Canon EF “The Black Beauty”
Yes I know it’s dirty. Because I use it, a lot! This tank of a camera from the mid-70’s is quickly becoming my favorite. Partially because it’s black and i’m a sucker for black cameras, but also because the controls all just make sense.
First off this is a pretty good size camera. If you’re familiar with the Canon AE-1, the EF is substantially taller and heavier (think a thin brick). Being all brass construction, the build quality is phenomenal even down to some interesting features that somehow only found their way onto the EF.
The camera is the only Canon SLR with a Copal Square Metal focal plane shutter that sounds like, well a canon, when you release it. Any exposure above 1/2 sec is mechanically controlled which means it can be used if the batteries give up.
Speaking of batteries, yes it has them but they are only used for slow shutter speeds and the light meter. The camera uses two 1.35v Mercury button cells but thanks to the built in voltage regulator, i’ve had the most luck using 1.5v Silver Oxide Duracell 357.
I think the real reason I like this camera is my full set of FD mount SSC lenses. I originally put this set together to take down to Guatemala for video use but using them on the EF has been awesome. The only thing I seem to consistently forget is to lock the aperture control arm on the lens before putting it on the EF. If you don’t do this, you must use stop down metering (which is still TTL).
Shutter priority is possible by simply rotating the aperture ring to “A” and selecting your shutter speed. After you’ve chosen your films ISO/ASA (setting nicely tucked under the rewind knob), the meter shows you which aperture combo is going to be used. However my favorite part of this camera by far is that the shutter speed knob slightly overlaps the front edge of the camera which makes it easy to change shutter speeds without removing your eye from the camera. All of this was just 89,500 yen ; )