When it comes to cameras I can’t resist a bargain so when someone at work was giving away a Canon EOS 1000F for absolutely nothing, it was hard to say no. The reason for the rock bottom price was that the current owner thought it was “probably broken”. I asking what this meant exactly, and it seems some of the foam seals had turned to sticky goo, and got on the shutter. They had tried to clean it off, but weren’t sure they’d got it all. I checked it over and the only visible signs of use were that the viewfinder eye-cup was missing the rubber cushion, everything else seemed pretty much okay. Switched on, it seemed to function normally too, although the LCD in the viewfinder was partially obscured. The autofocus was working, and shutter seemed to fire okay, with most of the slower speeds sounding about right.
Of course the only way to test a camera properly is to run a film through it, so when we went out for a wander to Mogshade Hill I loaded a roll of HP5 and shot the whole thing. In operation the camera is pretty similar to the 20D, although with a lot fewer options. There’s only one AF point, the metering is evaluative only. I had to get used to AF working from a half-press of the shutter button, and AE lock on the rear button, as there was no way to swap it like I have on the 20D. With the 35-80mm kit lens AF is slow and noisy, but when I used my 70-300mm IS USM zoom it was little different to the 20D with the same lens, just a little slower, and with a tendency to “hunt” for focus a bit more. On the whole it’s a pretty nice camera to use so I can see why this camera – the original EOS Rebel, at least in the US market – was so popular in its day.
However when I developed the film, things weren’t so rosy. Obviously the image quality is somewhat irrelevant, as that depends on the lens and film. A film SLR is basically a transport mechanism for the film, and a device for controlling the shutter to make a correct exposure. This 1000F has no problems with the film transport, although the way it unrolls the whole film and then rewinds a frame at a time as it makes the exposures is a bit confusing at first when reviewing the negs. However, the gunk on the shutter curtains is still clearly a problem. More than half the frames were cut off across the middle so that only half a frame or so was visible at all, and others have a correctly exposed lower half of the frame, and a slightly darker upper half, as in the example here. A few are perfectly exposed with no problems.
I’ll have to get out the cotton buds and solvent and have a further go at cleaning the shutter, and see if it improves. It’s clearly a capable camera, but until I’m convinced that the shutter is reliable I won’t be using it on a regular basis – I’ll stick with the A-1 for 35mm work.