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

   Camera Year   Camera Year  
   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

   Camera Year   Camera Year  
   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

Canon FX
The 1st of the “F” Series
Introduced April 1964
Canon TX
Canon FP (SIlver)
Introduced October 64
Canon TX
B&H/Canon FP (SIlver)
Introduced October 64
Canon Pellix
an innovative development
Introduced April i965
Canon Pellix QL
Canon FT QL
Introduced March 1966
Canon FT QL (Black)
Canon TL
Canon FTb-n (Black)
Canon FTb-n QL (Black)
Introduced March 1973
Canon F-1n
Introduced 1971
Canon FTb QL
the FT is improved
March 1971
Canon TLb
Introduced September 1974
Canon TX
Canon TX
really a B&H FD35
September 1974 to 1979

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Canon Logo 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.