I review the Canon F-1, the root of Canon's pro line.

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by kestersonn, Oct 15, 2018.

  1. kestersonn

    kestersonn Member

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    Hope you enjoy this review from a photographer and camera collector's perspective.

    Read the article here.
     

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  2. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber
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    Very well done and nice website.

    Welcome to the forums!
     
  3. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member
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    Welcome aboard and the article was a good read. Finding gems for a great price with a good backstory and fully working is just like scoring the final shot that wins you the game!

    A couple of things:
    You wrote, "The F-1 had that awkward rewind-side-mounted flash contact similar to the Nikon F, F2, and F3, so this is a welcome addition when I use a flash." As you can see from the picture below, only the Nikon F has a side mounted flash port as the F2 and F3 are in front.

    [​IMG]

    You wrote, "This is Canon’s first attempt at a pro-level camera." No doubt the Canonflex was not as successful as the Nikon F is a gross understatement but nonetheless it was Canon's first attempt at a pro level SLR.

    Also, beautiful pictures to go along with the essay. Well done!
     
  4. flavio81

    flavio81 Member
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    Hmm...

    Nice review! If you like the F-1, wait until you get a New F-1!!

    I would love to know which lens you used for the Jasper shot. The bokeh is to die for, and, though I'm a Canon FD fan, not all lenses have a fantastic bokeh. Perhaps I do hace that lens.

    I have had (or have) all these:

    FL 19/3.5R
    FD 24/2.8
    FD 28/2
    FD 28/2.8
    FD 28/3.5 (chrome nose)
    FD 35/3.5 SC
    FD 35/2.8
    FL 35/2.5
    FD 50/1.8
    FD 50/1.4
    FD 55/1.2 SSC
    FL 55/1.2
    FD 85/1.8
    FD 100/2.8
    FD 135/2.5
    R 135/2.5
    FD 135/2.8
    FD 135/3.5
    FD 200/2.8
    FD 200/4
    FL 200/3.5
    FL 85-300/5.0
    FD 35-105/3.5
    FD 35-70/3.5-4.5

    i think that covers it all. I'd say that the best Canon lenses are the telephotos. All 85, 100, and 135 are perfect, in particular the 100/2.8 which is absolutely superb. The 100/2 is reputed to be even better!!
     
  5. flavio81

    flavio81 Member
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    ps: bokeh wise i had great results with:

    55/1.2 (all versions)
    85/1.8
    100/2.8
    135/2.5 (Any version but FL and R version are smoother)
    200/2.8 (bokeh to die for!)

    Any of those is a great buy.
     
  6. flavio81

    flavio81 Member
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    ps: don't overlook the vanilla flavored 35/3.5 SC; it is an excellent lens, although slow of course. But pin sharp and zero distortion.

    my short review of all lenses (FD = new FD, unless a "SC" or "SSC" appears)

    FL 19/3.5R -- nikkor shamer
    FD 24/2.8 -- no distortion
    FD 28/2 -- professional
    FD 28/2.8 -- tiny, crisp, contraaty, distorted
    FD 28/3.5 (chrome nose) -- currently under test.
    FD 35/3.5 SC -- perfect except colors not so punchy
    FD 35/2.8 -- tiny, crisp, contraaty, distorted
    FL 35/2.5 -- troublesome diaphragm
    FD 50/1.8 -- sharp and crisp, not so nicely built
    FD 50/1.4 -- perhaps the best 50/1.4 of its time
    FD 55/1.2 SSC -- gentle giant multicoated version
    FL 55/1.2 -- gentle giant classic version
    FD 85/1.8 -- pro
    FD 100/2.8 -- masterpiece
    FD 135/2.5 -- sharp and smooth and big
    R 135/2.5 -- butter smooth
    FD 135/2.8 -- compact pro
    FD 135/3.5 -- very light and sharp
    FD 200/2.8 -- bokeh to die for
    FD 200/4 -- most comfortable 200 to handhold be it canon, nikon or pentax MF.
    FL 200/3.5 -- too big
    FL 85-300/5.0 -- huge pro-quality monster
    FD 35-105/3.5 -- well behaved
    FD 35-70/3.5-4.5 -- contrasty
     
  7. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber
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    Regarding the 35/2 FD lens: if the minimum aperture is f/16, it is a thorium-element lens that will yellow over time. The 35/2 with minimum f/22 does not have thorium and will not yellow. I had the former and traded it for the latter because of this issue.

    I suppose putting it out in sunlight for a few weeks would solve the issue, just as with some of the 50/1.4 Super Takumars.
     
  8. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber
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    I leave my f2 Thorium lens on the window ledge in my spare bedroom when I'm not using it, that's got rid of the yellow caste, and although I admit I have never tried it I can't believe that the subsequent f22 version is as sharp at all apertures as the Thorium one is.
     
  9. Jon Buffington

    Jon Buffington Subscriber
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    The 35/2 thorium lens is a fantastic lens! Probably my favorite of all my lenses (I have said this before) as far as rendering, this includes all my fd, ef (L lenses), leica, nikon, pentax and minolta lenses. Even better (might be why i appreciate it so much) is that I bought it for $8 at a antique/junk shop. It has been well used, in rough condition with a gash in the front element. Pin sharp even wide open.
     
  10. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber
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    You're most likely correct. My understanding is that thorium elements were used for better optical corrections. I'm sure one of the lens designers on this site could explain this better.
     
  11. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber
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    I've had my Thorium lens for about thirty-five years Theo, and I think it almost defies the laws of physics because at most apertures it's almost as sharp at the edges of the frame as it is in the middle, I certainly won't be selling mine.
     
  12. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber
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    You write to have "all versions" of the 1.2 but haven't listed the FD 50 F1.2 lens.
     
  13. I'd have to say that your 50/1.4 would get pretty close. Bokeh looks about right for the 50/1.4, seems to me.

    As for the article, I found it to be a very nice work. I've been shooting with the original Canon F-1 for over 35 years. During this time I've come to own many different cameras -- many of which are outstanding photographic tools -- yet the original F-1 is still my favorite 35mm camera, especially the second variant, often referred to as the F-1n. The New F-1 is certainly no slouch of a camera, but I just like the old one better. All the controls are intuitively placed; it just feels right in my hands.
     
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  15. Far as I know, there were three versions of the 55/1.2, two of which I've owned. The original "chrome nose" 55/1.2, which has the same optical formula as the FL 55/1.2, the 55/1.2 SSC, which is the same as the "chrome nose" but with better multicoatings and no more chrome nose, and the 55/1.2 SSC Aspherical. As you know, the 50/1.2 is an entirely different optical formula.
     
  16. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber
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    Look again at my post, I didn't write 55mm I wrote 50mm and there certainly was an FD 50mm f1.2 lens, I have one on one of my cameras at the moment.
     
  17. Not disagreeing with you, benji, just sorta delineating is all.
     
  18. TheRook

    TheRook Member
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    An interesting article.
    However: "I looked at the Canon AV-1 but was scared off by its consumer-oriented build." Surely you must exaggerating a bit there. I've examined a Canon AV-1 up close, and it appears plenty robust for normal use - about as well constructed as, for example, the AE-1. Of course if you are looking for a camera to take with you on skydiving excursions and the like, then I suppose something more rugged is required.
     
  19. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber
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    Today I was playing with my Canon EF and realized how elegant a solution it has to advancing to the first frame: once you've threaded the film leader onto the takeup spool, simply close the back and advance the lever multiple times without the need to press the shutter release until the exposure counter reaches 1.

    As far as I know, this is the only manual-wind camera that does this.

    Nikon's solution to inadvertent long exposures while advancing the film was to use a fixed shutter speed until the counter reached 1.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
  20. I've never much cared for this feature regardless how its implemented, since, if being judicious about pulling leader from the cassette when loading the film, I've always been able to get a good exposure from frame zero.
     
  21. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber
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    Even so, after closing the back it is necessary to advance the film at least once in order to bring unexposed film out of the cassette and into position. Nikon's thinking was, apparently, "Gee, what if someone tries to do this while in aperture priority and set at f/16? They're gonna get a 10 second exposure, get confused, and drain the poor battery!"

    I've always disliked it when companies create oddities in their products because they think their customers are incompetent.
     
  22. Yeah, but that thinking's nuts, since a 10-second exposure isn't gonna drain the battery. Trying to eliminate confusion, I'll buy that. But I don't approve of that thinking either.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2018
  23. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member
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    I believe Nikon added this "user enhancement" to all their aperture priority capable cameras starting with the F3 so obviously they thought that even their pro users would be dumbfounded why the exposure is taking so long. At least they did not add this feature in their final manual camera - FM3A. I've been meaning to get an EF so I was not aware that it had this "feature" too. At least in their manual cameras, Canon only tried it on that model. Of course all self winding AF cameras incorporate this feature.
     
  24. The Nikon FG (released in 1982), which has both a Program and Aperture Priority auto mode, requires that the film be advanced manually to frame 1. An improvement of the earlier EM, it retained this manual function from the EM. The later FG20 (released in 1984) also retained this function. The FE2 (released in 1983) also requires manual advance to frame 1. The FA (released in 1983), which has Program, Shutter and Aperture Priority Auto exposure modes, also has a manual wind to frame 1.
     
  25. abruzzi

    abruzzi Member

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    This is fairly common on medium format, but on 35, people try to squeeze extra frames. (Me, I wish they still made 18 exposure 35mm rolls, since 24 or 36 are just way too many.). My Canonet QL17 GIII also advances to the first frame without using the shutter.
     
  26. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber
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    You've obviously never had the unpleasant experience of overwinding the film in the heat of the moment in the middle of a wedding or important paid gig and pulled it out of the cassette I have had in the past since then never shoot more than 33 on a 36 exposure film.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2018
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