The Canon AE-1 - Automatic Film Advance
Canon Winder A

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Main features of Canon's Power Winder A:

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  • Activated by the shutter release button on the camera.
  • Continuous shooting at the rate of two frames per second.
  • LED warning lamp lights up when the film roll is completely wound up.
  • Four size AA batteries take twenty rolls of 36-exposure film.
  • Spare Battery Pack A (sold separately).

The Canon Power Winder A was originally introduced with the Canon AE-1 camera in 1975 but it also can be used with all the A series models (in fact, it is applicable to use the Winder A with the professional class Canon F-1(n) system SLR camera but without power rewind feature). It is an automatic film winder which greatly increases the automation and mobility of these manual focus cameras. Its exceptional versatility, due to its compact design provided by the principal control circuit built into the electronic circuitry with most of the electronic models such as AE-1, A-1 or AE-1 Program etc, and allows it to be attached to any models mentioned earlier and provides for its use without any special adjustments. NOTE: The second professional model, Canon New F1 (or New Canon F1) will not work with this Winder). Credit: Mark <> for the reminder.

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.

When you attach the Power Winder A to a camera such as the Canon AE-1 and press the shutter button, the film will be immediately wound after being exposed. 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.

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.

However, a drawback as with the Nikon's first motor drive MD-11 for similar class competitions like the compact Nikon series such as FM and FE in 1977/1978, operational sequence of the Power Winder A still required you to release the shutter release button* before the winder will perform the next film advance (This was fixed on the Power Winder A2) later in the early '80s. But if the speed is not your top priority, the Winder A presents some very attractive reason for you to look at because it should be very cheap as compared to later models. Secondly, if remote photography is desirable, the subsequent update, Canon Power Winder A2 should be the better choice (or the Motor Drive Set MA), as there are a host of remote accessories designed to work more efficiently.

* From Canon released marketing literature during the early days of the device. However, Lewis Collard had reported a different scenario.

"I apologise if this is not the correct address to which corrections/clarification requests should be sent for your awesome photography website (especially since you said you removed your email from many pages of the PIM site :/), but here I am. On your page about the Canon Power Winder A:

You say that the "Power Winder A still required you to release the shutter release button before the winder will perform the next film advance". This seems unusual to me. I have a Power Winder A fitted to an A-1 and it works continuously, as in, I can happily burn through a roll of film without ever releasing my finger from the shutter. Have I misunderstood you, or is this a unique characteristic of the A-1, or is this just a simple mistake? Thanks for your time. Also, thank you so much for your amazing website. It is probably the best resource on the Internet of its kind, and certainly the best I have ever seen
. -Lewis <>

My buddy Rick said "I don't have a Winder A and it's been a long time since I have handled one, but I think this is probably correct - my recollection is that the Winder A would advance continuously at about 2 frames per second. One that, as I recall, DID require you to lift off of the shutter release before it would wind was the winder for the Nikkormat ELM.  And in my OM Winder 1, the film advances immediately after exposure but it does not run continuously, you have to lift off before pressing again for the next shot. rick  :)= <> we have to be very careful in relation to accuracy of feebacks so as to maintain correct information. I still wish to retain the early version as it was extracted from Canon materials, but here I am adding Lewis' finding. Sorry for late in rectifying this.

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The LED turns on when the winding time exceeds one second to provide an end-of-film warning. If you turn on the on/off switch and short the two electrical contacts, the Power Winder A should run for one second. The motor should then stop, and the LED should turn on.
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A View when the cover was removed, the winder motor is at the right hand side.


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Winding Speed: Approximately 0.5 seconds.
Operation: When the shutter button on the AE-1 is pressed, the winder will function.
Shutter Speed Coupling Range: 1/50 to 1/1000 second for continuous photography. "B", or 2 to 1/1000 second for single frame photography. (When the winder is set at "B", AE photography cannot be performed).
Film Counting: Is performed by the frame counter on the AE-1.
Automatic Cut off Circuit: When the film roll is completely wound up or if the batteries should run out, the winder will automatically stop and the warning lamp (LED) will light up.
Power Source: Use 4 size AA batteries. (In normal temperatures they can take more than twenty rolls of 36-exposure film).
Attachment: Take off the winder coupler cover on the bottom of the camera, and mount the power winder using the tripod socket.
Size: 141 x 42 x 34mm (5-9/16" x 1-5/8" x 1-5/16")
Weight: 3009 (including batteries) (10.9/16 ozs.)

Part II - Operation Manual of the Canon Power Winder A

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.

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