What can you tell me about the Canon EF

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by gnashings, Apr 10, 2005.

  1. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Hi all,

    I am considering buying a Canon EF, and while I am somewhat familiar with the technical specifications of the camera (what I can find on the web - itsa lot less popular than the A series, it seems) I would like to hear from people who have or had one of these. Your first hand impressions will be priceless to me in allowing me to make a more educated decision - and there is no substitute for experience! I already have a AE-1, and wanted another inexpensive fd mount body. I decided that this would be more interesting than owning two AE's, besides, I liked the rugged, old-school looks, the mirror lock feature and the fact that apparently, it has a very accurate shutter and meter. Of course it takes the dreaded mercury batteries... but, the bottom line is:

    What do you guys think?
     
  2. ian_greant

    ian_greant Member

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  3. smieglitz

    smieglitz Subscriber

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    I own a Canon FD system and had a Canon EF for many years. I eventually sold it to a friend who literally begged me to sell the camera to her as she liked it so much.

    The only downside to the camera as far as I am concerned has to do with the batteries. Be prepared to keep a stock on hand as the camera requires two to keep the meter and electronic shutter speeds going. It might be nice to have a motor drive option, but otherwise, I thought the camera perfect.

    It was built into an F-1 shell and all the controls for mirror lock-up, D-O-F preview, timer, etc., were in the same place as on my F-1 body which I really liked. Like the F-1, it was a substantial, heavy camera, and I liked that.

    The long electronic shutter speed range coupled wih the standard mechanical range was great. The meter was very sensitive and one of the best for its time period. It always felt to me like this camera was a hybrid between the F-1 and slightly later AE-1 which replaced it quickly in the marketplace.

    My system at the time incorporated F-1, EF and A-1 bodies along with several Canon lenses from 20mm out to 500mm Fluorite. I still have the F-1 and A-1 but traded the 500mmm for an 8x10 system with 300mm lens. I don't use 35mm anymore but still keep the Canon system around. I liked this FD equipment so much that I don't know what I would do today if I had to replace the system with something modern.

    I'd say go for it. I think you'll really like the camera if you can deal with the battery issue. I eventually always used the EF with high-speed infrared because I never had to meter with the film, hence didn't need to worry about the batteries, and kept color and a panchromatic b&W roll in the other two bodies.

    Joe
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Confusion above--The Canon EF is (confusingly) an FD-mount camera, not an EF mount camera.

    If you're invested in FD lenses, the EF is a neat camera. It's built on the old F-1 chassis, is the only camera in the FD line with a Copal Square vertical travel shutter (which gives a 1/125 s. X-sync speed), has MLU, and the meter has a voltage regulator, so it is possible to use it with 1.5 v batteries in general, though when I had one, I found that if the batteries were very fresh, they might be over the rated voltage and wouldn't work properly (in which case I'd leave them in a drawer for a few months to age, use Weincell zinc-air cells in the meanwhile, and they'd be fine).
     
  5. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    Oh sorry :tongue:
     
  6. tleirtro

    tleirtro Subscriber

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  7. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Thanks guys, I really appreciate the input! I do like the FD system, and just wanted to hear first hand from folks who used them. The internet is almost useless for this camera - searching "Canon EF" gives page upon page of info about the lens system sharing this name! I am especially glad tha the batteries are not a big issue - from my previous experience, this is a good thing indeed! Thanks again!

    Just one more thing - could someone please explain to me the significance of "Copal Square" shutter design? How is it different from other focal plain shutters? What are the pros and cons? I understand this EF has metal curtains...is that good or bad (or depending on application?) Thanks!
     
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  8. Seele

    Seele Member

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    The Copal Square shutter was the first propriety focal plane shutter and was instrumental in popularising the 35mm reflex. Before the Copal Square, the horizontal cloth shutter is structually more entrenched within the construction of the camera and was made by the camera maker as well, but the advent of the Copal Square means that the intricacy of shutter design and construction is taken care of; just bolt the thing in and you're done. Being a metal vertical shutter it also means that it can X-synchronise at at least one stop faster than horizontal shutters, and being a well-built and pretty much self-contained unit, its reliability is very good too.

    The Copal Square used in the Canon EF is of a hybrid design: the fast speeds are mechanically timed but the slow speed electronically timed.
     
  9. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Thank you so much! It looks like I will be adding htis camera to my arsenal - I like it more the more I learn about it (I kind of wish I knew all this before I bought my AE-1... then again, it came with a 70-210 Canon zoom that I traded for a 80-200 L lens to an unsuspecting pawn shop vulture... so it has paid for itself - several times over, actually: I paid $100 Canadian for the body, 50mm f1.8 and the zoom, hehehehe).
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    When you get it, take a wide piece of masking tape and stick it to the camera back, and then in large red letters write--TURN OFF THE CAMERA! It's very easy to leave the meter on, and find your batteries dead the next day.

    Also, hunt around on the net for info on the focusing screen and serial numbers. Before a certain number, it had a screen with a microprism spot, and after that number, it had a screen with a split-image rangefinder spot, and I think a microprism ring. I had the earlier type, but I think the later one would be preferable.
     
  11. Joe Symchyshyn

    Joe Symchyshyn Member

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    I currently own 2 EF bodies... I had one and loved it so much that I bought a backup body.

    As for the battery issues mentioned above... I've always used PX625 (I think that's the number - don't have it in front of me) that I pick up pretty much anywhere. I find the meter wonderfully acurate, and have NOTHING bad to say about the camera at all.

    Another cool thing if you use it, is that you can set the timer up to 30 seconds to do timed exposures.

    joe :smile:
     
  12. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Thank you for all the input! I think I will give one of these a new home soon - I let one slip through my fingers on ebay... and now I want to catch another deal that good...Silly me!

    David - thanks for that bit of info, I actually looked into it a bit now that you brought it up. You are absolutely correct - but I have no specific number, just the "earlier ones had this, later ones had that" kind of confirmation. It is good to know, as my AE-1 has the "dual-mode" screen, and I love using it. When the split screen runs out of light or there are no defined lines in view, the matt ring is a godsend!

    Joe - 30 sec! Wow! This thing seems to be a tank, too! And thanks for more info on the batt. situation - it did give me a bit of a pause at first, but the feedback I got from you and others really put me at ease. I bet if we keep this thread running, someone will chime in a with a story of how they used an EF as a blunt weapon or a wheel chock (and then kept on taking pictures)! :smile:
     
  13. Joe Symchyshyn

    Joe Symchyshyn Member

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    Well everyone had already pointed out all the other pros... It does have...

    30s, 15s, 8s, 4s, 2s, 1s, B, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30, 50, 125X, 250, 500, 1000

    Pc socket and hot shoe
    A great meter! (I've never had problems)
    Mirror lockup
    Self timer
    Multiple exposure control
    Exposure lock
    Shutter Priority
    Heavy duty construction

    Basically it's an F1 without the motor or the changable viewfinder

    I love my EFs... They've served me well for over 10 years now and I bought them both used.

    Good luck and have fun with your new cameras!

    joe :smile:
     
  14. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    One more thing - I let one (nice too) slip through my hands... and started to look at the camera I originally wanted to get - a NewF1. Basically its a factor of at least 2.5 -3 X the price (without any goodies like the AE finder, motor drive, etc - whi are NOT a must have for me)... and I'm not even getting mirror lock up!:smile:
    I have studied the New F1 quite a bit, and now I am wondering if I want to spend that kind of money since that EF has been such a surprise... I guess its a "would ya? type of question to any who cares to "philosophise" on the issue. Thanks again, everyone has been so great with the input!
     
  15. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have a New F-1 and had an EF as a second body for a while.

    The New F-1 has a better mirror damping system, and I've tested it against the EF with MLU. While the EF does better with MLU than it does without MLU, the EF with MLU is not necessarily better than the New F-1N in my experience.

    The big attraction of the New F-1 for me is spot metering, but it's hard to find the focusing screens that will give you that option. If you want spot metering, but can't find the focusing screen, you might look at a T-90.

    The EF does have a faster X-sync speed (1/125) than the New F-1 (1/90).
     
  16. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Thanks, David - I found it very strange that Canon would have been silly enough not to offer that option on its flagship model. Almost all other pro level SLR's I know have MLU. This might be a case of engineers believing a little too much in their own abilities - kind of like the 1950's fighter jets that had no cannons, because it was deemed obsolete... until they got into a shooting war and everyone was grafting cannons onto them with everything including duct tape! And the new EOS pro lines all have MLU as far as I know. Just like all new fighters have on board cannon...
    Oh, what to do, what to do...
     
  17. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I had the same suspicions about MLU, which is part of the reason I bought the EF in the first place, already owning a New F-1. I do a fair amount of bird photography with a 600mm lens and 1.4X or 2X extender, where the difference should show up, but it really doesn't. Of course if the New F-1 had MLU it would be even better than it is, but even without it, it's steadier than an EF or an old F-1 with MLU.
     
  18. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    So, the Canon angineers are actually right about the New F1 not really needing a MLU? That was my only quibble with that camera, as all the Nikon F's have it, and the new Canon pro models have it... But I am willing to go with the voice of experience - if its that good (the NewF1), then I won't worry about it...(and maybe get an EF later, simply because I like the old thing!)
     
  19. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Much to my own surprise, yes, I believe that to be true, presuming the camera is in good repair and has had a routine CLA in recent history. I eventually sold off my EF, but I still have the New F-1 that I purchased new around 1983, and I have an old F-1n as a second body.
     
  20. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Hmm, I guess I will be happy with either one then, its just a matter of how long I can hold out for a deal on an NewF1 - Only a real steal on one of these is in my prise range right now, where as the average EF deal is quite accessible... I guess its up to my patience, and how long I can bear missing things because I dont have the right film in my camera :smile:

    Thanks for all your input, its great since your experiences are priceless to me - there is no better way to really find out about something than from first hand accounts of people NOT trying to sell you something! Thanks!