|Canon T70 SLR
when Sarah Connor was saving the world from computerized machines on
the big screen, Canon introduced a computerized machine of a much
friendlier sort: the T70. Looking at this camera, you might
think it's a lot newer than it is. In 1984 when this camera was
introduced, we were hearing Pat Benatar, The Cars, and Duran Duran on
radio, and it wasn't an oldies station. Some people were
still listening to eight-track tapes. The Breakfast Club, which for many was the defining movie of the generation, wouldn't hit the screen until next year.
recently picked up a T70 by chance. Let's see what we have here.
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In This Article
Basic Use & Features
Film Rewind Issue
Modes & Metering
Lens: Canon FD 50mm f/1.8
Focus: Manual only
Metering: Center-Weighted Average or Selective Area metering
Exposure Control: Programmed AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual
Film speeds supported: ISO 12 through 1600
Shutter speeds: Bulb through 1/1000th
Viewfinder: 92% coverage
Batteries: 2 AA alkalines. Also takes a CR1220 lithium (backup).
Weight (no batteries): 530 grams (1.17 lbs)
Basic Use & Features
keeping with the theme of modern, smart design, the T70 has a few
features that really set it apart. They're little features, but
they make a big difference.
For one, you can't accidentally open
the film door. You have to press a button and slide the latch
mechanism at the same time. In the digital age this is a very
good feature to have on a film camera, because people who are
accustomed to swapping out memory cards have more of a tendency to open
the film door without thinking. (I usually tape it shut with a piece of electrical tape.) The additional step of
pressing another button is not going to stop you if you're really
determined to switch out that non-existent memory card, but it might give
you that pause to say "Hey, wait a minute! This ain't digital!"
thing I like
is the extra button to activate the exposure indicator in the
that one inside the ring that says "L" on the front of the
camera. (That ring is the shutter speed shift lock.) It's
hard to describe why this extra button is convenient, until you use the
camera. I think maybe it's a function of the ergonomics. It
just works. Of course, the other reason I like this button is
that it doubles as a metering lock. If you have the main switch
set to "Partial (AE L)", and you meter on the subject, simply hold the
button on the front of the camera and recompose the shot.
The mode selection and shutter speed
controls are intuitive. I was able to figure out how to set them in about
ten seconds without the manual.
"Self-timer" is clearly marked. You don't need to figure out some arcane combination of buttons.
one more feature I really like: the power-on button has a lock,
so you won't bump the camera on and drain the battery while it's in
your camera bag. If I had the money for every battery I wasted in
my N6006 over the years, I'd have probably a few hundred bucks (it's
an expensive battery type). It took me a while to learn to keep the
battery outside the camera. (This has its own drawbacks.) With the T70 you don't have this
problem. It also takes AA batteries, instead of some expensive
Double-A batteries. The way it should be.
Film Rewind Issue
One annoyance, probably the only one I can find, is the film rewind. Because I didn't have the manual in
front of me, and because the film rewind counter stopped on "7", I
thought the film was stuck. I took it into a totally darkened
room and opened the back of the camera, and of course while fumbling
around I accidentally pressed on the shutter curtain.
Argh! (Don't do this. Later I had to inspect them to make sure the shutter
was still light-proof. It was.) The film had actually
rewound completely into the canister, even though the indicator didn't
thing that can happen when the camera is empty is that the rewind
mechanism will just keep going and going. The frame counter will
not count down. Turning it off will stop the rewinder, but
it does not reset the counter. In fact, I'm unable to reset the
counter. I think this might be one of the malfunction points of
the T70. Film counter or no, the camera seems to work fine
Modes & Metering
It's actually very pleasant to shoot in any mode. I have a couple favorites, though.
f/4.5 @ 1/1000th
Fuji Superia 200
easy enough to use program AE mode and just take pictures, but I first
decided to try out the camera's Manual mode.
With 200 film on a sunny day, try selecting the
highest shutter speed (1/1000). The display inside the viewfinder
will then show the correct aperture setting, which will be
somewhere between f/4 and f/5.6 at this shutter speed in full
sun. So when you see that number in the viewfinder, you turn the
aperture ring so it matches that number. If your setting is way
off, the camera will adjust the shutter speed automatically to get the
right exposure. You can override this with the lock ring (the "L"
on the front of the camera).
rather try to adjust a needle between a "+" and "-" indicator, but the
T70's manual mode just requires some acclimation. After a while
you start to learn what the different blinks mean. This camera
has some impressive processing power for its time, but we're still
dealing with early Eighties LED technology here. Remember those
big bulky calculators with the red LED numbers?
Speaking of LED's, it's fun to mess with colored filters sometimes.
This tree in bloom was perfect for it.
Since this filter loses about three stops of light, I simply reduced
the shutter speed by a corresponding amount. Like
most any other SLR, the T70 doesn't care what kind of filter you put
over the lens; the metering system cares only about the light
Fuji Superia 200
1/125 at f/4.5
Here's something interesting. On older cameras, you were stuck with whatever aperture / shutter speed
combination the camera offered, and that was that. It could have been
off by half a stop. The Canon T70
will adjust the shutter speed a little bit from what it
actually says, if necessary, to yield the perfect exposure. That makes
it a great camera for slide film.
One extremely cool thing about this camera is the "Tele Program AE"
Normally when you use a program mode on a camera, it
just sort of picks whatever aperture / shutter speed it wants.
The Tele Program AE mode on the T70 will pick the fastest shutter speed
possible for the lighting conditions. That means (you guessed it)
the camera will also pick the widest aperture that matches that shutter
This is great for shallow depth-of-field. (Some people call this
"bokeh", and sometimes I do, too; but technically "bokeh" is not
the shallow field itself. It's the overall character or quality
of that shallow field.)
With 200 film, the T70 should be indicating f/4.0 to f/4.5 on a sunny-partly sunny day. That's
because the camera will be maxed out at the highest shutter speed
(1/1000th). This is where you might want to use 100 film if
you're really after the shallower depth of field; then you could
be hitting f/2.8 to f/4.0.
Actually, better yet, pick up some
Velvia 50 (5-roll pack here).
Tele-Program was designed for use with telephoto lenses. Long
focal length requires a fast shutter speed. But this is also how
you get that nice, shallow depth of field for portraits. You can
use Tele Program with the 50mm lens, or any other Canon FD lens you
As you might guess, "Wide Program AE"
mode does the opposite of Tele-Program.
picks the slowest practical shutter speed and the narrowest
It was designed for wide-angle lenses, which are often OK with slow shutter-speeds hand-held.
This is good for scenery shots where you want long depth-of-field so you can get everything in focus.
Here, the T70 will use shutter speeds as slow
necessary for the lighting conditions, and no faster. If you
don't have enough
light, it could be down to 1/10 of a second or less. That means Wide Program AE can easily be tripod
territory. But that's OK, because film landscapes often use a
tripod anyway, even at 1/60th or 1/125th. (No image
The T70 has
intermediate speeds like 1/45 and 1/90, and here you'll see the camera
using these. (The viewfinder display does not tell you shutter
Wide Program AE seems to prefer f/8 through f/11,
occasionally going to f/16. Even with the lens pointed at the
sky, I couldn't get it to go f/22, but that's because I was using a
slower film. At ISO 800, Wide Program AE finally chose f/22 when
the camera was pointed up at the sky. For a regular land scene it
Just a reminder... to use the program modes, you have to set the
lens ring to "A", rather than one of the numerical aperture
settings. If you forget, the "M" will keep displaying on the LCD,
and you'll be in manual mode.
actually like the T70 a lot, even though it lacks aperture-priority
AE mode. The manual mode doesn't have that old-fashioned needle
indicator that many of us prefer, but it works.
AE mode is also a great feature.
You can get a used T70 on Ebay. Please use this link to buy your T70 and help keep my website on-line. There are usually quite a few T70's for sale, and they're not that
expensive. Don't forget to grab some film (links at bottom of
this page). It
really helps me out if you use any of these links to buy your stuff.
By the way, when you buy a used camera that hasn't been made since
the 80's... make sure you ask the seller in advance if everything
works. Scan the search results;
there are a couple sellers
on the bay that occasionally have refurbished T70's. This would
definitely be worth it. The Canon T70 is a good little camera.
I hope you enjoyed this page. Thanks for visiting my website!
If you want to use Tele-Program AE and get shallow depth-of-field, use the slower films:
Portra 160 (color / 5-pack); Ektar 100 (color / 5-pack); Delta 100 (black & white / single rolls)
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