Modern Classic SLR Series
The Canon AE-1 Program - Basic Steps - Part I

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1) Attaching the Lens

Turn the rear lens cap in the direction of the arrow until it stops and pull it off the lens.
Removed the body cap.

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Note: The instructions in this section concerning the lens are for an FD lens without a chrome mount ring (Earlier FD lenses). If your lens looks like this one with a chrome mount ring, read its instructions for handling the rear cap and mounting it on the camera.

To re-attach the rear lens cap, align it with the lens as illustrated. Then lightly push it in and turn it clockwise until it stops.

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To mount the lens, first align the red positioning point on the lens with the red dot above the camera mount as illustrated.
Then turn the lens in the direction of the arrow until it stops and the lens release button pops out with a click.

Make sure the lens release button has popped out. Otherwise, the lens will not work properly. DO NOT press the lens release button while mounting or it may not pop out. When film is loaded, make sure it is completely advanced to the next frame before mounting the lens.

Warning: If your camera look like this, with a red dot showing inside the camera mount, do not mount the lens yet, correct exposure cannot be ensured if you do.


To release the stop-down lever, unfold and lightly press it down so it pops out. Then mount the lens. Leave the stop-down lever as it is. Normal position of the lever-->>

2) Setting Up the lens for AE (Automatic Exposure) Photography

Note: With the exception of the Canon fish-eye 7.5mm f/5.6 lens, be sure to place the lens with its front end down (as illustrated) to avoid damaging the protruding pins.

Remove the front lens cap.
To remove the lens, turn it in the direction of the arrow. while pressing the lens release button, until it stops.

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While pressing in the AE lock pin, turn the aperture ring in the direction of the arrow until "A" click-stops at the distance index. "A" will be in line with the red dot on the camera. If you forget to do th~s, automatic exposure will be impossible.

Note : BOTH shutter-speed priority AE and programmed AE require you to set the lens to this setting.

3) Loading the Battery

Note: 1. AE photography is possible only with a Canon FD lens.
2. Some Canon FD lenses have a green circle in place of the "A'' mark. it means the same thing as the "A" mark.

Remove the viewfinder cover from the accessory shoe.
Remove the action grip by means of a coin or similar object.

Correct Batteries Examples
Alkaline-manganese, 6V Eveready (UCAR) No A544 IEC 4LR44
Silver Oxide, 6V Eveready (UCAR) No 544 Duracell PX 28, IEC 4 SR44
Lithium, 6V Duracell PX 28 L
Note: Related article on battery cells.

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Open the battery chamber cover using the viewfinder cover. Load a new battery so that its terminals are in the directions indicated by the diagram inside the battery chamber. Insert the negative end first. Then push down and insert the positive end. Close the chamber cover.

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The camera will not function if the battery is loaded incorrectly or without anyone installed inside.

The AE- 1 PROGRAM will not work without a battery. We recommend carrying a spare battery especially when you are engaged in any important assignment. Further, when you are working in cold weather, always make sure there are adequate precaution are taken for possible weak performance of the cell(s)..

Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Claudio®. who is a collector for Canon photo gear, he also has an Ebay Section as well as maintaining a website on his own where occasionally trading some photo equipment. Image(s) copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.

DO NOT touch the battery terminals. Wipe them and the camera contacts with a clean dry-cloth before loading to prevent poor contact from dirt.

4. Checking the Battery

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1) Turn the main dial to "A".
2) Then, press the battery check button. Shooting is possible if you hear about six or more "beeps" per second. If the camera beeps slowly (about three or fewer "beeps" per second), there is not enough power. In this case, replace the battery.


1. With normal use, the battery should last about one year.
2. It is necessary to take special precautions with the battery when you are shooting in temperatures below 0°C (32° F}.
3. Remove the battery if you do not expect to use the camera for about three weeks or longer.

| Previous | Next | 1/3 More Basic Controls

Part I: Basic Camera Operations (3 parts)
II: Advance Camera Operations (5 parts)
III: Other Issues (2 parts)

| Back | The Index page of Canon AE-1 Program
| Back | Main Index Page of Canon SLR Models

Shared Resources: Winder A, Winder A2, Focusing Screens, Motor Drive MA, Databack A, Speedlites & Macro photography.

Canon FD Resources
A Series: AE-1 | AT-1 | A-1 | AV-1 | AE-1 Program | AL-1
T- Series:
T50 | T60 | T70 | T80 | T90
F-1 | New F-1
Canon FL Resources Pellix | FTQL

FL | Canon FDn lenses. | Early versions of FD lenses

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

Others:- Canon Auto Bellow Unit Manual; Canon Macro Photography Guide, Canon Slide Duplicator Manual, Canon Angle Finder User's Manual

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Maintenance Team: Kaipin, Terry Carraway & Dr Strangelove; Pawel Nabe for his image on the Data Memory Back. EEwyn Foo, my nephew, who has spent quite a number of nights converting the original manual in HTML format. Mr. Richard Yeow, General Manager -Optical Division of Canon Marketing for granting special permission to reproduce this manual into HTML format in his site as a form of obligation to all Canon FD mount users worldwide. * Canon, FD, FL Lenses, are registered trade names or trademarks of Canon Inc. Japan.