Modern Classic SLR Series
Canon A-1 - Camera Operation - Index Page


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Canon has good reason to have unbounded confidence and pride in the A-1. Embodied in this camera are the qualities of one of the finest SLR cameras produced durring the '70 and into it went the most sophisticated electronics technology available in the world during that era.

Incorporating at least 20 novel technologies never before used in a camera, the A-1 is capable of operating in five distinct AE modes - all with an incredibly high degree of precision, reliability and ease of operation. You can use any one of the AE modes by just a simple flick of a single switch Simple manual operation is also possible. With its many AE functions, the A-1 was indeed good enough to serve a busy professional those days but it is also easy enough to operate even for a novice. Even the A-l's system accessories are integrated into its pulse-controlled, digital computer system so that you can enjoy AE flash and motorized AE photography. Even for a seasoned Canon user, you will find that A-1 has many 'unusual' features. Basically, the camera has two 'faces': a straight forward auto everything (other than autofocus) camera and a techno-camera for those who has a good basic and experience with operating a multimode AE SLR camera.

Before the popularity of LCD as the prime display medium for sophistication of AE modes and controls, the A-1's method of solving the problem of display information and various controls on exposure modes are really very impressive even by today's standard. You may compared that with the Minolta's original effort wth the world's first multi-mode SLR camera in the (Aperture & Shutter-Priority AE - but without Programmed AE)
Minolta XD-7/XD-11 camera in 1976 or the Nikon debut of their multimode model, Nikon FA in 1983. As you may notice, even whn you are operating in Aperture Priority AE, you need not have to turn the aperture value on your lens. It may sound very complex for a relative new A-1 user or to a non-Canon user. Anyway, these pages that continue here in this site will help you to understand more in its various operational control and some useful basic guide to photography. It is hard to satisfy everyone's desire or need when they come into a site as the one presented here, anyway - I do hope it helps.

Warning: The Canon A and T series models use the previous FD mount and thus they are not compatible with the many current autofocus EOS EF mount optics or accessories. If you have already owned a SLR system, I don't actually recommend a buy - unless for some specific personal reasons or may be if you have already built-up a FD system over the years and you don't want to abandon them (Because it doesn't make sense, an entry EOS model will be more logical if the price is the same). I don't like to mis-led anyone who comes into my site, please make note of that before any decision is made.

Sections that follow will begin with the content page and follow by basic preparation for the camera. Before that,
please Click Here to open up a new window to show the main reference map of the Canon A-1 for cross reference.

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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

Canon EOS SLRs | Canon EF lens Resources

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

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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.