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  1. #1
    TheToadMen's Avatar
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    My first Canon ever: an AE-1 with 50/1.8 and 28/2.8 ;-) What do you think??

    Hi everyone,
    I'm a Nikon camera user. I don't want to start a Nikon vs. Canon war, but it just so happened that I was given my first camera by my aunt when I was about 19 years old (27 years ago): a Nikon EL2 with 3 lenses. So I sticked with Nikon when I started taking photography seriously in 2001: cameras like Nikon F2, F3, F4s, F5, FT2, FM3a and an abused F followed and my first digital was a Nikon D1X. I also have several Nikkor lenses: old and new. (BTW: I also use a Bronica SQ-B, a Leica SL, Leica M7, an Agfa Clack, pinhole cameras and a lot of other old school cameras).

    Recently I saw a post on APUG about someone selling a beautiful FTN with lens. See: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum379/...rter-75-a.html
    Someone said (in an off topic posting) that a Canon AE-1 would be a nice camera for someones 12 year old son as an introduction camera. This comment triggered me. I'm a Nikon user by fate it seems, but I would like to see what Canon is about. So, in a whim I checked a local site (like Ebay) and found a like new Canon AE-1 (#1627163) with a FD 28 mm f2.8 S.C. lens and a FD 50 mm f1.8 S.C. lens. Everything looks like new, even the original case and booklets. He even had his original bill from 1978 for $ 450 (excl. the 28 mm lens). He accepted my offer of $25 so I am now the proud owner of my first Canon camera.
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    (photos from the add on internet)

    Since I have no knowledge of Canon cameras what so ever I would like to ask what I did buy. Is this considered a good model? What are these Canon lenses like?
    Don't get me wrong, I think this is $ 25 well spent. Even if it was only for placing it in my camera display. But I'm going to test the camera when spring arrives. And if it works I might even get me the original motorwind.
    So tell me, what are your memories & experiences with this camera?

    Thanks,
    Bert
    http://thetoadmen.blogspot.nl
    Last edited by TheToadMen; 02-20-2013 at 03:36 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    "Have fun and catch that light beam!"
    Bert from Holland
    my blog: http://thetoadmen.blogspot.nl
    my Linkedin pinhole group: http://tinyurl.com/pinholegroup


    * I'm an analogue enthusiast, trying not to fall into the digital abyss.
    * My favorite cameras: Nikon S2, Hasselblad SWC, Leica SL, Leica M7, Russian FKD 18x24, Bronica SQ-B and RF645, Rolleiflex T, Nikon F4s, Olympus Pen FT, Agfa Clack and my pinhole cameras.

  2. #2

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    Canon lenses are pretty well much the same as Nikon. The 50mm isn't bad, but the 28 can be a little soft in the corners. I tried an AE1 but could not get on with the shutter priority auto exposure and went and bought an A1 which has both. But ..... like all good things, I gravitated back to Nikon and so have stayed for the last 30 yrs.

  3. #3

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    I'm not too Nikon-knowledgeable, but it might be roughly the equivalent of the Nikon FE: manual focus, shutter-priority autoexposure (contra the Nikon's aperture priority), respectable-quality center-weighted meter, robust but not really built for "professional" abuse by the standards of the day. A lot of people feel that Nikkor lenses are a touch better than their Canon equivalents, but a lot of people also will dispute it---certainly a lot of the Canon FD glass is very good any way you look at it, and FD lenses are cheaper than comparable Nikkors because they won't work on modern bodies (Canon abandoned the FD mount when it launched the EOS autofocus line).

    There were a LOT of AE-1s sold; in the US, everybody's dad in the 1970s had one for taking family vacation photos. Most of them came with the 50/1.8, which is a good general-purpose lens not unlike, well, the Nikkor manual-focus 50/1.8; the 28/2.8 was the usual second lens and also has a good reputation as far as I know. You don't have to do the Nikon lens-registration routine with the aperture ring. Everybody has their own taste and preferences, but to me the AE-1 seems like a really convenient body; it sort of gets out of your way and just does its job with no drama.

    The only significant common problem I can think of is the shutter squeal, which you'll hear if it's there---I assume you've already dry-fired the camera and you didn't mention any horrible noises, so you're probably OK on that front. If the battery is OK, the meter should be fine; it's a center-weighted incident meter, so it'll have the limitations inherent to that design.

    There are some very good FD lenses (both Canon and third-party), but the kit you've got is more than adequate for practical use, apart from the absence of a telephoto. I'm not sure you need to wait for spring---it's a nice fast lens; just drop some Tri-X in and do a test roll of winter street shooting to make sure things are in working order.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  4. #4
    AgX
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    It was my first SLR back then when it was introduced. It would be my first choice if asked what analogue SLR to advise a beginner to: It has useful features, but still is not hard to understand. And there is actually nothing missing what one definitely must have.
    What I miss is a is +/- correction to the exposure meter. But one can handle this via the film-speed setting, and actually this is quite a good idea for a beginner to be tought how things relate to each other.

    Another advantage is the good availability including most of the lenses. Concerning lens performance these even outperformed Nikon equivalents. I know, lens tests, MTF's... I just hint at this concerning the Nikon/Canon discussion.

    Concerning being bound to a certain system: with the low prices of most SLR bodies today, changing a body for another type is the least to worry about.

    As already said, the lens range was cancelled in the mid-80's, but the Canon-FD bodies have one of the shortest flange/film distances so adapting other lenses is technically quite possible.
    Last edited by AgX; 02-20-2013 at 04:49 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #5
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    My first Canon ever: an AE-1 with 50/1.8 and 28/2.8 ;-) What do you think??

    I am shocked you got it for $25, I would think $125 would be more on par, so you got a deal there.

    AE-1 was my first camera (the non-program one) and I still have it, still works great, never needed a CLA even.

    The foam on the mirror can dry out like many old cameras, that's the only caution I can give, make sure the foam isn't flaking or it will potentially get black spots on the film.

    The SCS lenses are specially coated and supposed to be better (for back then) than non-coated.

    I love the 50mm, the old idea was to learn on a 50mm and then once you understood and perfected that size, THEN move to others.

    My favorite memory was going to the zoo and shooting a lion, the fence was in they way and I complained to my dad I couldn't get a good image with the animal "behind bars" so my dad showed me how to open the aperture all the way and "bend the light" around the fence and make it invisible to get a nice lion shot. I was hooked ever since.

    I never used it on auto, always manual even in the beginning, it's pretty simple since the needle inside tells you exactly what aperture number to choose and the meter is fairly accurate.

    One caution is be VERY careful with the battery door, when opening it, be gentile, they are well known for breaking and can't be replaced.

    That's really the only issue

    If you don't like that 28mm I'll take it


    ~Stone

    Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
    ~Stone | "...of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." ~Dennis Miller

  6. #6

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    I started with a Canon AE-1.

    Jeff

  7. #7
    AgX
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    Quote Originally Posted by StoneNYC View Post
    The SCS lenses are specially coated and supposed to be better (for back then) than non-coated.
    Coating lenses started much earlier and there is no uncoated Canon lens than can be fixed to an FD-bayonet, thus including the R-lenses from the late 50's.

    Canon indeed changed in the 70's from SC coating to SSC coating, which means from single-layer coating to multi-layer coating.

  8. #8

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    I agree with the above statement that the shutter-priority is a pain, but that's what manual mode is for. I don't use my AE-1 or my Nikon FE much, but they are very similar. I've felt I've gotten better results from the Canon, but the Nikon handles easier.

  9. #9
    AgX
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    Why would shutter-priority be a pain? You still can steer the aperture by setting the apt shutter-speed. (The AE-1 will show the corrresponding aperture in the viewfinder, though not the set exposure time.)
    The idea behind shutter-priority auto-exposure was that shutter-speed is of more effect on a photograph giving a sharp image (of the scene in focus) than aperture-priority.

    That more SLR's offered aperture-priority was based on the greater technical simplicity of it.
    Last edited by AgX; 02-20-2013 at 08:24 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by StoneNYC View Post
    One caution is be VERY careful with the battery door, when opening it, be gentile, they are well known for breaking and can't be replaced.
    Half the AE-1s in the world have a piece of electrical tape over the battery compartment. To me that's how they're supposed to look.

    I prefer aperture priority personally, but with this camera in practice, twiddling the speed dial while watching the needle is quick enough for most situations.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

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