Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Canon New F-1 - Flash Photography (New CATS)

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Whatever the reasons Canon given for not adopting TTL/OTF technologies and decided to divert from the popular main stream TTL flash exposure control, but flash photography with the New F-1 system was generally and widely regarded as the weakest link in the system. As explained earlier, the New F-1 can't have the best of both world - to have three metering system controlled via the beam splitting focusing screen and thus has to compromise the TTL flash exposure control which may require a metering cell position facing the shutter curtain for real time metering - perhaps the '80 the prevailing SLR technologies couldn't make it possible at that time and thus Canon has to choose only one way while compromise the other.
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Regardless whether you are looking for a portable flash, a professional grade handle mount unit or a specialist flash for macro or close up photography, there is an option for you to choose within the FD system.

Anyway, New F-1 has its strongest asset in its multiple options in metering and exposure control, it is in fact - way ahead of its competition in terms of conceptual thinking; while the system design is modular enough to let users setup and configured the best available combination to suit a particular shooting session. It will not be a disastrous to go without TTL flash control but you have to live with auto flash when the night falls or more tedious in multiple flashes setup (and may be a little bracketing in exposures as insurance). In terms of of options in the system, Canon can safely claim to have the highest number in options in any 35mm SLR manufacturers and offers not less than 8 Speedlite models, plus a special unit designed for close-up photography. They feature the New Canon Auto Tuning System (New CATS, you may refer to the Canon original CAT system for detail and compared the difference) for straight forward, no-frills auto flash operation. The Speedlite transmits a charge completion signal and sets the 1/90 sync speed automatically and it is highest in its class *. Moreover, when either of the power drive is mounted, the aperture is automatically set to the working flash aperture. This serial control system also allows special techniques such as slow speed synchronized photography.

* The New F-1 has the hghest sync speed among competing models in the market, Nikon F3's 1/80 sec and 1/75 sec for Pentax LX and Olympus still retaning its weak 1/60 sec for all their pro-calibre SLRs. Incidentally, all the professional class SLR models mentioned above employed similar concept of employing horizontal traveled shutter curtain design).

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Various Canon
Speeedlite models.

Electronic Flash Photography

Flash photography has come a long way since the days of magnesium flash powder and glass bulbs. Long employed solely for nighttime shooting, it has come to be recognized as a legitimate medium for creative expression in its own right. The state of the art nowadays is dedicated electronic flash. Circuitry built into the flash unit integrates with the camera's own electronic "brain" to provide a host of automatic functions undreamed of just a few years ago, factors like distance info, data on ambient light, multi segments metering.. etc. are calculated into recommended f stop for a theoretical optimum exposure. The '70 was the budding era for auto flash, and the '80 was the period to perfect the techniques and technologies.

Begining from the mid-'80 to early '90 flash photography has even more options with AE/AF functions with their respective corresponding camera models. Canon, however, was making a highly debatable decision following the trails of exploring with more improvement and capabilities over the previous CAT system they has been developing for the last decade instead of adopting the popular TTL flash exposur control system which was originally pioneered by Olympus OM2n during the mid-seventies.

But caomparing technology between the previous CAT system designed for the
original Canon F1, The New Canon Auto Tuning System (New CATS) is a vast improvement.The auto flash function eliminates the need for complicated guide number calculations with any dedicated Canon Speedlites and permits the use of some special flash techniques. One of these is slow speed synchronized photography, a task made easier by the New F-1's relatively fast 1/90 flash sync speed (It is very much due to the adoption of horizontal traveled shutter design in the camera which has a longer lag time for shutter to travel across the shutter rather than vertically but of cause, the standard set look "primitive" comparing with today's standard). The syncho-sunlight flash control is useful in bright sunlight outdoors for filling in contrasty shadows or illuminating backlit subjects. With the more powerful Speedlites, you can balance the background and foreground luminosity far beyond the flash's normal reach by selecting any shutter speed from 1/60 to 8 seconds. Multiple-flash with two or more Speedlites is another good function with the new flash system (although exposure accuracy for TTL flash is much more optimum than auto flash in this respect), by installing the main flash on the camera's hot shoe and connecting the auxiliary Speedlites via the PC sync terminal. Bounce flash is yet another effective method, giving a softer light and eliminating the harsh, unflattering shadows produced by direct flash. Wide and tele adapters increase the versatility of the system still further, especially when used with zoom lenses.

Speedlites 577G, 533G

The most powerful in the series, both 577G and 533G have guide numbers of 48 (ASA 100.m) and 36 (ASA 1 00m), respectively. Their greater power makes them ideal for situations where it is difficult to approach the subject, such as at press conferences, fashion shows and rock concerts. In particularly crowded conditions, the flash head can be removed from its quick-release bracket and raised at arm's length.

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And if you ever get stuck right at the back of a packed press conference, you'll find the tele adapter a life-saver. A wide adapter is available for lenses as wide as 20mm.The flash heads can be titled upwards 120° with intermediate click stops and horizontally, left and right, for bounce flash. Although Canon has never produced a Repeating Flash Unit such as the Nikon SB-6 Repeating Flash, but the flash here in Automatic flash operation can also be used to shoot at up to 5 fps with the AE Motor Drive FN.


Also check * AE chart for cross references on usable shutter speeds in flash photography.

Speedlite 188A

The 188A is a lightweight, compact Speedlite which is ideal for amateur use and as a second flash for the professional. Guide number is 25 (ASA 100 m). Two auto flash apertures are provided plus manual. With an adapter, the 188A gives flash coverage of the 28mm lens field.

Speedlite 199A

The 199A combines the advantage of a high 30 (ASA 100m) guide number with outstanding portability. An optional wide adapter provides coverage for 24mm lenses, making it useful for group photos, weddings and socials. Bounce flash is possible by tilting the head upward with intermediate click stops at 60°, 75° and 90° and there is also provision for slow sync flash. The 199A is perfect for the pro or serious amateur who wants a powerful flash unit but doesn't wish to sacrifice mobility.

Macrolite ML-1
(See top of this page) This two-headed unit is designed exclusively for close-up photography. It produces especially good results with FD Macro lenses and the New FD 80200mm f/4 zoom. The Macrolite ML-1 combined with this zoom and the Clo:se-up Lens 500T provide the perfect diagnostic aid in the dental and medical fields, since close-ups can be taken from a distance in delicate operations. The Macrolite ML-1 is also useful for close-ups of insects and plants. Either head can be switched off to accentuate subject depth, and a wide adapter is available for softening highlights. A swivel switch allows the flash to be rotated around the optical axis. Guide number: 16 (ASA 100 m).

The rest ? Canon 177A, 166A, 155A, here there are, offering a compact versions. Plus - a slim unit, 11A. You can make your own decision of which flash best suit you or work in combinations


| Instruction Manual: Canon New F-1 Camera | Motor Drive FN | Canon High Speed Motor Drive Camera |
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Its Concept, Its System
Metering Options, Viewfinders, Exposures Control, Reliability Issues,
Mechanism; Motor Drives/Winder, Data Film backs,
Flash photography, Focusing Screens, Macro/Close-up,
Remote photography.

FD & FDn Lenses.

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