Film Cameras

35mm Focal-Plane Shutter SLR Camera




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Marketed April 1978
Original Price 114,000 yen (w/FD 50mm f/1.4SSC),
83,000 yen (body)

The A-1 was the top-of-the-line A-series camera. (The AE-1 was the first in this series.) It was a sophisticated electronic camera with all-digital control.

Besides the shutter speed-priority AE and aperture-priority AE modes, it featured the first fully automatic program AE mode, preset aperture-priority AE, and Speedlite AE mode.

The viewfinder information was also easy to read with a 7-segment red LED readout. The control settings were displayed at the same time which made it very useful.

Besides Power Winder A, developed at the same time as the AE-1, accessories for the A-1 included the compact Motor Drive MA which attained a maximum shooting speed of 5 fps. This Motor Drive had a convenient vertical-grip shutter button. Also, there was the Speedlite 199A which had bounce flash capability.The A-1’s body had a fine black finish.

Type 35mm focal-plane shutter SLR camera
Picture Size 24 x 36 mm
Normal Lens Canon FD 55mm f/1.2 SSC, FD 50mm f/1.4 SSC
Lens Mount FD mount
Shutter Four-axis, horizontal-travel focal-plane shutter with cloth curtains. X, B, 30, 15, 8, 4, 2, 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000 sec. All speeds controlled electronically. Built-in self-timer (with 2- and 10-sec. delay and blinking LED). Multiple exposures enabled with a lever. Electronic shutter release.
Flash Sync X-sync automatic-switching sync contacts with German socket and hot shoe.
Viewfinder Fixed eye-level pentaprism. 0.83x magnification, 93.4% vertical coverage, 95.3% horizontal coverage. Split-image rangefinder encircled by microprism rangefinder at center of fresnel matte screen. Eyepiece shutter provided. Six interchangeable focusing screens optional (installed by service personnel). The standard screen was later replaced by the brighter and sharper Laser Matte screen.
Digital readout with 7-segment red LED for shutter speed, aperture, dedicated Speedlite flash-ready, manual settings, and warning displays.
Metering &
Exposure Control
SPC for TTL full-aperture centerweighted averaging metering or TTL stopped-down metering. Exposure compensation range of 2 EV. AE lock provided. Five AE modes: Shutter speed-priority AE, aperture-priority AE, program AE, preset aperture-priority AE, and Speedlite AE (with dedicated Speedlite). The mode is set with a selector dial. Metering range at ISO 100 and f/1.4: EV -2 – 18. Film speed range from ISO 6 to 12800 in 1/3 steps.
Power Source One 4G-13 6 V mercury oxide battery or 4LR44 alkaline battery. Battery check with button and blinking LED.
Film Loading &
Slotted take-up spool. Advances with camera-top lever’s 120 stroke (partial strokes enabled). Ready position at 30.
Frame Counter Counts up. Resets automatically when camera back is opened. Counts down during rewind.
Film Rewind Camera-top crank
Dimensions &
141 x 92 x 48 mm, 620 g