, and it shares very little with the others. It has manual wind and rewind, aperture priority and manual, and was a cheap and cheerful model for those still wanting an FD camera or who couldn't afford an EOS. Oddly, I rather like it - particularly odd as I hate some of the other more-or-less clones of the same camera, but it's really not that great.

    So there we have it - a series that wasn't, a collection of several poor cameras, one quite decent, and one gem. The continuation of dumbing-down at the lower end of the SLR market that continued until the introduction of the EOS 1000 - but that's another story.
  2. PeteE

    PeteE Well-Known Member

    Funnily enough last night at Camera Club a new lady brought in a T90 and I said I would 'look it over' for her -- well, the first thing was when I got out the battery holder all the batteries had leaked ( as usual! ) -- she couldn't remember the last time it had been used -- so I had to clean out the holder with a brush and luckily when I put in some new batteries it worked !! It had the 50mm f1.4 lens too ! Such a SHAME such lovely gear is left to rot as all she uses are 'point and shoot DIGITAL compacts !
  3. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Certainly the 50mm f1.4 suits it extremely well. Many of them do have electronic problems, but it's still a really good workhorse.

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