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I bought my Canon T90 fifteen years ago to take on holiday and dropped it of a moving taxi on about the third roll of film. It is still going strong. In that time my wife has worn out three identical Minoltas of a slightly lower spec and she treats them pretty well.
I won't go into the spec in too much detail. Its an SLR camera, down to 1/4000 shutter speed, single or multi-spot metering, no autofocus, integral autowind, etc, etc. I saw a slightly worn second hand one today for £225 and a mint one which looked brand new for £425 (Cambridge). It is very heavy with a full load of batteries and also quite noisy, these days, compared to newer cameras.
What I will do is go into the abuse that I have given mine to give you an idea of how hardy it is. The day I bought it the plastic connector for the strap broke so I took it back. Since then, it hasn't needed any work that I couldn't do myself with a jewellers screwdriver. I dropped it out of a moving taxi hard enough to crack the viewfinder but it doesn't seem to have had any effect. Over the years it has had many knocks. It has been on beaches, out in the rain, up mountains in Alaska, baked in the sun and sat on glaciers. My only complaint is that the lens mount tends to come loose. Then again, I do use heavy lenses. It is possible to remove the front panel and fix this quite quickly but I wouldn't advise it. I lost the spring out of the latch for the back that way, but it still works. There is, I think, a lot of redundancy in this camera.
One Christmas a Tamron Adaptall mount broke and stuck onto the mount. Under the influence of the Christmas spirit I decided that I had to take it off with a hacksaw. The Canon body stood up to that quite well too, though it took ages to get the bits of aluminium out afterwards. I had to replace the eyepiece about three times and then gave up and have done without for years.
I have to say that I do not keep the camera clean, so bits of all kinds of rubbish must have gotten into the mechanism but it is still extremely smooth. The metering and shuttering is still pretty accurate, although knowing a camera well you tend to compensate for exposure foibles sometimes without thinking.
Over the years I have assembled quite a lot of dedicated accessories. The dedicated flashgun still works perfectly and I still don't know how all of the functions work. The infra-red remote control is also extremely reliable although I have never used the wildlife/trip functions, so I can't say how well that works.
It has, sad to say, outlasted me. Manual focussing is now such a chore, and my eyes so dodgy (relatively speaking) that I feel the need to 'go autofocus'. All in all, I would say that this is the most reliable thing that I have ever owned.
I was lucky enough to borrow one of these fine machines from a friend.
I entirely agree with Saturn - it is incredibly solid, and works wonderfully. It's also far too heavy, and you can see why Canon moved on when they went autofocus, and made the EOS series lighter (if not quite so good for smashing rocks with).
I'm glad to have used one - and I was delighted to return to my much lighter Contax RTS!
Bigbaz 31.10.2001 23:55
I really dont think that my beloved Pentax would stand up to that kind of abuse..Baz
Sharl 26.10.2001 00:33
They don't make 'em like they used to! Great op. Thanks Sharl