Modern Classic SLR Series
The Canon AE-1 - Camera Operation Part VI

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Shooting Against the Light with the Backlight Control Switch In most cases, the Canon AE-1's Central Emphasis Metering system will give correct exposure readings in AE photography. However, you will occasionally encounter 'abnormal' or unfavourable lighting situations in which normal AE photography would not provide a correct exposure reading of the main subject. For example, in situation where your subject has strong light behind it or the subject contrasts sharply with the background or the composition is such that it does not appear in the center of the picture or the entire scene is either extremely bright such as a light-colored subject in snow, a white wall or on a sunny beach.

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In the above cases, it is necessary to modify the automatic exposure reading that the camera automatically sets. If calculation of exposure compensation is too complicated, the AE-1 has a convenient feature in backlight exposure compensation button. You can correct the exposure reading by pressing the backlight control switch which will increase the exposure value by the equivalent of one and a half f/stops.

Long Exposures and "B" (Bulb) Setting

When you need shutter speeds slower than two seconds such as for shooting night scenes or fireworks, set the shutter speed dial at "B". Then, the shutter will remain open as long as the shutter button is pressed. In long exposures, it becomes essential to mount the camera on a tripod and use a cable release preferably with a lock to prevent camera shake and attain best results.

A cable release with a locking device can keep the shutter open even though the operator leaves the cable release unattended. Unlock the cable release when the shutter should be closed.

: Since the electronic AE-1 does not operate any of its shutter settings mecghanically, photography using the "B" setting will accelerate battery consumption since it requires continuous battery power. When necessary, the battery should be replaced with a new one having a full charge.

Stopped-Down Metering

When the AE-1 is used with Canon FD lenses, photography can be performed with through-the-lens (TTL) metering and with AE coupling. However, with the Canon FL lenses and most earlier non-auto coupled accessories such as bellows, extension tubes, or a microscope adapter, it is necessary to take a stopped-down meter reading.

Warning: The FD lenses with auto diaphragm mounted on the AE-1 should always be used with full aperture metering. Using stopped-down metering with FD lenses on the AE-1will give the wrong exposure. Skip this section if your optics are FD or New FD-type of lenses.

Stopping down the lens can be done by pushing the stopped-down lever until it locks. When the lens is stopped-down, press the shutter button halfway or depress the exposure preview switch and adjust the aperture ring and/or shutter speed dial until the meter needle inside the viewfinder is aligned with the stopped-down metering index mark. Press the shutter button and the photograph will be perfectly exposed. If the lens should be mounted on the camera with the stopped-down lever locked, correct exposure will not be obtained. In this case, a red warning mark by the stopped-down coupling lever inside the camera body is visible. After removing the lens, on the lower part of the camera body, just below the mirror, this stopped-down coupling lever becomes visible, as does the red mark in the case described above.

Manual Aperture Control

When accessories requiring manual aperture control are used between the camera body and a lens, lock the automatic aperture lever in the manual position before mounting the lens.

A) Lock for Manual Aperture Control (1) For manual aperture control, push the automatic aperture lever counterclockwise until it stops and locks. When accessories such as extension tubes are attached to a lens that has been set for manual control, the diaphragm blades of the lens open or close as the aperture ring is turned. To revert from manual control, reset the automatic aperture lever in its original position.

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B) Lock for Manual Aperture Control (2)

There are some FD lenses with the manual lock lever requiring a different procedure for manual control setting.

With these particular lenses, the automatic aperture lever must be turned fully counterclockwise while the manual lock lever is brought to the "L" position. Once this has been done, when the lens is mounted on the camera, the diaphragm blades will open or close by turning the aperture ring. To revert from manual aperture control, reset the manual lock lever at the position of the white dot.

C) Lock for Manual Aperture Control When Using the Macrophoto Coupler (3) In close-up photography of high magnification with a lens reversed on the Macrophoto Coupler, the automatic diaphragm mechanism is not coupled. You must, therefore, remember to close down the diaphragm manually after having locked the automatic aperture lever in the manual position as explained above in (1) and (2). Then, fix the Macrophoto Hood on the lens mount by turning the bayonet ring.

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When you are taking stopped-down meter readings, the manual aperture control "M" signal above the aperture scale inside the viewfinder flashes on and off only when the shutter release button is depressed halfway.

Changing the Lens
Earlier FD lenses (With inner chrome ring) incorporate a safety mechanism to prevent the bayonet ring and the diaphragm blades from moving when the lens is not mounted on the camera. To bypass this safety mechanism, press the lock pin in the top recess of the bayonet mount while turning the bayonet ring. Once this safety mechanism has thus been cancelled, you can see the diaphragm blades move when activated.
Note: Later FD lenses (those with the black ring) need not have to lock the chrome ring. Since FD lenses have signal pins and levers which couple with the camera body, special care must be taken not to damage them. One basic precaution is to always put the lens down facing down whenever you must change lenses.

The following lenses
cannot be used with the built-in meter because the extended rear part of the lens will push in the lens speed adjustment pin on the camera body: FL 19mm f/3.5 FL 35mm f/2.5 FL 50mm f/1.8 FL 58mm f/1.2 R 35mm f/2.5 R 50mm f/1.8 R 100mm f/2.

Lens Signal Coupl ing Aperture Signal Lever
This lever transmits the actual f/stop to the exposure meter. It is coupled to the aperture ring just the same as when the aperture ring is not set at the "A" mark.

Full Aperture Signal Pin
This pin transmits the signal corresponding to the lens at the full aperture opening.
Automatic Aperture Lever This lever closes down the aperture, coupled with the stopped-down coupling lever.

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EE Switch Pin
This pin protrudes when the aperture ring is locked at the "A" mark. In this position, it transmits a signal for AE photography.
Reserved Pin
This pin is designed for use with accessories that may be developed in the future.

Film Plane Indicator

This mark is engraved on the top of the camera between the film rewind crank and the battery check button, just to the left of the pentaprism, to indicate the exact position of the film plane. The distance scale on the lens shows subject distances measured from the film plane indicator. This mark is not used in general photography, but in close-ups and macrophotography it is often used to obtain the exact subject distance.

Scales on the Lens - Aperture Scale
The aperture of the lens is the opening of the diaphragm blades, like the iris of the human eye. It controls the amount of light passing through the lens to the film surface.

The f/number is a numerical expression of the effective aperture. It is obtained by dividing the focal length of the lens by the diameter of the effective aperture. When the f/number is set one scale gradation higher, the lens allows in half the light it would at the previous gradation. Intermediate settings of the aperture scale can be used, too. In some lenses, the f/number setting one gradation higher than the first f/number setting does not necessarily allow only half the amount of light of the previous setting through the lens to expose the film as is the case at the other settings. This should be taken into consideration when necessary.

Distance Scale The distance scale is for distances measured from the film plane. This scale is not generally used except for confirming the depth-of-field, performing guide number calculations in flash photography, or photographing with infrared film. Read one-digit distances in the middle of the number marked on the scale. Two-digit distances should be read at the point in the middle of the two digits.

Depth-of-Field Scale You can determine the depth-of-field by checking the depth-of-field scale and the distance scale on the lens barrel. Both are closely interrelated.

Infrared Index Mark The red dot infrared index mark engraved on the lens barrel is a focusing correction index mark for infrared film. Because infrared light rays have longer wavelengths, they focus on a plane slightly behind that of ordinary visible light rays.

Therefore, it is necessary to slightly modify the normal method of focusing the lens. After focusing the same as usual, note the tiny red dot engraved on the lens barrel just to the right of the distance index and turn the focusing ring slightly to align the focused distance with this red dot.

For instance normally, when the focus is adjusted at 5m on the distance scale, you turn the focusing ring slightly so that the 5 on the distance scale matches the red dot infrared index mark. When photographing with infrared black and white film, visible light rays must be kept out by means of a deep red filter (R1) over the lens. Set the aperture ring manually following the film manufacturer's suggestion for exposure settings. However, this does not apply when color infrared film is used' so please follow the directions of the specific instructions of the film manufacturer when performing infrared color photography. The infrared index mark is engraved in a position based upon the conclusion arrived at through experiments that the film most sensitive to the 800m,u wavelength is to be used with a red filter. For example, the Kodak Film IR135 and the Wratten Filter 37.

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