Modern Classic SLR Series
The Canon AE-1 Program - Advanced Camera Operation - Part I

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13. Battery Issues

Making the Most of Your AE-1 PROGRAM

. Correct Batteries Examples
Alkaline manganese 6V Eveready (UCAR)
No. A544
Silver Oxide 6V Eveready (UCAR) No. 544
Duracell PX 28 IEC 4SR44
Lithium 6V Duracell PX 28 L

Main SW.jpg
2. The AE-1 PROGRAM's battery check circuit not only tells you whether the battery is good but also how good it is. First make sure the main switch is on "A."

Then press the battery check button for two to three seconds. If the battery's power is sufficient, the camera will emit about six or more "beeps" per second. If the battery is weak and needs replacing, the camera will beep at the slower rate of about three "beeps" or fewer per second. 3. The battery is exhausted if, after pressing the battery check button for about three seconds, no sound is emitted. Replace the battery with a new one. 4. Pressing the battery check button, the shutter button, the exposure preview switch, or the AE lock switch uses battery power. Take care that nothing presses on any of these when the camera is not in use. 5. Remove the battery if you do not expect to use the camera for about three weeks or longer. With normal use, the battery should last about one year.

6. Do not try to take the battery apart and never dispose of it in fire.


7. Try to make a habit of checking the battery at the following times:

  • After loading a new battery.
  • If the shutter won't function when the main switch is on "A"
  • Before and after making many long exposures.
  • After storing the camera for a long time.
  • When you are using the camera in low temperatures.
  • Before going on a trip.
  • When the camera is used very frequently.
  • Before shooting important events.

Viewfinder Information for Canon AE-1 Program

The AE-1 PROGRAM's viewfinder is especially bright to facilitate viewing and focusing. It displays only the necessary information, using a Light-Emitting Diode (LED) system of illumination. The degree of LED illumination changes in four stages depending on the brightness of the subject. When the subject is brighter, the LED brightness is slightly higher; it is slightly lower with a darker subject.

Thus the LED maintains an almost consistent degree of brightness to the human eye.

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Correct exposure is provided by the Central Emphasis Averaging System (Also generally referred as "center-weighted average metering"), which reads the entire viewing area with emphasis on the central portion where the subject is most likely to be placed. Since a new type of split-image rangefinder is used in the center of the viewfinder, the brightness of the split-image rarely changes even when using a lens whose maximum aperture is f/5.6 or smaller.

Out ot Focus
The laser matte screen, the microprism rangefinder and the new spit image rangefinder are aids to help you focus. They can be used alone or in combination. The New Split rangefinder divides the subject in half horizontally and is especially useful for a subject which has vertical lines. The subject is in focus when the two halves merge to become one unbroken image. When it is difficult to focus the subject, use the laser-matte screen.

In Focus

When the subject is out of focus, the microprism ring breaks the subject into tiny fragments, causing a shimmering effect. It is clear and steady when your subject is in focus.

The laser-matte screen appears fuzzy until the subject is in focus. It is particularly effective when you are using accessories for copying or close-ups. Canon offers eight different types of inter-changeable focusing screens. When using a lens with a maximum aperture of f/5.6 or smaller, half of the split-image rangefinder may take on a slight color.

Note*: When the lens aperture ring is set to "A" and the shutter speed selector dial to "PROGRAM," a green "P" LED is displayed, indicating programmed AE photography. Note **: Other than the standard split image/microprism rangerfinder screen. Canon has designed seven other types of focusing screens for the AE-1 program to suit various photographic needs, these screens are user interchangeable (Unlike the Canon A-1 which requires factory technician or a experienced serviceman to change).

If the shutter speed selected automatically by the camera is 1/30 sec. or slower, the "P" will blink. This is to warn you that your picture may be blurred due to camera movement if you are hand-holding the camera. The aperture selected automatically by the AE-1 PROGRAM is displayed in the viewfinder. The meter index is for setting exposure with a non-FD lens and in close-up photography. When using a Canon Speedlite 011A, 133A, 155A, 166A, 177A, 188A, 199A, 533G or 577G, a green flash charge-completion signal lights up when the flash is charged.

PGRM Set.jpgBar.gif
When using the Speedlite 188A or 166A, this signal flashes on and off for two seconds after the shutter is released if the flash-to-subject distance was within the auto coupling range.

Meter coupling range

When using an FD 50mm f/1.4 lens and ISO/ ASA 100 film, the built-in exposure meter couples within a range of EV1 (f/1.4 at 1 sec.) to EV18 (f/16 at 1/1000 sec.). At given film speeds, the built-in exposure meter couples with the aperture and shutter speed, as indicated in the chart on the next page. If the shutter speed and aperture combination are outside the coupling range, the camera warns you by flashing the appropriate display inside the viewfinder.

EV graph.jpg
 PDF file (228k)

In the programmed AE mode, continuous frame photography with a Motor Drive MA or Power Winder A or A2 is recommended only if the light is bright enough to give an aperture display of f/4 or larger. In this case. the shutter speed will be at least 1/60 sec. Note: The dotted line indicates the meter coupling range in programmed AE when the FD50mm f/1.4 lens is used.

The three modes for exposure control (Excluding Flash AE) are: Programmed AE, Shutter Priority AE and Manual mode. Each of these three modes will affect how the viewfinder displays the respective information:

setpgrmbar.gif PGRMDial.jpg
PGRM Lens.jpg
Programmed AE

Viewfinder information display, shutter speed dial setting and FD lens setting at 'A' (AUTO). A green "P" and aperture value will be displayed.

setshtterbar.gif Setshtterdial.jpg
Shutter Speed Priority AE

Viewfinder information display, shutter speed dial setting and FD lens setting at 'A' (AUTO). Only aperture value will be displayed.

setpgrmbar.gif ManualDial.jpg
Manual Control

Viewfinder information display, shutter speed dial setting and user defined FD lens aperture setting.
A red "M" and the selected aperture value will be displayed.

Previous | Next | Exposure Warning and Depth of Field

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

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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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