|Canon AE-1 with 50mm 1.8, Looks Great, NO Squeak, but NEEDS SEALS, AS-IS.|
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|The Canon AE-1 with FD 50mm lens kit film camera with an Eye level pentaprism view finder, gives you an exact view of the scene. With a maximum magnification ratio of 1:0.86, the Canon AE-1 film camera clicks life-size pictures. This SLR Film Camera, featuring an ISO speed range of 25 to 3200 produces clear and sharp pictures. Having a shutter speed of 2s to 1 /1000 sec, this Canon AE-1 film camera captures subjects in action. With an f/1.8 aperture, this SLR Film Camera provides vibrant and bright pictures. Click pictures with the 10 seconds self-timer of the Canon AE-1 with FD 50mm lens kit camera.|
|Model||AE-1 with FD 50mm lens kit|
|Lens Mount||Canon FD|
|Shutter Speed||2 to 1/1000 sec|
Average review score based on 228 user reviews
of customers recommend this product
The Canon AE-1 is according to many one of the biggest-selling 35mm cameras of the 1970s and 1980s, and possibly of all time. And quite rightly so, this camera features a spot-on and simple to read metering system, two shooting modes (manual and shutter priority), and a slew of available FD-mount lenses that can be found on eBay for very little money. Like all cameras with an electronically controlled shutter it requires a battery, fortunately it uses a battery that can be found at most places (I found replacement batteries at Walmart). I wanted a solid and reliable SLR body with a manual advance and full manual control, and the AE-1 was recommended by many different sources. Mine was offered here on eBay at a phenomenal price, included the ubiquitous 50mm f/1.8 FD lens, no bids and only a few minutes left on the clock: I simply couldn't pass it up.
I was slightly disappointed when I heard the Canon squeal, but I had sort of expected it at a camera of this age, and had already made preparations to remedy this myself. Once the mirror lockup mechanism had been re-lubed I popped in a roll of film, went outside and took some shots. After an hour at the local drugstore I could see that there was a small light leak where the original light seals had turned into a black goo, but overall the shutter speeds were still accurate, and the lens was as sharp as the day it was made. After replacing the light seals I ended up with a camera that rekindled my love for film, and has now had a good 40, 50 rolls of film put through it. I couldn't be happier, and have since added a couple of additional FD lenses to compliment this great body.
The camera handles ISO speeds from 25 through 3200, and functions as a shutter-priority camera if the lens aperture dial is turned to "A" (set the shutter speed on the camera and the camera will automatically choose the aperture based on the meter's readings.) It's easy to load, the advance lever is smooth, and the 50mm lens is a great lens to get your feet wet with if you're interested in dipping your feet in the film photography pool. A highly recommended camera for anyone looking for a great entry-level 35mm film camera.
There are two things to look out for when buying an AE-1, and I touched on them above: The infamous "Canon squeal" is a loud squeaking noise that is being generated by the SLR's mirror mechanism. To put it simply, it needs lubrication, and there are instructions on how to do this online (if you can read German), but if the thought of poking the inside of your brand new eBay purchase with a thin hypodermic and a syringe of sewing machine oil makes you break out in a cold sweat most camera technicians can carry this operation out for under $100, as well as give it a good cleaning and checking of the shutter speeds, commonly known as a CLA (clean, lube, adjust).
The second thing you should investigate is the condition of the light seals. This is a film camera, and film is light-sensitive, so if the back of your camera lets in light your shots could very easily be ruined. The seals Canon used on these cameras will have turned to sludge after 30 years, so you're better off replacing them right from the get-go. A fellow named Interslice offers easy to use replacement light seal kits here on eBay for around $10, I replaced my AE-1's seals with one of his kits, and it's a very simple operation, as in "if I can do it so can you".
Before I proceed to my "legacy" review of the Canon AE-1, one of the most famous 35mm cameras in history, a word of warning is in order: As of this writing, the photo Amazon has up for this product is of an AE-1 Program and not a regular AE-1. There are some significant differences in the two. My review here is of the non-Program, original AE-1.
The original AE-1, introduced in 1976, was a groundbreaking product, being the first microprocessor-controlled camera. Backed by a major marketing campaign, it sold tremendously well and introduced a whole lot of people (myself included) to the world of the SLR. It was aimed at the amateur, and as such lacked several features, which limited its capabilities; it also lacked a lot of metal (the body is mainly plastic), which made it comfortably lightweight but which also led to some pretty serious durability issues over the long run. But within its range and given its target audience it was (and remains) a nifty little product. I have spent long hours behind an AE-1 and can speak from experience.
The AE-1 is easy to load and operate, and extremely comfortable in the hand, ergonomic, and easy to handle as well. It can accommodate the excellent range of FD lenses, giving it a lot of versatility in this regard (note: the modern and even better line of Canon EF lenses won't fit it). It's made to be shot in automatic, and its sole automatic mode is shutter priority (no aperture priority, no program, no specialty settings). While you can shoot in manual mode, it is a bit of a pain to do so because there's no indication in the viewfinder of what your aperture setting is (or your shutter speed setting either, for that matter); instead you can see only the camera's recommended aperture setting. (Action shooting in manual, while technically possible, is very difficult as well as totally pointless.) And the center-weighted meter has its drawbacks when your picture isn't particularly evenly lighted. In short, this camera is geared to snapshot-style photography of the sort that amateurs are wont to engage in, in fair-to-good lighting conditions. When used for that purpose it excels, or at any rate it did.
On the plus side, the AE-1's light meter is amazingly responsive, and stands up quite well even to that of modern DSLRs. Combined with a short-throw film advance lever, that means you can fire off pictures at a pretty good clip for a manual camera (made faster by an auto-winder if you can find one). This rate of fire (even with autowinder) is nothing compared to that of a modern camera, but it was impressive in the 1970s considering the AE-1's price. The on-board microprocessor talks via hot shoe to the Canon Speedlite flash units of 1970s-80s vintage, a fairly new idea at the time, making flash photography and sync highly automatic. The camera's 6-volt battery (which does not power the flash units) will last for months and for dozens of rolls of film; compare that to the lifespan of batteries in modern cameras, typically measured in terms of hours. (The downside, however, is that without the battery, the AE-1, like all modern cameras, is just a lump of metal and plastic. Prior cameras only needed the battery for light meter operation and except for the meter would work fine without a battery, so the AE-1 was a major departure in this regard). The 1/1000 top shutter speed was impressive back in the day, if not unprecedented, and is still an acceptable if not great top speed.
This platform of film cameras introduced by Canon in the 1970's is certainly as versatile a product as one could want for amateur and accomplished photography buffs alike. As with most things in electronics to utilize its full potential you should use like brand lenses when possible. The ease of use and split field focus feature are tops. The single limiting option that I have found is that it is difficult to double expose on the same frame and the split frame feature is equally hard if not impossible to accomplish. There are a vast array of accessories available for this base and will let you exercise your imagination to its fullest. With the addition of a MA-1 power winder and a zoom it is excellent for shooting high speed sporting events and nature sequence photos.
If you are purchasing your first one or if you just aren't sure what to look for here are list of problems that are common to this camera. Broken latch on the battery door. (the hotfoot cover contains the tool to open the door but is usually not included in a used unit, go figure.) the light seals and mirror cushion seem to have a 10 year shelf life then they need to be replaced. This is easily visually checked. Just open the camera body up and remove the lens. Place the shutter speed in manual or infinity( thats the B setting) then operate the shutter, keep the shutter switch depressed so the mirror stays up. Now look at the black foam that is sealing the light chamber around the mirror and the edges of the lens mount and top and bottom covers of the body. If any of these look ragged or sticky and black then you need to replace them. Its not expensive a kit is about 15 dollars but you should probably let an experienced camera shop do it for you until you learn how. I personally bought one that was junk just so I could practice taking one apart and putting it back together. Cost me $10 and has saved me hundreds.
Another frequent area of concern comes in the shutter squeeking when you open it or feeling a grinding noise when you move the film advance. While this sometimes means you have serious internal issues it is usually just a cleaning and lubrication problem. The electronics on this model are rock solid and it is very rare for them to fail. More often than not it is a broken wire in battery compartment or corroded contacts. I hope you find this helpful and that it answers some of your needs when buying a canon Ae-1.
I've only recently started photography and this is my second camera(i'll have 2 of these, soon), so i have nothing to compare against and little knowledge however i will try and explain what i think of it. Please read other reviews before buying.
The canon ae-1 program differ a bit from its predecessor over that fact that it has the program mode which automatically choses shutter speed and aperture for you. This mode i think is the only difference between these two. It also allow for shutter speed priority which allows the user to choose a shutter speed and the camera automatically chooses an aperture to compensated for optimum exposure. It has a flash sync of 60, max shutter speed of 1/1000 and iso setting ranging from 12-3200. It also allow aperture preview when aperture is not on 'A'(took me a while to figure this out). Also this camera has a stupidly bright viewfinder( i have a f 1.8 lens) which help greatly while shooting at night and in general.
Plastic, its mostly made from plastic, however surprising it is very robust, apparently its made from some kind of new polymer back in the day. You can really feel the build quality from the camera. Its not too light and not too heavy and this offers a decent weight to balance with heavy lens.
and also this camera just look gorgeous, it just scream vintage and probably one of the best looking cameras ever made.
No Aperture priority mode - this really bug me since the old a1 model had all 3 modes. It allow you to choose the aperture and the camera automatically choose the shutter speed to compensate. however this camera doesn't have this mode so the only way to choose aperture is the go manual.
Build - don't get me wrong the construction of exterior is fabulous however i can't say the same about the inner mechanic. It was primary targeted to a consumer market, so value for money was also a priority so a lot of plastic was used internally as well. This doesn't effect the performance of the camera however it create unnecessary problems over time. The infamous canon squeak caused by lack of lubing of the mirror gear and a lot of cameras have cracks in the back door.
All in it has a lot of feature which made it one of the best selling cameras of its day, and there is still a decent market of it today. Lens from 3rd parties are very cheap and even canon fd lens can be found at a decent price.(high end lens are still in demand, so save up and invest) an amazing buy for anyone who is into film photography and for amateurs like me a awesome camera to learn with.
Did I mention that its gorgeous?
Finally, a few words of advice; 50mm lens is deabak always keep one. Once in a while an unused camera will appear, grab em before there gone. Be wary of shutter squeak as they can be hard to fix. Lights seal are a problem but can diy, not that hard to fix, however costs extra money. Don't try and clean viewfinder, get a professional to do it, i ruin by first one. and finally get out and get shooting =D
Hope this help.
Sorry about grammar mistakes.
Enjoy and have a nice life.
P.s. deabak = great success / big win
I managed a camera store during the era of the AE-1 so my experience with them is extensive. Even at the time it was big, clunky, loud, rough and noisy. You'll hear tons of reviews that 'it takes great pictures'. Well, not true. A camera body is just a light tight box. A LENS takes the picture and Canon brand lenses of the era ranged from good to excellent. Back to the AE-1 itself, they have a nasty habit of locking up for no apparent reason. I suspect this is just a firmware type fault as once they are unlocked they function as they should but all the Canon "A" series cameras suffer from this potential problem.
Physically they are large, even compared to other period cameras such as the X700 Minolta, the Nikon FE(2), Pentax MEsuper and Olympus OM-2. Again, compared to the other manufacturers the film advance feels like its full of sand. Loud. They're loud, which translates into vibration, something you do not want, especially for macro work. Moving on, they do NOT have OTF (Off The Film) metering, consequently they were furnished with a ridiculous plastic slide that supposedly was to be kept on the flash shoe as a cover that was to be fitted over the viewfinder when taking pictures with your eye away from the viewfinder to avoid exposure errors. They are totally battery dependent, which can be a problem because they use a relatively rare battery instead of the industry standard LR44/MS76.
Finally let's look at the auto exposure system. Its no surprise they are the ONLY company and ONLY camera to use Shutter Priority as the only available automatic exposure mode. Every other manufacturer uses Aperture Priority on their comparable cameras. The simple reason for this is Aperture Priority is more intuitive and arguably faster with the adjustment ring adjacent to the focus ring and falling naturally under your fingers! Oh, and let's not forget the Canon Squeak/Cough/Wheeze that signals a dry gear train and immanent failure. This will happen decades before such things as Pentax Spotmatics will give up the ghost.
In summary, did they sell more units than the competition? Absolutely. Their advertising was the best in print, TV and radio. Do they take good pictures? Yes, as good as the person behind the camera is capable of doing. Will one serve the purpose be it for nostalgia or photography class that mandates a camera that can be controlled manually? Absolutely. Cameras are a tool, AE-1's are just a relatively crude tool. There are better choices.