Canon F-1 vs. New F-1 build quality

Discussion in 'Canon FD' started by h_gercek, Jun 20, 2010.

  1. Those who have used these two cameras, which one do you think is better in terms of build quality?
    I`ve used an F-1 before and although it`s a well built camera, my copy had some weak parts such as the film advance lever, bottom plate, and the prism/finder. These parts were somewhat loose, especially the vertical play in the film advance lever was irritating. I`m now considering to buy another f-1 body and I need to decide if I should get another f-1 or go with a new f-1. Feature-wise, both cameras suit me well, so the decision comes down to the build quality.
  2. I've spoken to several repair technicians on this exact topic and they're unanimous in their opinions- the mechanical F-1 is a tougher camera as well as simpler to repair.
    None of my F-1/n bodies exhibit any of the issues you've mentioned either, all work (and feel) perfect.
  3. I have had both F-1 ca 1972 and still have F-1n ca. 1977 both cameras have slight differences, neither is battery dependent except for metering. No battery power, all functions work. New F-1 ca. 1981 is battery dependent and because of 30 years old may have electronic issues with no repair parts. The earlier two Canon F-1 and F-1n are mechanical. If the meter fails use a handheld meter and your still able to shoot. My vote goes for original Canon F-1 or F-1n but not new F-1.
  4. I have an F-1, two F-1n's, and two F-1N's. All are superbly built and perform flawlessly. Since I usually shoot in Av, I tend to use the F-1N (or T90) more. So if you need auto exposure, get an F-1N; if not, or if you need mirror lock-up, get an F-1 or F-1n.
  5. I own an early Fi (1974) and two New F1s ( 1982 and 1984) all are incredibly well built and perform without issue. Mine have frequently gone out in -40C and have climed many mountains (and in the case of one new F1 tumbled down one). The New F1 is probably slightly more durable as it is weather sealed unlike the older models. The New F1 is not as battery dependent as Paul suggests - so long as you remove the battery all you lose is the metering and 1/60 and slower speeds - 1/90 to 1/2000 will all work without a battery in the body. Mark gives good advice - get the F1 for MLU but the New F1 for automation and better metering options (spot, partial and center weighted). In terms of build the fact that the New F1 will be a newer body may also help with durability.
  6. awahlster

    awahlster Moderator

    at 30-40 years old they are all built like brick *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* houses. If they weren't they would already be gone.
    Buy based on what features you want/need for the photography you do.
  7. I had a New F-1, sold it years ago and I have regretted that decision ever since. I recently acquired an F-1 (ca. 1973) and had it updated with some new parts (new top plates and back).
    I agree wit the others. If you want AE, New F-1, if you want MLU and less battery dependence, then get an F-1/F-1n.
    However, I never liked the feel of the film advance on the New F-1, the original F-1 is better. But if you want shutter priority AE and the smoothest film advance, get an EF. The EF is probably the most under rated camera built in the early-mid 70's. Like I said, I sold my New F-1, but I kept my EF. I'm not letting the EF go.
    stephen_morris|3 likes this.
  8. The New F-1 has a hidden design flaw that's caught me out and probably others too: as already mentioned, the shutter requires a battery to function OR removal of same to permit use of its mechanically-governed speeds. Doing so means removing the battery access plate, which is hidden behind the handgrip when the motor drive is attached. Okay, well just remove the motor, pain in the ass it may be...but wait...with the drive removed sunlight can leak in through those uncovered holes in the camera's base plate...very inconvenient when you've got ISO 400 film already loaded and are shooting outdoors on's like a bad episode of Candid Camera.
    This exact scenario happened to me during MotoGP at Laguna Seca in 2008. I'd put a new battery in about a month before, it checked out aok, but began failing during the weekend. Canon did make an adapter cord which powered the camera from the motor drive's battery pack but it's only usable with the Ni-Cd battery very clever of them (and how many of those will even hold a charge nowadays?)
    I think the New F-1 is a very fine camera which could've been so much better given a little more desire on Canon's part. AE lock, MLU, and direct power supply from external battery sources...imagine the WOW factor! That, and a nice shiny black finish the way an F-1 oughta.
  9. awahlster

    awahlster Moderator

    Rick you don't carry a changing bag in your camera bag. A real film photographer never goes afield without one.
    And You can in fact easily power your New F-1 from an external battery just like any of the A series bodies. ever notice that little notch in the bottom of the battery door? that is there to allow a 2 conductor cable to pass through the door. On one end you have a little PX-28 size dummy battery on the other anything from 4) AA's to a 6Volt car battery.
    You can make the adapter really easy out of a lenght of 7/16" wood dowel about 1/8th inch shorter then the PX-28 battery. Push two brass thumbtacks into the ends to act as electrical contacts and then before seating the thumbtacks tight against the ends of the little wood dowel wrap one side of some 18-22ga speaker wire to the nail on each thumbtack. Then put the little adapter in place of the battery and run the cable through the little notch to a 4) AA battery holder.
    Radio shack carries the wire and the battery holder.
    By the way Canon sold these they show up once in a while on eBay.
    You can also have any of the Canon NiCad battery packs recelled. And NO no camera company plans on having their products being used 30 years down the road.
  10. Get a F-1 before 1973 and you will understand why the rest of us love that camera
  11. Mark, the external battery lash-up you described caused a small geyser of coffee to exit my nose...nicely done!
  12. My first F-1 was the F-1N which I liked quite a bit. I currently use the original F-1 and simply love it, more than I did the F-1N actually. I love the feel of it and the metering is always spot-on. I also agree with Ed K. The EF is a fantastic camera that has the same very sturdy, high quality feel to it like the F-1, but has more info in the viewfinder and more automation. It's a pretty awesome camera if you find one in good shape.
  13. I've owned these cameras since new, and no machine works for thirty years or more at it's optimum without maintenance, it depends how and how much they have been used and if they have ever been CLAd. The F1N AE is battery dependant but there's nothing to prevent you from carrying a couple of spares, I've had the current PX 28 L Lithium one in mine for more than ten years and it's still good, my favourite F camera to use is the EF. All the Canon F series cameras are as tough as nails, and you could knock metal tent pegs into permafrost with them and they'd still work.
  14. I got from a Canon repair guy that the New F1 is much better designed than the Old one, i.e. less fiddly and much easier to maintain.
    One thing I never understood is why the motor drive/winder did not provide power to the body automatically, there are more than enough contacts between the two! Sounds really stupid to overlook such a thing and then provide a special accessory that does only work with NiCd packs and is difficult to mount, has this ugly cable sticking out, etc.
  15. IIRC, the intended purpose of the external battery connector was for cold conditions at or below freezing. At low temps, alkalines don't perform too well so Canon wanted to be sure that only the NiCad battery pack could be used so that is why there is no automatic connection.
  16. I realize this thread is old but I just came across it and I hope someone who can help me sees my post. I have had a New Canon F1 for many years but, being almost exclusively a large format photographer, I rarely shoot it. However, every once in a while, it's fun to get out my F1-N and T90 and do some hand-held photography. I have the Hi-powered NiCd Battery Pack FN and motordrive. About ten years ago, the battery was very weak and wouldn't take a full charge so I took it to International Camera in Chicago and had it re-celled. Unfortunately, I think they goofed because it never had much power after that and the camera would only fire at about 2-3 frames per second and the charger light would never go off as it should when the battery pack is fully charged. I didn't want to bother with it until recently but I am happy to have learned that, supposedly, Batteries Plus can re-cell it. A few years ago, I also picked up the Battery Pack FN (insert your own AA batteries) just in case I couldn't get the hi-power pack re-celled.
    Anyway, here is my question: Since International Camera may have put the wrong batteries in my Hi-Powered NiCd pack, does anyone have the specs on the batteries that should be used? I would like to be able to tell Batteries Plus what batteries it needs. I suspect that if they remove the batteries that International Camera installed and simply put the same ones in the pack, I will be right back where I started from. Apparently the batteries used in the Hi-Power NiCd pack are more powerful than the regular NiCd battery pack for the camera. I have the manual for the camera and the hi-powered NiCd battery pack but I can't find info about what specific batteries are used.

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