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Canon AE1 35mm SLRs

4.61/5 (114 Reviews)


  • Product ID21481058
    Depth1.89 in.
    Width5.55 in.
    Height3.43 in.
    Weight20.8 oz.
    Shutter Speed2 - 1/1000 sec
    Camera TypeSLR (Single Lens Reflex)
    Focus TypeManual Focus
    Lens MountCanon FD

Product Description

A classic manual Canon SLR body. One of the first SLRs to have autoexposure functions.


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Reviews 1 - 5 (114 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Lauryn a Expert

Date Reviewed: February 9, 2012

Strengths:    The Canon AE-1 was one of the first film cameras of its time to use a central processing unit (CPU), through the lens flash (TTL flash), and automatic exposure settings. The rest of the camera is all good old manual. I am extremely happy about these updates on the camera. They make life a little easier for someone who is switching from a completely automated digital camera to a manual film camera. Further, it gives the photos a much higher quality, and at the end of the day, good results are all that are asked for.
The camera is fairly easy to handle. It is made of metal and faux leather, making it extremely durable, and a little heavy. Some may look at the weight as a problem with the camera, but the extra weight seems to help me keep the camera steady when hand firing shot after shot. Nothing is worse than shooting without a tripod and all of the photos come back blurry because of shaky hand holding, so the weight is a huge plus for me.
The split prism focus screen is the best feature on this camera. The manual focusing split screen, though a little time consuming at times, makes for the clearest shots. They truly do come out beautifully. It is also easily mounted on tripods, eliminating any movement blur for extra sharp pictures. The rewinding of the film is simple as well. There is no fear of the film becoming injured during the rewind.
The battery life on one of these cameras can last years. A single tiny little battery will keep this machine going for up to three years, and replacements are easy to find when it finally does run dry. While it does run, it has a light metering system that recommends the appropriate aperture to the photographer depending on what shutter speed it is already set to. This element is viewable by looking through the viewfinder while shooting. It makes for shots that are not overly brightened or darkened, so the photos turn out pleasing to the eye.


Weaknesses:    There are very few complaints I have about this product. The smaller issues are its weight, and parts for repair may be difficult to find. Some larger issues are that the fastest shutter speed is 1/1000th of a second, not allowing too much room for experimentation where movement is concerned. The manual focusing can be a problem. It is quickly realized how many shots are missed while focusing the camera and setting the shutter speed and aperture. The largest problem with this camera is the slight inaccuracy with the stopped down metering.
Overall, this product is a wonderful use of my time and money. It has made my pictures clear, pleasing to the eye, and interesting to take as well. The few frustrations that come along with the camera are nothing in comparison to the huge bonuses that follow in its wake. I would easily give this product to anyone wanting to learn a little more about cameras or someone who just wants to take a great shot. I am utterly pleased with this product, and hope it is a joy for many to come.


Bottom Line:   
The Canon AE-1 has made me feel blessed to know what it is like to experience film photography. This older film camera, though relatively simple in composition, has made photography a new experience for me, a person born into the digital world. It is great for a fist time film user. It has taught me how to use the manual setting with an even greater confidence, and has widened my experience on picture taking, film developing and camera working. Overall, it is a great product, with minor complications.

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Duration Product Used:   6-10 years

Price Paid:    $140.00

Purchased At:   Amazon

Type of photography:   Other


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by sfpeter a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: July 18, 2009

Strengths:    29 years on and it still works great. The faux leather case has rotted but the rest is fine.

Split prism focusing screen, which is a blessing for manual focus.

Old school metal and faux leather, good for durability and could make a self defense weapon in a pinch.

Batteries can last for years.

Simple enough I was able to figure it out and use it as a 12 year old.

Pretty good "kit" lens.


Weaknesses:    After using a Pentax MXE Super with auto shutter I find I prefer that over auto exposure. Call me strange.

Slow max shutter speed of 1/1000 second.

After using newer digital SLR's or even late film cameras you realize how many shots you'll end up missing with a manual focus/manual film advance.


Bottom Line:   
The Canon AE-1 was a top amateur 35mm film SLR circa 1980, and was the first SLR controlled by a CPU. Exposure (F stop) is automatic and TTL, but the rest is good old manual.

As with most cameras of the time it came with a 50mm "normal" lens with a maximum aperture of F1.8. It can take excellent pictures although some of it's features seem pedestrian today, such as a maximum shutter speed of 1/1000 second. It was calibrated up to ASA 3200 film, although finding that film was another matter.

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Duration Product Used:   6-10 years

Purchased At:   From my father

Similar Products Used:   Pentax MXE Super

Type of photography:   Outdoor


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dick Spence a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: June 14, 2008

Strengths:    sturdy
easy to use and master
bright TTL images and meters
easy to mount on tripods
fast (especially with 1.2 lens)



Weaknesses:    may be difficult to have repaired or find parts


Bottom Line:   
Originally purchased the camera in 1979 so my daughter and I could spend some quality time together. We would take the photographs and develop/enlarge them in our darkroom. The camera is indestructable. I used a 1.2 basic lens (rather than the standard 1.4) which allowed a little more opportunity for dawn and dusk shots. I then added a fixed 135 mm that went to F64, which REALLY provided unbelievable depth of field. Then a 28 mm wide angle, Speedlite flash, and finally a 200 mm telephoto (now that was heavy!). I then added the full set of Cokin filters for some splendid shots of the Grand Canyon. I learned that kids, when given the chance, can be very creative. It was great fun and I hope to do some more with my grandkids.

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Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $350.00

Similar Products Used:   Canon AE-1 Program
Agfa 35 mm (don't recall model #)


Type of photography:   Outdoor


Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by coa75 a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: May 14, 2008

Strengths:    Bright viewfinder, fast respond from lightmeter, automatic works fine, good lenses with sharp and contrast image.

Weaknesses:    No mechanical speed. Too heavy.

Bottom Line:   
Classiic 35mm SLR.

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Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

Similar Products Used:   Olzmpus OM-1/OM-2
Praktica MTL 5B


Type of photography:   Outdoor


Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Braxus a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: December 29, 2005

Strengths:    Decent build quality
Cheap price used


Weaknesses:    Older model may be hard to get parts for repair depending where you live

Bottom Line:   
I inherited this camera from my mom. I've used this camera for many years, even borrowed it when it was my moms camera. Its a solid camera and takes decent pics. The exposure can be under at times, but this can be a learning curve for this body. This would make a great beginners camera. I've dropped this one onto pavement and had it repaired. It still works. Also the FD lenses for this thing are very cheap these days. I like the big bright viewfinder in this camera, something the newer EOS models leave to be desired. The functions are basic and easy to use. I use this camera as a backup to my EOS setup now.

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Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

Similar Products Used:   Canon T-70
Canon T-90


Type of photography:   Outdoor



Reviews 1 - 5 (114 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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