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  1. #1
    gnashings's Avatar
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    What can you tell me about the Canon EF

    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. #2

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    it seems counter productive to buy a Canon body that can't use the lenses you already have.

    Have you seen this? http://photonotes.org/manuals/ef-m/#about

  3. #3
    smieglitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnashings
    ...I would like to hear from people who have or had one of these.... 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...

    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. #4
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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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).
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
    Confusion above--The Canon EF is (confusingly) an FD-mount camera, not an EF mount camera.
    Oh sorry

  6. #6

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    You might want to check the Canon FD group on http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CanonFD
    People over there know all there is to know about those babies.

    Thor Egil

  7. #7
    gnashings's Avatar
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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!
    Last edited by gnashings; 04-11-2005 at 02:32 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  8. #8
    Seele's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnashings
    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!
    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. #9
    gnashings's Avatar
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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. #10
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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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.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

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