Canon T70

Canon T70 is a 35mm manual focus FD mount SLR introduced in 1984. It is one of last manual focus SLRs produced by Canon before it switched to the production of autofocus EF mount EOS SLRs. The Canon T-series replaces the older A-series cameras (AE-1, A-1, etc.) with more advanced features in exposure controls, a stronger metal-blade shutter, a built-in motor-drive and a more common power source (AA batteries). The Canon T-series includes the following camera models:

  • T50 (1983) – fully automatic programmed exposure only, manual film rewind and film speed setting (thus you can still do limited override), not a welcomed model IMO.
  • T70 (1984) – this one!
  • T80 (1985) – first auto-focus SLR from Canon, contrast-detection AF using dedicated AC (FD-mount with electronic contacts) lenses with in-lens focus motors, production stopped a year later giving place to the EOS SLRs using the totally redesigned EF mount autofocus lens.
  • T90 (1986) – professional calibre in every way, built-in compact motordrive (only 4 AA’s) with a frame rate of 4.5fps, triple metering patterns (average, center-weighted and spot), first Canon SLR designed with human-engineering in mind and super strong body!
  • T60 (1990) – last FD mount SLR made by Cosina instead of Canon, aperture-priority exposure with manual override, manual film-winding (thus uses silver-oxide batteries instead of AA), introduced 3 years after the first EOS camera (EOS650) as an economical alternative.

Beside the usual programmed exposure mode (the only exposure mode on the previous T50), the T70 has two additional program modes for the use of wide-angle lens and telephoto lens. To my understanding, the wide program (as set in the photo right above) will optimize for depth-of-field while the the tele program will optimize for high shutter speed. Also, shutter-priority and full manual exposure are available for more creative use. While shutter speed is only shown on the top LCD panel, aperture chosen (or suggested in manual mode) in program and shutter-priority modes is displayed in the viewfinder at a 1/2 stop increment.

Film loading of the T70 is as easy as a 35mm point-and-shoot (see photo above) and it is almost foolproof. Although being a “high-tech” camera in its era, film speed needs to set manually on the T70, instead of automatically by using DX-coding. However, because film speed is set manually, there is no “film info peek-window” on the camera back (one less cause for lightleak when the camera ages) and instead a “reminder slot” for film package is provided which I prefer over the peek-window.

The most advanced and useful feature of the T70 is actually the dual metering system. Beside a conventional average metering pattern, the camera also provides a partial-area metering pattern covering approximately 11% of the center portion of the frame. While not as useful as spot metering which covers a much smaller portion of the frame, it is still better than the more common center-weighted metering (in which the weight pattern and ratio differs from manufacturer to manufacturer or even model to model!) especially when you are a zone-system user.

The following sample photo was taken with the T70 and the Canon FDn 50mm f1.8. Film used is Ilford HP5 plus. Exposure was set by using data given by the partial-area meter as reference points.


About my Canon T70…

To be honest, I am really not a Canon fan myself but since I have an old FDn 135mm f3.5 lens sitting around and this T70 (with the FDn 50mm f1.8 as shown in the photo) was being sold on an Internet classified at a very attractive price, I decided to add a Canon SLR to my collection.

A bit of info. on the Canon FD mount…

The Canon FD mount was introduced in 1971 with the professional F-1 and had been the standard for all Canon SLRs up to 1986. It uses an unconventional breech-lock design (see photo above) instead of the much more common bayonet style. Some people in Asia call it a “reversed bayonet” mount because the “male side” is actually on the body. Today, FD lenses had long been obsolete and many of them are being sold at real bargain prices in the used market. For those who want to try out film photography and don’t mind lenses being non-interchangeable with your DSLR, why not consider buying a Canon FD mount SLR?

PS. Why I called my two lenses FDn instead of FD? See the post of the FDn 50mm f1.8 itself and there is some info. on that.

Status: Sold

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3 Responses to Canon T70

  1. Kathrin says:

    I do not know if it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else encountering problems with your site. It seems like some of the written text on your posts are running off the screen. Can somebody else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too? This might be a issue with my internet browser because I’ve had this happen previously.

  2. kevinallan says:

    I’ve had two of these cameras, and they both died eventually, but took a long time to finally expire. The first one suffered from the LCD panel coming off; I replaced this with sellotape and it worked like this for many years. The second needed tape to keep the battery door in place, and that didn’t work so well, but I bought the camera to get the “Thorium” 35mm f2 that it came with.

    After they both passed away, I came to miss the cough-splutter sound that the winder made if the batteries weren’t totally fresh. Happy days…

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