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The 10 years life span of original F-1 has given Canon many clues and ideas when they started preparing for the New F-1 to take on competitions, in particular the Nikon. Many users has given them valuable feedbacks. But the most significant influence affecting to its design was the arrival and acceptance by serious users towards electronic and automation in camera. The immense success of the fully automatic Canon AE-1 in 1976 and even more sophisticated multi modes Canon A-1 in 1978 , where both of the modern classic SLRs have casted a a very powerful influence to manufacturers to prepare for the arrival and adoption of automation and electronic in SLR design. Professionals and serious users started to appreciate some form of basic convenience and expecting a more responsive working tools but without the expense of durability and reliability.
New F-1 - Concept Part I
Both Canon and Pentax adopted a more cautious approach as opposed to Nikon, who has decided to go full automation with only a single mechanical back up lever to operate should the battery failed. With the New F-1, inherited from the core concept from the original F-1, you still have the ever dependable mechanical body, modular concept to allow you to mount system components to suit your personal type of photography, BUT, a big difference compared was: Automation is only embedded behind the principally mechanical camera body and available as an "option" for the photographer to grow with or choose from, should you prepared for to accept them.
Thus, this site will be sectioned between the New F-1 from the very raw concept of a basic fully mechanical camera and how it will turned into a fully automatic tool which permits the two most important basic automatic exposures control, aperture and shutter priority when it attached with appropriate system components and accessories with the New F-1. It was a big hit especially to active professionals in sports arenas. In 1984, Canon brought a 14 fps Canon New F-1 High Speed Camera model to commemorate with the LA Olympic, the New Canon F-1 has since became synomenous and widely acclaimed as the king in sports and action photography.
<<< --- Cool looking angle to shoot, huh ? ..
To start off with the New Canon F-1, nobody knows why Canon still adopting the "F-1" trade name for the new upgrade. May be there were some sense of regret as the original F-1 body has never being accepted by photographers in the professional users' market as it supposed to be as compared with wide acceptance the Nikon F2 enjoyed during the seventies. The New Canon F-1, was truly a technological fruition behind how it evolved from its conceptual beginning through to its eventual final product, it was also Canon's pride to redeem its corporate image as the largest and most established market leader in the Japanese optical industries. The New F-1 was officially introduced and marketed in 1981. Its introduction had long been awaited by the industry as the successor to the successful entry of the F-1 in the highly demanding professional market place.The original F-1 was renowned as an outstandingly rugged camera - the kind that hard working professionals knew they could rely on no matter how tough the photographic assignment or conditions. The New F-1 combines these qualities with another vital attribute: Complete flexibility. The New F-1 owner can augment the camera's basic manual function with auto exposure modes, according to his or her requirements. Likewise, a choice is provided of three different metering sensitivity patterns by merely changing the focusing screens, an area where all available rivalry models has only center weighted average metering (Except the Oylmpus OM-3 &4, launched in 1983 which provide multi-spots metering, while the Contax RTS II in 1982, a year after the New F-1 followed similar path as the F3 and LX).
Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Claudio®. who is a collector for Canon photo gear, he also has an Ebay Section as well as maintaining a website on his own where occasionally trading some photo equipment. Image(s) copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
The old and New F-1 compared from a top view point. Old: 146.7 (L), 99.5(H), 49.5 (D), Weight: 845 gms; New: 146.7 (L), 96.6(H), 48.3 (D), Weight: 805 gms (835gms with AE finder)
The unique concept of the New F-1 is built on a firmly established foundation from the ealry days of his predecessor. Although it was Canon's intention from the outset that the F-1 would remain the definitive 35mm system camera, the ambitious plan had some conservative reception in the professional market, to be exact, the Nikon F2 is far more comprehensive in its system and had its absolute advantage of a decade in front of the F-1 in its pool of established users. During the late seventies , camera technology advanced fast. The advent of the microchip, the use of computers in both the design and manufacturing stages and the discovery of stronger, lighter materials were all to exert a major influence on the New F-1's design. The New F-1, in fact, is more compact and nearly 5% lighter than its predecessor, on top on the camera body, technological advances in the field of optics and, more influencially, electronics played a big role affecting designers' decision in setting full map for a complete camera system of the New F-1.
Remember the original Canon F-1 ? Every aspect of the F-1 was impressive enough. From the 10,000 parts: that formed one of the best thought-out bodies ever: designed to the over 180 accessories: that: comprised the system. The F-1 system itself with its interchangeable viewfinders and focusing screens, motor drive, 250-frame film chamber, three exposure meter systems, photomicrography and close-up equipment met the diverse requirements of all aspect of photography imaginable.Thus, to design a new system for the New F-1 was not an easy task, but manageable with the earlier experiences of the F-1. But acknowledgedly, the ground work of the F-1 has settled Canon's main concern in the professional market, that is the users' confidence.The reliability of the equipment is every bit as important to the professional photographer as its versatility. In order to fully meet the requirements of professionals, those who expect and require the maximum possible reliability, durability and mobility of their equipment, their requirements concerning its functional capabilities differ greatly. Some may need, in the case of sports/news photographer to capture split-second action shots, while some, a studio/travelling photographer for instance, only concerned the technical considerations such as depth of field and metering capabilities. Thus, a professional camera design has to be made to please all purpose in functionality and practicality.
The layout is clean and no frills. Major control are well placed and easily accessible. As usual, more length on the left than the right that provide a good balance. Also note the film rewind button, kind of un-usual - but practical and well 'shielded' in the middle between the film advance lever and shutter speed dial, remind me of the Olympus's OM1 &2n is knob on the front.
The prevailing trend in the industry towards was to incorporate several automatic functions in the camera, especially one significant trend was the adoption of Olympus's pioneered TTL OTF metering as opposed to Canon's Flash AE. (We will explain factors of why affecting Canon's decision later). While among the few players in the top pro market, F3, Pentax and Canon adopted modular approach in basic concept. Out of which, The Pentax's LX and the New F-1 basic body was tobe a manual exposure camera. While the LX's was an intergral all in one box, Canon's modular design has combined both approaches, that like what a original modular concept means: You mount the right accessories on the basic body to perform or tune it to suit your kind of photography.
..... it varies from popular center weighted average, to partial or spot metering. While this basic body with finder will be fully mechanical camera, works even without a battery. (You have to take the battery out from the battery compartment to work if it fails). Shutter speeds from 1/90 sec to 1/2000 is mechanically operated.
. Modular design is the key element in the new F-1 system. You can just mount or attach system accessories onto it and tune it to suit your particular kind of photography, Aperture Priority AE with the AE Finder, Shutter Priority AE with the Motor drive , stopped down AE or even change the focusing screen to alter the metering pattern....
It means, one which would also offer the option of adding AE functions on the simple full mechanical body. The result is a system camera that can be adapted to meet any conceivable photographic situation. The New F-1 can be converted into a shutter-priority, aperture-priority or stopped-down automatic exposure camera simply by attaching accessories. Similarly, the interchangeable focusing screens are more than just focusing aids ñ they also give a choice of metering sensitivity patterns. Another advance is the electro-mechanical hybrid shutter, Fast shutter speeds are mechanically controlled, while electronics govern the slower speeds.
But during the early part of the eighties, none of the pro level camera available on the market packed such innovative metering capability. Although nothing come close to modern camera's push or press button way of changing metering patterns, because you need to change respective focusing screens to go to the desired preferences. Nevertheless, the New Canon F-1 was the only available camera that offered center weighted average, partial and spot metering in its class during that era.
And the New F-1 is built and tested to withstand the roughest handling. Some new manufacturing techniques such as laser welding of critical parts and numerical control machining assure precision unheard of in previous cameras. Although this look and sound primitive by modern standard, even 5 years later after the New F-1, a camera like the awesome Canon T90 could blow this feature off the shell.
Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Claudio®. Image(s) copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
| Next - Part II/III |
Instruction Manual: Canon New F-1 Camera | Motor Drive FN | Canon High Speed Motor Drive Camera |
Main Reference/Layout Map for body: HTML | PDF (471k)
Specifications: HTML | PDF (58k)
| Back to Main Index Page | Canon New F-1 Website
Its Concept, Its System
Metering Options, Viewfinders, Exposures Control, Reliability Issues,
Shutter Mechanism; Motor Drives/Winder, Data Film backs,
Flash photography, Focusing Screens, Macro/Close-up,
Canon FDn lenses. | Early versions of FD lenses
| Message Board | for your New Canon F-1 SLR camera(s)
| Message Board | for your Canon optics in a shared environment
| Message Board | Specifically for Dispose or Looking for Canon Photographic equipment
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