Canon EXEE

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The EXEE is a 35 mm SLR camera made by Canon from 1969 until the early 1970s.[1] Its most characteristic feature is a rear lens-group (three elements in two groups[1]) fixed on the camera and incorporating the helical focusing mechanism, to which any of a small selection of front groups can be attached by a simple screw fitting.

The EXEE offers through-the-lens metering and shutter-priority AE. It has a focal plane shutter with cloth blinds, travelling horizontally. It offers shutter speeds from 1/8 to 1/500 second plus 'B', and has a delayed-action (self-timer) lever on the front of the body. X-synchronisation for flash is at 1/60 second; there is a cold shoe, and a PC socket next to the left-hand strap lug.

The aperture is set not on the lens, but on a dial around the rewind crank, between f/1.8 and f/16; there are also 'EE' (i.e. auto-exposure) and 'Off' positions. The aperture set is displayed in the viewfinder on a scale with a needle.

The available lens front-groups are:

  • Standard lens: EX50mm f/1.8
  • Wide angle: EX35mm f/3.5 (price ¥8000[1]
  • Portrait: EX95mm f/3.5 (price ¥11000)
  • Telephoto: EX125mm f/3.5 (price ¥18900)

The 125 mm lens was not available until 1972. The fixed rear group must have been something of a constraint of the design of the lenses, but made the accessory lenses cheap relative to lenses incorporating a rear group and focus mechanism in each. For comparison, the Canon Camera Museum gives a price of ¥19500 for the FD35mm f/3.5 (i.e. the old FD mount), introduced in 1973[2] and ¥27000 for the FD100mm f/2.8, introduced in 1971.[3] The cost of the telephoto lens was more comparable to a complete lens; the FD135mm f/3.5 cost ¥19900 in 1970.[4]

For metering, it is necessary to set the maximum aperture of the lens front-group being used. This is made possible by having two marks on the film speed dial, one for f/1.8 (i.e. standard lens) and one for f/3.5 (any other lens).

The CdS meter reads between EV 4.75 and EV 17 [1]. It requires a 1.3V mercury battery or modern substitute. However, the shutter speeds are timed mechanically, so the camera functions without a battery (without metering).

The EXEE has Canon's QL (Quick Load) simplified loading feature, whereby the film leader is simply pulled across the film compartment to a mark, and the back closed, and the uptake mechanism then captures the leader when the advance is wound.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Canon Camera Museum listing for the EXEE.
  2. Listing for the FD35mm f/3.5 on the Canon Camera Museum site.
  3. Listing for the FD100mm f/2.8 on the Canon Camera Museum site.
  4. Listing for the FD135mm f/3.5 on the Canon Camera Museum site.


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