Canon AE1 Program

I was recently given this camera to sell by a friend. When it was handed to me I immediately said I would keep it and sell another camera instead. The reason for this decision, the slight squeal. I have tried a Canon AE1 before but sold it. I also had a Canon A1 and fixed the squeal, but missed it so much that I sold that camera too. I just love the squealing sound. It can be fixed, but it doesn’t hurt the camera and it is the most unique sound. You know immediately it’s a Canon. This actually came with a motor drive attached but decided not to use it for this test. I bought a replacement cover for the connector to keep it clean.

I wasn’t going to write a post for this camera as I have the AE1 already listed, for some reason I thought it was the same camera. I was started to write a photo post and went to link it and realised there wasn’t a “program” in the title of the original post. So I decided to do some research and found this post which states the very fact “program” is in the title of the camera makes it better than its forerunner. I also found this post that compares the program to the K1000. Gosh, there are a lot of “posts” in this post.

I found the camera really comfortable to use. There was also an eye-cup on this example, making focusing with the split prism even easier. The top speed is 1/1000th, not the fastest but plenty fast enough for me. Putting the body on program and the lens on “A” means you basically have a posh point and shoot. Moving either dial away from auto or program means you can shoot in speed or aperture priority…or so I thought. If you read the comments below you will see that there is no aperture priority. What you actually get is speed priority as the camera will choose the best speed when you change the aperture, which is speed priority. The latitude of the film makes it seem like have used aperture priority. This flicker thread explains it better than I have.

On the side of the film winder lever, there is a selector that can lock the shutter or activate the self-timer. There is a plastic depth of field preview lever on the side of the lens mount, along with buttons for checking the exposure and backlight correction. The latter sits on the top and adds 1.5 stops when pressed along with the shutter.

The camera was handed to me in Blackpool and I immediately took out the film I had loaded in another camera and reloaded it into this one. The Kodak T-Max 400 I loaded was given to me when I bought some expired film. In the package was a note saying it was old and might not be viable so I could have it for free. The camera I had taken it from had a faulty film counter and I couldn’t remember if I had shot any photos. So I decided to start at the beginning. If there were any double exposures, well, bonus. I finished the film off at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Now I use my notebook when loading films so I probably won’t do that again. So how did my swiped canon with a mystery film do? Well, I processed it with Pyro-510 and here are the results.

Obviously, I had taken a few shots prior to the changeover, but I like the double exposures the mistake produced. I kept the camera on either full program or shutter priority mode. As you can see, despite the squeal, it worked really well. I love it. I will probably sell the T90 in order to keep this lighter Canon. And if you are interested, I do prefer it to the K1000, a camera I have never really jelled with. I might sell that too.

Oh, and double interestingly, a couple of weeks after receiving this camera I gained a Canon AE1 minus the program. That needs a bit of a service so I will write about that again and I might do a side by side when I have it all set up.

9 thoughts on “Canon AE1 Program

  1. arhphotographic says:

    Great images from a legendary camera and blogger! Thanks for sharing. The A series are great cameras. Last year I looked at the A1 program but found the prices prohibitive. Will content self with all the other A series. Thanks again

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  2. Graham Lanceley says:

    Hi Peggy. Thanks for the article which took me back down memory lane. The AE-1 Program was my first proper camera after the limited AV-1. Just a query though. You mentioned that you used the camera in aperture priority by taking the lens off A. Didn’t think that worked as the camera was supposed to be shutter priority.
    Many thanks and keep up the good work!

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