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  1. #1
    snegron's Avatar
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    Opinions on the old Canon A1?

    Anyone have have experience and comments they would like to share regarding the old manual focus Canon A1? They seem to be going for decent prices lately, and while I know that only old Canon FD lenses can be used with it, it still seems like a bargain. Any known problems (sticky shutters, etc.) or quirks?

  2. #2

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    Make sure that you get one without "shutter squeak". When the lubricant wears out in the shutter mechanism, they start to make a wheezing/squeaking sound, and if that's not remedied with a lubrication, the mirror/shutter mechanism will slow down and eventually seize up. In the early stages, it's repairable with a lubrication, but once they seize up, it's not - without major expense that's much greater than the camera is worth.

  3. #3
    DTC
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    Having had considerable exposure to the A-1 camera, I am not a fan. While comfortable to hold, the shutter release requires a distinct push, the red LEDs in the viewfinder are distracting, and the shutter is noisy and prone to the infamous squeak even without heavy usage. While capable of taking fine images, the camera comes across as pretty gimmicky, with a priority placed on offering the most exposure modes instead of emphasizing simpler, but more important features like a smooth, soft shutter release, non-distracting viewfinder, etc.

  4. #4

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    I have a Canon A-1. I really like it. I had it for years and it is durable, wouldn't trade it for anything!

    Jeff

  5. #5
    snegron's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback! I had heard about the shutter sqeak problems with the AE1 models but did not know the A1 also had the same issues. I have heard that the F1 (latest model) is supposed to be a fantastic, reliable camera but they are still rather pricey on the used market.

    Thanks to the price drop in film SLR bodies, I have been thinking about buying a model or two from different manufacturers in order to try out them out. I have never owned a Canon SLR and would like to purchase one, but the newer EOS system is still too pricey compared to the older FD system. I currently have several Nikon film bodies (as I have been using Nikons for many years), Pentax, and Minolta maxxum bodies. So, next on my list are Canon, Olympus, Contax, and Leica R. The idea is to try out these different systems and have fun taking pictures with them!

  6. #6

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    I used a pair of A1's during the 80's for pro work. They never failed me even after 1000's and 1000's of exposures. The metering was spot on. I had the A2 winder on each which made them easier to hold. Even though I like my Nikons I still regret trading my FD system. You are right about the cheap prices for film cameras, I've fleshed out systems by Olympus, Nikon FM's and Canon F1N's so much so that it is hard to choose a system to go shoot with.

  7. #7
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    I bought an A1 with a 50 F1.8 FD lens from KEH several years ago and it is a winner in my book. It is easy to operate, built like a tank, and produces quality photos. My 14 yr. old son took it over a year and a half ago, and has produced some really nice photos. At the recommendation of APUG members I bought a 35-105mm f3.5 lens and it is an incredible lens.

  8. #8

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    I bought my A-1 in 1989 - it was probably around 10 years old at that point. Thousands of photos later, it's got a bit of shutter squeek, some brassing on the corners by the strap lugs, but it's still a wonderful camera (and solid enough to use as a hammer should the need arise - kidding, sort of). I almost never use it though, having made the switch to EF around 5 years ago.

    Dan

  9. #9
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    The A-1 is a good camera, but not a great camera, and I hesitate to recommend it. Build-wise, I don't think there's any difference amongst the A series cameras. The red LED readout in the A-1 viewfinder is a tad annoying, and it doesn't do metered manual without stopping down first. I have one, and don't use it.

    HERE is a site that can tell you all you want to know about the A series.

    My favorite FD body is the T90, followed by the F1N.
    Fred Latchaw
    Seattle WA


    I am beginning to resent being referred to as 'half-fast'.
    Whatever that's supposed to mean.

  10. #10

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    FYI, my favorite FD-mount camera is the lowly TX. Simple, cheap, and totally bulletproof. VASTLY superior in quality to the Pentax K1000 which had a similar feature set - except the TX, unlike just about every really low end SLR from it's day, had depth of field preview.

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