The EX Camera Series
Canon takes a small detour to a dead end
In 1968 (if you believe Eric Skopec – pg. 24) or 1969 (if you prefer to believe the Canon Museum web page) Canon introduced the first of the EX series, the Canon EX EE. This was an interesting camera in several respects but it was not in the mainstream and after only two models it was withdrawn from the market.
The EX Auto was the second camera in this series. It is shown here with its standard 50mm f/1.8 lens. It is easy to see the Canon SLR styling has carried through into this model.
The unique lens system can be seen here with the front lens elements removed leaving on the camera the focusing mechanism and the three element two group rear portion of the lens.
This close-up of the lens mounting threads shows the camera without the front lens elements. The rear lens grouping is clearly visible.
When introduced, the Canon EX EE was their first SLR combining fully automatic exposure with interchangeable lens. It was still a manual focus camera designed for the amateur photographer market but for an easy to operate camera it offered advanced features. It was equipped with the Quick Load system (QL) making film load easy and quick. It had a cloth focal plane shutter with a top speed of 1/500th of a second.
The aperture was set, not on the lens, but on a dial around the rewind crank on the top plate of the camera. But the most interesting feature of this camera is the lens mount. The helical focusing unit and the back three elements of the lens in two groups were permanently mounted on the body. The four available lenses for this camera where the front elements only and they mounted on the front of the focusing barrel. Because they were not complete lenses they were not usable on any other model camera because they each lacked the three rear elements.
This added complications for the focusing and light settings and all but the standard 50mm lens had to be set manually so that proper focus could be achieved. The the Manuals for instructions on how this was accomplished.
This was a popular camera, well received by the public. Bell & Howell also offered this camera as the Auto 35/Reflex.It was offered until 1973 when it was replaced by the EX Auto which was introduced in 1972. This model was the second and final offering in the series, being withdrawn from distribution in 1976.
The EX Auto is an upgraded version of the EX EE. It adds support for Canon’s CAT electronic flash system. The Hot Shoe on top replaces the simple accessory shoe of the earlier camera. To accommodate the CAT flash a folding black lever is added to the fixed lens barrel. Otherwise, the cameras are similar.
Only four lenses were available for these cameras. They were:
|EX 50mm f/1.8||48mm filter|
|EX 35mm f/3.5||48mm filter|
|EX 95mm f/3.5||62mm filter|
|EX 125mm f/3.5||72mm filter|
The Canon EE EX was a popular camera. It was well made and had the solid feel of other Canon SLR’s of the time.
Canon reached an agreement with Bell & Howell in the United States to allow them to rebrand the camera as the Bell & Howell Auto 35/Reflex. It was the same camera and was made by Canon.
The Canon name does not appear on the body anywhere but the lenses are all Canon and marked the same as the lenses for the EE EX. They are the same lenses and are interchangeable. The strap that came with the camera was also branded as a Canon strap.
Bell & Howell had other Canon made cameras in their line-up: Autoload 340,Autoload 341 and Autoload 342, Auto 35/28 Focusmatic (based on the Canonet 28), and the Dial 35.
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.