F-1 … we can rebuild it.

I bought a Canon F-1n some time ago thinking I could repair its shutter problem … I got it cheap so I did not press the seller much on details … well, it was fairly obvious what the shutter problem was; Canon F-1n, almost original. So, I hunted for a parts camera with an intact shutter.

Sooo, now I have two partially working camera’s … now to make one !!!

As the F-1 system is very modular in nature it was easy to swap out the parts. There were issues that I encountered, but I expected that since both cameras were somewhat non-working. The “working” camera had problems with the aperture indicator, so I had to start taking things apart.

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Mechanical parts Canon F-1.image (40k Jpeg)

I will have to warn everyone that this is not the sort of camera you really want to jump into.

Canon media documents state that there are over 10,000 parts, and I think they are right.

I did find some videos on youtube – (“fix old cameras”), but not a lot of websites of anyone specifically working on an F-1 … I guess not many wanted to tackle this one.

OK, so after I put the parts on the working camera I slapped on a lens to check the light meter … hmm, the needle is moving but the aperture circle is stuck at the top of the window? After some hunting I found an old article from the Classic Camera Repair Forum about this issue. The diaphram sensing lever was not freely moving up and down … it keeps getting stuck at its lowest position. I can lightly push it up and it then freely moves. As Brcamera states in his post, the ramp has some sort of abrasion/wear/gunk that makes it stick.

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Hmm, I wonder if it has to do with crap getting into the inside of the camera? I say this because the door is broken off on my camera. What door ? The F-1 happens to have port on left side of the camera mount ring that is used to couple with the Servo EE Finder. This is covered by a plastic door. My camera has no door, so stuff can get in over time. If yours is like this also, I highly suggest taking the door parts off and then putting in something to cover over the port (I suspect that you are probably not going to use a servo EE finder). I used some leatherette material and screwed the remaining door cover over it.

Note, in the image  I have removed the lens mounting ring, as I did notice that if the mirrorbox is not tightly screwed onto the body then it will affect the diaphram sensing levers movement.

I squirted some Ronsonol in the area to see if that loosened things up … and exersized the lever. It was not sticking … so I let it dry out. It continued to stick, so I did it again.

I will just continue to work on that method … I tried getting the mirrorbox out, but that proved to be too much … until it doesn’t stick, but in the meantime if you are looking through your viewfinder and see a circle in the sky you can just push the stop down lever to force it down.

Ok, so on to the next thing … the battery check is not working.

With the F-1 you set the ASA to 100 and shutter speed to 1/2000s, then turn the light meter switch to C. Looking through the viewfinder you can see if the need sits at the mark. Mine does not move … but it is getting power as the light meter needle is moving.

This requires getting into the top left side of the camera to check the electronic contacts, and give it a cleaning.

First you need to remove front cover plate that surrounds the lens mount, as it hides screws holding the top cover plates on … four screws

Remove finder and ground screen.

Top Left (backfacing) side

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Remove flash PC socket … unscrew using clamp wrench

Remove meter on/off switch … unscrew center pin face screw … I used my pointy tweezers … then pull off switch knob. Note that there is a brass washer down in there also.

Remove rewind crank … open the back and hold onto the rewind spool while unscrew the rewind crank counterclock wise.

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Remove three screws, pull off accessory shoe base. This is actually muliple pieces but can be removed whole.

Top plate is held by two screws one in back and one in front.

 

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For anyone thinking of adjusting recalibrating the light meter … don’t try it. I can’t figure out how it is done without getting deeper into the camera. There is reference to some adjustment in the Service Manual which I note at the end of this post.

At the bottom of the image you will see some metal contact closures. The top and middle contact eachother when the battery check is switched. I found that the metal needed cleaning to make make them connect.

If your light meter does not turn on it could be that the bottom two metal contacts are dirtly so you can give those two a cleaning.

Now lets see what the right side looks like.

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I really did not have much reason to look at this side but I thought … heck, why not.

Maybe you want to clean the counter dial or something … or just wanta take a look.

DSC00636Remove shutter speed dial … note the speed it is set to.

Pop off centre cap, it is glued on (yes, I am as surprised as you are). Then remove screw, pull off speed dial. There is a plastic ring glued onto the cover (don’t have to remove it).

DSC00637Remove the advance lever … remove centre screw, pull off lever, pull out the multiple parts … remember their order and position.

DSC00634Remove shutter button lock … warning there is a ball bearing …

Loosen three screws around the outside. WARNING … slowly carefully pull off and look for spring loaded bearing. Then pull off lock ring … there are two indents on the ring where the bearing will sit that keeps the dial in A or L setting.

DSC00629Top cover … three screws, back side and the front

note position of spiral plate

 

 

I was actually surprised to read up on the link between the shutter speed dial and the light meter mechanism … there are wires that span the back that link the two together. Thats what the service manual references for adjustment … but as I mentioned, that is a bit too much for me right now.

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Below image from the Service Manual … it notes that fine adjustement to the metering needle position can be done by turning screw A.

Annotation

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Something to hear about …

Soooo … hmm, do I have a tendency of starting out my sentences with that? OK … hmm, that is another word that I use to start. Let’s start this again.

Taking a break from posting the F-1 stuff, it stuck me that I could post something about what I am hearing … no, not what I am listening to but what I am listening with.

Some months ago my earbuds ran into a problem … no sound on one side due to electrical problem. I was not surprised as these buds have lasted me over 5 years of use. So I started a search for a replacement.

Now I am somewhat of an audiophile … but a really cheap one, so I was looking for the best quality earbuds for the lowest price !! The last ones I had were Panasonic something (it appears there is no model labelled), and I specifically got them because they were cheap but most importantly they had a really good frequency range. So now I search for something like it.

What I ended up with is … the Symphonized NRG 3.0.

Why, frequency response of 18Hz-22kHz and it was clean throughout. They are not for bassheads (unlike my Panasonic ones) but they do produce a “nice” overall range. Very pleasant while listening to Pink Floyd – Brain Damage or Vince Guaraldi Trio – Linus and Lucy (makes you want to do those odd dance moves). They also have an angled plug so it doesn’t pull at a right angle when plugged into the side my laptop.

Oh, and I forgot to mention … they have a real wood enclosure, so yeah they look cool (at least to me).

For under $30 they are a great buy.

FFFF… well just F-1 … nnnnn

My first SLR camera was a Canon T-70 … ah, I thought it was the greatest camera … it was the greatest camera as it was my first. That started my thing for Canon cameras, not that I had many of them, so I was not one of those people that became obsesest and collect every single one of them. My second camera was a Canon T-90, cause it was really electronically cool … but, I became more appreciative of the simple things, shutter, aperture, and the film. My next, and final, film camera was the oh so awesome New F-1 (or is it the F-1N … not to be confused with the F-1n ??)

… but this ain’t a story about that one, this is the story about the one that came before, the one that started it … the Canon F-1, the original and the revised F-1n (it had a plastic tip on the film advance lever and some other mods).

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The Canon F-1 is a legendary camera for this company. It was a reaction to the Nikon F2 camera … though it was released in 1971 about 6 months before the F2 … and it was (in my mind) their equals. Canon’s 5 year reaction was full on (the Canonflex vs F didn’t work out so well) … not only did they bring in a new modular camera, it was built to take a beating in extreme environments, they also developed a crap load of accessories and the new line of FD lenses to support the automatic aperture system allows the lens to remain wide open all the time, until the camera takes the shot.

They updated the F-1 five years later (F-1n, note the camera keeps its F-1 label) with about 13 improvements, like a brighter mirror … including changes to the advance lever to make it quicker.

To identify an F-1n vs the F-1, look at the film advance lever … you can see the updated plastic tip on the n model (on the right).

f-1_lever f-1n_lever

… anyway, as a New F-1 (or F-1N) user, I can see that this was an awesome camera system. It feels like a block of steel, feels like a professional camera that was the basis of the even more awesome camera. Oh, and this camera was also the base for the unique Canon EF.

Baldinette … just clearing the view.

Sadly, this Balda Baldinette came to me in almost perfect condition … the only thing I had to do was clean out the viewfinder port and give it a shine.

DSC00552 1 First thing to do is to remove the rewind knob … just unscrew it.

Then remove the film counter while holding outter knurled ring.

The four screws hold the top plate on … remove them and then lift off top cover. You can go inside and clean out the viewfinder ports.

DSC00553 1Under the cover … as this is not a rangefinder camera there is not much here … you can clean counter dial and red dot.

Make sure the red dot mechanism is moving freely … after putting the top plate back on, make sure the red dot is still moving after advancing and tripping the shutter.

If you do want to get into the shutter, I noticed the focus distance ring would need to be marked to reposition it correctly when you put it back on.

 

Balda Baldinette

Even though the info says that Balda made “cheap” cameras, he didn’t make them cheaply made … though the shutter/lens was commonly on the low end of the scale.

The Baldinette was made in 1950. It was a viewfinder 35mm format folder … all metal body, and pocketable like the Retina. It was also made in a red leather version.

Typical of the cameras of those days, different shutter/lens combos were available. The one I have has a Pronto shutter that doesn’t have that many speeds, B and 1/30 to 1/300s so it really is a daylight camera … though it does have a hotshoe and a PC port … and the Schneider Radionar 50mm f/3.5 (triplet) lens.

… the camera is advanced enough to have a safetly lock on the winder … the counter will only advance if there is acutally film advancing within the camera and there is a manually push button that needs to be pressed after each exposure to unlock the shutter release button.

The one I got a hold of is in working condition, everything still feels as mechanically sound as when it was produced over 60 years ago.

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The adventures of this guy who tries to restore and repair vintage photographic equipment … and wins (most of the time).

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