The Fabulous F Series
Cameras and Lenses in my Small Collection
This is my original Asahi Pentax. This trend setting camera came out in 1957, a full two years before the Canon Canonflex, and defined the form of SLR’s for the next 3 decades.
When Canon came out with the Canonflex in May of 1959 the Pentax had already been on the market for 2 years. It is hard to know how people saw things 55 years ago, especially in a new market, but history has shown that Pentax was the trend setter until surpassed by Nikon with its F-1. Canon made some wrong turns that took a few years to resolve.
The instant return mirror was an Asahi development. The Pentax size was small and compact and the camera felt solid. The Pentax felt like a Canon rangefinder camera. It felt good in the hand. They put the film advance lever on the top right side of the camera where it stayed across the industry. Even the rewind sprocket release button on the bottom was a Pentax innovation.
Pick up a Canon Canonflex or any of its siblings. They are big. But more importantly, they don’t have the feel
of the Canon rangefinder cameras, or the Pentax for that matter. They lack that precise well machined “Swiss watch” feel that Canon had justly earned to that point. To come into the marketplace with a camera that was already lagging behind the two year old Pentax was not a good move. It was obvious that the “Flex” series of Canon cameras was not long for the marketplace.
The new series that Canon brought out in April of 1964 was called the “F” series echoing its parental “Flex” cameras. These were big cameras but they were well made and they felt it. They adopted what would become the standard format for SLR’s in the 70’s and 80’s and which would eventually lead to the classics such as the F-1, AE-1 and the A-1.
With the new “F” series came a new lens mount. The “R” mount of the “Flex” series gave way to the “FL” mount which was used on the FX, FP, Pellix, FTQL, PellixQL, and TL models.
In March of 1971 Canon came out with its flagship SLR, the F-1 and again the lens mount changed to the FD mount. All subsequent F series cameras used this new mount which was able to communicate between lens and camera to accommodate TTL automatic metering. The last camera of the F series was the New F-1 which came out in September 1981 unless one wanted to count the very specialized New F-1 High Speed Motor Drive Camera which was introduced in February of 1984.
1964 to 1984 was twenty years of development and innovation of the Canon camera which eventually led to the “A” series, the “T” series and finally the EOS cameras that are with us today. But it really all started with the Canon FX of the “F” series in 1964.
This is a selection of F Series cameras in The Collection. From the left in the front row are an FTb, FT, TX, and another FT. Behind is a black EF (I have only seen black ones), a Pellix in the back, then a TLb and an FX (both hard to identify in this image) and finally a New F-1 and an F-1n.
“F” Series Cameras with the FL Lens Mount
|Canon FX (Silver)||1964||Canon Pellix||1965|
|Canon FX (Black)||1964||Canon FT QL (Silver)||1966|
|B&H FX (Silver)||1964||Canon FT QL (Black)||1966|
|Canon FP (Silver)||1964||Canon Pellix QL||1966|
|B&H FP (Silver)||1964||Canon TL||1968|
“F” Series Cameras with the FD Lens Mount
|Canon F-1||1971||Canon EF||1973|
|Canon FTb QL (Chrome)||1971||Canon TLb||1974|
|Canon FTb QL (Black)||1971||Canon TX||1975|
|Canon FTb-n (Chrome)||1973||Canon F-1n||1976|
|Canon FTb-n (Black)||1973||New F-1||1981|
Cameras in the Collection
I am not in any way connected to or supported by Canon. I chose their camera line and have stayed with it. I cannot recall why. But a Nikon camera is fine technology and takes a wonderful picture. So too with Sony and the others. But I have been happy with Canon and so I have begun my collection here. One day I may add other brands to my range interest. But that is for another day.