I am getting back into photography...
Hello there. I just wanted too introduce myself and give a little background, them maybe ask a favor of you all.
My name is Tina. I go by Seaweed here. I am *cough*somewhere in my 30's*cough* and I am trying to get back into analog photography.
A little background: My father has been into photography for most of his life, including SLR's and underwater photography. When I went to college in the mid 90's for an art degree, I was lucky enough to take a photography course, and it was instantly love at first site. I took all of the courses that they had, and was lucky enough to have a darkroom at my disposal.
For the most part, I used a Canon FTB from the mid 70's. I usually had a 50mm lens on it, but from time to time used some others, like a really cool 28-90mm lens. When I didn't use that one, I used the slightly newer (mid 80's) Canon A1 with the same lenses. We used Kodak chemicals (D76 and I forgot the other one) Ilford HP5+ 400 black and white film and Illford Multigrade IV paper, usually matte, sometimes glossy.
After I graduated college, since I didn't have access to a darkroom, I kinda of got away from analog photography for quite a few years.
But while I was talking to a coworker of mine, he mentioned this website and told me to come visit and take a look around. Just thinking about reading about SLR photgraphy made me want to pick it back up again. So I "borrowed" those two old cameras back from my father, got some black and white Kodak film from a store, and I want to try them out.
The issue is that I really do not know if they even work any more. They have not been used for about 10 years, and my skills are quite rusty.
What I would love to hear from you guys are some tips to see if these work. I am sure the batteries are dead, so I don't even think I can use the meters, so I may just have to guess about exposure time and aperature. I do not have an aperature meter, just the cameras themselves and the lenses that are on them. The A1 has a 50mm and the FTB has the 28-90mm zoom.
So can you guys help me out? What is the best way to dust off the cobwebs from both my skills and these cameras? How can I take some test shots to see how well they work (if at all?) when I am not sure anymore of how to set the aperature and all that?
Thanks in advance.
Welcome to APUG. I am not a Canon user but plenty here will be, so good advice will be forthcoming. Here's to a long and fruitful relationship with APUG and analogue photography.
Originally Posted by pentaxuser
Hehe, thanks. After I posted this, I went to my A1 and turned it on, and lo and behold the battery actually still works. It gives me the aperature at the bottom, so I put some film in it (I can just hope it loaded okay, I am really rusty at this!) and I guess I will take some shots with it tomorrow after work.
The A-1 uses a PX28 type 6 volt battery that is still pretty available -- my local Ace Hardware has 'em. Welcome to APUG and have fun.
DaveT (A-1 owner)
You can use the FTb whether it has a battery in it or not; the battery is just for the meter. It will need one of the new air/sinc replacements for the PX-13/625 mercury batter. Without a battery, just go take pictures in sunny light, using the ASA (iso) of the film as a shutter speed setting, and set the fstop at about f/16.
The AI requires a battery for all functions. It is a LOT more complicated than the FTb because of the various program settings; unless you just can set it on P to set shutter speed and fstop for you.
You have come to the right place. Lots of people who really are into "real" photography on film and paper.
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
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If you don't have manuals, you can find PDF files here.
Congrats. I started with 35mm and an FTb and 50mm lens.
The meter is the only thing that needs a battery on an FTb. Not so on the A-1, however. You should be able to get the battery for the A-1 at most places that have a good selection of batteries, however, the FTb's 625 battery is no longer made exactly the way it was made back then. There is a Wein cell that you can get for it that is of the proper voltage (1.35V), but they are relatively expensive and don't last a long time. Also, you can get the alkaline version of the old battery, but the voltage is wrong, so you need to compensate for this, or have the camera tinkered with by a repair person to read accurately with the alkalines. I had mine calibrated to commonly available and dirt cheap 1.4V 675 hearing aid batteries and they work fine. You just wrap the small 675 in a rubber o ring or a split metal ring and this takes up the empty space.
You can shoot your FTb without the meter, however, and IMHO, it is better that you learn to shoot based on exposure guides rather than on your meter. Meters are only guides, and in order to operate them properly, you need to have a thorough understanding of what they are actually telling you. You can learn this fairly easily, but IMO should just go out and shoot for a while without worrying about too much of the technical stuff.
IMO, it is easier for a beginner to learn using the sunny 16 rule. This is known as BDE (Basic Daylight Exposure), and you simply make adjustments off of it for different levels of light. For instance, BDE is: when shutter speed equals film speed, in CLEAR and BRIGHT sun, use f/16. This does not mean you have to use f/16, of course. You could use f/11 at one shutter speed faster than your film speed, or f/8 at two shutter speeds faster than your film speed, etc. For shady shade, I usually open up to f/4. For brighter shade, f/5.6, etc. The film boxes usually have decent guides to get you started.
"Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."
- Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)
To answer a couple of questions... and add a few of my own..
I do have the manual for the A1, and I found the PDF for the Ftb online. I messing with the A1 tonight since its batteries are working. I have been taking some pictures around the house with a few different settings, so I can hopefully see how it works.
The first pics were not set on P, but I found the P setting about halfway through, so the second set of pics were on P. I will see if there is a difference in those pics.
For the person talking about exposure guides... Is that something I can find online and print out? If so, do you have a link? I actually do not have an external meter. I am not sure the Ftb has any meter on it that I can see, like the one on the A1.
And what is the sunny 16 rule? I am going to try to do some research tonight, but any explanations I can get would be great.
Hello from Richmond Va. FTb has a match needle meter on the right side of the view finder. Just turn on the switch on the top left. I believe the FTB meter is semi-spot.
for fairly entertaining expination and a chart (at the bottom) try this link
Last edited by ford prefect; 10-26-2008 at 08:22 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: forgot to include the link