What a 14fps Canon SLR Looked Like Back in 1984

Canon’s new 1D X DSLR shoots at a whopping 14 frames per second, but did you know that it’s not the first Canon SLR capable of that frame rate? Nearly 30 years ago, back in 1984, Canon unveiled the “F-1 High Speed Motor Drive Camera”: a camera powered by huge battery packs that could chew through a roll of film in 2.57 seconds.

(via Canon Camera Museum via PopPhoto)

  • Anonymous

    Oh god I was born in 1984, “Nearly 30 years ago” made me feel old.

  • Anonymous

    At some point, one may as well get a small 35mm cinema camera.  Then you’d get 24fps.

  • Asaquon

    I know that Nikon also supplied a bulk film cartridge to feed it’s own high FPS cameras.  I’m sure Canon had the same, so let’s see a photo of it.

  • Josh Ladella

    Not to start a troll war, but I think Nikon made the better decision with the F3H to sacrifice a frame (shooting 13 fps) for a significantly smaller body. I can’t imagine a professional who relies on speed to be able to actually move around quickly enough to justify his frame rate with this humongous Canon camera.

    All said and done, 14 fps for 1984 is pretty darn impressive.

  • Andrew Seymour

    I still have my F-1, but not with the 14 fps tank body, but the mini 3-5 fps… Great camera!

  • Pete Boyd

    This article is a great retort to all the lascivious cooing going on over the 1DX.

  • Gary Simmons

    I believe this is where the phrase “Ripping Film” came from!  

  • Greg McKay

    at 1920×1080 or roughly 1MP though….
    or even if you go for a Red camera that shoots 4K you are only looking at 4MP.

  • Anonymous

    For that era, that would have meant a film camera, which is what I meant.  Though that’s more awkward, even more than that F-1 monster.  But you’d get access to longer film rolls, for many more shots without changing film.

    Also, if you mean a modern one: 1920×1080= 2.07MP.  Red One is 4,096 by 2,304 = 9.4MP.  Epic 5,120 × 2,700 = 13.8MP.  That’s pretty respectable in my opinion.

  • Steven Bradford

    “At some point, one may as well get a small 35mm cinema camera.  Then you’d get 24fps.”
    Actually, not really, not in the amount of film being pulled through the camera. A cinema camera uses the original 35mm cinema frame size, 4 perfs worth of film, or what stills people call half frame.  This camera is shooting 8 perf (full frame). So it is able run at a cinema equivalent of 28 frames per second. Full frame cinema cameras exist, they’re called Vistavision or lazy 8 cameras, and I can’t think of any that are this small.

    So for some sports application, it would be a lot easier to use this camera on the sidelines than a cinema camera with the same resolution.

    I’m guessing that this camera was meant to be used with a 250 exposure back?

  • Rick

    I ran cross country in high school, that same year, and I remember at one of the meets there was a photog who had a camera with an amazingly fast shutter speed. I was coming across the finish line one time and it sounded like a mini machine gun going off. I wonder if that was this model?