Canon L1 turns out to be a charmer / by Rennie Brown

Canon L1 with 50mm F1.4

I found a 1957 Canon L1 on eBay and, somewhat to my surprise, won the auction and got a good deal on it. I added a 50mm F1.4 thread mount lens and ran a roll of TMax 400 through it. Wow! I'm really impressed with the results. Aside from the old TMax being pretty grainy--could have definitely gone with 100 or even 50 for the bright daytime shooting I was doing--the images are sharp and contrasty and exposures are accurate. The L1 has no built in light meter so I took my Minolta IV along. 

But maybe more surprising than the images the old clunker turns out, is how fun and pleasurable it is to use. It's heavy to be sure, but it's very comfortable to hold. The focus works well and is reasonable quick and accurate. The shutter makes a very satisfying chunk when releases and the film advance and other mechanisms are all easy to use once you know what's where.