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

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Speedlites, Accessories, Care, Maintenance and other issues.

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The versatile circuitry of the Canon AE-1 allows it to perform fully automatic flash photography with the Speedlite 155A especially designed for this camera. It is not necessary to set the shutter speed or the aperture on the camera as, up to now, flash photography required. When the 155A is attached to the AE-1, set the aperture ring of the lens to the "A" mark and the shutter speed dial to any position other than "B" (Bulb). With the pilot lamp of the 155A lighting up,the 155Afunctions to automatically adjust the camera's shutter speed to the X synchronization speed as well as the aperture to the prescribed f/stop value.

Canon Speedlite 155A (
More info available)

speedlite300TL8mdm.jpg Speedlite277T1mdm.jpg 199Aflashbmdm.jpg

Various Canon
Speeedlite models.

After it flashes, the camera automatically switches over to the AE photography mode until the pilot lamp lights up again during which period AE photography can be con tinued. A steady support may be required if shutter speeds are slower than 1/30 of a second. Like ordinary flash units, you can also perform flash photography by operating the aperture ring manually. When you are using a Canon FL lens which does not allow full aperture metering, automatic flash photography can be performed by setting the prescribed f/stop on the lens manually. In both cases, the shutter speed is automatically adjusted to the X synchronization speed of 1/60 sec. As the time of its introduction, there is a 'dedicated' flash unit in Speedlite 155A, which uses a unique averaged light sensing system which keeps down the distribution of the reflected light from the center, the influence of the background is greatly reduced. Thus, the 155A offers more appropriate exposure than the present some other third party flash units do.

Moreover, when the main switch of the Speedlite 155A is turned off, the flash circuitry is completely cut off and the AE-1 switches over to function as an AE camera even when the 155A is mounted on it. However, there are many flash units produced by Canon that followed whcih can offer similar capabilities, so you don't have to purposely hunting specifically for the 155A in the used market.

Flash Photography with the AE-1 Flash Synchronization: X Synchronization Speed (1/60 sec.)
1. When the AE-1 is used with the Canon Speedlite 155A, the shutter speed is automatically adjusted to the X synchronization speed at the time the pilot lamp lights up. When the AE-1 is used with other flash units, the shutter speed should be manually set at 1/60 sec. 2. Flash Terminal: The AE-1 offers a choice of two kinds of flash terminals; one is a directly coupled contact of the hot shoe type, and the other is of the B type terminal, as determined by Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) for use with flash units with a cord. When both flash terminals are used, two flash units can be fired simultaneously. 3. Flash Synchronization Range:

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When the camera is used with a flash unit other than the Canon speedlite 155A o any other similar class Canon speedlites, be sure to set the shutter speed at 1/60 sec or below and the aperture
manually to the aperture to the f stop prescribed for automatic flash photography or to a proper f/stop as indicated by guide number calculation.

Canon Power
Winder A | Winder A2 The Canon AE-1 is a very compact, lightweight camera whose main functions respond to the electronic circuitry built into the camera body. It is possible to photograph just the same as in general photography even when the Canon Power winder A is attached. The Canon Power Winder A is an automatic film winder which makes the functions of automatic photography of the Canon AE-1 outstandingly effective. It can be attached to any Canon AE-1 directly, without any other accessory or attachment. When you attach the Power Winder A to the Canon AE-1 and press the shutter button, the film will be immediately wound after being exposed.

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Furthermore, with the Power Winder A you can catch subjects' movements and changing expressions because you are able to take continuous or single frame photography at your pleasure. When you perform continuous photography, the Power Winder A couples with shutter speed from 1/60 to 1/1000 seconds while, in single frame photography, any shutter speed can be used.

The Winder A has an upgrade later in Winder A2 (Introduced with the AE-1 Program in 1981)which can be used on the earlier Canon A-1 and all other models within the A series (As well as the flashship mode, Canon New F-1!). It is also compatible with the AE-1. However, the AE-1 was not designed to use with the later Motor Drive MA, but the upgrade AE-1 Program was able to share with the Motor Drive MA whcih primarily designed for the Canon A-1. More info on Winder/Motor Drive.

Data Back A This is an interchangeable back cover with a built-in data imprinting mechanism. It can imprint the day, month and year on the lower right hand corner of the photograph at, the moment of the shutter's release, as well as other data to identify or classify the pictures you take.

It has letters and Roman numerals for greater versatility and convenience. Warning: (Make sure you undertsnad the databack before you make a purchase at the used market - the input dial of the original databack for 'Year' 'expired' around 1987).

Canon Bellows FL Older (And cheaper) FL bellow can be considered as accessory. This is an adjustable bellows for high magnification photography. Magnification is adjusted within the range of about 0.7 to 3 times the size of the subject when it is used in combination with a standard lens.

The built-in semi-automatic aperture mechanism automatically closes the diaphragm at the time of shooting and makes the Bellows FL almost as easy to use as a fully automatic lens. Focusing is performed with a bright field of view. It has a built-in strut to prevent blur. The Slide Duplicator FL for duplicating slides can be attached to the end of the Bellows.

The use of a macro lens especially corrected for close-up photography is particularly recommended for photography with the bellows (Majority of the newer accessories designed for A-series bodies can be shared as well).


1. Angle Finders A2 and B
2. Eyecup S
3. Magnifier S
4. Camera Holder F2
5. Macrophoto Coupler FL55, 58
6. Lens Hood BS-55
7. Microphoto Hood
8. Photomicro Unit F
9. Slide Duplicator
10. HandY Stand F
11. Gadget Back 4-type
12. Gadget Back G-1
13. Canon Release 30
14. Canon Release 50
15. 55mm filters 58mm filters
16. 58mm Close-up Lenses (240, 450, 1800)
17. 55mm Close-up Lenses (240, 450)
18. Copy Stand 4
19. Bellows M
20. Bellows F L
21. Extension Tube M Set
22. Dioptric Adjustment Lenses for Eyesight Compensation (10 kinds)
23. Speedlite 155A
24. Power Winder A (A2)
25. Data Back A

The camera is provided with the following (But don't expect these items will be as complete when you acquired a AE-1 as used unit): Body: Soft Case, Viewfinder Cover, Silver Oxide Battery, Eyecup 4S, Flash Terminal Cap, Camera Cover RF, Neckstrap 7, Spare Battery Case, and Adapter A for Tripod. Lens: Lens Cap and Dust Cover.

Care and Storage of the Camera No matter how exceptional the camera may be, it will not give you all it can unless it is taken care of properly. Please make sure to keep the camera clean all the time. Acquire a blower brush, cleaning liquid, cleaning paper, silicone cloth, etc. Dust on the lens or the viewfinder should first be blown off with a blower brush and then wiped lightly with cleaning paper impregnated with cleaning liquid. After the camera has been used on a beach or near the sea, clean it well because salt can affect its mechanisms. A blower brush should also be used to clean the mirror box inside the camera body. If it should require wiping, by all means, please take the camera to a Canon authorized distributor or any qualified and reliable service centre. The film compartment has to be cleaned with a blower because it easily collects film dust. If the dust contains sand, the film is easily scratched. When cleaning the rail surface or the pressure plate, please use cleaning paper and cleaning liquid. Be careful not to touch the shutter curtain when doing so .

Maintenance Keep the camera in a place with low humidity and no dust (
Avoid storing them in drawer or inside any container that has little ventilation). After removing the camera from the case, take the battery out. When you are going to store the camera for a long time without using it, the shutter release button must be activated now and then, to prevent mold and mechanical trouble. Please avoid storing the camera in places such as mentioned below. 1. Inside the trunk or rear window of a car because the temperature can rise to an extremely high degree and this may give rise to trouble in the camera. 2. Places such as laboratories where chemicals are around may cause rust or corrosion.

Note: When taking off the top cover of the soft case, turn the top cover to the bottom then slide the cover straight up and pull it out of the hole as shown in the photo.

When the camera is used in very cold conditions: Battery performance is usually affected by temperatures below zero C. It is always necessary to use a new battery for photography in such extreme cold. Moreover, an extra battery should be taken along and kept warm by placing it next to your body. The battery may not function well at low temperatures but it may well work perfectly under normal conditions, so don't throw it away. In sudden changes of temperature from hot to cold or vice versa, the viewfinder or ths lens may get moist and fog. Therefore, the camera should be exposed to the temperature change gradually. At least 30 minutes should be taken for a change of 10 degrees C. The camera has to be kept in a plastic bag comple,tely sealed and then taken out once it has been adjusted to the outside temperature little by little.

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