Fully Mechanical ?

Discussion in 'Canon FD' started by stephendunphy, Nov 8, 2020.

  1. If this is the wrong location for this post I apologize in advance. No doubt a Mod can relocate as necessary...

    Long story short, I'm trying to identify the last purely mechanical Canon slr.

    I've done a fair amount of research, but most of what I've found seems to be inconclusive and/or contradictory.
    Many references seem to 'classify' certain models as being mechanical, but yet when I look at specifications, I find reference to a battery. I'm guessing that in such cases the battery is only needed for the meter? And if that's the case, doesn't that mean that these models could still be used without the battery?

    I'm looking at the FTb, F1, FTbn, and EF. All of these make reference to a battery, but I'm hoping they can be used without one. Ideally I'm looking at the TFb. The FTbn seems good as well, but I'm having a hard time finding how to differentiate that model from the FTb. When isearch on, say, Ebay, every time I search for FTbn just the FTb comes up.

    Ultimately, I have no issues setting exposure by eye. That's still what I do even with my digital cameras. I just can't seem to figure out which models I can use without a battery.

    So the question is: if I got say, and FTb, could I use it without a battery?

    Any help on clarifying this situation would be greatly appreciated.
  2. The FT, FTb (I don't think there was an FTbn) and F1 (the original F1) are mechanical cameras with battery powered exposure metering. The EF has a mechanical shutter but slow speeds are achieved by a battery powered time delay, as is exposure metering. It can be used without a battery, but without metering or slow speeds. The T60 was probably the last fully mechanical FD mount Canon, but it was actually made by Cosina.

    So yes, you could use an FTb without a battery. Also an FT (not b) - the difference being that the FTb supports open aperture metering with FD lenses. The FT has stop down metering with the earlier FL lenses.
  3. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    Canon's website mentions that the FTb-N had a few minor feature upgrades from the FTb. The body was still marked FTb, though.

    FTb-N - Canon Camera Museum
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2020
  4. All of the cameras that can be used without batteries are manual only cameras. The exception is the EF which has Tv mode with batteries and would work in manual without batteries. You don't have shutter speed from 1 to 8 seconds but those can easily be timed manually.
  5. It's not exactly what you wanted to know, but Canon made an EF-mount (the same mount used in the EOS cameras) called the Canon EF-M. It is "electronic" but despite the fact that it uses the EF lenses, it is ONLY manual focus. It can be used (as indeed, most automatic cameras can) for completely manual exposure, manual focus, etc.

    see Canon EF-M - A manual focus camera that takes only Canon EOS EF lenses.

    Just because a camera is "Automatic" doesn't mean you have to use those features.

    A lot of artiste photographers using modern NIkons and Canons use them, as a matter of principle. only in manual mode.
  6. Seek out a Canon FP, which is basically a FTb without a light meter. 100% mechanical, no battery of any sort. One of my favorite Canon SLR's. Look on the Canon Museum website for more info.
  7. The New F-1's shutter timings are also mechanical from 1/125 to 1/2000th.
  8. But I am sure it's not fully mechanical that is it won't work without battery. It can't operate the shutter nor control the aperture without battery.
  9. My EF is packed up and I can't check(and it took me a while to find one that works!) but I'm pretty sure it's only mechanical 1/125(flash sync) to its max shutter speed. The New F-1 is mostly the same in that it works 1/90 to 1/2000.

    Of course, the original F-1, FTb, TX, TLb, and the like are not at all battery dependent.
  10. BTW, the FTb-N is easy to pickout from Ebay listings. Look for the plastic-tipped film advance lever, the skinny black self timer/DOF/MLU lever, and tight knurling around the shutter speed dial as opposed to the wide ridges. To me, it's a cosmetic upgrade, but one I prefer.
  11. I checked both of my EF's work down to 1/2 second and upon checking I found my mistakes. The EF is capable of 30 seconds exposure with batteries.
  12. Okay, couldn't remember.

    BTW, in my experience, reliability of the EF is poor, or at least on the electronic speeds. I've bought a couple over the years where the long speeds were dead. As a quick check, if I'm going to buy one, I make sure I have fresh batteries, set it to 30 seconds, and time it. BTW, 30 seconds is actually-correctly-32 seconds and 15 seconds is 16 :) . That one caught me in a camera shop one day when I was timing it with my watch, got to 30 seconds and and wondered if I'd missed it closing, only to hear it 2 seconds later.
  13. Ive found the same with the EF, it goes to ‘approximately’ 30s with batteries.
  14. I don't think I'd call it "approximate." The proper geometric shutter speeds are 1s-2s-4s-8s-16s-32s. Even if the dial is marked 15 or 30, 16s and 32s are actually correct to double the exposure. Granted at speeds that long the difference shouldn't be that significant, and reciprocity failure is still the elephant in the room.

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