Questions about Canon F-1 & AT-1

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by graceaj, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. graceaj

    graceaj Member

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    I recently found my father's old cameras during a spring cleaning. For some reason he stopped using them quite a few years ago and can barely remember how to operate them. As far as I can tell, the F-1 works and probably just needs a cleaning. From what I've read I'll need to get an alkaline adapter or a zinc-air battery, although I was wondering if I may use it without a battery since the slower shutter speeds are supposed to be mechanical.

    Apparently the AT-1's battery should be easier to procure, but it doesn't seem to be in working condition; the film advance lever doesn't seem to be working. It seems unlikely, but does it need a battery to work, or is it stuck?

    I'm in Singapore, so if you could point me to any place that can help me clean the insides of the cameras, fix them if necessary and have the necessary batteries & adapters to get it working I'll appreciate it.

    Thanks in advance! :cool:
     
  2. Simon Gulliver

    Simon Gulliver Member

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    The AT-1 uses px28 silver oxide batteries which are easy to get hold of. If the AT-1 is already wound on but has no battery you won't be able to release the shutter to wind on again. The AT-1 is completely battery dependent. Hope that helps.
     
  3. Shmoo

    Shmoo Member

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    I think Porter's Camera also has replacement batteries for those "hard-to-get" camera batteries.
     
  4. Francis in VT

    Francis in VT Member

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    Canon F-1 battery

    What model is the F-1? You write the slow speeds should work without the battery. This is true only for the last model which uses a PX-28 6 volt battery, but the battery has to be removed from the camera.
    The first two models used Mercury 625 in the bottom of the camera. In these models the battery is only for the meter.
     
  5. graceaj

    graceaj Member

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    I'm not too sure what model it is, and I don't really know anything except what little I've read. Apparently one can tell from the serial number in the film chamber, but the number I have is nothing like the ones shown here. Mine basically is "upside-down triangle 6 18"

    So what I mentioned about not needing the battery etc. I was actually wondering about and looking for confirmation. I believe the one I have should be the model that needs a Mercury battery in the bottom; and since its only for the meter I should be able to use it with just the risk of over/under exposure, correct?
     
  6. BobbyR

    BobbyR Member

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    If you are in Singapore, I can give you the e address of a fellow there who still has mercury batteries for the original F-1.
    What is on the left front side of you camera.
     
  7. Mark Antony

    Mark Antony Member

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    Sounds like you have an original 1970s F1 which is not battery dependant they were made between 1970-81.
    After that canon made the 'New' F1 which is dependant on batteries for the slow speeds (below 1/90).
    This link has a top plate view of both Canon F1
    here is a link for the old F1 (which is your model)
    Old F1
    Hope this helps
    Mark
     
  8. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    The first two F-1s do not require batteries unless you want a meter. There are many options. I have tried them all. Wein cells, etc. IMO, the best is to take the camera to a repair person and have it modified to take readily available alkalines. Should cost about $25 for this conversion alone, and is usually included for free with a CLA. Might as well make the conversion and use $3.50 alkalines that last a year instead of $7 Wein cells that last half a year.

    The first two F-1 bodies also look nearly identical, and in operation, batteries, accessories, etc., are identical. The easiest ways to tell which one you have are the advance lever and the available EI settings for the meter. The first model has an all metal advance lever with a long throw, and the meter goes up to EI 2000 (one dot past 1600). The second model has a plastic-tipped advance lever with a shorter throw, and the meter goes to EI 3200. Another exterior difference is the battery check knob stays locked in place on one of them and springs back on the other. I forget which is which. (Both of mine, one 1st model and one 2nd model, are in the shop right now.) Also, the second model has a slot on the back of the door for the end of your film box, while the first model does not.

    The third F-1 is the one that is partially mechanical and partially electric. It looks like an '80s camera, while the first two look like '70s cameras. Accessories and batteries are not interchangeable between the first two and the third one. I want one of these, as they are supposed to be more reliable, have more accurate shutters, more focusing screens, faster flash synch, and allow some automation, but have decided against because I would have to buy all my accessories all over again; motor drives, alternate viewfinders, etc.

    The F-1 is worth spending money on, for sure. You could probably replace the other one for what you would spend on a CLA, so I would just change the batteries, hope it works, shoot with it until it dies, without spending too much on it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 29, 2008
  9. graceaj

    graceaj Member

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    On the left front I don't see anything. There is a timer on the right side though.


    Thanks for all your very informative answers. Now is there any beginner's guide to manual cameras or something similar out there to get me started? Thanks!
     
  10. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    You don't need a guide for these cameras! You have exactly four main things to consider, just like any camera: Film speed, focus, shutter speed, and aperture. The camera is 100% self explanatory. That is the beauty of it: A monkey could use it. The camera has a film speed selector, a shutter speed selector, an aperture selector, and a focusing collar. It also has a shutter release button. Plus a combined timer/D of F/MLU, a meter/battery check switch, an advance lever, a rewind switch, and a rewind knob. It has a film door. It has a flash synch. It has a removable prism. That's already way more than you need to know to get good pix with it.

    It's automatic/electronic cameras for which you really need the manual! If you can't figure it out by fiddling with it for a bit, I bet you can find the manual online.
     
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  11. pauliej

    pauliej Member

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    If you check this link, http://www.canonfd.com/choose.htm you should be able to find more information on the Canon FD line of cameras. Some of the instruction manuals are available on pdf which can help you greatly. Also, be sure to check the links at the bottom of this page, as they are many and very useful too. I hope this helps you.

    Paul
     
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  12. graceaj

    graceaj Member

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    I have managed to figure out what buttons and knobs control what by just playing with it, and have some knowledge of the various settings(have some experience with DSLRs), but if I was to use it without battery (and so without aid of the meter), how do I take a good picture? Or am I wondering about the impossible? :tongue:
     
  13. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    All the battery does is feed the meter. Everything else is exactly the same. Photography was practiced for about 100 years before meters became commonplace, so they just experimented at first, which is what you would need to do as well. This experimentation led to the development of neat little guides like Basic Daylight Exposure (BDE), AKA the "sunny 16" guide. This gives you a starting point for meterless exposure by stating: when film speed equals shutter speed, and you are in clear and bright conditions, use f/16. Adjustments are made for different lighting conditions by always referring back to this guide. For instance, in open shade on a clear bright day, increase exposure from BDE by 8x to 16x. I will look for my chart somewhere...but I am not so sure I can find it.

    However, everywhere in the world is different, and every camera's shutter is a bit different, as are developing and printing parameters, etc. You will have to use BDE as a starting guide only, and find your own way.
     
  14. graceaj

    graceaj Member

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    Thanks! A starting point like this was exactly what I was looking for. :D