|Shutter||Vertical-travel focal-plane shutter with metal curtains. X (at 1/125 sec.), B, 30, 15, 8, 4, 2, 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000 sec. Hybrid shutter (using Copal Square) with mechanical shutter speeds from 1/2 to 1/1000 sec. and B, and electronic shutter speeds from 30 to 1 sec. Built-in self-timer (self-timer lever also functions as a stop-down lever). Multiple exposures enabled.|
|Viewfinder||Fixed eye-level pentaprism. Microprism rangefinder at center of fresnel matte screen. Metering needle, stopped-down metering index, shutter speed scale, aperture scale, overexposure and underexposure warnings provided. Mirror lockup and eyepiece shutter provided.|
|Power||Two 1.3 V HD mercury cells|
|Size||147 x 96 x 48 mm|
My least favourite FD camera of all. I've owned 2 of these unwieldy beasts. Yes, you can use the EF without batteries, yada yada, but for most users that really is moot as they probably won't know how to get a correct exposure anyway. It's other big win is a nice viewfinder with a good level of information, although it's not as bright as the later A-1 or T90, for examples. The problem is that - for these small gains - there is a lot of metal here yet it, in general use it's like a heavier like an AE-1 in most ways. Personally, I'd always pick up the latter unless I was using a heavy bit of glass like a 55/1.2 or a bigger telephoto.
Neat camera, I love using mine. I find TV AE soooo much more useful than AV AE, so in many ways this is my ideal camera. It a solid, all metal slab, great metering, has the best DOF preview of any Canon SLR (along with the FTb) and mirror lock-up. The shutter sounds great when you fire the thing off too, makes you want to keep taking photos. The camera is so easy to use I can just think about taking pictures.rnrnNothing is perfect though: The AE Lock button is in the most ridiculous place. I challenge anyone to think of a worse place to put it. My other gripe is that its not such a joy to use in manual mode. The meter in the viewfinder continues to show what its auto settings would be with no indicator of the current aperture setting. Not sure if its just my copy either, but the advance lever on mine is quite loose and rattly... thats kind of annoying. rnrnBut all in all, this is one of my favourite SLR's.
These camera bodies, F1 & EF represented the pinnacle of SLR technology during the 1970s. Many opine that Nikon was top and Canon an 'also-ran.' Not true. The Nikon F and F2 metering heads 'Photomic' have not stood the test of time. So few can be found working now. Not so the Canon F1 or the EF. My F1 was bought secondhand in 1990. A 1976 F1n with film reminder slot and padded wind-on lever plus extended film speeds, it work for 15 years at a local newspaper before being PX for autofocus ones. I bought it and shortly after took it to Yugo when the fighting started. Just the F1 and 28/35/50/135 lenses. Sold my shots around the world. Always use the meter with PX625 1.5v cells and set film speed as it is. Difference in exposure is negligible though it is possibly reading 1/3 stop under. I cannot praise this camera enough. Will never part with mine. Finish? Unlike black Nikons, the black paint of an F1 is much much tougher. Ivor Matanle of Amateur Photographer magazine refers to the finish in a review of Canon many years ago.rnThe Breechlock lenses are amazing. Few realise that the chrome ring is spring loaded. Move the ring round so the red dot is at the top. Place the lens on the lens mount and apply slight pressure, the ring will turn by itself. At that point the lens is properly aligned for use and will not come off! This can save vital seconds in a rapidly changing scenario. When time permits, just tighten by slight twist. Compare this with the gaffing about you had to do with the Nikkormats first turning aperture ring one way, then the other. The first 'mat the FT and the first through the lens F Photomic required you to set film speed on a scale for lens max opening. Then, changing lens, you had to reset: 50mm F2 set 100 asa opposite f2, change to 200mm f4, reset f4 to asa 100
The line I wrote for positive characteristics is from a description of the EF written by someone at KEH camera brokers. By and large that is true. However, the EF also has some interesting characteristics not found on other Canon models. The Copal Square shutter with its dual mechanical/electronic control has been noted. This was a first for Canon, since the Copal Square shutter had been around for a while, but not with dual controls. Another innovation was the "silicon blue" cell, center weighted meter. Most cameras used a cadmium disulphide cell, which was essentially a photo resistor. While sensitive, it could be very slow at low light levels. However, CDs meters were easy to engineer and the few components fit easily inside the confines of a camera body. Because a silicon cell generated its own electricity, a silicon meter required different and more complex circuitry. Also silicon cells are sensitive to the red end of the spectrum. This was corrected by a blue coating. Still, Canon went ahead with a silicon cell meter because there was and is no meter lag regardless of the light level. As for room for these innovations, well, that problem was solved by using the F-1 body, making the EF the only other Canon F series camera to use the pro body. However, despite these innovations, the Canon EF uses an already old technology, one found on many a shutter priority cameras of the time. In short, the Canon EF is a highly refined "trap needle" camera. The trap needle mechanism was used by most auto exposure cameras since it uses the position of the camera meter needle to set the aperture of the lens by pressing the needle against a multi step "anvil." This limited the opening of the aperture of the lens. So, if you ever wondered why the A on the aperture ring of an FD lens is beyond the minimum aperture, that's why. Now if you have wondered where the camera would get to he mechanical energy to do this, look no farther than the finger that fires the shutter. Auto exposure cameras back then typically had a shutter button with a lot of travel. Thus it was your finger which provided the power to set the exposure, stop down the aperture and fire the shutter. This is not true of the Canon EF. Its shutter release button requires no more energy than required on an F-1. So where does get the mechanical energy do all these things? The answer is your thumb. When you wind the film with the non ratcheted film advance lever, you are charging up a spring loaded mechanism inside the camera which does all the trap needling -aperture setting work for you. This refined trap needle system was likely the reason the Canon EF was not offered with a winder or motor drive. The back of an EF is removable, but nothing was ever offered for it. Most likely this was intended for a data back. which would provide a day, date and time function for the photographer. If there was a down side to all of this, it has to be with repair and maintanance. Every camera technician who has worked on it will tell you that internally, the EF was a complicated device. Given that it was designed before the IC or EPROM and featured dual controls, it could be a real problem to fix. Stil, I get the feeling that while the EF was not a commercial success, being a top seller was never its purpose. Indeed, one can regard it as a "test bed" of new concepts and technologies which would appear in later cameras. Though Canon went back to a cloth focal plane shutter in the A series, it adopted metal vertical focal plane shutters with the T series and onward. Silicon cell in-camera meters became the norm for everyone after the EF. The one thing that many people regarded as odd was shutter priority. Starting with the EF, Canon stuck with shutter priority even though it's competitor's were producing a sea of aperture priority cameras (Minolta XE-7, Nikkormat EF and others). However, Canon had their reasons. One was that shutter priority often gave the amatuer photographer a greater number of usable prints. The other reason was realized with the Canon A-1, the first camera offered with program exposure. No SLR camera today is found without it. That is when we realized that it was a lot easier to engineer a program exposure camera using shutter priority than the other way around. Granted, the EF didn't have program exposure, but it did provide a technological basis for it which was applied to succeeding cameras. As for the trap needle system, it was replaced by "computer" chip control, a method which also allowed for motorized cameras such as the A series, T series, and every Canon SLR ever since.
After a few years of using digital cameras I dug out my old analog gear (AE-1 and Oly XA) and shot a few rolls of Film just for fun. Then I stumbeled across an EF and was instantly hooked again.The EF feels just right. All the controls (except the exposure-lock on top) just fall under my fingers. The body ist a wonderful piece of engineering. The winder feels like a swiss clockwork and the shutter sounds like ... like... dunno but wonderful. Everything I missed with digital cameras that feel like electronic toys (expensive toys). That brougt me back to analog photography, even for my (part-time) commercial photography . Instead of buying a new DSLR I now own three EF-bodies (plus one slightly damaged one as organdonor, just in case) and a filmscanner.
Since I don't miss features like a motor or spot metering, the EF is all I ever wanted a camera to be.
Proper metal construction as fits the era, slightly heavy but you'll get used to it, and a wonderful shutter sound. The shutter speed wheel is perfectly positioned to adjust when looking in the viewfinder, as is the advance lever. Very consistent & good results on Shutter priority, full control in manual. Nice range of shutter speeds & ASA settings, although a 1/2000 shutter speed would make it perfect... I love it.
Similar to the T-90 (1986), it set the benchmark - but was a commercial failure, lasting only a year or so on the market. The Canon EF contained a silicon photocell light meter with a range of EV 18 to EV -2 which measured light in a "central emphasis metering" pattern (also called center weighted average metering) with a bias against the top of the frame, to minimize underexposure due to a bright skyline. The Canon EF could operate "Variable Aperture AE" mode (commonly called shutter priority) or full manual mode, where the operator would control both the shutter speed and the aperture.
Why so costly? The FD used a unique Platinum shutter among Canon's 35mm SLRs; a Copal Square vertical-travel metal blade focal plane shutter. Unusually, long exposures (from 1 second to 30 seconds) were electronically controlled, while shorter ones (1/1000 second to 1/2 second) were mechanically controlled. This was very useful in conserving battery power, and allowed one to use the camera even with dead batteries. The metering system could also be turned off, e.g. when using flash, or at night, to preserve battery life.
Powering the electro-mechanical shutter and light meter were two PX 625 1.35 volt mercury batteries. Because the EF contains a unique voltage control system, common 1.5 volt alkaline batteries can be used in lieu of the now-unavailable mercury ones. The EF is the only camera in the manual focus Canon line of the 1960s and 1970s (which includes the FTb, the F-1, and the FT) that can be used with common 1.5 volt batteries without modification to the internal electronics. Like all pre-1987 Canon SLR's, the EF accepted Canon FD mount lenses. The shutter speed range was 1/1000th of a second to 30 seconds (in a beautifully pedantic touch, the 15 & 30 second settings actually give 16 and 32 seconds, thus preserving the doubling sequence), plus bulb. The X-sync was 1/125th of a second. The camera included setting for film speeds of 12 ASA to 3200 ASA.
The EF also featured a mirror-locking self-timer and a stop-down metering mode which could also be used for depth-of-field preview. The mirror can also be locked up independently of the self-timer for long exposures when the self-timer is not desired.
Aptly nicknamed the "Black Beauty", the EF was quite high priced, and was aimed at the affluent advanced amateur. From the number of heavily brassed specimens I've seen, I'd guess it also was extensively used by pros. at least as a back up camera. The controls fall under my fingers, and the camera sets up very well. The range of shutter speeds is exceptional, and they retain their accuracy well, if my 3 bodies are good examples. The build quality is a match for the F-1 series, and that matches the best of its time. The camera is limited by the lack of either motor drive or winder, but it wasn't designed for that type of use. It has battery compensation built in, so the lack of Mercury batteries is not an issue. The camera is simple and beautiful in appearance, IMHO one of the best looking cameras ever made.
The EF is a delightful, solid, brass-bodied beast. Shutter-priority auto, but with speeds & aperture visible in viewfinder, it's easy to keep track of what exposure values will be. It's a mechanical camera that extends its capabilities with an electronically-controlled shutter for speeds 1 to 30 sec (the longest 2 are actually 16 and 32 sec...); flash sync at 1/125, and a silicon cell meter for extended sensitivity.
The EF has many small design details that make the camera a pleasure to use, and indicate how much care went into its concept and production:
* the concentric location of the shutter speed wheel, film advance and shutter release (just like the Leica M5), is near perfection: shutter speed can be changed easily while camera is at the eye, using just your forefinger (the only system that comes near it for usability is that on the OM & Nikkormat);
* PC flash terminal has spring-loaded cover;
* double exposure button;
* rapid wind-on to 1st frame, without having to release the shutter;
* voltage regulator allows use of modern 1.5V batteries;
* DoF preview & MLU;
* battery check light doubles as long exposure indicator, which flashes more rapidly during last second of exposure;
* meter & shutter lock switch located for easy use, right below wind-on lever;
* second switch available to turn off metering system, when using flash or long exposures, to prevent battery drain.
If Canon had designed it to accept an F1 winder, it would have been even better.
The EF is the only FD camera with mirror lock and silicon cell metering to EV-2, and with it´s slow speeds to 30secs is a good low light and closeup camera. The viewfinder shows both shutter speed and camera-selected aperture, both scales are outside the image area. A needle indicates aperture, so subtle variations can be seen. Unfortunately the scales are difficult to read in low light, and the aperture scale only goes to f22, although the needle does read a couple of stops higher. If the lens aperture is set manually, there is no viewfinder "manual" indicator to show this...and the meter continues to show the aperture the camera would use. So it´s possible to think the lens is being stopped down automatically when actually it isn´t. The EF uses a separate on/off button, if this is not turned off the batteries are drained in a couple of days. Actually I like this feature....The meter stays on until I decide to turn it off. Luckily the EF will take readily available 1.5v batteries. For me the EF´s quality make it a real pleasure to use. The film wind-on clicks with watch-like precision, rewind is also silky smooth, and it´s nickname "Black Beauty" is well deserved.