Canon EF 35mm SLR, The Black Beauty

Canon EF, Front

Canon EF, The Black Beauty

Canon EF, Top Front
The Canon EF 35mm Film SLR camera, 1973-1978, a manual focus 35mm single-lens reflex camera produced by Canon, is the electronic version of Canon's top-of-the-line F-1 camera.

The EF shares the F-1's rugged construction and tough metal body, but it does not support motor drive attachments or interchangeable viewfinder screens.

Shutter speeds range from 1/1000 second to 30 seconds, with the range from 1 second to 30 seconds being electronically controlled. Film ASA setting is from ASA 12 to ASA 3200. This camera is also known as the black beauty, it has a gorgeous design out of pure metal with strong and proportional lines.

A Review Of The Canon EF "Black Beauty" 35mm SLR

Basic Camera Operation

Canon EF, Film Back
The EF is the only camera in the manual focus Canon line of the 1960s and 1970s (which includes the FTb, the F-1, and the FT) that can be used with common 1.5-volt batteries without modification to the internal electronics.

Like all pre-1987 Canon SLR's, the EF accepted Canon FD mount lenses. The shutter speed range was 1/1000 of a second to 30 seconds (the 15 & 30-second settings actually give 16 and 32 seconds, thus preserving the doubling sequence), plus bulb. The X-sync was 1/125th of a second. The camera is set for film speeds of 12 ASA to 3200 ASA.

The EF also featured a self-timer and a stop-down metering mode which could also be used for depth-of-field preview. Stopped down metering must be used with older Canon FL lenses. The mirror can also be locked up for long exposures, to minimize camera shake.

Center-Weighted Average Metering

Canon EF Metering Pattern
Canon EF Metering Pattern
A center-weighted average metering system, with less influence from the top of the frame to minimize underexposure due to a bright skyline, is powered by a silicon photocell light meter with a range of EV 18 to EV -2. For a proper meter reading thus, the camera is best held horizontal, holding it vertical calls for some calculated ingenuity from the user.

With FD-mount lenses, the Canon EF can operate in shutter priority or in full manual mode, and when used in automatic mode, one can lock the current aperture value, then recompose the picture, before taking the shot.

Canon EF, Top

Lens Compatibility

The range of FD lenses available by 1975 spanned from 15 mm fisheye to 300 mm telephoto, including three zoom lenses. Older FL-mount and R-mount lenses can also be used on the EF in manual exposure and stopped down mode.

Copal Square Shutter

The Canon EF is unique among its siblings as it is the only model in Canon's 35mm SLR lineup that uses a Copal Square vertical-travel metal blade focal plane shutter. Long exposures, from 1 second to 30 seconds are electronically controlled, while the range from 1/1000 second to 1/2 second are mechanical, useful in conserving battery power while allowing the camera to be used even with dead batteries.
Canon EF, Film Chamber

Using the Camera

An ON/OFF switch on the right side at the back of the top plate sets the meter on, disables the shutter trigger lock removed the lock, and frees the film advance lever to pop out 15 degrees from the camera body. A multiple exposure button is located on the axis of the main switch. Pressing this while cocking the shutter prevents advancing the film. The frame counter is also blocked, thus preserving the correct frame count.

The Canon EF is also fitted with a Automatic Blank Shot Mechanism. This mechanism frees you from using the shutter button when loading the film. The winding lever works independently of the shutter button until you reach Frame 1.

Viewfinder Info

The viewfinder displays a horizontal Shutter-speed Scale at the bottom of the screen with an indicator showing the speed setting, and a vertical Aperture Scale on the right side of the screen with a meter needle pointer showing the aperture setting. Red over- and underexposure warning marks are at either end of the scale.
Canon EF, Viewfinder Info

Variable Aperture AE (Automatic Exposure) Mode

The recommended shooting mode for the camera is what it is designed with, the Variable Aperture AE shooting mode, which varies the aperture opening of the lens based on the shutter speed you select. Simply said, set the lens aperture ring to its auto mark, adjust the shutter speed to the aperture that you want, displayed on the right vertical bar in the viewfinder, focus, and release the shutter.

In full manual exposure mode, first release the auto setting of the lens, set the aperture manually, focus, and adjust the shutter speed so that the the aperture needle matches the aperture setting on the lens, and release the shutter.

AE (Automatic Exposure) Lock

An AE lock button is located between the pentaprism and the ASA ring. To use this operation, you need to press and hold the button while you re-frame the subject and release the shutter.

Resource Links:
A year with my Father's camera by Antoine Ringeard-Tordjeman
Canon EF (film camera) and my most expensive photograph

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