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Canon F-1 New

Stefan Haas , Jul 02, 2006; 11:37 a.m.

I'm thinking about adding an F-1 New to my 35mm equipment (I've been usingFD cameras for some years). Is there something to be aware of when purchasing an F-1? Is there certain signs of use that would recommend to keep away from the camera in question? Thank you for any kind of comment on this!


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David Gale , Jul 02, 2006; 01:25 p.m.

As an owner of an F-1n w/ AE finder, I can say you would love the camera as I do.

They are heavy but bullet proof. Look at the seals. F-1's took a beating at times from those who shot them alot. I would avoid cameras that came from profesional kits as they can be in pretty bad shape. The famous "canon Squeak" is a condition that plagues the A series camera, not the F series so far as I know.

I would try to get one that is pretty clean. If shopping on E Bay, only buy if lots of pictures are taken of all sides of the camera, both inside and out. Sometimes the shutter curtains took a beating and the seals are now gooo.

If the camera comes with a drive, make sure the batteries were not left stored in the drive and in the cameras as well.

400 bucks should but a pretty clean unit. I doubt I would pay more unless it was in the box new and wrapped in plastic.


Stefan Haas , Jul 02, 2006; 04:17 p.m.

Thank you Dave! Your contribution is a great help!

Andrew Limiti , Jul 02, 2006; 07:31 p.m.

Within the last year I bought a very clean one, for $325, standard prism, no AE. Great camera. Try the camera before buying is the safest option, otherwise make sure the seller has a good return policy. I got mine at a local camera store, with a 6 month warranty.

Timothy Fitzgerald , Jul 02, 2006; 07:51 p.m.

Hi, Stefan!

As David already noted, you'll want to ensure the camera/accessories are free of battery corrosion, and that the shutter curtains are in good condition; the curtains were made of very thin sheets of titanium (essentially titanium foil) and could be easily damaged/ wrinkled. This was probably the most fragile part of the camera; the rest of it was built like a battleship; aside from scuffing up the appearance, there wasn't much that could destroy these camera bodies short of a 5-lb sledge hammer... While the F-Series camera bodies did not suffer the famous "Canon Squeak," periodic cleaning, lubrication, and adjustment is still recommended; the foam seals will still deteriorate after about 20 years, and most folks selling these things on auction sites and such probably have not performed this maintenance. Be prepared to see to it yourself, probably to the tune of $100...

In the case of the New F-1, there were three screw-in plugs in the base to accommodate the motor drive units (AE Power Winder FN and AE Motor Drive FN). You'll want to ensure that you at least receive the plug that fits the opening into the recepticle for the film roll itself; if that plug is missing and you are not using a motor drive unit, you risk allowing light to enter the film chamber and improperly expose the film. On the whole, it's best to ensure that you receive all three screw-in plugs, as the other two would also prevent dirt/ dust from getting inside the camera workings. Incidentally, the only way to use shutter priority mode with the New F-1 is to attach one of the motor drive units.

While some folks erroneously state that you cannot use aperture priority mode with the Eye-Level Finder FN, the AE Finder FN certainly makes it far more simple; I would recommend the latter finder.

That should cover the basics of the New F-1 for you, at least in shopping for a good one. You'll soon discover, however, that the camera is only part of a whole system, and before you know it, you'll be looking for extra focusing screens and other cool stuff for it! Enjoy!

Roger Kallet , Jul 02, 2006; 08:11 p.m.

I recommend KEH for your purchase. KEH has earned high praise on these forums.


Peter Galuszewski , Jul 03, 2006; 06:35 a.m.

While everything has pretty much been covered, I just can't help but add another vote of confidence for the New F1. I can't tell you how happy I have been with mine (granted, it has been a camera that I have pined after when I was a kid... so finally having one was a bit of an experience). Its incredibly rugged, very flexible, has a gorgeous viewfinder - bright and large, and to my own habits the controls are very intuitive and well placed. I think only the Nikon F3 has a viewfinder that I found to be better (albeit by a slight margin), and as much as love the Nikon, this New F1 feels like it could be used to pound the F3 into a pancake and then still be OK to take photos of the results (big grain of salt here, of course). Its a truly far ranging system with a wonderful spot meter capability with the right focusing screen (I found the meter on mine to be extremely accurate and sensitive regardless of metering mode), and still one of the fastest motor drives on any camera (if this is something you need). The only draw-backs that I can think of is the relatively slow flash synch speed (most cameras of this class had a vertical travel shutter at this point, the F1N does not - this is purely academic to me, but for people who need extremely fast shutter speeds and/or high synch speeds, it may be a concern) and lack of mirror lock up facility. The second one is something that really puzzled me - the original F1's and the small"n" new F1's had this feature (as did the very neat EF - this one also had a vertical travel shutter and is a hidden gem of the FD line up - definitely one to look at, as prices seem to be really low, it makes a great back up). According to Canon, the mirror damping they use on the New F1 is so good that it does not need it. I was understandibly apprehensive of this... From my reasearch, I have encountered two schools of thought on this. First is the one that basically says this is an oversight as mirror shake can not be eliminated without MLU. Theoretically, I tend to agree. Yet, I still bought the camera - why? The reason is, I spoke and corresponded with many folks (and I don't just mean causal users)who used these cameras with really long tele lenses and other motion sensitive applications, and they have all reassured me that they tend to agree with Canon. Also, I rarely shoot in conditions that allow me to use a tri-pod and take that kind of time, so this is a fairly rare, but still important question for me. Having used the camera for a while now, I have to say... I have to agree with Canon as well from a practical stand point - please note that this is based on a amateur like me "testing" under far from scientific conditions. Still, its in the back of my head, as logic dictates that no matter how well dampened, a mirror in motion has to make more vibrations, etc., than one that is not moving at all. But in practice, the Camera seems to be proving the Canon engineers right. Yet, on their EOS cameras they went back to offering MLU... This reminds me of some fighter planes of the 1950's and 1960's... all the scientists predicted that a gun was not needed in the modern era of air combat. Every fighter plane made today has a built in cannon... Did Canon get a bit ahead of itself? I really can't tell you. I suspect that to some extent, yes. But for a guy like me, whatever edge is lost is beyond a point that my limited skills can exploit. All in all, I love this camera and I am sure you will be very happy with it. I am of course, a touch neurotic... so I bought an EF just to have an FD camera with MLU (beisdes, I just find it neat, I like it quite a lot too!)... You know, just in case...hehehehehehee PS. I found a wealth of info on this camera (and all FD system cameras, for that matter - except the elusive EF) at this site: http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/canonf1n/index.htm I found the info to be very accurate and extensive. Also, the manual is available here: http://www.canonfd.com/f1n/f1n.htm Good luck. With a careful shopping process (remember, these are elderly and often veterans of heavy professional use) you will have a lot of camera for your money - and one that will give you years of trouble free service!

doug nelson , Jul 03, 2006; 08:53 a.m.

I got a Bargain grade w Eye-Level finder from KEH for $250 and sent it off for a CLA. CameraRepairJapan.com fixed a few minor glitches, like a sticking ISO setting dial and an inoperable prism locking button, and put it in like-new condition for $180. I use it on aperture priority AE, even with the plain prism, with 400 film and plenty of light.

Michael Liczbanski , Jul 03, 2006; 09:55 a.m.

F1N is a great camera - built like a tank, will outlast the human race :-)))

Things that often are wrong with used F1N cameras: Shutter curtains (it was mentioned often here, make sure that the curtains are pristine -- the material is very thin and easy to damage/wrinkle. But in normal operations these curtains will last a long time... ) Battery terminal/compartment corrosion (also already mentioned) seems to be a real problem when you leave the batery in any od the drives/winders and/or body for an extended period of non-use. Prism/finder rails are sometimes bent, some people find it easy to slide tne finder at an angle and bend the rails while trying to remove it. Also, the AE prism is rather fragile, so test, test, test... before buying. Look at the morror - it is very, very difficult to clean - no idea why but it shows every smudge. more so than mirrors on other cameras... The MD/winder bottom covers on the camera are often missing (esp. if the equipment comes from a MD-wielding pro...) and rather hard to find on the used market (look inside the winder's/MD battery compartment - there is a storage place for these covers.) No cover = light leak. For some reason the focusing screens are often misaligned (they are user-replaceable.) The ASA/ISO dial often sticks (easy to fix) and the audiable beep of the self-timer often goes, too.

W T , Jul 03, 2006; 01:25 p.m.

you can do the seals yourself, people on ebay sell the kits, covers many cameras for something like $10. I did my EF, F1-2nd style, Canonet, and others...

I also agree with Keh if not buying locally, due to their return policy. Also check craigslist for your area, i've seen some equipment advertised at bargain basement prices

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