Canon FTb QL
the FT is improved
Note on the bottom there is no provision for a power winder. With this camera your thumb was your only option. As I said, a mechanical camera.
Date: Introduced in March 1971
Type: 35mm SLR
Lens Mount: Canon FD
Flash: Hot Shoe
Frame Rate: Manual Lever Advance
Notes: Today Canon has created clear divisions in the market it serves: there are the “Rebel” cameras for the entry level DSLR user, the “D” series as in 60D, 70D, 80D or the 5D’s for the advanced amature user and there are the top tier professional cameras like the EOS 1 D’s. It was no different in the 1970’s.
Canon had its professional camera, the F-1, introduced in 1971 at the same time as the FTb. The FTb QL was aimed at the advanced amateur photographer. And finally there were the TLb and TX which were entry level SLR’s with fewer features still..
The FTb had many of the options and the quality of build of the F-1 but without the option of interchangeable prisms, focusing screens or motor drives.
The shutter is an all mechanical horizontally travelling rubberized silk focal plane. Shutter speeds range up to a 1000th of a second. The metering is the only automatic feature on this camera and is powered by a single 1.35 volt 625 type mercury cell (such as the Mallory PX-625 or Eveready EPX-625). The camera would not automatically set exposure. The CdS light meter was of the “Match Needle” variety in which the user had to set both shutter speed and aperture so that the Meter Needle lined up with the Aperture Needle.
The camera was offered in silver or black finish on the top and bottom plates.
The FTb is a very capable manual camera. It is solidly built with a wonderful feel of quality and precision in the hand. And it is excellent fun to shoot with it.
This is the Manual for the original FTb which contains operating instructions for this camera. The camera is very intuitive and an advanced user will seldom need to resort to the instructions.
Here are the FTb (Chrome) and FTb-n (Black) side by side. They are essentially the same camera.
This front view clearly shows the updated Depth of Field Preview/Self Timer Lever. You can also see the diamond pattern in the edge of the shutter speed dial instead of the fluting on the earlier model.
Inside the camera the Quick Load mechanism is readily apparent. This was the last SLR camera model in which Canon installed the QL feature.
I bought this camera from Craig and it is wearing its original “kit” lens, a 50mm f/1.4 S.S.C.. If you look in the Manual below you will see that this is the lens illustrated there.
The spring loaded PC Socket cover is plainly visible in this image. This is one of the identifying marks for the FTb-n.
Canon often upgraded a camera model during production without great fanfare. This they did with the FTb in 1973. The model name did not change but the changes to the camera were visible making these cameras easy to recognize.
The film advance lever got a black plastic tip, presumably for a better grip when winding the film. The stop-down lever/self-timer lever was changed to the same style as found on the F-1. It still functioned as before but more closely related this camera model to the F-1 flagship.
The PC sync socket was given a spring loaded plastic cover. Again, just a cosmetic touch.
The ring around the outer edge of the shutter speed dial was changed from a scalloped design to a diamond textured design. And, finally, a shutter speed display was added in the lower left hand corner of the viewfinder on later production copies.
As I said, this camera did not receive a new name as it was essentially the same camera. Unofficially amongst collectors it is known as the FTb-N or FTb-n or FTbn.
This is the Manual for the FTb-n. Black or Chrome the manual is the same..
In the Collection I have the following:
Collection No.: C-21
Serial No.: 707816
Acquisition: Dec 22, 2015 – Craig’s List
Condition: Good – small dings and signs of wear. The foam surrounding to focus screen is eroded and in bad shape. This is the silver top first model.
Accessories: Booster Meter ordered from eBay 23 Dec 2015
Collection No.: C-175
Serial No.: 925080
Acquisition: 30 Jun 2017 from Craig on Craig’s List
Condition: Excellent – shows obvious signs of use. Appears fully functional.
Accessories: This camera came with the original box and kit lens, a 50mm f/1.4 S.S.C.