Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Canon F-1 - With Its First Automatic Flash Sytem

 

The CAT System CAT stands for: Canon Automatic Tuning

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Suggestion: just Download an Instruction Manual for Flash Coupler F - courtesy of Mr. Christian Rollinger

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Technical instruction of how to use the CAT system

One interesting feature which came with Canon's first offering on their professional SLR was the first attempt on automatic flash. Whatever the name they called it - This system eliminates the need to calculate guide numbers which are essential to decide exposure in flash photography with an ordinary electronic flash. (Nikon's approach - Check the NIkon's 45mm GN Nikkor here.) It couples the electronic flash with the meter circuit to maintain the proper f/stop at all times. Therefore, flash photography can be performed in the same light metering way as performing during daytime. Generally, with the ordinary electronic flash, since charging time varies according to battery consumption, it is difficult to know when voltage is at its peak level or what the true guide number is. One is never sure when deciding exposure in flash photography with an ordinary electronic flash, but now, the Canon's CAT System has made an attempt to resolve the problem.

In the CAT System, the amount of the charged voltage is transmitted from the electronic flash to the meter, and the focused distance is electrically transmitted from the lens to the meter through the adapter and both signals transmitted to the meter are calculated by an electronic circuit and converted into the movement of the meter needles, consequently correct exposure may be established by turning the aperture ring to match the needles. A characteristic of the CAT System is that the meter needle moves when the charged voltage reaches a certain level and at any intermediate level between that and the peak level, proper exposure can be obtained by matching the needles. The CAT System, in other words, can be said to be an automatic system with none of the limitations of the ordinary electronic flashes.

Features of this Canon's Flash Automation System:




I. Since any change of the guide number is transmitted to the meter, it can be used before charged voltage reaches the peak level.
2. It eliminates the following calculation:
Guide number divided by focusing distance = f/stop
3. Photographers do not have to check the neon lamp, focusing distance, f/stop, etc.
4. All operations can be checked in the viewfinder.
5. Since the electronic flash can be used at less than full voltage, it consumes less battery andshortens the recycling time.
6. The range of distance in which photography can be performed can be seen from the position of the meter needle (using the warning marks).

Flash Photography Two different mechanisms for flash photography are built in. One is the 133D automatic electronic flash and with it flash photography can be performed by the matching needle system. The other is that which can accept ordinary types of flash units.

The former is called the CAT Svstem (Canon Automatic Tuning System). Since this F-1 pentagonal viewfinder is designed so that it may be changed by other viewfinders, the accessory shoe is not on the viewfinder but on the base of the film rewind crank, to which an adapter with an accessory shoe can be inserted to attach the flash unit to the body. Two types of couplers are applicable to this camera, namely, the
D for general flash units, and the L for the CAT System. The direct contact for the ordinary flash unit and the automatic flash control contact for the CAT System are located at the base of the film rewind crank and they are used respectively when connecting the direct-coupling type of electronic flash, and when connecting the CAT System. The socket for an ordinary flash unit is on the side of the camera body. The CAT System can be used with served specified lens, the Canon Speedlite 133D, the Flash Coupler L to attach the 133D to the body, and the Flash-Auto Rings A, B, A2, or B2 for transmitting the focus distance from the lens to the meter.

The voltage of the main capacitor in the flash and the distance focused on are monitored by the camera meter, and the meter needle moves accordingly. By aligning the aperture needle to the meter needle, proper exposure is assured even before the capacitor is fully charged. Looking at the camera from the rear, the automatic flash control contact is on the right and the direct contact for the ordinary flash unit is on the left side. The combinations of the specified lenses and the Flash-Auto Rings are shown in the following table. Combination of the Flash-Auto Ring and the Specified Lens:

The Speedlite 133D Set is composed of the Flash Coupler L and one of the Flash-Auto Rings A, B, A2 or B2. Consequently it may be considered that there are four sets. The letter suffix of the Flash-Auto Ring is used to distinguish the sets. The A2 and the B2 have been developed in later stages so that the FD 35mm F3.5 lens may be used.

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Various newer series of Canon
Speeedlite models.

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MB Maintenance Team and Credit information: Kaipin & Terry Carraway. Mr. Richard Yeow, General Manager -Optical Division of Canon Marketing and Tony Kano, former regioner head of Canon, Asean Region for granting special permission to reproduce some of the old manuals into HTML format. * Canon, T90, FD Lenses, Canon Marketing are registered trade names or trademarks of Canon Inc. Japan.