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“Canon has made three different cameras called F-1. ”

Written on: 30/03/2003 by Jeff. (1 review written)

Good Points
Durability, heft, system accessories (finders, motor drives/winders, screens, etc.), manual controls, mechanical shutter timing, Canon FD lens mount.

Bad Points
Age, weight.

General Comments
Canon has made three different cameras called F-1.

The F-1 and F-1n made from 1971-76 and 1976-81 are almost identical. Complete manual control (shutter, aperture, focus, depth of field preview, mirror lockup), mechanical shutter 1-1/1000, battery used for meter only. Battery is the discontinued Mercury cell PX625. Cheap hearing aid batteries can be substituted but life is short. Only a central rectangle in the image is metered (i.e., it's like a spot meter with a large spot). Lots of reasonably priced, very high quality Canon FD lenses are available on the used market. This camera is substantial (read "heavy"); its inertia makes it easier to hold steady for longer exposures. Retail price in the US is about $300.

The F-1N (1982-1996) is a different camera. It adds electronic shutter timing for the slow speeds, and exposure automation (aperture and shutter priority) with certain finders and motor drives. Mirror lockup was lost. Metering pattern depends on the screen used. Battery is lithium P28, still widely available. Accessories of the F-1N are not interchangeable with the earlier models. Retail price in the US is about $500.

These cameras were highly reliable when new. Many cameras on the used market haven't been used in a long time; they need to be cleaned and lubricated. If they weren't abused (dropped, dunked in seawater, or victimized by a DIY repairer), a clean and lube should be all they need to give a few more decades of service. The CLA should include replacement of mirror foam and light trap seals, which invariably have turned to goo on any camera over 20 years old.

I highly recommend all of the F-1 models, as long as you are prepared to carry a lot of weight in bodies and lenses.

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