Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Canon T-90 - Concept / Preface

In a special publication featuring the Canon T-90 during the late eighties, Canon presented their concept behind the camera as:
"The contemporary camera has been steadily automated to the point where SLR photography is truly within the grasp of everyone. The innovation of advanced features such as AE operation, auto film winding/rewinding, and even autofocus have made sophisticated SLR cameras as easy to use as the simpler compact cameras...

...provided every possible feature that a photographer could use to express himself creatively...
...We would strike a balance between "automation" and the 'artistic intention of the user.
..The T90 makes ample use of the experience in advanced camera technology that derives from our A-Series and T-Series cameras...
...Everything that can be automated is automated. Yet everything that requires human input hasn't just been ignored. To do that would be to miss out on some of the best innovations in recent SLR history...
...Freeing the photographer to pursue his vision doesn't mean doing it for him. It means just what it says. Freeing him

Body Contour.image

T90 Top View.image (9.5k Jpeg)

Doesn't it look familiar to anyone with its top panel? 14 years (1986-2000) after its launch, some of its original design still have a lot of impact on some of today's top and modern AF SLR interface and designing, especially the Canon EOS-3, EOS-1, EOS-1N, EOS-1N RS and the new EOS-1v.

I would suggest that you should only believe half of what Canon had described earlier.

The A-1 was due for a revamp and an upgraded model was needed. Since the market was already flooded with a lot of multimode auto exposure cameras, like Minolta's highly successful X-700 and the autofocus Maxxum 7000, Nikon's innovative FA with multi-pattern metering and Olympus' OM3 & 4, Canon's answer was to bring out a totally new design and fresh concept camera to take on its rivals. The initial attempt by Pentax's autofocus ME-F did create some confusions on the market, and Canon's initial response was the 'uninspiring' T-80 of 1985 while Nikon even surprised many with a variation of its top-of-the-line pro model of the '80s: The F3 AF in 1983.

Amidst these transitional changes during these period, the earlier Canon T series models like the T-50 and T-70 could hardly stamped their marks on the market. These models had only succeeded in providing the entry-level and amateur users with SLR cameras requiring simple and convenient methods that were easy to operate much like the auto point-&-shoot AF compacts.

Between the Canon T-70 and the professional Canon New F-1, there was still a vacuum left to be filled, something which has the same of standard as the previous Canon A-1, it being the top model of the A series. Although the T70 has several features that exceeded the A-1, it was classified to be in the same category as the AE-1 Program. For a T series camera worthy enough to be classified as the top model, it has to be of something special and revolutionary. After all, the A-1 set a lot of standards in the camera industry and its designated successor has to do the same. And with that in mind, Canon launched the mighty T-90.

Since the T-series' concepts were heavily emphasized on making cameras more versatile, convenience and easy to operate, Canon's designers also have to produce a model that is far more superior than the A-1, making that an enormous task in itself. Because of that, everything about the Canon T90 has to start from scratch, redesigned and with new advances in camera technologies been applied to it. NOTE: Compare the design and exterior of the T90 with Canon 's first professional AF SLR, Canon EOS-1 that uses the separate EF mount.


The superb and time-honored multi-mode Canon A-1
is hard to be substituted. Its upgrade becomes a challenge to the designers. The modern, feature-packed T-90 justified the claims and having several mind-boggling features that made the camera an ultimate photographic tool, ... for a while.

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Maintenance Team: Credit: Pawel Nabe for his image on the Data Memory Back. EEwyn Foo, my nephew, who has spent quite a number of nights converting the original manual in HTML format. Mr. Richard Yeow, General Manager -Optical Division of Canon Marketing for granting special permission to reproduce this manual into HTML format in his site as a form of obligation to all the T90 users worldwide. Maintainders of the T90 Message Board: Kaipin, Terry Carraway & Dr Strangelove; Tom Scott, for his images of the SPD cell, Chris Tutti for his initial effort to scan and prepared the T90 manual in PDF format. My staffs Miss Wati and Mirza for helping the basic setup work. * Canon, T90, FD Lenses, Canon Marketing are registered trade names or trademarks of Canon Inc. Japan.