interested in a Canon IIF EP

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by andrew_morton|2, Jun 18, 2021.

  1. I currently shoot with a Canon 77D and have never owned my own film camera. A local shop has a Canon IIF EP with 50 f/1.8 priced at $229. I'm interested in film and something different than a SLR; a rangefinder sounds novel and the fact that is has no batteries and requires me to figure out exposure would be an interesting way to fill time while on vacation to Aruba next month.

    Tell me what I should know, e.g., good camera or not, issues to look out for, how routinely it needs some sort of maintenance, or for that price, should I be looking at something else?
    ] likes this.
  2. Even if it sounds and feels fine in your hands, you need to mentally prepare yourself that will likely need an overhaul sooner rather than later. If both body and lens is in need, it will cost you more than the $229 to have done by a competent repair tech (and likely take many months).
    You can do your homework in preparation for examining the camera by google'ing your questions along with Leica LTM or Barnack Leica etc. as you would basically look for the same things, such as; Shuttercurtains free of pinholes, clear and aligned rangefinder/finder, haze free lens, freely and smoothly knobs etc...
    The price seems fine, but condition is everything for a camera of that age.
    Also, bring an known camera with you on the vacation for those once in a lifetime moments ;)
  3. SCL


    There is one for sale on Ebay minus the lens for $10USD more, so if everything is working, I'd say the price is reasonable. The EP designation indicates is was originally sold thru a US military exchange (exchange purchase=EP). As Niels said, condition is everything...cosmetic and operational. Make sure you can return it if it doesn't work properly. So some things to look for are: the body covering intact and is the finish of the metal without pitting or rust. Is the viewfinder clear and free from haze, fog, fungus or separation, and do the images align both horizontally and vertically with the lens focused both near and far?. Are the shutter curtains intact and does the shutter fire risply and spped approximately correct? Is the winding smooth or gritty, indicating a need for servicing. And the lens, is it clear without haze, fog, fungus, serious cleaning marks or scratches; does it focus smoothly, and is the diaphragm free of oil and/or rust? This sounds like a lot, but carefully checking things out can save you lots of money. Most cameras of this age would benefit from a CLA, but I have a couple from the 1950s which are working fine and have never been serviced, and other which seemed ok, but became butter smooth and accurate after servicing. The rangefinder experience IMHO is a lot of fun, especially if you do your own developing, and can become contageous...with many people moving on to Leicas. You don't say who the lens mfr os for the lens on the camera you are looking at, but there are many fine LTM (Leica thread mount) lenses which are very good even by today's standards...Canon and Nikon produced some in the 1950s which were a good match for Leica's lenses of the era. Good luck in your proposed purchase and if you proceed, have a blast!. Those old LTM lenses with a cheap Chinese adapter can be used on modern Leica M mount bodies, so they are very versatile.
    ] likes this.
  4. Thanks for the input; I'm going to go take a look at it this week. They also have a Canon A-1 similarly priced, so may check that out too. I bet a lot of it will be just the tactile feel of it in the hand.
  5. SCL


    I bought a Canon A1 when they first came out. For some reason, although I kept and used it for about 8-9 years, I was never really satisfied with it, either exposure wise or with the viewing. Having subsequently owned a T90, I much preferred it over the A1.
  6. T90, one of the great cameras I never got around to owning. If some people still have an interest in film this is a great time to try some of the classics. A Leicaflex would be on my list.
  7. T90 would be my favorite film camera of all time, if it were not for the inoperable shutter.
  8. ]


    My favorite Canons are the FTb, The mechanical F1, and the rangefinders. Hope it passes pre-purchase inspection, try a test roll of film before you do vacation pictures. Ask if you have a short trial period.
  9. Good camera, good lens: depending on condition. Make sure the lens is clear and does not suffer from haze on the glass, especially the surface behind the aperture.
    The camera is good, was the lower-cost model with 1/500th sec top speed. Squinty viewfinder, check for haze at all the magnifications. Check conditon of the shutter curtains with the lens off. Pinholes are common on old cameras. All that stated: my IIf worked fine, I have an early Canon III now.
    ] likes this.
  10. FWIW
    For a really nice LTM Canon rangefinder, I found the VL2 to be superb, BTW
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2021
    ] likes this.
  11. canon1.jpg
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  12. SCL


    In the Canon RF line I've had two models, a Sii and a P. I had to recover both and had the P CLA'd as the winding mechanism was dry. Of the two, the P was IMHO the pinnacle of Canon's RF bodies. It incorporated multiple framelines from 35-100mm in the viewfinder/rangefinder and the entire back swung open for easy film loading, like Leica's M3.
    fall & Newly Covered Canon SII a.JPG

  13. Has anyone seen an accuracy/longevity/noise comparison of the Canon metal foil shutter to the Leica M3 cloth shutter? I've had excellent results from my Canon 50 f1.4 and Serenar 28 f3.5 LTM lenses using the Leica converters on the M3. I've found the Serenar gives best results past f5.6. Both lenses have stayed in remarkable condition over the 50 years I've owned them.
  14. The shop apparently has a website woefully outdated, so what I wanted was gone. Instead, I bought an A-1 online and working through a roll of Tri-X today and this weekend. Having learned to shoot digitally, this is quite the experience. But will keep my eye open for a rangefinder. Seems like a lot of people are headed towards mirrorless and I'm going the other way...;)
  15. I think the A-1 is a superb camera. (link) as the "professional" unit in the A-series.
  16. This thread is very disconcerting. Talking of my Leica and Leicaflex cameras that I bought new as antiques to be tried out.
    From personal experience, the Canon P is a very good camera. However, examine shutter curtains first. Almost all will have
    some slight crinkle, which can be ignored, but sometimes previous owners did not treat cameras with respect.
    For those unfamiliar with sm cameras, Leica sm continued to separate viewfinder and rangefinder, Canon combined into one eyepiece. My 1936 Leica and Canon P both great cameras.
  17. The earlier Canon rangefinders, like the Leica and other Leica clones, have cloth shutters.

    I have a very nice Canon IID2 which works very well except for the shutter pinhole.
    Tradition says that happens when you point it at the sun too long. (Which isn't very long.)

    The Canon P, VI, and 7 have stainless steel shutters, that are not supposed to burn though.

    They almost always have a tiny bit of wrinkle, but usually work fine.
    I suspect that they could have had a finger poke through, as could the cloth ones.
    Well, the bottom loaders are harder to poke through.

    There are also the Zorki and FED cameras, usually more affordable, and also probably
    about as likely to work well.

    Otherwise, you might try the FTb, which uses the same lenses as the A1, but with
    a mechanically timed shutter. (It will work without a bettery, if you choose the exposure
    yourself, or use an external meter.)

    The FTb body tends to be about $20, and usually work well without CLA.
    As well as I know, the low price is because there are many of them, not because
    they aren't good. In any case, it will be more of the rangefinder feel.

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