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Identification and Background


The Canon AE-1 can easily be identified from other models. To determine if the camera is a Canon AE-1 first look at the front of the camera. The manufacturer “Cannon” will be above the lens in big black letters. The model “AE-1” can be viewed just to the left of this in silver letters outlined in black. The serial number can be found on the top of the camera to the right of the lens (when looking at the camera as if a picture of you is being taken). The serial number should be in small black numbers.


According to Wikipedia, the Canon AE-1 is a 35 mm single-lens reflex (SLR) film camera for use with interchangeable lenses. It was manufactured by Canon Camera K. K. (today Canon Incorporated) in Japan from April 1976 to 1984. It uses an electronically controlled, electromagnet horizontal cloth focal plane shutter, with a speed range of 2 to 1/1000 second plus Bulb and flash X-sync of 1/60th second. The camera body is 87 mm tall, 141 mm wide, and 48 mm deep; it weighs 590 g. Most are black with chrome trim, but some are all black.

The AE-1 is a historically significant SLR, though not necessarily because of any major technological firsts (although it was the first microprocessor CPU-equipped SLR). Its notability is based in its sales. Backed by a major advertising campaign, the AE-1 sold five million units, an unprecedented success in the SLR market.

Technical Specs

AE Mechanism: Shutter priority, electronically controlled AE metering system incorporating two ICs and one LSI equipped with (lntegrated Injection Logic)

Light Metering System: TTL (ThroughThe-Lens) Central Emphasis Metering method employing a Silicon Photocell as photosensitive element.

Exposure Meter Coupling Range: With ISO 100 film, EV1 (f/1.4 at one second) to EV18 (f/16 at 1/1000 second).

Film Speed Range: ISO 25 to ISO 3200.

Exposure Correction: By pressing the backlight control switch, exposure is corrcted by the automatic opening of the diaphragm 1.5 stops more on the aperture scale than the actual setting.

Exposure Preview: The meter needle will indicate in the viewfinder when the shutter release button is depressed halfway or the exposure preview switch is depressed.

Shutter: Cloth focal plane shutter with four spindles. Shock and noise damping mechanisms are incorporated. All shutter speeds are electronically controlled.

Shutter Speeds: 1 /1000, 1/500, 1/250, 1/125, 1/60, 1/30, 1/15, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1, 2 (seconds) and B. X synchronization is at 1/60 seconds.

Self-Timer: Electronically controlled self timer. After the self-timer lever is pushed forward, the self-timer is activated by the shutter release button. The self-timer releases the shutter after a time lag of 10 seconds. A self-timer lamp (red LED) blinks on and off to indicate when the self-timer is in operation.

Power Source: One 6V silver oxide battery

Battery Check: Battery power level can be checked by the meter needle in the viewfinder when the battery check button is pressed.

Automatic Flash: With the exclusive Canon Speedlite 155A, the shutter speed and aperture are automatically set. The amount of light is automatically cor trolled for correct flash exposure.

Back Cover: The camera's back cover has a memo holder for your convenience. The cover can be removed for attaching the Canon Data Back A. To open, pull the rewind crank up.

Film Loading: Easy film loading with multislot take-up spool.

Winding Lever: Single stroke with 120° throw and 30° stand-off. The film can be wound with several short strokes. The Canon Power Winder A also can be mounted for automatic winding of the film.

Frame Counter: Additive type. Automatically resets when the back cover is opened. While rewinding film, it counts back the frame numbers.

Safety Devices:

• The shutter does not drain battery power when not released.

• The film cannot be wound while the shutter is in operation.

Size: 141 x 87 x 47.5mm (5-9/16" x 3-7/16"x 1-7/8") body only.

Weight: 590g (20-13/16 ozs.) body only. 790g (27-7/8" ozs.) with the 50mm

f/1.8 S.C. Iens. 895g (31-9/16 ozs.) with the 50mm f/1.4 S.S.C. Iens.


Additional information is available on the factory manual

Solve problems with your Canon-AE-1 on our Canon AE-1 Troubleshooting Page.

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