Canon FTb

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Canon Mount (FD/FL/EF) SLRs:

Canon FTb

by Karen Nakamura


Overview and Personal Comments

The Canon FTb is a manual focus SLR that was introduced by Canon, Inc. in March of 1971. It was introduced alongside the professional-level Canon F-1 and was intended for advance amateur use. It was a solid, well-designed camera that has withstood the test of time. It has quite a cult-following among Canon FD-lens afficianados. Using the text or images on this website without permission on an ebay auction or any other site is a violation of federal law.

The Canon FTb later morphed into the Canon TX, which I also have written up.


Interesting quirks

Canon revised the FTb in 1973, many people call it the FTbn for 'new' although it is only marked FTb on the body. The main way to tell the old vs. new FTb is the wind lever. The old lever is one-piece metal. The new lever has a plastic tip on it. The list of changes include:

  • Shutter speed indicator in finder
  • Wind lever lever is plastic tipped


With either version, the self-timer lever has multiple functions. It doubles as a stop-down metering lever. Pushing it in towards the body stops the lens down and also lets you meter with older FL lenses.

The FTb also has true mirror-lockup. Not mirror pre-fire like many contemporary cameras, where the mirror goes up a few seconds before each shot, but comes down again, but true mirror lockup. The mirror locks up and won't come down until you tell it to. This is great for instances when you want to mount a non-retrofocus wide-angle lens in the camera, and want the mirror to stay out of the way.


Technical Details

Camera Name
Canon, Inc.
Place of Manufacture
Date of Manufacture
FTb: 1971.3-
FTbn: 1973.7-
Focusing System

Single-lens reflex with pentaprism eye-level viewfinder
0.85x magnification. 94% coverage.

Lens Mount
Canon FD bayonet mount

Horizontal travel cloth focal plane shutter
1 sec.- 1/1000
X-flash sync at 1/60

Metering System

CdS through the lens (TTL) metering
12% Partial metering

Full manual match needle metering (full aperture)

EV 2.5-18


External hot-shoe and PC connection

Film type / speeds

Type 135 film (35mm standard)
Quick Loading feature

ASA 25 to 2000

Battery type
1.35v PX625 mercury (discontinued)
Battery check feature
Dimensions and weight

144 x 93 x 43 mm, 750 g

Retail Price in 1971

74,000 yen (w/FD 55mm f/1.2),
57,000 yen (w/FD 50mm f/1.4),
49,800 yen (w/FD 50mm f/1.8),
35,000 yen (body)

Note: Using this chart or any of the text or images on this site in an ebay auction without permission is copyright violation as well as a violation of your ebay Terms of Service. I will report you to ebay if I discover such a violation taking place.



About Canon

Canon started out its life as Seiki Kohgaku Kenkyuujo (Precision Optical Research Company). Its first goal was to produce domestic inexpensive Leica clones, and it released the Kwanon, its first camera in 1934. Interestingly, they used Nikon lenses since Nikon was already established as an optical lens manufacturer and was not making any of its own camera bodies at that time. Canon soon gained the ability to make their own lenses and never looked back. Nikon also went on to produce some reasonably popular cameras of its own as well.

The name 'Canon' comes from the Buddhist deity Kwanon and early Canon cameras were actually spelled 'Kwanon' and the lenses were named 'Kyasapa' after another deity.

Side note: Canon is my favorite Japanese company along with Honda. I actually interned for Canon Japan (ok, Canon Sales Japan, a part of the Canon keiretsu) during a summer in college and loved my coworkers to death. They keep coming out with innovations that take your breath away.

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