Modern Classic SLR Series
Canon A-1 - Other Issues Part VI

 
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Flash Photography with Canon A-1 There are four groups of flash can be used with Canon SLR camera system. Since Canon only introduced TTL OTF (Through-the-Lens, Off-the-Film-Plane) feature very late in 1986 with the Canon T-90 and a dedicated TTL-flash in Speedlite 300-TL , flash photography method was primarily using AE (Automatic Expsoure) flash system. Personally, I don't regard flash photography with Canon was their strongest asset, but nevertheless, they did command the best of knowledge with automated flash system since the days of the original Canon F-1's proprietary CAT Flash System introduced way back during 1970. Another group is being flash for macro-photography with MacroLite flash units. The last is to use with older flash bulbs.

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Among the three electronic flash groups, the AE flash (Canon has designed their flash with a word 'Speedlite' rather than flash unit, so it is very easy to identify them from flash of other makes) has the most sizes, 'varieties' and power output. There are further sub-diveided into shoe mount flash or handle flash which usually has a higher power output (Rated by guide number). The most powerful flash unit within the Canon flash group is a handle flash 577G which has a very high guide number of 48 (ASA 100, m) or 80 (ASA 25, ft.) ! To take full advantage of all the A-l's electronics, Canon has some dedicated flash units. One is the Speedlite l99A. Those days, 'dedicated' flash still limiting to auto set the sync speed to pre-set shutter speed or just providing a viewfinder flash ready light. The 199A, in this case, when used with the Canon A-1 will make flash photography completely automatic and electronic, this unit employs an LSI and Canon claimed for first time such advanced circuitry has been used in a flash. Once the 199A is slipped onto the camera's hot shoe (and locked by the convenient locking device), all you have to do is turn it on and set the auto aperture on the flash.

speedlite300TL8mdm.jpg Speedlite277T1mdm.jpg 199Aflashbmdm.jpg

Various Canon
Speeedlite models.

There are three to choose from: f/2.8 f/5.6 and f/11 with ASA 100 film. Corresponding to distances of 1.5 - 10.6m, 1 - 5.3m and 0.5 - 2.6m respectively should provide more than acceptable result under most situations and more importantly, provided your subject is within the distance range selected (apply to any flash units). You can also overide the AE flash feature by sliding the Auto/Manual switch to Manual and choose a shutter speed slower than 1/60 sec. to make the background more luminous and in balance with the foreground. Or, you can get bounce flash effects by tilting the 199A's head upward to one of three positions: 60, 75 and 90 . Flash coverage of lenses as wide as 24mm is also possible by attaching the Wide Adapter.

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LED.gifOther popular Canon flash units are not quite so powerful but equally as reliable and automatic as the 199A are the Speedlites 188A, 177A, 155A and 133A.

All of these units are like the l99A in that they automatically change the shutter speed to 1/60 sec. and set the camera to the automatic flash aperture you have set. There are two on the 188A, 177A and 155A (f/2.8 and f/5.6, ASA100) and one on the 133A, f/4. Used with the Wide Adapter, the 188A and 177A give flash coverage of 28mm lens field. For flash other than having its contact on the flash feet or if you want to set up multiple flash units, you can use the PC terminal as well.

And since all of these units couple perfectly with the A-l's circuitry, they can be used with the Power Winder A2/A for automatic flash continuous shooting. However, since Canon advises multiple exposures mode in not recommended to work in continuous mode for most of the A series models, I am not so sure whether it applies in the flash AE mode as well for stroboscopic effect.

A series Cameras with Canon Flash Units on Automatic Mode

Flash models

Canon A-1

Canon AE- Program

Canon AE-1

Canon AV-1 and AL-1

199A, 577G, 533G

Shutter speed and aperture set automatically. Viewfinder shows flash ready. Special procedure allows use of 1/30 to 30-second exposures with automatic features. Shutter speed and aperture set automatically. Shutter speed and aperture set automatically. Shutter speed set automatically. You set aperture.

188A, 166A

Shutter speed and aperture set automatically. Viewfmder shows flash ready. Shutter speed and aperture set automatically. Viewfinder indicator shows flash ready and correct exposure. Shutter speed and aperture set automatically. Shutter speed set automatically. You set aperture.

177A, 155A

Shutter speed and aperture set automatically. Shutter speed and aperture set automatically. Shutter speed and aperture set automatically. Shutter speed set automatically. You set aperture.

133A, 011A

Shutter speed set automatically. Aperture set automatically to f4. If film speed not ASA 80/100 or ASA 400, use manual mode. Shutter speed set automatically. Aperture set automatically to f4. if film speed not ASA 80/100 or ASA 400, use manual mode. Shutter speed set automatically. Aperture set automatically to f4. If film speed is not ASA 80/100 or ASA 400, use manual mode. speed set automatically. You set aperture as appropriate for film speed

Note
: Although rarely used today, flash bulbs will work with Canon A-1, AE-1, AE-1 Program etc cameras which are using a horizontal travelled focal plane shutter design. If you are using type FP, MF or M flash bulbs, 1/30 second is the fastest shutter speed you can use. Naturally, with flash bulbs there is no automatic flash operation. Also check sync speed with flash bulbs for models: Canon AE-1, AE-1 Program.
Can the Canon A-1 or for that matter, all the A and T series SLR models interchangeable to use with all the A, G and T series flash units ? With the exception of the T90, all of Canon's A-series and T-series as well as the New F-1, will automatically set their X-sync with any A-series, T-series (except 300TL) and G-series (533G & 577G) of Canon Speedlites. Some has their own respective dedicated functiuon, for an instance, AE-1 Program will automatically reverts to Program Flash AE the moment the pilot lamp of your Speedlite 244T is ready.
.
Additional Info: Some helpful info when used with any of the A or G series speedlites.

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The most powerful flash among all Canon speedlites, with a guide number of 48 (ASA 100, m) or 80 (ASA 25, ft.).
Speedlite 577G

Guide Number: 48 (ASA 100, m) or 80 (ASA 25, ft.).
Recycling Time (on automatic): 0.2-18 sec. with alkaline-manganese batteries. 0.2-7 sec. with Ni-Cd batteries.
Number of Flashes (on automatic): 100-1,000 with alkaline-manganese batteries and 75-750 with Ni-Cd batteries allowing 30 sec. between each firing.
Flash Duration: 1/400-1/50,000 sec.

Auto Apertures
: f/2.8, f/5.6 and f/11 at ASA 100,
Auto Coupling Ranges: 2.5-17m at red "A" (f/2.8, ASA 100) without Adaptor. At green "A", 1.5-8.5m and at yellow "A", 1-4.3m without Adaptor.
Flash Coverage: For 35mm format, covers an angle of view of 35mm lens With Wide Adaptor, adequate coverage for 20mm lens. With Tele Adapter, covers 100mm lens.


Bounce: Maximum upward tilt of 120° with detents at 0°, 60°, 75°, 90°, and 120°. 120° shift to both left and right with detents at 0°, 60°, 75°, 90°, 105° and 120°.
Power Source: 6 C-size alkaline-manganese batteries or Ni-Cd Pack TP in the Transistor Pack G.
Size: 99 (W) x 107 (D) x-245 (H)mm (2-7/8" x 4-1/4" x 9-5/8").
Weight: 600g (21-3/16 ozs.) without batteries.

Speedlite 533G

Guide Number: 36 (ASA 100, m) or 60 (ASA 25 ft.).
Recycling Time: 0.2-10 sec. with alkaline manganese batteries. 0.2-5.5 sec. with Ni-Cd batteries.
Number of Flashes (on automatic): 120 - 1,200 with alkaline-manganese batteries and 55 - 555 with Ni-Cd batteries allowing 30 sec. between each firing.
Flash Duration: 1 /880-1 /50,000 sec.
Auto Apertures: f/2.8, f/5.6 and f/ 11 at ASA 100.
Auto Coupling Ranges: 2.5-12.8m at red "A" (f/2.8, ASA 100) without Adaptor. At green "A", 1.5-6.4m and at yellow "A", 1-3.2m without Adaptor
Flash Coverage: Adequate for 35mm lens on a 35mm format. With Wide Adaptor, adequate coverage for 20mm lens. With Tele Adaptor, covers 100mm lens.


Specifications for some popular shoe mount flash units by Canon

199A

188A

177A

166A

155A

133A

011A

Speedlite 199A Guide Number: 30 (ASA 100, m) or 50 (ASA 25, ft.).
Recycling Time: 0.2-10 sec. with alkaline batteries and 0.2-6 sec. with Ni-Cd batteries on auto.
Number of Flashes: More than 100 with alkaline batteries and more than 50 with Ni-Cd batteries on auto.
Flash Duration: 1/500-1/50000 sec.
Aperture Choices: f/2.8 (red), f/5.6 (green) and f/ll (yellow) at ASA 100, and manual.
Auto Coupling Ranges: 1.5-10.6m (1.5-6.3m with Wide Adaptor) at red "A". 1-5.3m (1-3.2m with Wide Adaptor) at green "A". 0.5-2.6m (0.5-1.6m with Wide Adaptor) at yellow "A".

199a.jpg
Flash Coverage: Covers 35mm lens. With Wide Adap tor covers 24mm lens.
Size: 79 (W; x 83 (D) x 116 (H)mm. (3-1/8" x 3-1/4" x 4-1/2").
Weight: 490g (1 lb. 1-5/16 ozs.) including batteries

More information

Speedlite 188A Guide Number: 25 (ASA 100, m) or 41 (ASA 25, ft.).
Recycling Time: 0.5-8 sec with alkaline batteries and 0.5-6 sec. with Ni-Cd batteries on auto.
Number of Flashes: More than 200 with alkaline batteries and more than 70 with Ni-Cd batteries on auto.
Flash Duration: 1/700-1/40000 sec.
Aperture Choices: f2.8 (red) and f5.6 (green) at ASA 100 and manual.
Auto Coupling Ranges: 1 0-9.Om (1.0-5.6m with Wide Adaptor) at red "A". 0 5-4.5m (0.5-2.8m with Wide Adaptor) at green "A".

188a.jpg

Flash Coverage: Covers 35mm lens. With Wide Adaptor, covers 28mm lens.
Size: 68 (W) x 52 (D) x 103 (H)mm. (2-11/16" x 2-1/16" x 4-1/16").
Weight: 290g (10-1 /4 ozs.) including batteries.

Speedlite 177A Guide Number: 25 (ASA 100, m) or 41 (ASA 25, ft.).
Recycling Time: 0.5-8 sec. with alkaline batteries and 0.5-6 sec. with Ni-Cd batteries on auto.
Number of Flashes More than 200 with alkaline batteries and more than 70 with Ni-Cd batteries on auto.
Flash Duration: 1/600-1/50000 sec.
Aperture Choices: f/2.8 (red) and f/5.6 (green) at ASA 100, and manual.
Auto Coupling Ranges: 1.0-9.Om (1.0-5.7m with Wide Adaptor) at red "A". 0.5-4.5m (0.5-2.8m with Wide Adaptor) at green "A"

177a.jpg

Flash Coverage: Covers 35mm lens. With Wide Adaptor, covers 28mm lens.
Size: 72 (W) x 58 (D) x 107 (H)mm. (2-13/16" x 2-5/16" x 4-3/16").
Weight: 310g (10-15/16 ozs.) including batteries.

Speedlite 166A

Guide Number
: 20 (ASA100, m) or 33 (ASA 25, ft)
Recycling Time: 0.5-7 sec. with alkaline batteries and 0.5-5 sec. with Ni-Cd batteries.
Number of Flashes: 250-2500 times with alkaline batteries and 80-880 times with Ni-Cd batteries.
Flash Duration: 1/1000-1/50000 sec
Auto Apertures: f/2.8, f/5.6 at ASA 100.
Auto Coupling Range: 0.5 -7 m (1.6-22 ft.) at ASA 100
Flash Coverage: Covers 35mm lens.

166a.jpg
Power Source: Four AA size alkaline or Ni-Cd batteries.
Size: 66 (W) x 49.5 (D) x 98 (H) mm (2-5/8" x 1-15/16" x 3-7/8").
Weight: 260g (9-3/16 ozs.) including batteries.

Speedlite 155A Guide Number: 17 (ASA 100, m) or 28 (ASA 25, ft.).
Recycling Time: 0.5-7 sec. with alkaline batteries and 0.5-5 sec. with Ni-Cd batteries on auto.
Number of Flashes: More than 300 with alkaline batteries and 90 with Ni-Cd batteries on auto.
Flash Duration: 1/1000 - 1/50000 sec.
Aperture Choices: f/2.8 (red) and f/5.6 (green) at ASA 100, and manual.
Auto Coupling Ranges: 0.5-6m at red "A". 0.5-3m at green "A".
Flash Coverage: Covers 35mm lens.

155a.jpg
Size: 70 (W) x 51 (D) x 105 (H)mm. (2-3/4" x 2" x 4-1/8").
Weight: 300g (10-9/16 ozs.) including batteries.


Speedlite 133A Guide Number: 16 (ASA 100, m) or 26 (ASA 25, ft.).
Recycling Time: 0.5-9 sec. with alkaline batteries and 0.5-6 sec with Ni-Cd batteries.
Number of Flashes: 100-1000 with alkaline batteries and 60-600 with Ni-Cd batteries.
Flash Duration: 1/700-100000 sec.
ASA Film Speed Switch: Two positions: ASA 80, 100 (green) and ASA 400 (orange).
Auto Coupling Ranges: 1.0 - 8.0m at orange "A". 0.5 - 4.0m at green "A".
Flash Coverage: Covers 35mm lens.

133a.jpg
Size: 62 (W) x 37 (D) x 95 (H)mm (2-7/16" x 1-7/16" x 3-3/4")
Weight: 200g (7-1/16 ozs.) including batteries.

011.jpg
Speedlite 011A Guide Number: 14 (ASA 100, m) or 23 (ASA 25, ft).
Recycling Time: 0.5-9 sec. with alkaline batteries and 0.5-6 sec. with Ni-Cd batteries.
Number of Flashes: 150-1500 with alkaline batteries and 70-700 with Ni-Cd batteries.

Flash Duration: 1/1000 -1/100000 sec.
ASA Film Speed Switch: ASA 100 and 400. Also functions as main switch.
Auto Coupling Ranges: 0.5-3.5m at ASA 100 and 1-7m at 400.
Flash Coverage: Cover 35mm lens.
Size: 19 (W) x 112.5 (H) x 64.5 (L)mm (3 :4" x 4-7/16" x 2-9/16").
Weight: 155g (6-7/8 ozs.) including batteries.

Macrolite ML-1 Unlike the general-purpose Automatic Speedlite models, Macro Ring Lite is a highly specialized flash unit dedicated to close-up photography. In fact, it is intended for use only specialised optic such as Macro lenses or zoom lenses with close-up function. Since this flash is used with subject distances of a few feet or closer power is not the most important feature of this flash unit.

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The ML-1, just like the ML-2 later designed for the T-90 and the ML-3 for the EF series lenses and EOS cameras, consists of two components, a control unit and a flash unit, connected with a coiled cord. The control unit contains the batteries and controls. This mounts on the camera's hot shoe. The flash unit is a ring that attaches around the front of the lens. It contains two flash tubes situated at both side of the lens. When being ignited, two flash tubes create even shadowless illumination of flat subjects, such as postage stamps or artwork. However, either tube can also be fired separately for a more dramatic effect with three-dimensional or textured subjects.

Macrolite ML-1(HTML); Macrolite ML-2; Macrolite ML-3

This two-headed flash is designed to privide the most appropriate distribution of light in close-up photography. It can be used with lenses such as Canon FD 80-200mm f/4 lens and is also very useful with the FD 50mm f/3.5 Macro, FD 100 mm f/4 Macro Lenses or the FD 200mm f4 Macro Lens.

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A Zoom ? What does a non-macro zoom lens have to do with close-up photography ?

Well, you can use the FD 80-200mm f/4 lens with the Macrolite and the new Close-up Lens 500T and turn it into a perfect solution for close-ups in the medical and dental fields. Further, its wide zoom range gives a wide range of close-up magnifications. And since the zoom range consists of long focal lengths, it's possible to keep a distance in delicate operations. Special features of the Macrolite include a wide adapter for solftening highlights, a swivel switch for rotating the flash around the optical axis and the possibility of cutting off light from either of the two flash heads. Up to three auto apertures are available. Canon has three specialized flash units for close-up and macro photography, the Macrolite ML-, the Macro Ring Lite ML-2 and the current ML-3 for the EF mount EOS cameras. The ML-1 is an automatic flash designed for simple operation with the A- and T-series cameras. The ML-2 is a sophisticated unit designed for full TTL flash exposure with the T90 camera and came with a quite powerful guide number of 36 feet (11 meters). It looks more modern than ML-1, with the generator and power supply mounted on the camera. It is powered by four AA alkaline or rechargeable NiCd batteries. In contrast to the ML-1, the ML-2 has the appearance of a ring light with a single circular reflector and diffuser.
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It eliminates having to compute exposure factors for lens or bellows extension, fully automating macro flash exposure when you are working with TTL mode - a feature heavily missed out in the A and most of the models within the T series. Other than the TTL feature, it also has an energy conservation feature and shuts off if the unit is left unused for five minutes. Can the ML-2 works on other A or T series SLR models ? I was told it is still possible, but at the expense of the TTL feature which is the main attraction fo the ML-2, if not , it is more logical to get the ML-1, which should be more economical in the used market.

Download Manual from Christine Site:
Macrolite ML-1(HTML); Macrolite ML-2; Macrolite ML-3;


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Highly suggestive useful external links/resources created by Mr.Christian Rollinger:

Essentials: - Canon A1 Repair/Service Guide | Determine Years of Made of your Canon
Canon Flash models:- Canon 300TL flash(1.5MB); Macrolite ML-1(HTML); Macrolite ML-2; Macrolite ML-3; Speedlite 133a; Speedlite 155a(HTML); Speedlite 177a; Speedlite 188a(HTML); Speedlite 199a; Speedlite 244t; Speedlite 277t (HTML); Speedlite 533; Speedlite 577

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