Canon FTb

Canon FTb

The FTb QL was a single lens reflex (SLR) 35mm film camera with a horizontally travelling cloth-curtain focal-plane shutter manufactured by the Canon Corporation of Japan in 1971. It was an improved version of the FT QL, which had many of the advanced features of the F-1 such as full aperture metering. It was one of the most complex mechanical camera designs, which had minimal electronics in the form of a CdS photocell exposure meter. Consequently, a single 1.3 V M20 (#625) button cell battery powered the meter. If you cannot find a replacement battery, then this camera will operate fine without it, however the light reading will be absent in the viewfinder display. It has an all-metal body consisting of clockwork mechanisms weighing 750g. Some of the problems involving a camera this old include a jammed shutter and the film advance lever not working. Unfortunately, this camera consists of extremely complicated Japanese designed micro-clockwork mechanisms, and very few people in UK fully understand its operation, or have the capability of taking it apart for repair.


Open Back

Back

To open the back, you need to pull up the film rewind crank. This will disengage the film compartment lock and open the back metal lid.

Gallery

Gallery

My Canon FTb photograph gallery consists of an extensive collection of photographs taken from all over the world including the Amazon jungle. Here is an amazing orchid that I was able to nurse back to health.

Lens

Lens

In this photograph, you can see the levers that provide the diaphragm actuation. These levers lock into the mechanism within the camera body.

Finder

Finder

The semi-spot metering system is very accurate and easy to use. The exposure meter has a CdS photocell sensor placed in the closest position to the beam splitting condenser lens, which enables accurate measurement of light levels even in times when there is a backlight present. The rectangular frame in the viewfinder represents the light measurement area of the photocell.

The built-in exposure meter is a match needle type coupled to the ASA film speed scale, 'speed dial' and the 'aperture ring'.

Set the aperture setting, indicated by the green loop, to overlap the light level needle, and by magic, all the shots will have the correct exposure. The two overlapping needles indicate that the aperture was set correctly for that particular shot at that particular light level.

Double Exposure

Double Exposure

Double exposure of a frame is possible by using the rewind button on the bottom plate and the film-winding crank. This allows the user to expose the same frame twice. More information is available from the user manual.

Manual

The user manual is something that is readily available on eBay as well as many online sites in a PDF format. Generally, people refer to the manual to determine how to use the double exposure system.

To take a double exposure, or multiple exposures, you need to forward the film as usual and then rewind the frame again using the rewind button on the bottom plate. You can then set the same frame in the exposure chamber and take a second exposure.

Meter Not Working

Light meter repair is a difficult job because the parts are not readily available. The exposure meter is not necessary if you are familiar with the aperture settings. Replacement light meter is not available unless you can get a second-hand camera for the parts on eBay.

Accessory Shoe Socket

Accessory Shoe Socket

According the manual, the FTb has automatic time lag adjusting FP and X contacts, which provide flash synchronisation. There are also two exclusive electrical contacts available on the accessory shoe.

Canon SLR cameras are one of the best in the world and I would highly recommend them to anyone considering purchasing them. You can buy them from eBay and Amazon at a very low cost these days.

Is the canon FTb a good camera? I would highly recommend it. Overall, this camera would be ideal for a first timer who wants to learn about vintage photography. Performance wise, this camera is very much on par with the Nikon range of the same era. The 50 mm F1.4 and all of its variants usually perform as well as any Nikon 1.4 in my experience.

This Article Continues...

Canon FTb Flash Mount Meter Booster
How to Load a Film Camera
How to use a Canon FTb
Canon FTb Specifications
Canon FTb Accessories
Canon FTb FD Lens Mounting Compatibility
Canon FTb Battery Replacement
Canon FTb Shutter Speed
Canon FTb Stopped Down Metering