Modern Classic SLR Series
Canon A-1 - Instruction Manual - Part IX


File Size: HTML Page (34k) Loading ..

AE Flash Photography with Canon A-1 There are two special dedicated automatic flash units, the Canon Speedlites 199A and 155A (Or newer series), wihich make AE flash photography possible with the A-1. Just slip the Speedlite into the accessory shoe, switch it on, focus and shoot. It does not matter whether the AE mode selector is set to Av or Tv. Except for "B", whatever the shutter speed set, as soon as the pilot lamp of the Speedlite comes on, the A-1 switches to the X synchronization speed of 1/60 sec.- automatically.

Flash.gif (6k) Loading...
The camera's microcomputer controls the light output for perfect automatic exposure within auto working ranges. And just as automatically will the camera switch back to the shutter speed actually set on the dial as soon as the pilot lamp goes out. The viewfinder offers you full information needed for flash photography. Moreover, when the main switch of the Speedlite is turned off, the flash circuitry is completely cut off and the A-1 switches over to function as an AE control camera with the Speedlite mounted on it.

speedlite300TL8mdm.jpg Speedlite277T1mdm.jpg 199Aflashbmdm.jpg

Various Canon
Speeedlite models.

( * There are more info relating to Flash Photography ) Of course, with the flash still on Auto you can set the aperture manually should you wish to use an FL lens. Even then, however, the camera will automatically switch to 1/60 sec. as soon as the Speedlite is ready for firing. Both the Speedlite 199A and 155A employ a unique automatic light sensing system, so excessive reflection from the central area is reduced giving better overall exposure. With the Speedlite 199A, shutter speeds slower than 1/60 sec. can be optionally selected for the effect of a lighter background. It is a powerful flash unit with a guide number of 30 (meters, with ASA 100 film). To control depth of field, you can choose between three working apertures (f/2.8, f/5.6, and f/11 for ASA 100 film) that are automatically preset by the camera as soon as the pilot lamp comes on. The 199A also allows bounce flash and flash coverage of a 24mm lens field with the wide angle adapter. Its thyristor circuit offers you continuous flash shooting at close distances.

General Flash Photography
When you use the A-1 with flash units other than the Speedlites 199A and 155A, set the AE mode selector to Tv and shutter speed to 1/60 sec. or slower. With this setting on the camera, other types of electronic flash units can be synchronized with your A-1 either through the hot shoe or via the PC socket on the front of the camera body.

PC Terminal.jpg
These allow two separate flash units to be fired simultaneously.

Aperture should be manually set on the aperture ring to the working apertures specified for an automatic electronic flash or be determined through a guide number calculation using the following formula.


Guide Number

When doing the math, make sure that the guide number and shooting distance are both in the same unit, whether meters or feet. The fastest shutter speed for use with electronic flash is 1/60 sec., for use with M or FP bulbs, 1/30 sec.
Aperture =


Shooting Distance

Digital Readout in Flash Photography

When you preview exposure in flash photography, the digital readout will differ depending on the type of flash photography

1. AE Flash with Canon Speedlites 155A or l99A and an FD Lens The flash is on Auto while the lens is set to the "A" mark. The digital readout will display a shutter speed of 1/60 sec., the flash signal "F" and the auto working aperture set on the flash as follows:

The A-1 automatically switches to 1/60 sec. when the flash is charged regardless of the shutter speed set as long as it is not set to "B". The "F" flash signal appears in the viewfinder only when the flash pilot lamp lights up to indicate that the flash is charged. Thus you will know the flash is ready simply by looking in the viewfinder. The aperture value displayed is the auto working aperture you have set on the flash depending on the ASA film speed. (The aperture displayed in the readout may be 1/2 f/stop larger or smaller than the auto working aperture set on the flash though the auto working aperture is the effective aperture). The auto working aperture value is automatically set on the camera. Exposure warnings are very similar to those in shutter-speed priority AE. If you have set an auto working aperture larger than the maximum aperture of the lens, the maximum aperture of the lens will flash on and off to indicate underexposure. If you have set an auto working ape~e smaller than f/16, the set auto working aperture will flash on and off. If the minimum aperture of the lens is equal to or smaller than the flashing aperture, exposure will be correct. If larger the image will be overexposed.

Note: If, with Speedlite 199A, you want to use a shutter speed of 1/30 sec. or slower, set the AE mode selector to Tv and the AT dial to the desired shutter speed and set the shutter speed selector switch on the 199A to the MANU position. In this case, the shutter speed on the AT dial wid be displayed in the readout.

2. Automatic Flash Control with Canon Speedlites 155A or 199A The flash is on Auto but the aperture is manually set by turning the lens aperture ring. This type of automatic flash control is necessary with an FL lens and possible with an FD lens when it is not set to "A". The digital readout will be the same as in AE flash control but will also include the "M" signal for manual aperture control. Though the set flash auto working aperture value is displayed in the readout, it is not automatically set as in AE flash control. The same aperture value as set on the flash must be manually set on the lens aperture ring. As in AE flash control, the shutter speed is automatically set at 1/60 sec. as long as the AT dial is not at "B".

When using an FD lens, exposure warnings are the same as those for AE flash control. Since FL lenses lack a full aperture signal pin, you cannot always rely on the digital readout of apertures and exposure warnings. It is, therefore, advisable to switch off the viewfinder display lever.

3. Manual Flash Control with Canon Speedlites 155A or l99A The flash is on Manual and the aperture is determined by a guide number calculation and then set manually on the lens'aperture ring. The digital readout will include shutter speed, "F" flash signal and the "M" sig~ for manual aperture control. No aperture data will be displayed. When the flash is set to Manual, the viewfinder will display "M" even if an FD lens * at the "A" mark.

4. Long Exposures with Canon Speedlites 155A and l99A When the shutter speed is at "B", the shutter speed data in the digital readout will be replaced by "bu" for "bulb". The remaining information as well as exposure warnings remain the same as in each of the above three cases.

For example:
1) AE Flash
The "B" setting is useful in flash photography for obtaining intentionally blurred images or a zooming effect. At this setting, the flash ot the Speedlite synchronizes with the opening of the first shutter curtain.
2) Automatic Flash 
3) Manual Flash 

5. Ordinary Flash Photography with flashes
other than the Canon Speedlites

When flashes other than the two special Canon Speedlites are used with the A-1, the digital readout will include the same information as in manual override. However, since the aperture displayed has no meaning in this case, it might cause less confusion to switch off the viewfinder display lever.

Motorized Automatic Film Advance Canon did a fantastic job by introducing a motor drive for the A-1. Both the miniaturized Canon Power Winder A, originally designed for the AE-1, and the Canon Motor Drive MA, specially developed as a natural extension of the A-1's AE possibilities, automatically wind the fillm and recock the shutter without your ever having to touch the film advance lever, all even when you are using the A-1 in an AE mode (
except for stopped-down AE).

The Power Winder A2 introduced with the Canon AE-1 Program in 1981 can also be used with the camera. So, the A-1 has one of the most flexible actionbased camera with three option to choose from - a high speed of 5 fps motor drive to a cheaper, older and also slower 2fps Winder A or a newer one in Winder A2.

The Motor Drive MA is a compact, high performance device employing Monolithic IC and an electromagnetic clutch. It offers a selection of three speed settings: H (max. 5 fps), L (max. 3.5 fps) and S (single frame). With the Battery Pack MA, the unusually high speed (H) is instantly accessible for those fast-breaking situations. For maximum ease of operation, there is also a selection of three shutter buttons depending on how the camera is hand-held.However, the Motor Drive MA set has no autoamtic film rewind feature as with the Motor Drive FN for the professional Canon New F-1. Both accessories stop automatically at the end of the film at which time an LED glows steadily to tell you that the roll is completed. They mount onto the A-1 with ease, and even when mounted, can simply be switched off to wind the film manually.
Note: The Motor Drive MA, Power Winder A and Power Winder A2 have a separate site on their own, instruction manual is also provided in this PIM site.

DATA BACK A Within seconds, the A-l's back cover can be exchanged for the Data Back A, which, again, becomes an integral part of the camera's electronic system. As you press the shutter release, the day, month and year will be recorded clearly but unobtrusively in the lower right hand corner of every picture, i.e., unless you decide to leave it blank. Since letters and Roman numerals are also available, the Data Back can serve as a convenient coding system as well. However, if you are looking for a Databack for your A-1, please be
alert that the numerals on the year is only limited to 1987. You can use other dial to set for the year. See more info in the databack section. But generally, it is still too tedious to use the databack for that purprose to encode dates and I don't recommend a buy.

Various Accessories for Close-ups and Photomacrography Canon offers a whole gamut of accessories which give you unlimited possibilities in close-ups, photomacrography and photomicrography. At the center of the systen~ stands the elegant, versatile Auto Bellows featuring a three-way focusing mechanism, immediate lens reversal and automatic diaphragm coupling with the Canon Double Cable Release. For higher magnifications with excellent image quality there are the specially aberration-corrected Macro and Macrophoto lenses. A Macro Stage and three slide duplicators provide the maximum of ease in shooting difficult subjects.


Of course, close-up lenses and reversing rings are also offered along with three sets of extension tubes. The remarkable set of extension tubes FD-U permit full-aperture metering, automatic diaphragm coupling and AE photography with the A-1. There is also a simpler bellows unit, the Bellows M. Even with these non-automatic accessories, the Macro Auto Ring and Double Cable Release preserve automatic diaphragm coupling. Canon's extra-large, ultra-stable Copy Stand 5, the smaller Copy Stand 4, a small, collapsible copy stand, camera supports, a Focusing Rail, cable releases and microscope adaptors round out Canon's integrated, comprehensive close-up system.

| Back | Content Page of Instruction Manual | Index Page of Canon A-1

| Back | Index Page of Canon A-1
| Back | Main Index Page of Canon SLR Models

| Message Board | for your Canon A-Series SLR camera(s)
| Message Board | for your Canon optics in a shared environment
| Message Board | Specifically for Dispose or Looking for Canon Photographic Equipment

History & Background | Basic Camera Operation (14 Parts)

Main Reference Map - HTML | PDF (270k)
Specification - HTML | PDF (96k)

Shared Resources: Winder A, Winder A2, Focusing Screens, Motor Drive MA, Databack A, Speedlites & Macro photography.

Canon FD Resources
A Series: AE-1 | AT-1 | A-1 | AV-1 | AE-1 Program | AL-1
T- Series:
T50 | T60 | T70 | T80 | T90
F-1 | New F-1
Canon FL Resources Pellix | FTQL

FL | Canon FDn lenses. | Early versions of FD lenses

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
Others:- Canon Auto Bellow Unit Manual; Canon Macro Photography Guide, Canon Slide Duplicator Manual, Canon Angle Finder User's Manual

Home - Photography in Malaysia

MIR Home

Copyright © 2000. leofoo ®. MIR Web Development Team.

Maintenance Team: Kaipin, Terry Carraway & Dr Strangelove; Pawel Nabe for his image on the Data Memory Back. EEwyn Foo, my nephew, who has spent quite a number of nights converting the original manual in HTML format. Mr. Richard Yeow, General Manager -Optical Division of Canon Marketing for granting special permission to reproduce this manual into HTML format in his site as a form of obligation to all Canon FD mount users worldwide. * Canon, FD Lenses, Canon Marketing are registered trade names or trademarks of Canon Inc. Japan.