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)!