Modern Classic SLR Series
Canon A-1 - Camera Operation
- Part VI


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Previewing the Exposure When you take a meter reading the viewfinder information will be displayed in a digital readout directly below the viewing area. With the viewfinder display lever switched on, you can take a meter reading in any one of three ways: Depress the shutter button halfway. Press in the exposure preview switch. Press the exposure memory switch. Full viewfinder information includes shutter speed, aperture, manual aperture control signal, flash signal, exposure warning flashing and a flashing error signal for incorrect operation. The digital display viewfinder gives you the most information in a minimum amount of display capacity.

LED.gif (3k)

Press.jpg Preview.jpg

The camera employs LED circuits to eliminate the need for any extra illumination of viewfinder information. Except when usinz a flash or the exposure memory switch when the LED maintains constant brightness, the degree of LED illumination changes in four stazes depending on the brightness of the subject seen in the viewfinder.

When the subject is brighter, the LED brightness is slightly higher, and it is slightly lower with a darker subject. As a result, the LED maintains an almost consistent degree of brightness to the human eye. The viewfinder information signal is transmitted to the display every half second. Accordingly, in rapidly varying light conditions, the changes in aperture or shutter speed will be indicated slightly behind time. This is a concession to the adjustment limitations of the human eye which in no way affects exposure timing.

Cancelling the Viewfinder Display With the A-1, you have the option of turning off the viewfinder display altogether.

This can be done simply by turning the viewfinder display lever to the white dot. Metering is taking place and the shutter can be released for a correctly exposed image even when the display is switched off, but it saves battery power and gives you absolute freedom to focus and compose the image undisturbed.

Numerals and Characters Composing Digital Readout in Viewfinder

= 4 seconds; = 1/4 second
Up to the first four digits from the left in the digital readout s,how shutter speed data ranging from 1/1000 sec. to 30 sec. All speeds from 1/2 sec. and faster will be displayed as a whole number as they are on the AT dial so that an indicated shutter speed of 500 in the digital readout stands for a shutter speed of 1/500 sec. All speeds from 1 sec. and slower will be displayed as a whole number followed by a second mark (") so that an indicated shutter speed of 8 " in the digital readout stands for a real shutter speed of 8 sec. When you are in aperture priority AE and the camera is calculating the shutter speed, it is possible for intermediate shutter speeds that are not on the AT dial to show up in the viewfinder. In this case, you may see such shutter speeds as 750 (1/750 sec.) or 0" 7 (0.7 sec.) displayed in the viewfinder. However, it is
NOT possible to set the AT dial to an intermediate shutter speed.

= 1/750 second; = 0.7 sec The next two digits following the first four from the left for shutter speed data are reserved for aperture data. The possible apertures to be displayed in the di~al readout range from f/1.2 to f/32 even though the minimum aperture it is possible to set on the AT dial is only f/22.The aperture data in the digital readout is displayed in 1/2 f/stop increments, giving numerical values standing for the dots on the aperture scale of the AT dial. An indicated aperture of 9.5, for instance, in the viewfinder stands for the dot between f/8 and f/11 on the AT dial aperture scale. These half f/stops are approximations which are not always exactly halfway between the full f/stops.

= f9.5
Although both shutter speed and aperture are indicated in the viewfinder in each l/2 step increment, they are actually controlled by the camera steplessly for greatest possible precision.

There are other possible displays, including M, bulb, F, bu F, and a flashing "M" is the last digit on the right in the digital readout. It appears when the camera is not set for AE control. "F" or "bu F" supplements or replaces the shutter speed data in the digital readout when the camera is set for flash photography while "bulb" replaces the shutter speed data when the AT dial shutter speed scale is set to "B". "M" is also displayed at the "B" setting.

The flashing "EEEE EE" appears to warn of error in the stopping-down process and will be explained in more detail later in this instruction booklet.

Incorrect Exposure
Warnings The types of incorrect exposure warnings depend on what AE mode you are using.

1. In shutter-speed priority AE mode When exposure is incorrect, the LED digital readout for aperture flashes on and off.

Underexposure Usually the digital readout for aperture flashes showing the lens maximum aperture to indicate underexposure. At very low shutter speeds, it is possible for a different aperture to flash on and off. For correct exposure, turn the AT dial to a lower shutter speed.
Overexposure Aperture data from 19 to 32 will flash on and off to indicate overexposure. If the minimum aperture of your lens is equal to or smaller than the flashing aperture, exposure will be correct. If the minimum aperture of your lens is larger than the flashing aperture, increase the shutter speed for correct exposure. In other words, whenever any aperture smaller than f/16 appears in the readout, it will always be flasting on and off. Whether this indicates overexposure or not depends on tne lens minimum aperture as described above.

There is one exception to the above which occurs when the minimum aperture of the lens is f/32. Since the smallest f/stop that can appear in the readout is f/32, when the digital readout shows 32, exposure may or may not be correct. Increase t e shutter speed one step. If the readout now shows a flashing 22, exposure will be correct even at the original slower shutter speed. If 32 is still flashing once you have increased the shutter speed, increase the shutter speed even further. There is a rare case where f/16 may flash on and off in the viewfinder. If you are using a lens with an f/16 minimum aperture, the image may be overexposed, so increase the shutter speed. If your lens has a smaller minimum aperture, exposure will be correct.

Outside the Meter Coupling Range When the light level is so low that it would be outside the meter coupling range regardless of the shutter speed you set, the set shutter speed will flash on and off along with the aperture in the viewfinder. When the light level is too high, a small aperture will flash on and off even when the AT dial is set to the highest shutter speed.

In these cases, shooting in the shutter-speed priority AE mode is only possible if you can change the light level accordingly or switch to a more appropriate film.

2. In aperture priority AE mode When exposure is incorrect, the LED digital readout for shutter speed flashes on and off. When the highest shutter speed of 1000 flashes in the viewfinder to indicate overexposure, turn the AT dial to a smaller aperture. When a shutter speed of the slow range flashes in the viewfinder to indicate underexposure, turn the AT dial to a larger aperture. The shutter speed value that flashes to indicate underexposure depends on the speed (maximum aperture) of the lens and ASA film speed. As in the shutter-speed priority AE mode, when the light level is too low, both shutter speed and aperture data will flash on and off to indicate that no matter what aperture you set, the meter will not couple in an AE mode. When the light level is too high, the shutter speed will flash on and off even when the AT dial is set to the minimum aperture possible.

Again, AE photography is still possible if you change the light level or switch to a more appropriate film.

3. In programmed AE mode Both the shutter speed LED and the aperture LED flash on and off simultaneously to warn you of overexposure as well as underexposure. In taking exposure readings, the shutter speed and aperture combination changes as they are programmed in the camera. However, if there should be too little light to be exposed correctly even at the maximum aperture, the maximum aperture of the lens in use will remain fixed, and the camera will work in aperture priority AE, controlling the shutter speed to produce correct exposure.

If the camera exceeds the limit of the meter coupling range, the shutter speed and aperture LED values that flash depend on the lens used and the ASA film speed.

When the data flashes on and off in programmed AE, photography is no longer possible in that mode unless you change the light level or switch to a more appropriate film.

Check List: Double-Check Before Shooting

1. Is the aperture ring of the lenc cet to the "A" mark?
2. Have you checked the battery power level?
3. Have you properly set the AE mode selector?
The Tv setting (shutter-speed priority AE) is preferable for action photography. The Av (aperture priority AE) is preferable for still photography.
4. Did you set the film speed properly?
This is essential to the proper operation of the camera. See that the memo holder tells the type of film loaded in the camera.
5. Is the film properly loaded?
You can use the rewind knob as an indicator that the film is properly loaded. Every time you advance the film, the rewind knob should rotate.
6. Is the main switch set to the "A" mark?
At the "
L" setting, the shutter button is locked.

Shutter Release Once you have focused, composed your picture and confirmed correct exposure, gently press the shutter button all the way down to set the shutter in motion.

When the shutter is released, the exposure will be stored, so there is no problem in removing your finger from the shutter button even in the slow speed range.

If you press the shutter button in one very quick stroke, the viewfinder display will become invisible and the camera's function may be delayed for an instant, but exposure metering will not be affected and your picture will be accurately exposed. If you press the shutter button with an extremely quick punch, it is possible that the shutter will not be released at all. For proper function and the least camera shake, it is best to press the shutter button gently. To cancel shutter release, press the battery check button or return the main switch to "L". Shutter release WILL NOT be cancelled in the slow shutter speed range simply by turning the AT dial to a higher shutter speed.

Pressing the shutter button will not make an exposure if the film is only partially advanced or if battery power is too low.

Rewinding the Film

When you have reached the end of the film, the film advance lever will stop suddenly before the end of its stroke.

DO NOT force the film advance lever beyond this point or the film may become detached from the cartridge or tear, making rewinding impossible and necessitating handling the film in total darkness or a changing bag. Also DO NOT open the camera's back cover before rewinding or your film will be totally exposed. To rewind the film, press in the film rewind button on the bottom of the camera. Once you have pressed it, you can remove your finger. Unfold the film rewind crank and turn it in the direction of the small arrow until the frame counter reaches the "S " mark. At this point only the film leader will not be rewound into the cartridge. Stop rewinding here if the film is only partially exposed and you want to reload it at some other time.

Also, some developing labs prefer the leader to remain protruding, and the leader may also prevent any stray light from enterzng the cartridge.

Otherwise you may continue to rewind past "S" until you feel no further pressure on the rewind crank. Now pull the rewind knob up sharply to open the back cover and remove the cartridge. It is preferable to place the exposed cartridge back in the canister and to have it developed as soon as possible.

Frame Counter The frame counter of the A-1 is an additive type. It advances to the next number indicating the number of frames already exposed, each time the film is wound. It will not advance higher than 38. The numbers 0 20 and 36 are marked in orange, the latter two as a warning of the end or near-end of films having those numbers of frames. This frame counter is also coupled with the rewindin~ operation so that it counts back the frame numbers as the film is rewound. It automatically returns to "S" upon opening the camera s back cover.


The frame counter will conveniently stop during multiple exposures so that several exposures on the same frame will not be counted as separately exposed frames.

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