An inexpensive FTb
The Bell & Howell FD35 looks like a Canon because it is a Canon in every detail. Notice the lens is branded “B&H/Canon” Apparently there were 6 lenses in all with that designation (See page 37 of the Manual.).
In fact the FD35 is essentially a TLb with a hot shoe. It was a manual camera with built in light meter.
We can’t talk about the TX without first discussing the Bell & Howell FD35. You will recall that in the piece I have written here about Bell & Howell I explained that B&H was Canon’s agent in the United States from 1961 until around 1976. In the early 70’s B&H wanted a Canon camera to market as their own product as they did with the Auto 35/Reflex and they asked Canon to come up with a model.
At the time Canon’s advanced amateur camera, the FTb, was undergoing minor changes to create the FTb-n, they were looking towards introducing an entry level camera, the TLb, which eventually came out in September 1974. The request for a camera to be branded as a Bell & Howell came at an opportune time. B&H wanted an inexpensive camera, with built in light meter and I am sure they stipulated flash capability because the American public had come to expect easy access to a flash unit.
What Canon proposed was the FD35. This came to market under the Bell and Howell banner in 1973 and it was essentially a TLb on which a hot shoe was mounted. The TLb had an equipment shoe only and flash was accessed thru a PC socket on the front of the camera.
Once the FD35 and the TLb were on the market Canon had second thoughts about the lack of hot shoe on the TLb and they decided to release the FD35 under the Canon name bringing out the TX which hit the stores in early 1975. Same camera, different name.
Even by the standards of the day this was a plain camera. Same quality build but with few advanced features.
On the bottom there was no provision for a power winder
And that is the origin of the TX. I am reading between the lines for some of the details but essentially this is the origin of the camera. Personally I like this camera. It reminds me of my Minolta SR-1 (which predated it by several years) with a light meter. And it will accept the full line of FD lenses!
Compare this photo with the top photo for the FD35. Same camera! The only obvious difference is a different finish on the speed dial.
Check out the Manual for the TX for the technical details of this camera’s operation. Pretty simple. And compare the two manuals: same words, same photos, obviously the same camera.
|Date:||Sep 1974 thru 1979|
|Exposure:||Match needle center weighted internal CdS meter|
|Flash:||Hot shoe and PC connection|
|Shutter:||Horizontal rubberized cloth focal plane
Speeds from 1 sec. to 1/500th
X-synch at 1/60th sec.
|ASA:||25 to 1600|
|Frame Rate:||Manual lever winding|
|Battery:||1.35v PX625 mercury cell|
Notes: The TX is the last of the F series. Well, the second last as the New F-1 came out in 1981.
I don’t know if there is a Bell & Howell TX but I would be surprised if there was. It came out near the end of the B&H agreement and by this time the FD35 was a direct comptetitor of the TX.
This is a solid camera feeling very much like its more expensive siblings. It lacks bells and whistles like a lock-up mirror, battery off switch for storage, or a self timer. Because there is no off switch, it is important to keep the lens cap on when not in use to conserve battery power. And if it is to be stored for any length of time the battery should be removed.
But it does accept Canon’s great line of FD lenses and so is capable of really fine photography.
The other “bargain basement” F series camera was the TLb. The TLb was essentially a TX without the hot shoe.
It is interesting to note that the TX was never offered in a black version.
In the Collection I have the following example:
Collection No.: C-52
Serial No.: 244482
Accessories: none yet
Acquisition: 5 March 2016 at the Vancouver Swap Meet on Terminal Avenue
And let us not forget the FD35:
Collection No.: C-168
Serial No.: 104694
Accessories: none yet
Acquisition: 17 May 2017 from Green Mountain Camera on E-bay. Really nice folks to do business with. When my camera arrived there was a nice hand written card with it thanking me for my business. It’s people like this that make this hobby so much fun.