Canon T-70

5 Frames of Ilford Fp4+ with a Canon T-70 – By Guillaume Rabuel

I recently sold most of my film cameras collection, as I wanted to travel light, and keep only one. Most of my cameras were collecting dust, filled with old rolls of films and I felt like I didn’t take enough time for each of them. So I kept… the Canonet QL 17.

Why am I writing about the Canon T70 then? I wanted to give it one last tribute!

Concarneau old town

The Canon T70 is a nice little reflex, sometimes not really known, sometimes not really liked, and sometimes both. It looks a bit weird, very eighties. It has this long right part with the grip, no dial, only buttons, and is made of plastic. But hell, I loved it. It’s light, surprisingly compact, and efficient. The sound of the advancement motor is also nice to the ear, and feels as retro as having an advancement lever, trust me.

You don’t have aperture priority with that camera. You can only shoot manual, or shutter speed priority. However, since the viewfinder is quite clear and well explained, you can actually turn the shutter speed priority into an aperture priority-ish, basically changing the speed to get the auto aperture you want. It requires a bit of gymnastic, as the buttons are a bit far if your are small handed like me, but it worked perfectly. I actually think it belongs to its charm. It made it different to use, from my other cameras.

St Guénolé church
Church in the old town, with an unusual bell tower

Another good point with that camera, is obviously its FD mount, that means you can use some of the finest lenses from Canon. I’ve shot it with the 28mm F2.8 and both 50mm F1.8 and F1.4. I just couldn’t pay a tribute to the T70 without paying a tribute to the lenses attached to it. They are cheap, light, sharp, and so fluid to use… in fact, I’ve kept them and now adapt them on my Fujifilm X camera. And they’re still rocking !

Now about the pictures and that roll of Ilford Fp4+. It’s actually the last roll I shot with that T70, knowing I would sell it, I wanted to give it one last perfect tour. It was also the last roll I shot before leaving, after spending 2 years in Brittany, France. I felt like a good contrasty black and white could be perfect for this region. It’s filled with legends, filled with wind, filled with rain, and filled with nice people.

But it’s a rough place, you have to live with the elements, you have to live with the changing weather. It’s a challenge I recommend for every photographer who’d like to travel to France. The light there can vary from sublime to awful, in less than an hour, and you have to constantly play around that. I’ve personally found that shooting black and white rolls like Ilford makes it easier for gloomy grey days, but I am still exploring this path. If you have any ideas of what to do with that kind of weather and light, I’d be the happy to hear!

On the ferry going to Ouessant
Early in the morning, going to the Ouessant Island
Posts and abstract lines
I was just trying to play with lines here
Concarneau entrance
Right inside the city, in the morning light

You can find more of me and my boring wanderings here on Instagram
Cheers from France, and keep shooting!


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4 thoughts on “5 Frames of Ilford Fp4+ with a Canon T-70 – By Guillaume Rabuel”

  1. The T70 was the first camera that caught my young teenage-self’s imagination. I remember going to the Canon showroom and ooh’ing and aah’ing over it – Wasn’t even interested in photography at the time! Fast forward maybe 35 years, and in the midst of a prolonged P&S GAS episode, spied the T70 and all the old emotions and admiration for the form rushed back.

    In practice it’s bigger than I remember, and heavier, but so solid with it, and that whirr of the built-in mechanised film advance is as I remember it, as is the “space age” indicators in the viewfinder.

    Am now in the process of shedding all those P&S’s apart from one or two, but likely keeping the T70, w a 28mm and a 50mm, as a nostalgic nod to that teenager ooh’ing and aah’ing in a Far Eastern Canon showroom all those years ago. Besides which, it helps take good photos!

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