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Canon A-1 - Instruction Manual - Introduction


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Main features of Canon A-1 Quality from the Inside Out The extraordinary qualities of the A-1 start with its design. It is the first camera in the world in which all information, both input and output, is in the form of pulse signals enabling it to be the first camera with a digital, rather than an analog, computer. It is the first camera to have a Pure-Integrated Injection Logic (Pure-), the most advanced type of logic circuitry yet produced by the electronics industry, which is so highly integrated that it is capable of processing many times the information possible with simple IC's. It is also the first camera in the world to have a program unit with programmable logic array (PLA) which makes sure that the camera receives all information and in correct order. In practical terms, all of this complex electronics circuitry boils down to the first camera which is capable of extremely precise and reliable automatic exposure in five different modes but which remains remarkably compact and easy to operate. The use of such advanced technology is not limited to design alone. Building on the special production technology system it established with the design of the AE-1 Canon has extended its use of computers and automation from automatic production of the main parts to at- least partial automation in all facets of production including processing, assembly and inspection. In this contribution to a new system of camera manufacture, Canon is able to offer greater precision at less expense.

Other benefits deriving from the design concept of the A-1 include greatly improved stability against great temperature changes and remarkably improved meter response. The A-1 will set AE exposure only a split second before shutter release.

Despite all of this electronic circuitry which would reasonably require a great deal of power, the A-1 requires only one small battery which normally lasts about one year. Every part of the A- 1, from its sequence circuitry, where the power is sequentially switched on and off, to its Pure- and combination magnet, is designed to conserve power.

Five AE Modes and Manual Override Besides five AE modes which cover all forms of photography, easy override of the A-1's AE functions is also possible. Shutter-speed priority AE is especially useful in action photography, aperture priority AE in still photography. The programmed AE mode, in which the camera controls both aperture and shutter speed for correct exposure, is good for general use and is the easiest mode for beginners. These three AE modes along with exclusive flash AK. are performed with an FD lens set at "A" for all the benefits of full aperture metering. Stopped-down AK, in which the shutter speed is automatically set, is a big advantage in close-ups and photomicrography. And since all AE inputs have been consolidated into the AE mode selector and the AT dial, the operation of only these two controls suffices to set the camera for any one of the five AE modes. For complete control for exposure correction or special effects, manual operation is a simple matter of moving the FD lens aperture ring from the "A" mark while the shutter speed is set on the AT dial. The A-1 will even provide you with an exposure readout as a basis for your exposure adjustment.

Exposure Compensation
Along with the wide selection of AE modes, the A-1 has two controls for wide-range exposure compensation. These are the exposure compensation dial for stepped exposure correction between +2 f/stops and an exposure memory switch for temporary correction. For special techniques such as low- and high-key shots, contre-jour photography, multiple exposures and flash photography, you pros will find quick response in the A-1. Even in AE, you have complete control over the image results.

Field-of-view-only Viewfinder
This viewfinder is one of the A-1's most unusual features. In the classic sense of the word, this bright viewfinder shows only the field of view for easiest focusing and composing. Using any one of three ways to take an exposure preview, you will activate a compact LED digital readout which clearly conveys shutter speed, aperture, flash and manual operation signals, a bulb indication, improper exposure warnings and a malfunction warning. The viewfinder readout is below and out of the way of the field of view, and the LED's are clearly legible with no need for extra illumination even in very bad light.

Wide Metering Range With its extensive film sensitivity range (ASA 6-12800) and 16 shutter speeds (1/1000-30 sec.), the A-1 offers a wide AE metering range from EV18 (f/16, 1/1000 sec.) all the way down to EV-2 (f/1.4, 8 sec.) with ASA 100 film and an f/1.4 speed lens. Provided that you can even focus your subject in the viewfinder in a very dark situation, it is most likely that you will be able to meter it as well, even in an AE mode. This is especially advantageous in such dimly-lit situations as those in night scenes and photomacrography.

Other Special Features
Add to these features the A-1's single-lever multiple exposure operation and its two interval self-timer with an LED warning. Switching one small lever before winding the film sets the A-1 for a multiple exposure. The film and even the frame counter remain stationary for unlimited multiple exposures. You can set the self-timer for a time-lag of either two or ten seconds during which an easily visible LED flashes. Flashing frequency increases as a warning prior to shutter release.

Finally, seemingly small features, but big advantages in photography include the A-1's detachable action grip, its 120° -stroke film advance lever with a 30° stand-off, its eyepiece shutter and its shutter button lock (main switch).

The System Beginning with accessories which are integral parts of the A-1 system, Canon offers the Speedlite 199A and the Motor Drive MA. Either the more powerful Speedlite 199A or the Speedlite 155A can tee mounted on the A-1 for AE flash photography with automatic setting of shutter speed and aperture. With the Motor Drive MA, continuous shooting at up to five frames per second is possible, and the A-1 also accepts the Power Winder A. Like the AE-1, the A-1 can also use the Data Back A, a date imprinting mechanism that will couple to both power winder and Speedlite. Plus, you have your choice of accessories from Canon's extensive SLR system. From its famous, high resolution FD lenses to its complete line of systemized accessories for close-ups, photomacrography and photomicrography, Canon offers high-quality equipment for all photographic fields.

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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.