From 2014 I’ve used a Canon EF camera to shoot 135mm film. I discovered some days ago that it has a little defect therefore I cannot use it again. So I thought I could give some thoughts about this camera, more considering that there is no much data and when you search for this model instead the search end with Canon EF lenses.
This camera was produced, according to Wikipedia, between 1973 to 1978 for the Canon FD mount that uses lenses with manual focus, I’m not in a hurry and that’s fine with my style, even more those lenses are cheaper because they aren’t compatible with modern Canon Cameras that use EF mount lenses. Its most notorious characteristic to me is that it has a shutter priority design, so you can set the mounted lens in automatic, then you set the shutter and the camera chooses the aperture. Actually I just shot in manual, choosing the shutter speed and the aperture.
It’s not a simple camera as you can see:
One thing in what it’s better than the most of cameras of its age is that the shutter speed goes to thirty seconds, wow!, usually the cameras of those times gave you from one to four seconds as minimum shutter speed so if you want a SLR camera with classic dials and design but not limited to have to use another tool, a light meter, then it’s your camera. The maximum shutter speed is 1/2000.
It’s everything you would need as mirror lock up, self timer, depth of field preview, or multiple exposures, to develop your creativity and nothing unnecessary. The only thing I’d love to have would be an interchangeable viewfinder because for my way to shooting I use much waist level style but that was reserved to the higher end model Canon F-1. This camera was thought for old people that would appreciate the simplicity of this machine, simplicity that goes in a pure design.
This camera is also known as the black beauty. And it has a gorgeous design. Pure metal with strong and proportioned lines. The plastic cameras although not so elegant are easier to clean. Said that there is a great defect I chose to correct: it has a plastic covering with a faux texture of leather. As a designer I don’t like that my designs lie. If you do something with plastic then give it a nice texture of plastic; if you put a leather texture then use real leather. Hence I bought a thin layer of leather and repaired it until it was according to my desire. Also I painted the white letters to avoid reflections when using graduated filters and also to don’t draw the attention upon me. I’m not a collector, nor a photographer, so I took utilitarian decisions. This was the body before:
And this is the body now:
It feels nice in the hand, and although it’s not a little camera it’s not so huge as the cameras with autofocus of later years.
The design is so clean that in the top of the body the shutter button, the shutter speed dial and the winding lever are integrated in one component; so you can shot very quickly. Actually I found it quicker than, for example, the Fujifilm X-E1 that although uses design clues of mechanical cameras the operation is slower, and harder to rotate the shutter dial and move your finger to press the shutter. In this old machine the shutter is an extension of your finger.
See the shutter dial, the designers put it in an ergonomic way so to rotate it you just pass your finger; something so simple but so quick as to use a modern dial because you can leave your eye in the viewfinder without need to divert your attention to check the dial. The flash shoe cover can be used to cover the viewfinder when long exposures.
The viewfinder in the first models had a microprism filter as a focusing aid, it’s a bit uncomfortable so I got another with a split screen. I shot it but it’s not so clear as I’d like it:
The best results I got it with tripod, a simple and standard shutter release cable and a three bubble level. The photograph took in that moment with the camera is this:
Sadly there is a problem that I couldn’t repair nor identify; quite probably only the slow velocities of the shutter were working. So I got several ghostly photos, usually the long exposures are right. This is the kind of photos I get:
Some good ones are these:
As you can see the fire went perfect:
My most expensive photograph
Days ago I travelled to a lagoon so I took my digital camera and the Canon EF with a 50mm and 135mm lens. I walked a lot and in the end the weight of the two cameras were slowing me. But I finished a Portra 160 roll of film because the beautiful landscapes, so I was anxious to see the results: there were just one sucessful photograph, the rest where just overexposed till being just white…
This photograph is the survivor:
So… How much that photograph costs?
- Eighty dollars to repair the camera.
- Fifty dollars in batteries to replace the old PX625.
- Thirty dollars in rolls.
- Fifty dollars in lab processing.
Then the total would be two hundred and ten dollars. So I decided to buy a cheap but more modern lightweight and compact camera, in Peru is harder to get technical service and to the places I need or want to go I can’t take so much weight. But if you are in other place and have access to a well working unit then it’s a highly recommended camera.
It’s a black beauty.