Canon A1 questions.
Toady a co-worker brought in her Canon A1 with several lenses (50mm 1.8, 28mm 2.8 and 100-300mm 5.6), all with original boxes and papers. She and her husband purchased the camera and lenses new back in the mid 1980's. He passed away several years ago and she wants to sell the camera and lenses. She knows I collect old 35mm gear.
I know absolutely nothing about Canon. I have been reading up on the A1, but I'm not sure about known problems with this model. I promised her I would research the current prices and make her an offer. I have an idea of the value of the equipment, but I know nothing about this camera model and these lenses.
Would this be a decent user-camera? Are there any things I need to watch out for or take care of prior to using it? Are these lenses decent performers? I am going to purchase a battery for it tomorrow and shoot a few rolls with it. This is the first time in my life I will be shooting with a Canon SLR!
Comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
You can read about it at A-1. You can reference prices for the body at KEH Canon manual bodies, KEH Canon fixed lenses and KEH Canon zoom lenses
My parents purchased a Canon A1 shortly before I was born. It eventually became my camera when my parents switched to automatic film point and shoot. I used the camera constantly for about 7 years, before moving to WA and putting photography on hold for 6 years. Very solid feeling camera.
Over nearly 21 years of use, the camera had almost no problems. I think it was serviced once when winding began to have issues.
As no digital bodies to the best of my knowledge use FD lenses. The line was also popular. As a result the lenses are cheap compared to other systems. The 55mm 1.2 for example sells for anywhere between $200 and $500. The 85mm 1.2 goes for closer to $600. 24mm/28mm 2.8s go from $50-150. Gear seems plentiful and the range of lenses: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_FD_lens_mount
I haven't used the camera recently enough to answer most of your questions, but I still have a big soft spot for it. When I came back to photography a few years ago, I picked up a Nikon digital body - and then Nikon film bodies to share the lenses. I can't justify picking up a Canon again but still miss that camera.
The A1 is a very good and capable camera body. To watch out for is the A-series shutter squeek which sounds like a sneeze.
The 50 1.8 and 28 2.8 are nothing special I'm afraid. Both are nice lenses and will take decent pictures, the 50 1.8 is sharp and a bit cold in color while the 28 2.8 is a bit soft wide open but decent at 5.6/8. The 100-300 is a cheap zoom unless it is the L model. None of these lenses are worth much.
If the equipment were bought in 1984, the price at B&H are:
1. Canon A1 with 50mm f/1.8 $263.90
2. Canon FD 28mm f/2.8 $76.90
3. Canon FD 100-300mm f/5.6 $165.00
If they are in excellent condition and I like them I could offer 50% or $252.90 and I think that's fair. I know people who got them for much less.
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By the way price new in 1984.
50mm f/1.2 L $299.00
85mm f/1.2 L 425.00
28mm f/2.8 $76.90
24mm f/2.8 $126.90
Les; thanks for the links!
Brian; You are right, this does feel like a solid camera! I don't know if this camera was ever serviced (co-worker doesn't remember as this was used mostly by her husband).
Hpulley; Thanks for the feedback! I will be checking for the squeak sound tomorrow when I buy a battery for it. One thing I noticed was that it seems like the A1 has all the features on buttons or levers all over the body. It looks like it might take lots of practice to get to know where everything is on this camera. Thanks for the heads-up on the best aperture to use with these lenses. I don't see myself buying anymore FD lenses in the near future unless I stumble onto some great deal.
It seems like it could be a fun camera to use.
Chan Tran; thanks for the numbers! I think that seems like a fair enough amount to offer her. I don't wish to take advantage of her in any way, but I don't want to be stuck with a system I paid too much for. Thanks!
You're welcome Snegron! The reason I posted the number because I have known someone like my very own brother could get such an outfit for like $50 and turn around selling them for more than what they're worth when new. My brother would say, it's worth what someone is willing to pay for but I don't think it's fair.
I also have a A-1 that has been around for a while. Great camera and durable.