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Canon AE-1 Program - Index Page

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Canon AE-1 Program, 1981

Five years after the original AE-1 was introduced, Canon brought out an excellent upgraded version in 1981, known as the AE-1 Program or AE-1P in short. The AE-1 Program was considered as one of the two most elegant looking A series bodies (the other was the Canon A-1 in 1977).

The AE-1 Program was certainly a worthy successor. It was packed with improved features, which were not found in its predecessor. Among the features was the Programmed AE, (first debut in the A-1) in addition to the Shutter-priority AE and manual override modes. It also has eight user interchangeable focusing screens, using the new laser matte types as well as some with extra bright laser matte technology developed for the flagship model, the New Canon F-1. It has a new, dedicated Power Winder A2 that has additional remote capability, but the camera still accepts the older Winder A and can even share the Canon A-1's Motor Drive MA for up to 4 fps burst rate for action photography.

Canon FDn lenses. | Early versions of FD lenses

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. he sent me this image along with another of the Minolta X-700 Image(s) copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

It also accepts most of the accessories within the FD system, including Data Back A, macro accessories, A and G-type of Canon Speedlites for fully automated flash photography. All FD, New FD and FL lenses are usable with the AE-1P. Full aperture metering is only possible with the FD and New FD lenses. Stopped-down metering with the FL lenses.

As with the Canon A-1, the AE-1 Program was indeed, very popular and well received by consumers. Although there were some minor shortfalls in its design to make it a true classic, it was still a worthy camera among its class during the years of its availability, from early to the mid-80s.

<<-- Copyright ©-Free images collection, 2000 leofoo® Malaysian Internet Resources.
"... The AE-1 Program was my first ever 35mm SLR camera. Originally, I had wanted to buy the AE-1 but found it was more expensive than the AE-1 Program. I don't know why this was the case (back in 1983) but later, I found out that particular AE-1 was from an old batch that was brought in when cameras in Malaysia were still subjected to import duties (abolished in 1981 and all the photographic equipments are duty free in Malaysia now) while the AE-1 Program was from later batches that were cheaper." - Kai Pin -

Obviously, the AE-1 Program was a much easier camera to use as compared to the multi-mode Canon A-1. Although the A-1 has more features and functions to control exposure, those available on the AE-1 Program were actually improvements over what the A-1 has and it has a more simplified way in controlling exposure, which made the camera an easier model for beginners to use.

Canon AE-1 Program US Navy Model - not an official variant but version that used by the US Navy.
AE1PusnavyCSML.jpg AE1PusnavyBsml.jpg AE1PusnavyASML.jpg

Credit: Image(s) courtesy of 'Shutterblade team' (e-mail)who specialises trading of new, used collectable cameras. The Company also operates a popular Ebay Store. All image(s) appeared herein are Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

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

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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

Canon EOS SLRs | Canon EF lens Resources

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

Essentials: - Canon AE-1 Program:- A Repair Manual B Part List C General Repair Guide

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 Lenses, Canon Marketing are registered trade names or trademarks of Canon Inc. Japan.