1980's Canon

Canon T90

Canon T90
Release Year1986
Release Price148,000 yen (~$1,350)
Lens MountFD Mount

Developed as the top-of-the-line T-series camera, the Canon T90 is a multi-mode SLR with built-in motor drive. The form of the pentaprism hump is a distinct characteristic but instead of being sharp-edged like on previous cameras, it is rounded with smooth curves. The camera was designed to lessen the picture-taking burden on the user via automation. It aimed for seamless operation to respond to the user’s will. A lot of top-notch technology and thought went into the camera.

The form of previous cameras was largely dictated by the required locations of mechanical controls on the body, such as the film advance lever, rewind crank, shutter speed dial, shutter release, etc. On the T90, the film transport control is no longer required, while the others are no longer mechanically linked. This gave the designers more freedom to shape the camera to make it easier to control and hold, and to place controls in a way that suited the user rather than a mechanical design. Much work went into human factors engineering to create an ergonomic user interface for the camera.

The camera has three metering systems to suit diverse shooting conditions as well as eight autoexposure modes and two manual exposure modes also make the camera highly versatile. Drive operations are divided among three small coreless motors to consume less power. With four size-AA batteries, the built-in motor drive can shoot at a maximum of 4.5 fps. It was truly a top-of-the-line camera and in Japan, the camera’s nickname was “Tank.”

It is the last professional-level manual-focus camera from Canon, and the last professional camera to use the Canon FD lens mount. Although it was overtaken by the autofocus revolution and Canon’s new, incompatible EOS (Electro-Optical System) after only a year in production, the Canon T90 pioneered many concepts seen in high-end Canon cameras up to the present day, particularly the user interface, industrial design, and the high level of automation.

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