Canon EF (November 1973-1978) (Large Image, Top View) Starting date from Canon Camera Museum. Date range from Canon EF Camera- Wikipedia. Photo.net has an extensive discussion of date codes in the film chamber and serial numbers. Mine has a date code of 01015 (I think) and a serial no. of 230854. I assume the 0 is the letter O giving a date of October 1974 for my camera. The date code is explained at Our site.
Shutter priority exposure system. The shutter speed is shown in the bottom of the viewfinder. The aperture is shown by a needle along the right side of the viewfinder. If the FD lens is set to the green O or A setting on the aperture ring, the camera automatically selects the aperture. If the green O or A setting is not used, you have to turn the aperture ring to the correct aperture as shown by the needle to the right of the viewfinder. Since the actual aperture you select is not shown in the viewfinder, you have to take you eye off the viewfinder to set the aperture. In other words in manual mode it is not match needle or a coupled exposure system. It uses a Silicon meter instead of a CdS meter. It has a very wide range of shutter speeds from 1/1000 second to 30 seconds and the meter works across this entire range. It uses a Copal Square vertical-travel blade focal plane shutter. It is apparently the only Canon SLR using a shutter not made by Canon. (Canon EF Camera – Wikipedia, Shutter speeds from 1/1000 second to 1/2 second are mechanically controlled, while those from 1 second to 30 seconds are electronically controlled. There is also a B setting. Flash sync is at 1/125 second. The manual is available atbutkus.org
The name implies that it is an electronic version of the top of the line Canon F-1. Like the F-1 it is a solid, well constructed camera. The Canon EF was made for less than five years, while the F-1 went from 1971 to 1981, and with the advent of the New F-1 in 1981, continued until the early 1990s. (Wikipedia, Canon New F-1 states it is thought the New F-1 was made until 1992 and was officially discontinued in 1994.) The EF lacked the interchangeable viewfinders and the motor drives that the Canon F supported. The Canon EF had a fixed viewfinder that initially had only a microprism and then later added a split image. (Mine does not have the split image. The 1976-77 Sears Camera Catalog describes the EF has having a split image.) The Canon EF did have professional features such as mirror lock-up and depth of field preview. Both are controlled by the same switch that the self timer uses.
The Canon EF cost $459 with the 50mm f1.4 lens in the 1976-77 Sears Camera Catalog. (The F-1 with the same lens was $90 more, while the FTb with the same lens was $160 less.) $459 in 1976 equals $1,820.85 in 2011 dollars!
I purchased my Canon EF on Sunday July 17, 2011 at a garage sale advertised on Craigslist (listed “camera equipment”) in the Mira Mesa area of San Diego. The seller was apparently the second owner. She got it from a service man in, I assume, around the 1970s or 1980s. It is in good cosmetic and working condition. The meter works fine. The only problem is the lens mount is slightly loose. I bought the camera, with the 50mm f1.4 lens, a Vivitar 28mm f2.8 close focusing lens, a camera bag, and some filters and booklets for a total of $30.