This is my F-1 (Ser. No. 134029) with a Power Winder F mounted on it. From this angle it is almost impossible to distinguish this camera from the F-1n. Can you?
The Updated F-1n
The Original F-1 is Tweaked
When Canon introduced the F-1 originally in 1971 they said that they would support it for ten years. It was their belief that people would want to feel they were investing in a system that would be around for a substantial time. However, the camera market had begun to advance at an unprecedented rate with features leap frogging features.
By 1976 Canon felt that the F-1 was beginning to look dated and was in need of a refresh. And so in September of 1976 they introduced an updated version of the F-1. Canon called it F-1 and that is
the name that appears on the front exactly as on the original. In fact from the front it is difficult if not impossible to tell the two versions apart. The changes in the camera were not substantial but they did add a few minor features and some conveniences.
This is my F-1n (Ser. No. 585537). From this angle you can distinguish it from the original F-1, above, by the larger shutter button collar.
From the top the F-1n you can see the plastic tip on the wind lever. Look closely because it blends in very well.
The back cover of the F-1n has the holder for film information. It is exactly the size of the end flap of the film box as shown here.
To protect their established base of loyal users Canon made the f-1n totally compatible with existing accessories for the original F-1.
o let’s go through the 1976 upgrades. Prepare to be underwhelmed.
An obvious change was the addition of a film information holder to the back of the camera to hold the flap from the end of the film box.
Another obvious change is the addition of a black plastic tip on the rewind lever. this change is hard to notice because of the excellent color match and fit of the plastic.
Still on the winding lever, the lever offset was increased from 15 to 30 degrees. Also the winding stroke was decreased from 180 to 139 degrees which makes film winding quicker.
The color around the shutter button was enlarged to create a small cup much like that on early rangefinder cameras.
Maximum selectable film speed was increased from ASA 1600 to 3200.
A soft rubber eyecup was added but it was removeable and is not found on many examples today.
The default focusing screen was changed to include a split image with microprism ring around it. At the same time the number of focusing screens available was increased from four to nine.
There were several small improvements including a threaded PC Sync Socket, spring loaded battery check position of the Battery Tester, a simplified multiple exposure procedure, a detent added to the rewind crank to keep it in the pulled out position and a mirror upgrade to make the image a little brighter.
The F-1n was an evolutionary camera but it was still a manual camera with battery powered light meter. An F-1 user could pick up the F-1n and if he was not paying attention he might not know that he had the upgraded version.
Canon made sure that all of the accessories for the F-1n were compatible with the upgraded camera so that it could be inserted into an existing suite of Canon gear and function flawlessly. Those using it did not have to know which camera they were using: they operated the same.
And speaking of how they functioned, you can read the Instruction Manual by clicking on the manual cover to the left. It will tell you all about it.
The f-1 and the F-1n were, are, solid heavy reliable cameras. The ones I have come across still work. The light meters may be dead but the mechanical parts of the camera are over built and reliable. I still use
mine to this day. Although the light meters on mine also appear to be working I don’t rely on them. I use my modern Sekonic meter which I trust for accurate meter readings. These are great cameras to use, still.
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