Canon FD body search
I'm trying to build a Canon FD kit, and want to find a body that has:
- depth of field preview
- aperture and/or shutter priority. I couldn't give a flip about programmed-mode.
- spot metering (wanted, but not essential)
- uses or can use a battery that still moderately easy to find.
- viewfinder requirements
- shows aperture AND shutter speed in the viewfinder.
- would prefer match needle to just LED. I just find analog more descriptive. :)
- when in manual mode, shows the actual aperture at which the camera is set, not the one the meter suggests. (rules out the A-1).
I've looked around for a few days, downloading copies of Canon operating
manuals and scratching my head. I used an F-1 all through my stint in the
US Navy as a photographer. I think they were either the latter version
of the original F-1 (F-1n?) or the so-called New F1. I was in from
1980-85, and I think the latest F-1 came out in 83, so maybe I trained on
one and use the other out in the fleet.
Anyway... back to the topic, for a while I thought the A-1 might fit the
bill, but it has the above problem with showing the meter's indication of
what aperture ought to be in manual mode, not the actual aperture. As
far as I was able to tell, the original/earliest of the three F-1 models
has match needle, but only shows shutter speed. The latest of the F-1
models shows aperture, shutter speed, and has match needle. The bodies
seem to go for about US$400 a pop, though.
Can any of the Canonfiles in the Apug Brain Trust offer any advice as to
what would be a good body, given the criteria above?
Kevin W. Mullet
"It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles.
Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you,
not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell."
Sounds like you want an F-1n Kevin. That's what the Navy had back then. The one on my ship had every attachment that existed. The thing was as wide as an 8x10 view camera when all the stuff was hanging on it.
The New F-1 (F-1N, not F-1n unless you want to accumulate all the gizmos like Alex's Navy camera) has everything you want, but it can be tricky to find the spot metering focusing screens, and they can go for around $60-100 (more toward the $100 side for the bright ones, but the regular one is still pretty bright). You need the AE finder for shutter priority AE and a motor drive or power winder for aperture priority (the drive battery supplies extra power to the camera for this function).
I've never owned a T-90, but that might work, though I'm not sure about the viewfinder display.
David do you know where to get the batteries for the old F1n?
Batteries? We don't need no stinkin' batteries!
Seriously, though, I always use it as a second body, so I don't put any batteries in it. I've always got another camera (usually the F-1N) or a hand meter I can use. You can use Wein zinc-air cells (best price I've found is at B&H) which are somewhat short-lived. There are also mercury cells if you hunt around on the net, but I'd rather not support that business. Another option is to make a battery converter, or you can purchase them for around $30, so you can use 1.5 v. hearing aid batteries.
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sounds very cool so far.
So, I gather the F-1n's battery only powers the meter and the shutter is entirely mechanical/spring-timed?
Also -- battery converter? Would a bit of wadded up aluminum foil to take up the extra space be just as functional? If so, what kind of hearing-aid batteries would I use, or does it matter as long as they're 1.5v?
The original battery is 1.3 v. and the mercury cells decay in a different way than alkaline cells, so you need to use a compatible battery. The converter reduces the voltage.
With the old F-1n, the battery only powers the meter.
With the New F-1 (F-1N), the battery powers the meter, is necessary for auto exposure, and powers some of the shutter speeds, but you still have a good range of mechanical speeds if the battery dies. It also takes a currently available 6v battery.
If you don't mind the center-weighted spot meter, you could try an AE-1 (not programmable).
I'd go with an AE-1.... I have three, one is a "program"... Love these cameras...
I've got an AE-1 Program. The viewfinder display only shows aperture and not the shutter speed; in manual mode, it shows the meter's recommended aperture, not the one set on the lens; there's no match-needle indicator. Other than that, it meets all my criteria. ;)
Originally Posted by Bighead
Seriously, though, way back years ago when I first started to become unsatisfied with my EF system and wanted to return to FD, we went to the local photo store and priced out used F1s as a birthday, anniversary or some such event-wise present, but they were way more expensive that we anticipated, so we got an AE-1 program. Fits well in the hands, but there's just some things about it that irk me, mostly about the viewfinder display.
Don't think i've ever used an AE-1 non-program. How does the display differ from the AE-1p?