Canon F-1 New

Discussion in 'Canon FD' started by stefan_haas, Jul 2, 2006.

  1. I'm thinking about adding an F-1 New to my 35mm equipment (I've been usingFD cameras for
    some years). Is there something to be aware of when purchasing an F-1?
    Is there certain signs of use that would recommend to keep away from the camera in question?
    Thank you for any kind of comment on this!
  2. As an owner of an F-1n w/ AE finder, I can say you would love the camera as I do.

    They are heavy but bullet proof. Look at the seals. F-1's took a beating at times from those who shot them alot. I would avoid cameras that came from profesional kits as they can be in pretty bad shape. The famous "canon Squeak" is a condition that plagues the A series camera, not the F series so far as I know.

    I would try to get one that is pretty clean. If shopping on E Bay, only buy if lots of pictures are taken of all sides of the camera, both inside and out. Sometimes the shutter curtains took a beating and the seals are now gooo.

    If the camera comes with a drive, make sure the batteries were not left stored in the drive and in the cameras as well.

    400 bucks should but a pretty clean unit. I doubt I would pay more unless it was in the box new and wrapped in plastic.

  3. Thank you Dave!
    Your contribution is a great help!
  4. Within the last year I bought a very clean one, for $325, standard prism, no AE. Great
    camera. Try the camera before buying is the safest option, otherwise make sure the
    seller has a good return policy. I got mine at a local camera store, with a 6 month
  5. Hi, Stefan!

    As David already noted, you'll want to ensure the camera/accessories are free of battery
    corrosion, and that the shutter curtains are in good condition; the curtains were made of
    very thin sheets of titanium (essentially titanium foil) and could be easily damaged/
    wrinkled. This was probably the most fragile part of the camera; the rest of it was built
    like a battleship; aside from scuffing up the appearance, there wasn't much that could
    destroy these camera bodies short of a 5-lb sledge hammer... While the F-Series camera
    bodies did not suffer the famous "Canon Squeak," periodic cleaning, lubrication, and
    adjustment is still recommended; the foam seals will still deteriorate after about 20 years,
    and most folks selling these things on auction sites and such probably have not performed
    this maintenance. Be prepared to see to it yourself, probably to the tune of $100...

    In the case of the New F-1, there were three screw-in plugs in the base to accommodate
    the motor drive units (AE Power Winder FN and AE Motor Drive FN). You'll want to ensure
    that you at least receive the plug that fits the opening into the recepticle for the film roll
    itself; if that plug is missing and you are not using a motor drive unit, you risk allowing
    light to enter the film chamber and improperly expose the film. On the whole, it's best to
    ensure that you receive all three screw-in plugs, as the other two would also prevent dirt/
    dust from getting inside the camera workings. Incidentally, the only way to use shutter
    priority mode with the New F-1 is to attach one of the motor drive units.

    While some folks erroneously state that you cannot use aperture priority mode with the
    Eye-Level Finder FN, the AE Finder FN certainly makes it far more simple; I would
    recommend the latter finder.

    That should cover the basics of the New F-1 for you, at least in shopping for a good one.
    You'll soon discover, however, that the camera is only part of a whole system, and before
    you know it, you'll be looking for extra focusing screens and other cool stuff for it! Enjoy!
  6. I recommend KEH for your purchase. KEH has earned high praise on these forums.
  7. While everything has pretty much been covered, I just can't help but add another vote of confidence for the New F1. I can't tell you how happy I have been with mine (granted, it has been a camera that I have pined after when I was a kid... so finally having one was a bit of an experience). Its incredibly rugged, very flexible, has a gorgeous viewfinder - bright and large, and to my own habits the controls are very intuitive and well placed. I think only the Nikon F3 has a viewfinder that I found to be better (albeit by a slight margin), and as much as love the Nikon, this New F1 feels like it could be used to pound the F3 into a pancake and then still be OK to take photos of the results (big grain of salt here, of course). Its a truly far ranging system with a wonderful spot meter capability with the right focusing screen (I found the meter on mine to be extremely accurate and sensitive regardless of metering mode), and still one of the fastest motor drives on any camera (if this is something you need).
    The only draw-backs that I can think of is the relatively slow flash synch speed (most cameras of this class had a vertical travel shutter at this point, the F1N does not - this is purely academic to me, but for people who need extremely fast shutter speeds and/or high synch speeds, it may be a concern) and lack of mirror lock up facility.
    The second one is something that really puzzled me - the original F1's and the small"n" new F1's had this feature (as did the very neat EF - this one also had a vertical travel shutter and is a hidden gem of the FD line up - definitely one to look at, as prices seem to be really low, it makes a great back up). According to Canon, the mirror damping they use on the New F1 is so good that it does not need it. I was understandibly apprehensive of this... From my reasearch, I have encountered two schools of thought on this. First is the one that basically says this is an oversight as mirror shake can not be eliminated without MLU. Theoretically, I tend to agree. Yet, I still bought the camera - why? The reason is, I spoke and corresponded with many folks (and I don't just mean causal users)who used these cameras with really long tele lenses and other motion sensitive applications, and they have all reassured me that they tend to agree with Canon. Also, I rarely shoot in conditions that allow me to use a tri-pod and take that kind of time, so this is a fairly rare, but still important question for me.
    Having used the camera for a while now, I have to say... I have to agree with Canon as well from a practical stand point - please note that this is based on a amateur like me "testing" under far from scientific conditions.
    Still, its in the back of my head, as logic dictates that no matter how well dampened, a mirror in motion has to make more vibrations, etc., than one that is not moving at all. But in practice, the Camera seems to be proving the Canon engineers right.
    Yet, on their EOS cameras they went back to offering MLU...
    This reminds me of some fighter planes of the 1950's and 1960's... all the scientists predicted that a gun was not needed in the modern era of air combat. Every fighter plane made today has a built in cannon... Did Canon get a bit ahead of itself? I really can't tell you. I suspect that to some extent, yes. But for a guy like me, whatever edge is lost is beyond a point that my limited skills can exploit.
    All in all, I love this camera and I am sure you will be very happy with it.
    I am of course, a touch neurotic... so I bought an EF just to have an FD camera with MLU (beisdes, I just find it neat, I like it quite a lot too!)... You know, just in case...hehehehehehee
    PS. I found a wealth of info on this camera (and all FD system cameras, for that matter - except the elusive EF) at this site:
    I found the info to be very accurate and extensive. Also, the manual is available here:
    Good luck. With a careful shopping process (remember, these are elderly and often veterans of heavy professional use) you will have a lot of camera for your money - and one that will give you years of trouble free service!
  8. I got a Bargain grade w Eye-Level finder from KEH for $250 and sent it off for a CLA. fixed a few minor glitches, like a sticking ISO setting dial and an inoperable prism locking button, and put it in like-new condition for $180. I use it on aperture priority AE, even with the plain prism, with 400 film and plenty of light.
  9. zml


    F1N is a great camera - built like a tank, will outlast the human race :)))

    Things that often are wrong with used F1N cameras:
    Shutter curtains (it was mentioned often here, make sure that the curtains are pristine -- the material is very thin and easy to damage/wrinkle. But in normal operations these curtains will last a long time... ) Battery terminal/compartment corrosion (also already mentioned) seems to be a real problem when you leave the batery in any od the drives/winders and/or body for an extended period of non-use. Prism/finder rails are sometimes bent, some people find it easy to slide tne finder at an angle and bend the rails while trying to remove it. Also, the AE prism is rather fragile, so test, test, test... before buying. Look at the morror - it is very, very difficult to clean - no idea why but it shows every smudge. more so than mirrors on other cameras... The MD/winder bottom covers on the camera are often missing (esp. if the equipment comes from a MD-wielding pro...) and rather hard to find on the used market (look inside the winder's/MD battery compartment - there is a storage place for these covers.) No cover = light leak. For some reason the focusing screens are often misaligned (they are user-replaceable.) The ASA/ISO dial often sticks (easy to fix) and the audiable beep of the self-timer often goes, too.
  10. you can do the seals yourself, people on ebay sell the kits, covers many cameras for something like $10. I did my EF, F1-2nd style, Canonet, and others...

    I also agree with Keh if not buying locally, due to their return policy. Also check craigslist for your area, i've seen some equipment advertised at bargain basement prices
  11. I too am thinking of aquiring the F1-N....I found one to be in mint, for $300 USD.(I live in Quito, Ecuador) I looked closely at it, clean and fired on all shutter speeds, but no lens to it...It was the first time ever holding one...It felt read good! (I aready have a F3HP/MD4, 28mm AIS F2.8, 24mm AIS F2.8.) Should I? It is real tempting....I saw the camera today, and I do not think that it will be swooped up here as many people want digital. Maybe I will get it, get a 28mm FD F2.8, use it for a while, then give it to my father? I read everyone's comments about what too look out for.

    what to do?

  12. Mark,

    No Brainer. Buy it. The F-1 is a classic in my opinion and worth everybit what you would invest in it as a good addition to any collection. The fun part is you can use it too.

    My F-1 is used all the time and never misses a beat. I have seen our EOS cameras (film cameras) freak out and lock up for no reason. I would never go on any photo trip without the F-1.

    I would suggest the following lenses which could be found on E-bay:

    A good old FD 50 f/1.4, a good MAcro 50 FD, a short range zoom such as Canons 35-135 FD or even a Vivitar 28-90 Series 1 f/2.8 (I love mine) and a good FD f/2.8 200mm FD (which can be 2x ed for a 400 f/5.6). All this equipment can be bought for around 450 dollars more, and thats for all of it. Think of a camera kit complete with all the lenses you might need for most photography for less than 1000 bucks US. You would spend over 5 times that amount putting together a new 5D Canon and similar supporting lenses and your F-1 will be running and snapping photos for many years after that 5D is recycled into plastic Coke bottles. (I beleive film might become a bigger pain to find and get developed but it won't go away all that soon.)

  13. Mark,

    There is a couple ways to look at this. First off, look at all the praise the camera gathers from many people of widely varying backgrounds and tastes. That should settle the "is it good" question. Now, as far as $300 goes, I think there are three arguments to be made. The only one I can think of that goes against purchasing it would be that you can get a less expensive camera that takes the same lenses and take about 99% of the shots that a F1 will allow you to take, although probably for less time and most likely with more numnerous reliability issues. So it becomes a cost-over-time issue, and as such, not really a "con". As far as the "pros" go, vis a vis the price, I choose to look at it like so:

    You will get a camera that was the very pinnacle of what Canon had to offer at the time, and was thus priced accordingly. Due to this, it was really something that could only be justified (logically) by a working professional who could devote that kind of money to a tool of his trade, and the means of putting bread on his table. The other people that could afford it but didn't need it would buy a Leica anyway :) As such, $300 is a paltry price of admission into a camera that will do just about anything you could ask of a 35mm SLR.

    The second is the one more relevant to today's prices. When you compare it to the prices of other used film equipment, the only real competition of any consequence comes from the Nikon F3 (if you want to go apples-to-apples) and for a variety of reasons, that camera is still in a higher price bracket (lens mount compatibility being one of them I suppose). Everything else that can be had for $300 will not really add up to the same thing as a New F1, especially in terms of ruggedness and reliability (even the F3, which I am a big fan of, seems to get more reliability complaints - although still very few - than the New F1). Add to that the extensive system that attaches to this camera, and you get a lot of mileage out of your $300 for a long, long time. I won't even mention the dollar for dollar capability vs cost of this camera vs digital equipment, as it is not really Canon New F1 specific.

    I also noticed the audible self timer malfunction noted in this thread. Funny thing is, I saw a comment in this very forum in reply to a "how do I fix my beeper" question, that basically asked:"You want to fix it? First tell me how you managed to BREAK it - I would dearly love mine to give up". The little beeper is a tad annoying some times:)

    I would say, for $300, as long as the camera is 100% functional and and in decent shape, it would be hard to go wrong.
  14. I have four F1Ns, one bought new and the others second-hand. They are very solid, reliable machines. As noted above, look for obvious signs of damage or abuse.
  15. Ive had 2 F1N bodies since the early 90s .. one has jammed up when I wrongly tried to repair it myself .. they are complex and need pro CLA treatment . I was advised by a reliable repair shop never to buy one sight unseen and I go along with that . I would also concur that its not a great idea to get one that has had pro use ..usually with motor drive ..remember the camera shutter is designed for minimum 100K exposures .. sounds a lot ..? No ..its only 2777 # 36exp films . Not many for a serious amateur but probably a years shooting for a pro on assignment .
    Dust and mold can also be a problem . I would suggest buy one with a warranty from a dealership where you can try it out (B&H NYC?)or make sure if its on Ebay you can return it on a no-quibble return deal (nordainc?)..
    Also you can get an FD to EOS adapter which lets yopu use your lenses on EOS bodies .Would you buy a car that lasts forever ? No..They are a fabulous camera along with the Leica R series and Nikon F3 and up .. no frills , just gutsy , solid and work down to minus 22'F ..try that with your digital !!:) Try and get one with NO brassing .. sign of light use .

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