Camera Make & Model

Canon FTb

Manufacture Date

1971

Type of Camera

35mm SLR with QL (Quick Loading) film mechanism (this is pretty AWESOME!)

Uses interchangeable Bayonet Type FD Mount lenses + FL Lenses with stopped-down metering.

1″ – 1/1000 Shutter Speeds including (B) Bulb

ISO Range of 25 – 2000

 

The Film Used For Testing This Camera:

Foma Fomapan 200

(Processed in Kodak D-76 1:1)

I personally scan all of my film on a Fuji SP 3000 Film Scanner.

Where was this camera obtained from?

I found this Canon FTb at Goodwill.  For a brief time in November of 2019 you could pick up great deals on used cameras on the Goodwill website. 

I think I paid $30 shipped for the FTb body and a Sun-Zoom 38-90mm f/3.5 lens.  

The lens below is not the lens used for testing the FTb, but I thought I would include some pictures of the Sun-Zoom 38-90mm so you can see what I got.  This is probably one of the best deals I got from Goodwill.

The days of finding great deals on the Goodwill website are over and used camera prices are rediculous to the point that people are paying more for untested used cameras there rather than just buying them tested on Ebay.

The Big Question…Did It Shoot?

YES it did !!!  I’m very impressed with the images I took with this camera.

Before shooting this camera I sent it to Alan, my repair guy.  It was in desperate need of a new mirror foam bumper and new light seals. 

This seems to be the most common thing needing replacement on these older cameras.

Other than that the camera is near mint condition.

If you need repair work done on one of your cameras feel free to reach out to Alan.  He can give you an estimate for the repair if it’s a camera he works on.

Contact Alan at baderphoto19@gmail.com

I absolutely love stopping in Downtown Fort Myers, Florida when I’m testing my vintage cameras.  There is never a shortage of things to shoot.  The first five pictures below are shots of metal sculptures by the Columbian artist Edgardo Carmona.

The city purchased the 23 sculptures that were put on display in 2016.  They really add a new visual dimension to the downtown area.

FOMA FOMAPAN 200

“10.0” by Edgardo Carmon

FOMA FOMAPAN 200

“Cadencia” by Edgardo Carmon

FOMA FOMAPAN 200

“Al Galope” by Edgardo Carmon

FOMA FOMAPAN 200

“Territorio” by Edgardo Carmon

FOMA FOMAPAN 200

“Trialogo” by Edgardo Carmon

FOMA FOMAPAN 200

A bird in the upper third.

FOMA FOMAPAN 200

Self-portrait of a handsome guy.

FOMA FOMAPAN 200

So many straight lines.

FOMA FOMAPAN 200

Dude with a bike on the phone all alone.

What I love about this camera

Before I talk about the camera I really want to say how much I LOVE this Fomapan 200 film.  The grain structure is so nice and the contrast is just right.   I think I paid $4.50 for a roll of 36 exposures.  Can’t beat it for the price!

This Canon FTb is built like a tank!

I think the body and 80-210mm lens weighed in somewhere between 4-5 p0unds.  I really had to use good camera holding technique to insure my shots were not blurry due to camera shake.

I love the shutter lock switch that is directly under the shutter button.  It prevents accidental shutter presses by locking the shutter button.

The Quick Load (QL) film mechanism is just awesome.  There is no easier way to load film.  Just put the film cartridge in, slide the film over to the QL plate, close the back door and advance a few frames.

The QL Mechanism prevents accidental mis-loading of film.

Check out the Canon Canonet G-III for some pictures of the QL Mechanism

TTL (Through The Lens) Metering System

The FTb makes it so easy to get good exposures with its built in light meter.

In the viewfinder is a small circle on the right side for the Aperture needle.

It moves up and down as you change f/stops.

There is a light meter needle that also fluctuates up and down.

To get proper exposure you adjust the Aperture & Shutter Speed until the Meter Needle sits inside the Aperture needle.

The Canon website has more information on this brilliant system.

This FTb is a simple to use camera with a great light meter built-in.

The exposures on my test roll were consistantly good from frame to frame.

I like to start with selecting my Aperture and then get proper exposure by adjusting the Shutter Speed.  I personally like to have control over Depth of Field so that’s why I start with selecting my Aperture first.  If I need to control motion, then I would start by selecting an appropriate Shutter Speed, then adjust Aperture to get proper exposure.

After I select the Aperture, if the Shutter Speed dips below 1/60 I would then open up the lens to get more light so I could keep the shutter at least at 1/60 or higher.  This really never became an issue since I was shooting outside in very bright light.  My shutter speeds for this shoot were mostly 1/125, 1/250 or 1/500.

agsdix-smt1-camera

PhotoTipster Hot Tip: What It Means To "Open Up or Stop Down a Lens"

A quick lesson on Aperture, f/stops, and essential terms Photographers use.

What I wish I could change about this camera

Yet another camera that originally used a Mercury battery to power the light meter.

Since they don’t make Mercury batteries anymore you have to find an equivalent battery that will deliver the proper voltage so the light meter operates as expected.

The FTb uses a 1.35V Mallory PX625  battery.  The easiest replacement is to use the Wein Cell MRB625 battery for an exact size fit in the battery compartment.  So that’s what I did.

The one thing I would like to have added to the FTb is some sort of grip on the front like the Canon AE-1 has. 

Since this is a heavy camera it would be nice to have something to grip onto when shooting.

Honesty, the only issue I had with shooting the FTb was holding onto it securely.  Minor gripe for such a great camera.

No sooner do I talk about this grip idea and I stumble upon this super cool website that is making custom 3D Printed grips for all kinds of vintage cameras.

Check out the Butter Grip at the Cameradactyl.com website.  I put in a request for the Canon FTb as they do not offer a grip for this model as of today, 6-30-20.

Describe your experience shooting with this camera

I really enjoyed shooting this roll of film.  The FTb was fun to shoot, albeit on the heavy side with that 80-210mm lens that I chose to use. 

It is really well built, looks great and has an incredibly easy to use light meter built into it.

I really can’t say enough about the Quick Load Film Mechanism that Canon designed.  It is such a fool proof way to load film.

One thing I noticed in my vertical shots is that the vertical lines seem to be slanted to the right. I’m not sure if this was me holding the camera slanted or something else. 

Here’s some vertical shots where the vertical lines seem to be slanted to the right. 

Would you recommend this camera?

It all depends what kind of camera you’re looking for.  Because this camera is very heavy for its size, it may be a turn off. 

I would say that if you were just starting out in Photography the FTb would be a great camera to learn on.  You can pick them up under $100 on the used market.

If you like shooting the FTb,  but would like something a little lighter, then the Canon AE-1 would be a great choice.

I will certainly shoot some more rolls with other lenses in the future.  

This is one of those cameras that kind of flies under the radar unnoticed because everybody is rushing out to find an AE-1 or A-1.  

Don’t dismiss the FTb. It is a very well thought out camera that just works.

Items referenced in this article

Article by David Neff

Article by David Neff

I’m the crazy guy who runs PhotoTipster.com.  I hope you enjoy the website as much as I enjoy creating it!

I love teaching & helping others have fun with Photography.  In my free time I like playing the bass guitar, sipping on good suds, and spending time with my wife, son & 3 cats.

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