Sunday, April 1, 2012

Canon AE-1

The Canon AE-1 is a 35mm SLR that was released in 1976 aimed specifically at Amateur and beginning photographers because of its simple ease of use, and versatility.  It was a mile-stone model that was released, as the first microprocessor controlled camera in the world.
The camera was designed as a shutter priority camera.  The amusing part was, it was super easy to use.  The needle type meter on the right hand side of the focusing screen showed what ƒ-stop that the camera was going to use based on the shutter speed set by the user.  This, of course, could be over-ridden by setting the aperture dial off of "A" which would disengage the auto-aperture feature.  This way, if the camera was fooled by reflecting light, it would stop down further, which could cause the image to be darker than intended.
There is, however, a button the side of the camera mount designed as a "backlighting" control switch, which would allow the aperture to open up 2 more stops.  This was a nice feature, but was in a difficult position to reach all the time.
Once you were aware of its existence, and with some practice, you could do this fairly easily.

There is also a slide switch on the front of the camera which switches the camera into "stop-down" mode.  What is nice about that is it allows you a Depth of Field preview.  You test the "shutter" speed, by depressing the shutter half-way, and it'll show you the suggested ƒ-stop, which you can record, then turn the dial on the ring to the suggest ƒ-stop.  Slide the lever over, and it'll engage the aperture to give you a DoF preview.

The camera is also compatible with multiple different lenses, from the FL mount, to the FD mount, although the camera is designed for use with the FDn mount.  The difference between the FD and FDn mount is actually minor.  The FDn mount had a locking pin and had you rotate the entire lens to lock into place, very similar to modern lenses, where as the FD was a breechlock style that had a ring you would rotate to lock it into place.

I am, actually, second owner to this model AE-1.  My dad, who bought it new in 1976, used this camera when myself and two other sibling were growing up, in his way to try to record our childhood.  Sadly, he didn't remember about it too often in our adolescent years, and there are massive gaps between.  A minor mishap that I am not going to repeat with my two kids.  My dream would be for one of my two kids to take up this camera as their own.

The AE-1 is my main go-to camera.  Sure, I have the most glass for it, and the most versatile glass for it, but it's the ease of use, great results, and semi-simplicity of the camera.  Every time I use it, it just feels like it'll go forever.

Here's to many more years of use out of this camera, and years from this camera!

Canon AE-1
Canon 50mm ƒ/1.8 FDn
Polypan F 50ISO Film
Flash Bounce off Ceiling
 Canon AE-1
Vivitar 135mm ƒ/2.8 FD
Polypan F 50ISO Film
Flashbulb In Fan Reflector Flash
Canon AE-1
Osawa 24mm ƒ/2.8 FD
Polypan F 50ISO Film
Canon AE-1
Canon 50mm ƒ/1.8 FD
Kodak Kodacolor 100ISO Film

Shot in the mid-1980s


Canon AE-1 35mm SLR
FDn Bayonet Style Breech lock Mount
Cloth Focal Plane Magneto Controlled Horizontal Shutter - 2s to 1/1000s + B
Full Manual Mode or AE Aperture Priority Mode
Single Match The Needle style Light Meter*
Single 6v PX28L Battery (Alkaline)
DoF Preview
Backlight Adjust

* Match The Needle shows suggested Aperture in manual mode, or selected aperture in AE mode


  1. I've bookmarked your blog, looking forward for more reviews!


  2. Thanks man! I'll be reviewing more and more cameras as I go along with them.
    I've got a fair collection, and find it growing on a regular basis, although not through any fault of my own!