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Canon AE-1 Program This is Photography! (1981-) © 2009-2012 All rights reserved.

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Canon AE-1 Program, kích hoạt Grip và FD 50mm f/1.8 (20.6 oz/583g with battery & film but no lens; 26.5 oz/750g with this lens, about $50 used including lens). enlarge. My biggest source of tư vấn is when you use any of these liên kết, especially this liên kết directly khổng lồ them at eBay, where I got this one (see How khổng lồ Win at eBay) or lớn it at Adorama, when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live sầu. Thanks! Ken.

August 2012, July 2009More Canon ReviewsMore Canon FD Review

How lớn Shoot the AE-1 Program Digitally

Canon FD Camera Comparison


Introduction top


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The Canon AE-1 Program is one of the most popular cameras of all time, & for very good reason: it is a spectacular camera.

Picking up where the original AE-1 (1976) và A-1 (1978) left off, the AE-1 program is a highpoint in all of photography"s history.

The AE-1 Program is so highly regarded because it represents a high point of camera development. The AE-1 has every feature needed for great photos, and none of the junk features that have been added in the past couple of decades that makes most modern cameras unusable unless you carry — và read —a 300-page manual.

With the AE-1 Program, load film, compose, focus, và shoot. There are no menus, no custom functions, no WB settings, no settings banks, no raw or JPG, no nothing except great pictures.

Not only is the AE-1 Program a joy to use và makes great pictures, it has a huge, bright finder. Its finder is one of the largest, clearest và brighkiểm tra finders ever made. Its finder is bigger than the finder of the Canon 5D Mark II, và much bigger and brighter than the finder of the Nikon D3X. I find the AE-1 Program"s finder, with the 50mm f/1.8 lens, is brighter than the D3 or D3X with a 50milimet f/1.4 lens. Hold one up lớn each eye at the same time (vertically) and you"ll be amazed.

Exposure control is a dream. Set A on the lens và PROGRAM on the body, and just shoot. You"ll see red aperture LEDs in the finder, arranged in an analog fashion one on top of the other, which is far more meaningful than the in-place digital displays of other cameras. With the AE-1 Phường., you can see exposure out of the corner of your eye based on the position of the lit LED (there is a custom LED for each full stop from f/1 lớn f/32).

Another great reason to shoot the AE-1 Program is the great range of FD lenses available inexpensively. For instance, the extraordinary FD 24mm f/1.4 L, FD 50milimet f/1.2L and FD 85milimet f/1.2 L sell used for tiny fractions of what today"s EOS EF AF lenses cost. You can pichồng up this trio for less than a single new EF 24mm f/1.4 L II. FD lenses have been obsolete since the introduction of Canon"s first AF EOS camera, the EOS 650, in March 1987.

I"m usually the only one excited by these old cameras, but the AE-1 Program is such a fantastic camera, even today, that some Leica dealers, lượt thích OC Camera, have a locked shelf full of nothing but AE-1 Programs for sale. They sell a lot of them, và why not? The Canon AE-1 Program offers all the simpliđô thị of the LEICA, with far more flexibility, more accurate framing và viewing, & easier, faster and simpler shooting. Isn"t this the core of LEICA photography?

Compatibility top

The AE-1 Program is compatible with manual-focus FD & New FD lenses.

The New FD lenses are the all-blaông chồng ones as seen in the photos here, while the older FD lenses are the ugly ones with the chrome breech-loông xã rings.

Older Canon FL & non-FD lenses mount, but metering is stop-down only.


Top, Canon AE-1 Program, standard eyecup and FD 50milimet f/1.8. enlarge.

Green means go. Set A & PROGRAM, & head out to win your next Pulitzer.

Specifications top



Electronic auto & manual exposure, manual-focus 35milimet SLR.

Finder top

Glass pentaprism.

Coated glass optics.

94% coverage.

0.83x with 50milimet lens.

Split image surrounded by microprism surrounded by matte field.

Meter và Exposure top

TTL center-weighted.

Range: LV 1 ~ 18 with f/1.4 lens.

Modes: Program, shutter-priority & manual.

AE Lock? Absolutely.

ASA Range: 12 - 3,200.

Shutter top

Horizontal, 4-spindle electronic cloth focal plane.

Shoông chồng & noise absorbers.

Speeds (tự động và manual): 1/1,000 ~ 2 seconds.

Flash Sync: 1/60 (X), M (for flashbulbs) at 1/30 và slower.

Cable Release: any standard threaded cable release.

Electromagnetic shutter release button.

Self Timer: 10 seconds.

Power top

One A544 6V battery, also known as 4LR44, 544, PX28, PX28L and 4SR44.

Alkaline & lithium versions all work great.

Battery Check: Press the blaông chồng button by the rewind crank & serial number. 6 beeps per second is good, three beeps per second is low.

I left my camera ON ("A" position) for two years in the bag, & the battery is still fine. The real reason khổng lồ turn it off ("L" position) is to lớn prsự kiện drain if something presses the shutter in your bag.

Size top

141 x 88 x 47.5mm.

Weight top

26.480 oz. (750.7g) with FD 50mm f/1.8 lens, action grip, battery, rubber eyecup, film, and strap lugs, but no caps or strap.

25.700 oz. (728.6g) with FD 50milimet f/1.8 lens, action grip, battery, rubber eyecup and strap lugs, but no film, caps or strap.

trăng tròn.580 oz. (583.45g) with film, action grip, battery, rubber eyecup & strap lugs, but no lens, caps or strap.

19.800 oz. (561.35g) with action grip, battery, rubber eyecup và strap lugs, but no lens, film, caps or strap.

trăng tròn.145 oz. (571.1g) with battery, rubber eyecup, film & strap lugs, but no lens, no action grip, caps or strap.

19.365 oz. (549.0g) with battery, rubber eyecup and strap lugs, but no lens,no action grip, film, caps or strap.


Canon AE-1 Program. enlarge.

Performance top



The AE-1 Program excels at ease of use.

It just shoots. There is nothing to get in your way.

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It"s easy khổng lồ get great shots.

I don"t know about you, but I"m tired of missing shots because I had the wrong AF zone selected on my DSLR, or the camera wouldn"t fire because its AF wasn"t happy. With the AE-1 Program, you never miss a shot due lớn camera hiccups.

With the Canon AE-1 Program, you can think about making great pictures instead of masturbating another camera"s menu system.

Pardon my language, but if someone landed from Mars & saw someone looking down into lớn their lap while rhythmically pressing something again và again & again, what else would it look like? A man from Mars would know that no Earthling would be dumb enough khổng lồ use a camera that requires seven button pushes just khổng lồ reGọi a settings ngân hàng with more settings he recorded earlier.

By the time most people get their trắng balance & ISO mix, you"ve sầu shot a roll of fantastic photos on your AE-1 Phường.

There is only one dial on the AE-1P, its shutter-tốc độ and mode dial. It is easy to flip it with one fingertip.

The film counter & ASA dial are more legible than most manual-focus cameras.

The film can be wound in one easy stroke, or several smaller strokes.

The frame counter is red at 1, đôi mươi and 36. It isn"t red at 24; 24 is silver just like all the other numbers. It"s numbered at every even number starting from 4 through 38 (yes, 38); before that, it"s marked at S & 1 with dots for ever other.

AE Lock? Just press a button. Focus before locking the exposure, because it takes a contortionist khổng lồ hold the AEL button while focusing.

Exposure compensation is via resetting the ASA dial as needed, which of course requires taking your eye from the finder. Use the AEL button for tốc độ.

Exposure Accuracy top

It"s right-on, especially with slides.

I"m impressed; shoot Velvia 50, & it works great in Program mode. Bravo!

There is no Matrix or evaluative system; you have sầu to know how khổng lồ compensate và use the exposure loông xã.

There is no spot or heavy center-weight for backlight; just get closer và lochồng the meter.

Finder top

The finder is exquisite. It is big, bright and sharp.

It is bigger than the EOS 5D Mark II, the EOS 6trăng tròn, và way bigger than a Nikon D3X.

The split-image rangefinder is very advanced. It optimizes itself for any tốc độ lens. It doesn"t black-out with slow lenses as they do on Nikon cameras.

The matte field is optimized for lenses of about f/2.5 và faster. Faster lenses won"t actually show their shallower depths-of-field.

Flash top

Flash is primitive sầu. In a few years, the EOS 650 will take Canon"s flash system decades ahead of the AE-1 Program.

For the AE-1 Program, you"re stuông chồng with 1/60 sync speed, and no TTL control.

All you get for automation, with the right flash like the 011A, 133A, 155A, 166A, 177A, 188A, 199A, 533G & 577G is that the camera will mix the shutter to 1/60 & phối the lens to the correct tự động hóa aperture for the non-TTL flash, presuming you set the right ASA on the flash.

The guide number at ISO 100 for the 155A flash is 56" or 17 meters. At ASA 25, it"s 28" or 8.5 meters.

Film Economy top

39 perfect frames on a roll of 36, presuming you shoot the leader as I vì.

Power top

The battery is rated for about a year of use.

I never turn off my AE-1 Program; I leave it at A for instant shooting any time. I"ve sầu left it at "A" for two years, và my battery is still fine.

Oddly when I did get a low battery signal (slow beeping when you press the battery chạy thử button by the rewind crank), that A544 battery tested as 60% on my ZTS MBT-1 tester.

Durability và Weaknesses top

The only two typical weaknesses are the film-door foam rubber turning to goo, & the lubrication of the aperture control gears drying up and the AE-1 Program making scary squealing sounds as it takes a picture.

The goo is easy for any camera repair place to lớn replace.

The squealing is easy for a store khổng lồ fix by spraying it with more lube, but that only makes it go away for a little while. You really want to have it disassembled, cleaned và relubricated properly instead of having more lube sprayed all around khổng lồ make the squeal go away long enough khổng lồ sell it to you.

Even if it squeals, it still works OK, even if it takes a moment for the picture to lớn take after you press the shutter.

For repair, I"ve gotten great results from both Steven Swerington (Camera Clinic) and OC Camera as listed on my Repairs page. Each of them is very familiar with the AE-1 Program; heck, each of these guys could repair them in their sleep.

The top and bottom covers are heavy chrome-plated plastic. It looks like metal because it is, và it"s as light as plastic, because it is. The covers can take quite a beating & keep on working.


Canon AE-1 Program. enlarge.

Usage top


All you really need lớn vì chưng is load film, wind, và shoot.

You get Program if you mix the lens to lớn A và the camera lớn PROGRAM.

Program means that the AE-1 Program"s onboard computer is programmed with human intelligence to lớn select the aperture and the shutter speed for you exactly as a seasoned professional photographer would for almost every situation. That"s why the P. mode is now more correctly called "Professional" mode. With a computer replicating the exact settings of seasoned professionals, but about 30 times as fast, you can shoot better, faster, more accurately và longer than any of those pros could vì manually.

The finder shows the selected aperture, và the program always follows my favorite standard, which is 1/250 at f/8, 1/125 at f/5.6, 1/60 at f/4, 1/30 at f/2.8 etc. This makes it trivial khổng lồ know the shutter speed.

AE Lochồng is the top teeny blachồng button above the silver-rimmed button on the side of the body by the lens, under the PC sync socket. The silver-rimmed button turns on the meter without locking it. The meter has no hang time, regardless of what button you tapped to turn it on, it turns off the instant you release it.

When it gets dyên ổn enough to lớn need 1/30 or slower, the P. in the finder blink.

If the light is so dim that even a full 2-second exposure, the AE-1 Program"s maximum, isn"t enough, the largest aperture also blink (typically f/2). Ditto if it"s too brought: the smallest aperture value bliên kết (typically f/22). Easy.

You get shutter priority if you leave the lens A and set a shutter speed, after which the finder shows you the aperture chosen.

I wouldn"t use the depth-of-field pđánh giá button. It only works with manually set apertures, & then only if the shutter is in a certain state of being wound or not. It"s defective sầu by thiết kế, since if you press it at the wrong time, your picture will be underexposed!

For manual, take the lens off A, & the finder shows you the aperture the camera"s meter suggests. There is no in-finder display of the manually set aperture; the finder display always shows the aperture selected by the camera.

To change the battery, you have sầu to lớn remove the action grip.

Since the film winds around the take-up spool emulsion-side out, it"s a bear khổng lồ reload a partially-shot roll into lớn an auto-loading EOS camera because it wants to lớn curl the wrong way.

I leave the camera ON ("A" setting on switch) & it runs for years, no need to turn it OFF ("L" position). The reason for the "L," or loông chồng, position, is to prsự kiện accidental battery drain or shooting if it gets bumped while stored in a bag.


Bottom, Canon AE-1 Program và FD 50mm f/1.8. enlarge.

Recommendations top


Just get one, or if you want autofocus, get an EOS 620.

The more I learn after my over 40 years of photography, the simpler the camera, the more and better pictures I make, and have more fun doing it.

If you want digital Nirvamãng cầu, just kiểm tra the box to get your film scanned as it"s developed in an hour.

You can get them cheap and take your chances over eBay, or buy one that actually works from a dealer like Adorama or OC Camera . OC Camera just happens to specialize in them & keeps a counter full of good ones in stock, so I"d get one from them.

I bought one over eBay, & by the time I paid lớn have it repaired & overhauled, I could have sầu just bought one that works from a dealer. If using eBay, expect lớn have khổng lồ go through one or two until you get one that works.

I prefer the AE-1 Program over the much older AE-1 because I prefer the additional option of Program exposure. You are always having to adjust the shutter when shooting with the original AE-1, while with the AE-1 Program, you just shoot.

I prefer the AE-1 Program over the older A-1 because the AE-1 Program handles so much better & faster. The A-1 adds an aperture-priority mode I don"t use, but the A-1 is an ergonomic pain when it comes lớn trying lớn turn the combined multifunction aperture or shutter sped dial.

I prefer the AE-1 Program over the newer T90 because the AE-1 Program is so much smaller, lighter and easier to lớn use. The T90 might have been hot if it had the 6-segment evaluative meter of the EOS 650, but no, the T90 has metering which is more complicated, but not smarter than, the AE-1 Program.

More Information

Canon FD Camera Comparison.

Canon"s AE-1 Program và other TV ads (Japanese)

Canon AE-1 Program Digital: See spy photos here, here, here và here.

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