Classic SLR Series
5. Loading the Film The Canon AE-1 uses color or black and white film in standard 35mm cartridges. Since this is a 25 years old camera, you can't expect it is as convenient as today's modern SLR with niffty feature such as Auto DX coding , auto film advance and power rewind. Most of this procedures have to handle them manually.
Opening the Back Cover To load a cartridge of film into the camera, first open the camera's back cover. Pull up the rewind crank and the back cover will pop open. The back cover can be securely closed simply by pressing it until it locks.
An optional accessory, Canon Data Back A, a recording device for imprinting data such as the day, month and year, can be attached to the AE-1 in place of the standard back cover.
How to Load the Film Note: ALWAYS avoid direct sunlight when loading or unloading the film. Put the cartridge into the film cartridge chamber and press down while rotating the rewind knob until it drops securely into position. The protruding part of the cartridge should be on the bottom. Pull the film leader across and insert the end into one slot of the multi-slot take-up spool.
Turn the film advance lever and wind the film around the take-up spool making sure that the perforations of the film are engaged in the teeth of the film transport sprocket.
Then, make sure that there is no film slack. In case there is, gently turn the film rewind crank in the direction of the arrow to obtain proper film tautness and the film advance lever to ensure that the leader is wound fully on to the take-up spool before the camera back is closed.
When loading the film into the camera do not touch the shutter curtain, the film rails or the pressure plate. The shutter curtain is a most delicate and fragile part in the camera, a deformed shutter curtain may result in a permanent damage and since the AE-1 may not have any support in replacement parts from Canon, always handle loading and unloading of film roll carefully.
Closing the Back Cover
Close the back cover until it snaps shut. Gentlyturn the film rewind crank clockwise in the direction of the arrow to take up the film slack. Then, advance the film a couple of times pressing the shutter button until the first exposure appears in the frame counter.Checking Film Winding
Operate the film advance lever while watching the film rewind knob. If it rotates, the film is properly loaded. If the rewind knob does not rotate, open the back cover and load the film again from the start.
Setting the ISO Film Speed
After loading the film, set the ISO film speed according to the ISO speed of the film in use.
To set the ISO, first push the film advance lever out to its 30° stand-off position away from the camera body, then lift up the ISO ring around the shutter dial and rotate it in either direction until the proper number is aligned with the green index mark. ISO is a numerical rating of a film's sensitivity to light. A higher ISO number indicates a faster film which is more sensitive to light. On the other hand, a lower ISO number indicates a slower film which is less sensitive to light. The ISO rating recommended by the manufacturer is printed on the film box, e.g., ISO 100.
The following ISO ratings can be set on the camera. Figures in parentheses indicate intermediate film speeds.
ISO 25 | 32 | 40 | 50 | 64 | 80 | 100 | 125 | 160 | 200 | 250 | 320 | 400 | 500 | 640 | 800 | 1000 | 1250 | 1600 | 2000 | 2500 | 3200
Use of the Memo Holder The memo holder on the camera's back cover is useful for keeping data like film speed, location, shooting.
For example, after tearing off the part of the film box which specifies the type of the film being used, it can be inserted into the memo holder as a constant reminder. Personally, I used the memo holder to put an ID-size photo of my girlfriend.
Film Advance and Shutter Release Turn the film advance lever until it stops, so the film will advance one frame all in one motion. The shutter will cock, and the diaphragm and mirror will be ready for the next shutter release, while the frame counter advances simultaneously to the next number. By pushing the film advance lever lightly with the tip of your thumb, it will open to its 30 stand-off position away from the camera body for easy film advance.While the film is advancing, the shutter will not be released.
Film winding can also be accomplished by advancing the lever in short strokes.
Canon has developed the Power Winder A to be used with the AE-1 for automatic film winding. It greatly increases the automation and mobility of the AE-1.
Shutter Button and Shutter Lock The shutter release button is designed to function as the main switch of the camera to activate the AE meter and shutter operation. The shutter has a magnetic release, so the meter can be read by pressing the shutter button halfway with light pressure. By depressing it further, the shutter will be released.
The magnetic release shutter button enables faster metering for shooting in succession than the mechanical release method does. There is also less chance for camera shake.
When the shutter lock lever around the shutter release button is turned to the "L" position, the shutter button will be locked to prevent unintentional shutter release. Keep the shutter release button locked while carrying the camera to prevent film waste. Note: When the power level of the battery is insufficient, a safety mechanism will keep the shutter from being released.
The frame counter is an additive type which counts one frame every time the film advance lever winds the film. When the camera's back cover is opened, the frame counter automatically resets itself to the "S" position.
The shutter release button is designed to function as the main switch of the camera to activate the AE meter and shutter operation. The shutter has a magnetic release, so the meter can be read by pressing the shutter button halfway with light pressure. By depressing it further, the shutter will be released. The magnetic release shutter button enables faster metering for shooting in succession than the mechanical release method does. There is also less chance for camera shake.While rewinding film, the frame counter counts back the frame numbers. The starting position "S", 0, and the even numbers 2 to 38 are displayed by the counter. Numbers 20 and 36 are marked in orange to call your attention to the end of film cartridges such as are today commercially available. The frame counter cannot count higher than 38.
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