The Canon Pellix, launched in 1965, is a rather unique manual focus SLR. It was Canon Camera Company's first 35mm focal-plane shutter SLR camera with TTL metering. However, what makes it special is the reflex mirror. The traditional moving SLR mirror is replaced by a fixed semitransparent pellicle mirror splitting the light rays from the lens into about 2/3 hitting the film, and the rest being reflected to the viewfinder. The object of this arrangement is for a simpler construction, a less noisy operation, and no finder blackout, but the shutter employs metal curtains to prevent the sun from burning holes in it. The stationary mirror allows the lens rear element to protrude further into the mirror housing, and Canon made available the compact 4-element 3-group FLP 38mm 1:2.8 lens of Tessar design, which is exclusively for use on the Pellix.
The pellicle mirror also allows TTL metering. A meter cell is placed on a moving arm that is swung-out in front of the film, using the large self-timer lever on the camera front. Pushing the lever towards the lens activates the stop down match-needle meter, while pulling in the opposite direction winds the timer. A viewfinder blind is provided to prevent light, under unfavourable conditions, to reach the film during exposure. It is operated by a knob surrounding the rewind knob, marked CLOSE - OPEN. The meter battery compartment is situated at the left-hand side of the camera, just next to the rewind knob. The rewind release is at the camera base, as is the back opening key. The shutter has a locking device combined with its collar, marked A and L.
A year after its introduction, the camera was equipped with the QL feature, making film loading much easier, - identified by a small QL badge on the front, for Quick Load. After many years, most of these cameras would be rendered useless. The reason being a defective meter circuit and a stained or torn mirror. The latter, made of thin foil, is extremely vulnerable and almost certainly not clear and spotless. The camera is however highly collectible.
The standard lens for the Pellix is the fast Canon Lens FL 58mm 1:1.2 with automatic aperture diaphragm operation, functional because the extra light it lets through compensates for the loss of light due to the pellicle mirror.
- Canon Camera Co., Canon Interchangeable Lens Guide, August 1968, pg. 141
- Canon Pellix QL Review by VintageClassicCameras
- Photoethnography's Pellix page
- Retrofocus Design Problems: A Synopsis
- Canon Pellix Cameras at Photography in Malaysia
- On www.collection-appareils.fr by Sylvain Halgand
- User manual in french for Pellix on www.collection-appareils.fr by Sylvain Halgand