Jump to content
Welcome to the NEW Photo.net! ×

A review of Canon EF


jarosÅawbrzeziÅski
 Share

Recommended Posts

730860674_EFanf35f2chromenose.thumb.JPG.33f9e5a1438d61220573ffbffd5acb4a.JPG At my blog I posted a review of Canon EF, which I used to own in late 1980s/early 1990s and recently have repurchesed on the wave of renewed love for silver halide photography. The review is in Polish but at the end I added an extended summary in English. The review recapitulates generally known things about lovely EF and my experiences with the camera and adds some digitlised slides taken with it within the recent year. Here is the beggnining of the summary and you will find the rest at the end of the post at the following link: Towarzystwo Nieustraszonych Soczewek: Uwaga, Analog! Canon EF, czyli mroczny cień z przeszłości

"Canon EF – a dark shadow from the past

Manufactured between 1973 and 1978 as a "baby F-1", Canon EF shared its professional brother’s tank-like construction, but lacked support for motorized film transport, interchangeable viewfinders or focusing screens. However, it had a few aces up its sleeve, making it a more advanced camera than a plain F-1 body, like shutter priority exposure mode (besides the expected metered manual one) via lockable averaged centre-weighted metering performed by a silicon photocell and a unique among Canon's 35mm SLRs Copal Square vertical-travel metal blade focal plane shutter with long exposures (from 1 second to 30 seconds) electronically controlled, and shorter ones (1/1000 second to 1/2 second) mechanically controlled, allowing it to operate even with dead batteries. Better than that: EF was unique among Canon FD system SLRs in having a built-in voltage regulator that reduces today’s 1.5V batteries to 1.3V – the voltage of long-banned in the EU mercury batteries. Consequently, unlike e.g. Canon F-1, whose metering is offset by higher voltage of present-day batteries, EF lightmeter is always spot-on."

Best

Jarek

 

753556533_20-35z.thumb.JPG.3a083fa7fcf9b2930cc1b52b7911110a.JPG

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have so far successfully avoided going earlier than the "A" series in Canon cameras in my GAS, but appreciate ones like the EF especially. Thanks

"A" series are the middle-of-the-road approach. I think a pair of T90 and EF work perfectly. T-90 is mostly like a motorized A-1. EF is like simplified F-1 - you get the best of both worlds.

Best

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Although mine developed the dread shutter magnet freeze, I like the T90 (link) as well as any camera I have ever owned.

 

Mind you, for the traditional form, there is a great deal to be said for the A-series.

 

I am not downplaying the A-series. Actually my first Japanese camera ever was AE-1 Program and I still think it is a little big camera and an easy recommendation for today's silver halide lovers. I wrote an extensive review of T-90 in June and it is available at my blog - alas, in Polish only. But there are a lot of digitized slides taken with it and a variety of FD lenses so if you want to have a look at them, here is the link:

Towarzystwo Nieustraszonych Soczewek: Uwaga: Analog! Canon T90, czyli Powrót starego przyjaciela

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Handsome it was, but the EF's original market placement was as a wealthy amateur's camera. It had some great features like the silicon metering system and shutter priority AE, but I think its lack of a motor drive and user-interchangeable focusing screens demonstrate that Canon never intended it as a competitor to the F-1 or other system cameras. Further, I do not believe the EF comes anywhere close to the F-1's professional-quality ruggedness and reliability. Indeed, none of the three used EFs I have owned was ever 100% functional, something of a first for Canon products in my long experience! Even old Canonflexes can arrive ready to play, and that is saying something.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Handsome it was, but the EF's original market placement was as a wealthy amateur's camera. It had some great features like the silicon metering system and shutter priority AE, but I think its lack of a motor drive and user-interchangeable focusing screens demonstrate that Canon never intended it as a competitor to the F-1 or other system cameras. Further, I do not believe the EF comes anywhere close to the F-1's professional-quality ruggedness and reliability. Indeed, none of the three used EFs I have owned was ever 100% functional, something of a first for Canon products in my long experience! Even old Canonflexes can arrive ready to play, and that is saying something.

 

I have had three different EFs at different times and each was in perfect working condition but of course YMMV. It was not intended as a competitor to F-1, as it was a crippled F-1 with some value added. My point is - if you can find one today in perfect working condition, it may outlive you.

I must be very lucky with Canon FD cameras - I have had 3 T-90s and none has developed the sticky shutter problem.

Best

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The EF has different electronics and a Copal vertical shutter instead of the F-1's horizontal titanium light slicer. Perhaps these cameras share some common parts but they seem like two very distinct designs underneath (almost) matching tuxedos.

You are probably right although I think it would uneconomical for Canon not to use soem shared components across F-1 and EF. I guess the f-1 to EF relationship is s little like Nikon F2 to Nikkormats.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jaros, I went Google-searching for images of Canon EF internals and found a few, well hidden amongst countless shots of modern EF gear. Disassembling an EF looks like a most delicate operation with the plethora of age-embrittled flex circuits and soldered wires. And within the metering circuitry is a Toshiba mosfet component which can be destroyed by even minor static electricity discharges. I think the technical term for working on an EF is "WOWZA".
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jaros, I went Google-searching for images of Canon EF internals and found a few, well hidden amongst countless shots of modern EF gear. Disassembling an EF looks like a most delicate operation with the plethora of age-embrittled flex circuits and soldered wires. And within the metering circuitry is a Toshiba mosfet component which can be destroyed by even minor static electricity discharges. I think the technical term for working on an EF is "WOWZA".

Thanks a lot. Then the fact that there are still working EFs around is nothing short of miracle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Several years back I purchased a mess of old Canon SLR repair manuals from a retiring camera repair tech. Looking at these manuals, the EF has very little in common with any of the F-1's. They probably share the same FD aperture mechanism, and screws and washers, but that may be it. The basic "platform" of the camera is different as is the shutter, meter, film advance mechanism, etc. And Rick is right, the EF is a repairman's nightmare, dealing with all of the 1970's electronics.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Several years back I purchased a mess of old Canon SLR repair manuals from a retiring camera repair tech. Looking at these manuals, the EF has very little in common with any of the F-1's. They probably share the same FD aperture mechanism, and screws and washers, but that may be it. The basic "platform" of the camera is different as is the shutter, meter, film advance mechanism, etc. And Rick is right, the EF is a repairman's nightmare, dealing with all of the 1970's electronics.

I am lucky, because I am no repairman or engineer so i just use cameras and I have never encountered a faulty Canon FD camera and I have had my share of them in my lifetime: 3 EFs, 3 T-90s, 1 F-1, 1 New F-1, 1 AE-1 Program, and - well I stand corrected - an AL-1 QF with a faulty battery door latch.

Best

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been unlucky with the Canon EF. Both the cameras I have do not meter or work in auto mode. The shutter works great at all manual speeds down to 30 seconds. But no meter. My guess is that the flash/normal switch is not working correctly and the camera is stuck on flash mode.

 

Very disappointing because one of the two I own is in beautiful near mint condition.

 

I would not mind seeing some of the service manual or teardowns if you want to share.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been unlucky with the Canon EF. Both the cameras I have do not meter or work in auto mode. The shutter works great at all manual speeds down to 30 seconds. But no meter. My guess is that the flash/normal switch is not working correctly and the camera is stuck on flash mode.

 

Very disappointing because one of the two I own is in beautiful near mint condition.

 

I would not mind seeing some of the service manual or teardowns if you want to share.

Unfortunately I have neither. Perhaps somebody else at the forum owns a service manual and will kindly share it.

Best

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My EF's electronic shutter doesn't work either, but it sure was a great camera. One can still use it on manual speeds though. The electronically timed long exposures were very cool for 1973.

They were indeed. Again I am surprised at how lucky I have been with Canon Fd system cameras - never had one malfunctioning.

Best

Jarek

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

I own three EFs and (touch wood) they all work! I've known for many years that the EF is the bane of camera techs and that most won't even work on them (was told this by a camera repair tech friend back in about 1990!). So I consider it to be all the more extraordinary that I have three that work.

 

The EF looks a lot like the original F-1, but that is largely where the similarities end. Even the self-timer/stop-down lever/mirror up module is different. They look almost the same, but the EF has a little button that must be depressed to get things working, whereas the old F-1 and FTb don't have the button.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...