canon speedlite 133d

Discussion in 'Canon FD' started by dominik_m, Nov 1, 2017.

  1. Hello all,
    I have recently obtained new ( to me) Canon speedlite 133d.
    It looks like it should except for switch, there are only ON and OFF positions rather than usual AUTO, OFF and MANUAL.
    It has ports to connect CAT ring to it, but I am not sure if CAT system would work with it since it lacks AUTO position.
    Has anyone seen something like that? DSC_2236.JPG DSC_2235.JPG
  2. Looking at the Canon Compendium, Canon introduced a simpler 133 flash in the late 1970's. I'm guessing the flash on the left is that version. I'm also guessing that when it's turned on, it's on auto. You may have to try out to verify.
  3. What Jim said.
    I have been looking for the 3-switch version for quite a while and so far after three units, I have yet to find a functional one. I hope yours works, Dominik.
  4. I don't mean to be dismissive, so I'll assume that the flash is for your collection and not as an everyday unit. It works with only a few lenses, is very low powered, had a long recycle time, went through batteries quickly, and is hardly a real automatic flash. Added to that, you really needed two rings if you wanted to make full use of the system, and IMHO it was one ugly combination. Back in the days when I sold FTbs and F1s, I can't remember recommending the unit to anyone, even though I'm a Canon man.

    And yes, I saw them in both iterations. The manual setting added a little more flexibility, and would have made it I suppose, usable on other cameras.
  5. I can see why not many were sold. The Vivitar 283 and 285, with their auto range settings, smoked it as far as capabilities go.
  6. These were paired with Canonet compact rangefinders (or apparently a selection of FD lenses?). They are manual flashes, but when paired with compatible systems the aperture on the lens will be set exactly by the focus given the guide number automatically. In many ways they are significantly better than an auto flash as there's no autoexposure process to be fooled by the tone of the subject. A white subject will expose as white, a black subject will expose as black, the exposure is just determined by basic math and the laws of physics. Given there's no light sensor I don't even know what the auto setting does.
  7. Looks like I was confusing this with the very similar Canolite D. I'm guessing the auto was made default because so rarely would you want to override it. The principle is still the same as a Canonet with the Canolite but with manual metering to let you screw things up by trying to outguess physics.
  8. Heck, a Vivitar 152 smoked it. As I recall, you focused, and then did a match needle.
  9. I have an old Yashica 50DX flash that I still use with my original Canon F-1. Totally manual, only one switch -- on/off. I just use the wheel on the side of the flash to determine exposure, and it's right every time.
  10. A friend who sold dental camera equipment told me that once a manual flash is calibrated to a specific bellows unit, you just leave the aperture set (with a low power flash, somewhere around f16). The bellows extension compensates for the "closeness" of the flash to the subject. So a manual flash is more appropriate for bellows use than an automatic flash. The 133d was probably intended more for bellows use together with the 133 ring flash than for other usage. Not only do you not need a high powered flash for bellows units, you may not be able to stop the lens down enough to use it with a bellows.
  11. "The 133d was probably intended more for bellows use together with the 133 ring flash than for other usage. Not only do you not need a high powered flash for bellows units, you may not be able to stop the lens down enough to use it with a bellows."[/QUOTE]

    The 133d could be used with a bellows on manual, however I highly doubt that Canon had that in mind. It would be a very poor choice as it was pretty much a hot shoe only flash. I don't recall that it had a PC connection.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
  12. I bought one of these for my then-new FTb back in 1971. It was clunky, but worked quite well. The original versions used metal for the ring that you mount on the lens. Later versions were plastic. I wish I had kept it. Not so much for practicality, but for collector value. The metal-ring model has to be rare.
  13. Well, after a two year search I was finally able to find a working 133D. Now I have a complete CAT flash system for my collection, including the A2 and B2 auto-ring adjusters, a 133D case, and original instructions.

    It came from Japan, with an assurance that is was just tested on an FTb and F-1 camera.

    To my delight, upon receipt I found it to be 100% functional. This is after finding two others that were supposedly "tested and good" yet were dead. And yes, I did get my money back via Fleecebay's directive from one seller, and a voluntary refund from the other seller.

    It is all a pretty funky looking archaic setup, and for grins I will make a few test shots on my FTb with the next film test effort.
  14. Hello again,

    So in case you are wondering, Yes, on/off flash unit acts as auto when in on position and connected to a ring.
    And I agree, it is really mediocre flash, I prefer to use sunpak 3000 thyristor. However, as respect to Canon engineers' efforts inventing CAT system nearly 50 years ago, this flash has proper use with my cameras.
  15. I have a Canonet 28 with the very similar Canolite D. Works nicely there, but I wouldn't think it's worth trying it on any other camera.

    Look in the manual for your Canon FD body and find out what the contemporary flash supplied for that model was -- that's both the historically correct combination, and will probably work better than any other solution... These things are usually dirt cheap on eBay.
  16. The Canolite D also works well with the ever-popular Canon QL17 GIII. I believe they may have been offered as a kit when new.

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