Canon FTb QL

Canon FTb QL (Large Image) Introduced in March 1971 according to Canon Camera Museum. The original owner was in the military and recalls buying the camera overseas around that time. It has open aperture match needle metering using Canon FD lenses. Canon FL lenses can also be used in stop down mode. To stop down, or use as depth of field preview, you press the lever in front to the right. This lever also serves as the self timer. Instead of center weighted metering it has a 12% spot meter shown by the inner circle in the viewfinder. The FTb was introduced at the same time as the new flagship, professional level, Canon F-1. These two cameras appear to be the first Canon SLR cameras with open aperture metering apart from the unique EX series cameras. This put Canon behind cameras like the Topcon Super D introduced in 1963, the Nikon F Photomic T introduced in 1965 (see Modern Classic SLRs Series: Nikon F Metering Prisms and Meters), and the Minolta SRT-101 introduced in 1966. Compared to the Canon F-1, the FTb lacked a removable viewfinder and motor drive capability. The FTb did, however, have depth of field preview and mirror lock-up. Mirror lockup is also achieved with the lever in the front with the level lock set to “M.” Shutter speeds from 1 second to 1/1000 second. Flash synch is 1/60 second. Except for the Cds meter, the camera is entirely mechanically operated. It takes one 625 1.3 volt Mercury battery for the meter. Mercury batteries are no longer available for environmental reasons, but 625A 1.5 volt alkaline batteries are available. You may have to adjust the ASA (ISO) setting if the meter is not reading accurately with the increased voltage. Other options are to a Zinc Air battery that have the correct voltage but don’t last long or have the metering system adjusted to account for the higher voltage. Many say the meter is sufficiently accurate with the 1.5 volt batteries. (Seephoto.net discussion.) My camera comes with a 50mm f1.4 lens.

The price for an FTb with the 50mm f1.4 lens in the 1976-1977 Sears Camera Catalog was $299, Compared to the Canon F-1 with the same lens at $549 and the Canon EF at $459. $299 in 1976 has the equivalent buying power as $1,187 in 2011. My Canon TX below is basically a stripped-down version of the Canon FTb. The QL part of the Canon FTb QL stands for “Quick Load.” The Quick Load features allow you to lay the flim strip down over the spool without threading it onto the spool. According to Canon FTb – Wikipedia, the model was revised slightly in 1973. The revised model is sometimes referred to as the FTb-N, although the name on the camera remained FTb. The most significant change was adding a shutter speed display in the viewfinder. The other changes were cosmetic. The revised FTb-N cameras can be identified by a black plastic tab on the end of the film advance lever. In addition to the 50mm f1.4 lens with a rigid Canon hood, my camera also came with a Canon 28mm f3.5 lens and a Canon FD 135mm f2.5 lens both with Skylight filters, leatherette cases, and rear lens caps. The 28mm has a front cap, but the 135mm does not. The camera also came with a 2X off brand teleconverter and Keko manual electronic flash. I thought the flash initially wasn’t going to charge. I accidently left it on and then noticed the light was on about two hours later. It now recharges in about 20-25 seconds. The camera and lenses are in excellent cosmetic condition. The glass on the lenses is fine. The shutter works but at least the slow shutter speeds are much too fast. It’s hard to determine if the fast speeds are accurate. The meter works once I took an eraser to the battery compartment contact. It seems to be about two stops off using an 1.5 volt alkaline battery. I can adjust this by decreasing the ASA by two stops, however. It’s a bummer the shutter speeds are off. While this could likely be fixed with a CLA, the cost would be prohibitive. The camera comes with an ever-ready case in excellent condition. It also comes with the manual. I bought the outfit only a half mile from my home in La Mesa, CA at a Sunday garage sale on September 11, 2011 for $40 from the original owner. I also bought a Nikon 6006 (with a travel hair dryer thrown in) for an additional $20 as well as a coffee table for $10!