Modern Classic SLR Series
The Canon AE-1 - Introduction

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Characteristics 1. Total Automatic System with a built-in CPU (Central Processing Unit), the first 35mm SLR camera in the world to do so.
2. Shutter Speed Priority AE Camera Good for Fast Breaking Action. With Less Chance of Camera Shake. 3. Compact and Lightweight Design Facilitating Mobility and Handling Ease.

4. Continuous Shooting with Power Winder A.
5. AE (Automatic Exposure) Computer Flash Unit, Speedlite 155A - world's first Dedicated autoflash.
6. Full Use of Canon FD Lenses.

Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Claudio®. Image(s) copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

1. Very Little Battery Consumption.
The battery lasts the equivalent of 20,000 shutter releases or one year under normal use.

Usable Batteries

Silver Oxide Battery (6V)

Eveready (UCAR) No. 544 JIS 4G13, Mallory PX28

Alkaline Manganese Battery (6V)

Eveready (UCAR No.537, Mallory 7K13

2. Convenient Finger Grip Bar.

3. Battery Check Button.
OK if the meter needle rests below the index. Without sufficient battery power, a safety mechanism will prevent the shutter release. This button also serves to cancel the self-timer operation.
4. Electromagnetic Shutter Release Button
Activated by a Very Smooth Touch. Two-step shutter button. Light metering is activated by the halfway depression and shutter release by the further depression.
5. Immediate Response Metering. Light metering takes only 0.001 sec. at EV 12.
6. Shutter Speed Priority AE Camera.
High mobility. Less chance of camera shake. Effective for fast breaking action.

Canon AE-1, Olympic 1984
The Canon AE-1 represented a landmark in the history of SLR (Single-Lens-Reflex) cameras. It was not the world's first automatic SLR since competitors like Pentax has its automatic exposure cameras with the screw-mount ES II and Spotmatic while Nikon had its Nikkormat EL in 1972, Minolta introduced its aperture priority AE SLR with some quite high-end and truly impressive features such as interchangeable prism and focusing screens, the XK model and even the Olympus had its compact yet feature-loaded Olympus OM2n long before the FD-mounted, automatic exposure model, Canon AE-1 was introduced.

Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Joe Westerberg® from Palm Springs, CA U.S.A.. who is a collector for various photo gear, he also has an Ebay Section where occasionally trading some photo equipment. Image(s) copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

<<-- I kept puzzled why a Canon AE-1 was used for the Olympic 84 instaed of the Canon AE-1 Program. Anyway, there was another more well known model where Canon used to commemorate the 1984's LA Olympic, which uses the Canon New F-1 body chassis.

7. Compact and Lightweight Design.
590g (20-13/16 ozs.) body only. 790g (27-7/8 ozs.) with the 50mm f/1.8 S.C. Iens. 895g (31-9/16 ozs.) with the 50mm f/1.4 S.S.C. Iens.
8. Design Based on Human Engineering Technique.
Rounded back contours and large operational parts that fit to hand. Finger grip bar. Film advance with 120° throw. One finger operation.
9. Other Features.
Interchangeable back cover.
Memo holder.
Backlight control switch.
Electronic self-timer.

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But up to the mid-'70s, electronics control and applications in SLR cameras were still limited, for example, where the mechanical designs were largely responsible for much of the operations. But the AE-1 was the first camera in the world to incorporate a CPU (Central Processing Unit) which enabled automatic exposure, memory transmission of signals, display, regulation of time and completion signal are all electronically controlled.

All these were packed in a economical price range - it is an entirely new kind of SLR camera during that time. Canon AE-1 was massed produced with new manufacturing and assembling techniques even though it had made its debut during an economic slump. The high degree of automation was not been restricted only to the camera. It was extended to the various accessories, all with the same standard of precision. The AE-1 was also the first camera to offer a totally automated electronic photographic system. It takes its name, AE-1 (Automatic Exposure-One), from this concept.

Application of Electronics is the Cornerstone of the Entire Design Automation in the AE-1 was made possible by the application of the 'most advanced' available electronic technologies during the seventies (Although it may sound pretty much outdated when compared with today's electronics standard), and after a thorough analysis of all the mechanisms and their operations. The important mechanical features made way for the electronic ones, thus changing the very essence of the camera's design.

As a result, a miniature computer (CPU) was successfully incorporated in the AE-1 for the first time in the world to compute, judge, control, display and regulate required information - in certain ways, unmatched by mechanical mechansim especially where the precise timing of the shutter speeds and electronic flash compatibility.

Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Claudio®. Image(s) copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

The (Integrated Injection Logic), as far as its application in photography is concerned, was the most outstanding achievement in the field of electronics during the early and mid-'70s. An LSI digital circuit with extremely high properties of accumulation, an operational amplifier, a circuit with full use of an analog switch, a hyperbolic function resistance using both thick and thin film technology, an analogdigital convertor, and the proper interfaces, together with their constructions and arrangements in modular form, represent the technological breakthroughs in camera design and made mass production possible, which in turn, made photography more affordable to the general consumers.

Exceptional Reliability through Application of Electronics The Canon AE-1, since it employed computer technology and its overall design was based on electronics, opened the doors to a new age in the camera world. In order to make an inter-related package out of all the inner mechanisms and to automatize the assembly process, each and every part must be built with a very high degree of precision.

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And Canon extensively used computers to automate the design of the modules as well as the assembly, manufacturing and finishing processes.

In a way, the AE-1 has influenced (and inspired) many other manuacturers to look into the application of plastic materials in camera manufacturing to reduce costs of production. Although the Canon AE-1 has shinny metallic finishing and even sounds like a metal when you used your finger to knock on its shell, in reality, it was a clever use of a production technique with an underlaying coating of Iron Oxide benealth the plastic which gave it such a similar metallic feel. But the key essential parts like the lens mount, had used metal as the prime material. But undeniably, the modular construction of the camera allowed acceleration in its production with the more uniformed quality control..

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Flexible Substrate of the Canon AE-1
(integrated Injection Logic) High grade of LSI technique used. Equivalent to three chips of IC consisting of more than 1,000 elements.

By using new production methods and the adoption of highly advanced packaging techniques in the manufacture of electronics circuitry, the vital parts were completely sealed to keep out dust and humidity and reduce the effects of temperature.The IC and resistance circuits were built as units. Not only was the wiring streamlined to increase efficiency, but also the new modular joints and all other main parts were completely sealed to obtain the best possible weather proofing (but
it was not a water proof camera).

Interface Interface as a common boundary of mechanics and electronics. Three magnets: 1) For camera function start, 2) For AE aperture control, 3) For second shutter curtain control were used to enhance reliability and precision which provides a matching precision assured by ball bearings.While combination of permanent magnet and electromagnet which use very little battery consumption and the omission of holding mechanisms.

Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Claudio®. Image(s) copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

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Highly suggestive useful external links/resources created by Mr.Christian Rollinger:

Essentials: - Canon A1 Repair/Service Guide | Determine Years of Made of your Canon
Canon Flash models:- Canon 300TL flash(1.5MB); Macrolite ML-1(HTML); Macrolite ML-2; Macrolite ML-3; Speedlite 133a; Speedlite 155a(HTML); Speedlite 177a; Speedlite 188a(HTML); Speedlite 199a; Speedlite 244t; Speedlite 277t (HTML); Speedlite 533; Speedlite 577

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