I would like to add that the 100-300 f/5.6 is a very peculiar zoom which is made with an optic scheme which moves two groups solidly between them. As far as I know at the time the only zooms with such an optic scheme were the Minolta MD 100-200 f/5.6 (which I own and use), the Canon FD 100-200 f/5.6 and probably also the Canon FD 100-300 f/5.6 and the Minolta MD 100-500 f/8.
Those zooms have IIRC only 5 or 6 groups and can be very sharp (at least my Minolta is) and are certainly less prone to flare in respect to the typical 80-200 or 70-210 of the time, but have two defects: considerable distortion and considerable size, when you extend the zoom to its maximum focal lenght your probabilities to be exchanged for a terrorist rise a lot.
LCD viewfinders were still a few years away. I have yet to lose a needle from any of my match meter cameras. At least you can still buy 6V silver batteries today, easier than Mercury at least.
Sadly Canon has not seen MLU as very important for some time. The last mechanically locked up mirror available was on the F series. No A series, T series or EOS camera has a physical lockup switch if they have one at all since the mirror control has been electronic since the AE-1.
I purchased a battery for the A1 this morning ($10.00 for one battery at the local corner drug store = ouch). I grabbed a few rolls of color film and my Nikon F100 to compare accuracy of metering, and I went to the local park.
I later picked up the developed rolls of film at the local lab ($12.50 per 24 exposures, was told that each print was $.40 = double ouch).
The results were better than I expected. I shot everything in aperture priority with a 50mm 1.8 lens on both the A1 and the F100. The images from the A1 were identical to those shot with my F100! Metering was accurate, no light leakage, all images were crisp and with perfect color. Side by side it is impossible to tell which images were shot with the A1 and which ones were shot with the F100.
I did notice a bit of a strange noise with the A1 whenever I snapped a picture. For a fraction of a second each actuation sounded like one of those small plastic wind up toys. I'm not sure if it was the shutter, the mirror, or if this is the way this camera is supposed to sound. It didn't affect the images at all though.
I plan to shoot a few more rolls with the A1 over the weekend to try out the other lenses. On a side note, I will only have the lab develop the rolls without printing; I'll scan the negatives myself. I think that $12.50 for developing a 24 exposure roll of film is ridiculously expensive.
After seeing the results today, I am leaning towards making my co-worker an offer on this camera. While it feels much more complicated to use than my old Nikon, Pentax and Minolta 35mm cameras, I think it will be fun learning how to use it!
p.s. I replaced the databack with the standard back because it was a bit too heavy, also I would have had to spend $10.00 on another 6v battery for it in addition to the one I purchased for the camera. I didn't try the A2 motor winder; I'll probably load it with batteries and try it over the next few days. I kind of like the idea of keeping the A1 as small and lightweight as possible.
Last edited by snegron; 11-24-2010 at 02:05 PM. Click to view previous post history.
$12.50 for C41 developing only??? That's steep. My local shop develops 24 exposures including Fuji Crystal Archive 4x6" prints for $8.99. Another shop does the same for $10.
That noise doesn't sound good though it doesn't sound quite like the notorious squeak either.
Tell me about it! When the girl at the lab told me that each 4"x6" was 40 cents, I asked her if she was sure about this. Turns out she is the manager, so I politely told her that the prices were way too high and that I will stick to scanning my own work from now on. I don't think she cared much. Have chemicals and paper really gone up that much? Granted, they did do a good job compared to the local one hour labs at corner drug stores, but I still think it was too pricey.
Originally Posted by hpulley
p.s. Here is a shot of the A1 with the lenses and boxes.
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He saved the boxes too! That's worth something just for collectors.
At my local Costco I get 24 expoures for $4.19 per roll for 1 hour.
Ok; So I picked up one about a year and a half ago and this is my honest impression. The camera is of course capable; Just as capable as anything else but with it's own quirks. My suggestion is to definitely get the manual for it if you buy. I read mine often and that's only because this is not a straight forward camera in some respects and you will at times forget what not to if you shoot infrequently. The camera can lockup, as well as shoot at an unintended aperture if you don't catch it. You'll need to know the procedure that produces these problems (related to DOF preview and the order of things) and what to do; And btw, the manual is over thought and over written at what, 160 some pages.
The 50mm and 28mm are praised by some and can be fine shooters for the average Joe, but I got to tell you, if you compare them in a test withthe faster lenses in FD or in other systems, they usually fall short in resolution. They are not your pro caliper FD lenses. Your better off getting the 50mm F1.4. To replace the 28 I'd shoot for the 24 or a 35. Long lenses in third party can be cheap and good.
Canon lens prices for the good ones have gone up within the last almost 2 years now and that's because of the M 4/3rd's bodies. The good lenses are just as pricey as any used equipment out there and sometimes more so. Depends of course on condition and who you buy it from. There was alot of stock sold so there's more, but it's sort of like Nikon manual stuff in some way. I've seen top Nikon AI stuff cheaper at times thru ads, but it's again what un-knowledgeable person sells it. Same as in everything else.
I bought the A1 because I had an existing body and lenses.. I just expanded my system and got 2 lenses with the A1 body I didn't have. But I would in no way start a kit in FD at this point if I didn't have existing equipment. The A1 cannot do anything more then your Nikon can except take up room and become another camera to take choice. My A1 usually sits as I have too many choices, (most easier to shoot), and therein lies the problem.
So my recommendation is to pass. Fun to play with the new girl, but alot of the times they become boring; and expensive. I don't know how many times now I've passed on something I've always wanted only to be thankful afterwards. There's enough equipment in the market, and will continue to be, to buy an A1, or better yet an F1, any time you want. Best to invest in a body in your primary system or upgrade your lenses. If you need novelty maybe do some cheap pinhole stuff with paper. Or you can just ignore this and buy the body but pass on the lenses and get good glass. Luck
I don't think the A1 is difficult to use at all. I whole heartedly recommend it to people coming from a digital camera, or modern SLR. Set the A-1 to P, Set Aperture ring to A, focus and fire away. It's about as point and shoot as you can get in a manual focus camera. It meters accurately, although usually needs some exposure compensation indoors under tungsten lighting. When shooting Delta 3200 at 3200 indoors, I usually have to dial about +2EV to get something reasonably good. Other than that, the A1 doesn't really have any faults, IMHO. I've only encountered the EEEE error and lock up maybe 2 or 3 times. I don't even need to look at my manual anymore. It's a very easy camera to use in all of its modes. I also like its AE-Lock.
that said, there are cameras out there that affords you a greater sense of control. But the A-1 is very nice to have as a back-up
I originally had the 50 1.8 as it came with my AE-1. I eventually sold it and got the 50mm f/1.4 which has better color saturation and contrast but honestly the colder 50 1.8 is sharper than the 50 1.4 and that is still true today (the EF mount 50 1.4 is the same optically as the FD and FL versions).
I originally had the 28 2.8 but sold it as well. I got the 28 2.0 to replace it and never looked back though that lens how has an aperture that doesn't stop down that well so it isn't as useful for landscapes at f/16 or f/22 unless you use the DOF preview a bit before the shot to 'exercise' the aperture blades. Haven't priced out a fix for it yet. My 24 2.0 is still going strong however, as is my 35 2.0 SSC breech lock mount, one of the sharpest lenses I've ever used (the thorium element is yellow now however).
I have a 300mm f/4L lens that I got as a retailer must not have realized it was the L model, it was priced like a regular 300mm f/4. It is a bit long to hand hold however the tripod mount collar works well.