Classic SLR Series :
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The camera's features are as follow: A. Features around the Camera at the Rear Section
Interchangeable Film Back
Dating back to the '70, Canon has already offered their A-Series SLR camera with an option to replace the standard film back. I was not sure why the Company was holding back adoption of LCD as the primary display system in this popular accessory. So, even when the version II of the Canon Data Back MA was introduced, Canon SLRs was still using an analogue method which came in multiple wheels for data input adjustment. Similarly, the Databack FN for the professional Canon New F-1 was also still adopting similar analogue control system in both the Data Back FN as well as the 100 exposures Bulk Film Chamber FN-100. With the Canon T70 of 1984, Canon finally acknowledged the advantage of the main stream application and finally changed that. But it was not until the Command Back 90 & the PC-linked Data Memory Back 90 designed specifically for the Canon T90 that changed the prevailing weakness Canon shown in this segment of camera design. Other than providing bare basic configurations like imprinting of data such as time, date & frame numbers etc. Command Back 90 also provides excellent value by enabling Time Lapse photography. The Data Memory Back 90 was even more awesome in its feature - it was also the first device that permits PC-linkage as well as acting as a storage device for shooting data (maximum 156 exposures for reviewing).
The development of film back in further innovative functions and features was slowed down when the AF evolution began. Most entry EOS models were supplied with an optional QD version. The EOS-1 was the first that introduced with a truly dedicated multi-function back with the Command Back E1. However, due to EOS-1(x) models ( as well as other second tiers Canon EOS bodies) were also beginning to adopt the Quick Control Dial design at the rear section where the location coincides with the center placement requires for exposure of data imprinting, thus, the Command Back E1 actually comes without a Quick Control Dial. But Canon designed in such as way that when using the Command Back E1, user can set the aperture by pressing the exposure compensation button and turning the main dial.
Partly due to this, there are a number of Canon EOS-1N users never realize the Film Back can actually be detached with an optional back. I am not sure why Canon wouldn't think the Bulk Film Back option is not viable (may be due to not easy to get access to long rolls film type). In this respect the Nikon F4 still commands, where the superbly crafted MF-24 250 exp. bulk film back actually uses the MF-23 Multi-Functions Back as the template for its construction. Other than prolonged shootings without the need to change films, other secondary features such as time lapse and the free-focus function (anything falls within the zone of preset focused area will trigger the shutter release automatically - a feature also found on selective of high end EOS models such as Canon EOS-1Ds MK II etc.) was also available. Anyway, the rivaling Nikon F4 has remained as the last of such design, the followed up model, Nikon F5 and the current Nikon F6, Nikon also has decided it was not a viable product commercially, hence dropping this accessory as well.
Cambodia Documentary Series: - The new King of Cambodia - Norodom Sihanauk
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But one would expect Canon to provide a true working solution to install a Quick Control Dial, may be slightly away from the center so as not to interfering the exposure of data onto film, but until now, this was not realized yet. To change, the operation is similar to any Canon models that equipped with this feature, first remove the camera back by pressing in the back cover lock release button and sliding down the back cover latch to release the back from the camera. To mount, the process is reverse.
The data imprinting and time/date/frame number control will be eventually exposed at the bottom right of the picture. This specialized film back prints the date or time, a 6-digit arbitrary code, sequential 4-digit numbers frame counter number, and 6-digit codes (numbering or letters A through F) that do not change during film transport and can be used to identify entire picture series. The calendar takes into consideration leap years.
Personally, I felt the Canon Command Back E1 lacks creativity in features. In comparison, the Nikon Command Back designed for the Nikon F4 which doubles as intervalomater, freeze focus and various extensions are far superior in working nature in various functions and capabilities. Anyway, it serves only basic essential commands that most people expect to have in a data back + a little more at a modest entry price.
You can also handle time lapse photography with the Command Back. The self-timer countdown can be set from sec to 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds automatically for controlled range and/or duration of any preset exposures. The standard LCD displays all essential information and or user presetting of any given settings via the 6 button. The last two, FUNCT button switches between the functions while MODE button for selection/options in the selected function. Basically, it works like a digital timer and/or clock in their sequential rotation of selection and setting of time and options. Except for the START button which is confusing as it is also used to activate any particular function or to delete/cancel an error in the input. As different film types in film speed varies, the LEVEL button is for setting the 3 brightness levels for controlling contrast during exposure on data imprinting. I hope those who may own an Instruction Manual can provide some scanned copies for users to download here.
Note:- The optionally available Command Back E1 is not equipped with a quick control dial. When using the Command Back E1, set the aperture by pressing the exposure compensation button and turning the main dial.
Technical Specifications of Canon Command Back E1:-
Usable Cann SLR camera models: Canon T70 (Command Back 70); Canon T80 (Command Back 80)l; Canon EOS-1(n) (Command Back E1); Canon T90 (Command Back 90)
Attachment: Exchanges with camera's back cover.
Type: Fully automatic data back with LCD panel, quartz digital auto-calendar and timer control function. (However, film speed must be set manually on the Command Back 70 and 80.)
Data recording function:
1) Four modes plus non-recording (OFF) a) Year/month/day (switchable to day/month/ year or month/daylyear) b) Day/hourlminute c) Record number (up to six digits, or A, b, C, d, E, F, or a space) d) Frame counter: Maximum of 4 digits (additive) e) OFF (non-recording)
2) External display of data: Using a 7-segment, 6-digit LCD display that shows what is recorded on the film. (OFF is displayed on the monitor panel only.)
3) Position and size of data: Recorded in the bottom right corner of horizontal frame and is horizontally arrayed. Character 42 height on negative is approx. 0.7 mm.
4) Recording system: Projected onto the film through a transmissivetype LCD. It is coupled to the camera's exposure mechanism, thus exposure of characters is made automatically.
5) Exposure confirmation indicator: An exposure confirmation mark (an LCD indicator) lights on the monitor panel after the exposure has been made. With the Command Back 90, bars light under the viewfinder of the T90.
6) Adjustment of light intensity: Command Back 70 and 80: Switchable between three levels of brightness according to the film speed. The LCID shows the corresponding film speed (25, 100, or 400). Command Back El and 90: Automatic settings correspond to film speeds (ISO 25-ISO 1600). Film speed is not displayed. Light intensity compensation for data recording is possible.
7) Auto-calendar function: Programmed for all dates from 1983 (1985 for the Command Back El and 90) to 2029. Correction for long and short months and leap years is made automatically.
Timer control function (command function): Includes three timer modes and a frame counter set mode.
1) Timer modes ) Self-timer (shutter is released after a fixed amount of time) b) Interval timer (repeat shots are made at fixed intervals) c) Long release timer (shutter is released and held open continuously for an extended period of time) • All of the above can be set in 1-second units from 1 second to 23 hours, 59 minutes, 59 seconds. • With the Command Back 80, the long release timer can not be used when AC lenses are mounted. d) Frame counter set (the number of exposures to be made can be set from 1 to 99; the camera stops automatically after the set number of exposures has been made)
2) Timer control function display: Selection of the above modes is done by moving a triangular LCD mark (A). Data for modes a)-c) are indicated by a 7-segment, 6-digit LCD display. Data for mode d) are indicated by a 7-segment, 2-digit LCD display which shows the number of exposures set.
3) Use of the timer control function modes in combination: Any combination of modes a) through d) is possible.
4) Timer control function operation: Started by pressing the start/stop/clear button, and stopped by pressing that button again. The (A) mark flashes on and off during operation. Timor control and data recording functions In combination: Can be used in combination. Data set prior to the selection of the timer mode is coupled to exposure and is automatically recorded on the f ilm. Display of exposure data on the monitor display panel is resumed when timer control function operation begins. If the Command Back's data recording function is the OFF mode, no data is recorded and the timer control function information is displayed on the monitor display panel during operation.
Digital clock accuracy: Accurate to within :05 seconds per month at 10 degree C-30 degrees C
Power supply: Type-3 V, provided by one coin-type lithium battery (CR2025)
Battery life and replacement warning: About 4 years. The Command Back is equipped with an automatic battery che6k function which turns on a monitor panel indicator (4) when it is time for the battery to be replaced.
Dimensions: Command Back 70-130.2(W) x59.1 (H) x23.80) mm (5-1/8 " x2-5/16 11 x1 5/16 11) Command Back 80-130.5(W) x6l.8(H) x26.2(D) mm (5-1/8"x2-7/16 11 x1 -1 /16 1 Command Back E1 - 1 52.5(W) x60.1 (H) x28.2(D) mm (6 11 x2-3/8 11 x 1 -1 /8
Command Back 90-148.4(W) x58.4(H) x26.5(D) mm (5-13/161lx2-5/16"x 1-1/16-)
Weight: Command Back 70-65 g (2.3 oz.) Command Back 80-70 g (2.5 oz.) Command Back E1 -85 g (2.9 oz.) Command Back 90-75 g (2.6 oz.) Subject to change without notice.
Third Party Products:-
The NPC Proback II Instant Film Backs Or “Polaroid® Proofing Backs" produced by NPC Photo consists of a light seal mechanism which is composed of stainless steel and beryllium copper. All other interface components are black anodized aluminum and stainless steel. The film back uses a free-floating fiber optic lens to transfer the image from the camera film plane to the Polaroid film plane without any degradation of the image. Because the fiber optic bundle is in complete contact with the Polaroid film. Proback II lets you make two independent contact size images on each sheet of Polaroid film simply by pulling the white film tab to a predetermined position before taking the second picture. Instantly, you can do a side-by-side comparison to evaluate varying composition, subtle lighting changes, or results produced by lenses of different focal lengths. Prior to arrival of digital imaging, some studio professionals may require this kind of accessory help on pre-visualization before actual shooting began.
The NPC official web site does not mentioned specifically for Canon EOS-1N but rather EOS-1 (with Power Booster) and I am sure it can be used on the upgrade as well. It is not CHEAP, with a retail price of $825.00 per set. The picture shown at the left hand side is with a Tripod Extension. Please take note NPC back has different configuration for some specific camera models, please check on compatibility issues before buying.
I have been asked quite a few times whether is it justify to invest into one of these proofing back. I would assume it depends on how much you trust your camera metering would deliver results that you desired. Besides, I would also think it might be a good "utility" for people who may require a pre-visual in helping to determine certain results or effect or just to satisfy a client who needs to examine a taken result.
For most photographers, it will require certain conventional wisdom to decide with any possible investment into this; lastly, with the emergence of digital photography, dependence on "image proofing" for film based shooting is definitely lesser now. A more logical way is to think - what Digital SLR can you get with a budgeted allocation of USD850-00 + postage ? Anyway, I don't entirely deny the usefulness of this tool but may to most pros, budget is not an issue to them at all .. Well, getting one is just the beginning of another continuous allocation of budget, as you need to buy films later in order to use it --- the supported film types are as follow: Click Here
Credit: Images courtesy of Mr. Mike 2437 <firstname.lastname@example.org> who operates an Ebay Store. The smaller images are works of Miss Sylvia where I got the permission from her Ebay Store as well. All images appeared herein are Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.
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Background and Various Issues | The Basic Features & various Setup
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Reliability Issues:- Body Chassis | Shutter Unit | Electronic Circuitry | Film Transport & film handling Secondary Functions:- Custom Function Part One | Part Two | System Accessories:- Film Back Options - instruction for Command Back E1 | Macro/Close Up Part one | Part two and Part III Flash for Macro-Photography | Power Sources -BP-E1 | PDB-E1 | Focusing Screens | Remote Control with Wireless Remote Set LC-3 | System compatibility
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