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Canon FTb 1974

Film compartment door does not open when pulling on the film advance knob to release the catch. Can it be repaired?

Hans Persson

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  • Hans-Uno Jul 19, 2008

    Dear 5miles,

    Thanks for your advice on my Canon FTb problem. The camera had been sitting in a drawer for a few years with the film compartment door closed shut, not possible to open. A few days ago, while out a little sick and nothing better to do, I took it out to see if some magic had worked on the problem. I pulled out the film rewinding knob (I called it, in error, the film advance knob in my first posting) located on the left side (as seen from the operators side of the camera, the knob with the fold-out crank) to its first stop. Then you are supposed to pull it out just a little more and the film door latch releases the hook on the door. Grudgingly the door did indeed open! I do not dare to close the cover again.

    The flat metal sheet that you refer to, located in a groove is spring loaded and slides to the side (upwards towards the knob) when the door is pushed into the closed position and the hook on the door catches on this metal sheet, or rather a bar, when the spring loading causes it to slide back around the hook. This bar slides nicely back and forth when I push on it with a stiff wire. The spring loading is perfect. However, the internal mechanical coupling to the film rewind knob has failed. However I pull and wiggle the film rewinding knob to try to move the bar in the groove to the open position, there is no movement. I have tried to gently tap the camera body, hold it in different positions etc., all to no avail. Some internal mechanical linkage between the film rewind knob and the bar must have failed. Probably the only remedy is to disassemble the camera and inspect the internal mechanism.

    Have you ever dissassembled an FTb camera body? Difficult?

    There are a few Phillips type screws around the top of the body. Somewhere I read a note about the Japanese using a slightly different standard for Phillips screw drivers than our normal US standard. Any vendor selling Japaneses standard jewelers screw drivers?

    Other than this show stopper problem my 1974 FTb is in great condition. Great camera, fun to use, no batteries needed (except for the light meter).


  • Hans-Uno Jul 21, 2008

    Hi 5miles,

    Thanks for your July 21 posting. The FTb is not worth much money, but it has historical value to me as my first really good camera and it would be fun to have it working again. One idea: buy another FTb to use for dissassembly practice + buy service manuals. Any new ideas you may have about my latch problem are welcome!

    You are in the Philippines? I spent a wonderful Christmas and New Year in Cebu City in 1974.




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I used to use a Canon older than yours. So I'm guessing it might have the same construction. The film advance knob may have a small holding pin or it is just out of it's correct position. If you can feel the knob and see if you can hook the pin back on then your problem is partially solved. If that doesn't work a techncian would probably dismantle the camera from the top as well as from the hinge. It can be fixed but I'm not sure if the fixing will be cheap. I'm a handyman of sort so I would try to unhinge the pin (other side of the knob) and use a flashlight and a long thin wire to see if I can unclip the side that is hooked to the knob. Either way, this is not going to be easy and you need to be careful not to scratch(at least minimize) the inside of the camera or damage any part of the shutter. This is almost like a doctor doing brain surgergy so if you don't have a steady hand and even temper don't try it. It's not going to be easy. Usually the back cover has the hook and the advance knob has the flat metal sheet that holds on to the cover's hook. If you can pull this metal sheet up, that should release the back cover. You'd have to use a strong wire or paper clip. Not the copper types but the stainless steel ones and use a long nose plier to create a hook.

Posted on Jul 18, 2008

  • Miles Jul 21, 2008

    Hi Hans. No I don't dare disassemble a camera even an old one unless I'm planning to salvage a part from it. If you intend to work on it I'm guessing you will need to get metric sized screwdrivers. Basically I think they call the watchmaker's screwdriver set which work on very small Philip's or X type screws as well as the straight lines grooves. If you use the U.S. size, it might work but you stand the risk or rounding out the edges where the screwdrive takes hold. Once they become rounded taking it out is going to be a real pain in the xxxx. The electronics are usually on the top by the hot shoe for the flash. That's for the light meter. I'll see what I can find out to help you. Good luck.



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