Canon A1 Lightmetering problem

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by rodrigosoares, May 19, 2020.

  1. Hello friends,

    I bought a Canon A1 some time ago and been shooting with it for a while, using sunny 16 technique because I didn't trusted the lightmeter. I would like to hear from you whats probably causing this anomally.
    Indoors, even with light, pointing directly at a lamp, the fstop meter is no more than 8, maybe 11. Usually, outside the house, on a sunny day, at a speed of 1/500, the camera tells me to always shoot from 2 to 5.6. It turns out that the first time I tested a film with her, I followed her advice and ended up with an entire film overexposed. So, you see, it seems a little off.

    Didn't tried, although, shooting a film setting it up to P in shutter priority to test the "balance" proposed by the meter.

    what can be causing this? already tried new battery.
  2. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Moderator Note:

    rodrigosoares - Posting the same question in different forums contravenes the Terms and Conditions and User Guidelines of this site.You agreed to these terms when you became a member here. Please do not do that again There is a good reason for this rule, Members don't want to waste their effort following disjointed conversations concerning the same Opening Post.

    Thank you in advance.

  3. AJG


    Did you set the ASA for the film that you're using? If the ASA is set for 25 and you're using a film that is ASA/ISO 400 that might explain your issue. This camera predates the use of DX coding where the camera reads the film speed from a barcode on the film cartridge. If you did set that correctly, then the meter may no longer be working properly.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 19, 2020
  4. Well, f/5.6 @ 1/500th = f/11 @ 1/125th, which isn't far off the 'Sunny 16' rule of thumb with 100/125 ISO film. And 'Sunny 16' is only a guideline that doesn't work in many parts of the world outside of the tropics.

    So re-check the condition of the battery in the camera - renew it to be certain. And follow AJG's advice to make sure you have the camera meter set to the same ISO/ASA as the film you're using. Also make sure that the exposure compensation dial is set to zero.

    Camera meters of that era are usually pretty reliable, but a bit of dirt in the wrong place, a dirty switch contact, or a corroded battery contact can't be ruled out.
  5. SCL


    Given the camera age, the electronic circuits may be beginning to fail or become intermittent...usually it is accumulated dirt, but sometimes moisture and corrosion set in as well.
  6. If it was my situation, I would get an external light meter and use it instead because of the issues rodeo_joe points out. There could be lots of reasons the meter is unreliable, not to mention you may have shutter speed and aperture inaccuracies as well. You need to get some measurements you can trust.
  7. I doubt that you would have overexposure with f/5.6 @1/500 with ISO 100 film.
  8. I agree with the others' remarks. You made no mention of the ISO of the film you were using or the ASA setting on the camera, nor did you mention whether you checked that the Exposure Compensation dial was zeroed. You also didn't mention the specific lighting conditions you were shooting your camera under. All this stuff matters.

    I've been using the Canon A-1 on and off since 1983 and I have found it to be a surprisingly reliable camera. I doubt many folks would have thought that the camera would have survived for over 40 years (it debutted in 1978), but many examples are still going strong, all these years later. My experience with the A-1's meter has been either it works accurately or it doesn't work at all. And of all the A-1s I've owned (probably over 20), I've owned only one with a dead meter.

    So, double check the points raised and then get back to us, please.
    Last edited: May 23, 2020
  9. Hello.
    The ISO is 100. The thing is, i have a NIkon f2 Dp-1 system and, in the same spot, where the nikon says (at. 125 shutter speed) 5.6 or even 8, the A1 says 1.4, and 1.4 blinking (which means it should be even lower).

    So, theres clearly something wrong, right?
  10. (same shutter speed (125) as the nikon, btw)
  11. Then I would get a light meter I could trust. Maybe someone already suggested that.;)
  12. Or just use the Nikon!
  13. I have an A-1 that I never used. I just use the the Nikon.
  14. I had an A-1 for a while and it was a very nice camera with a very accurate meter, but being used to Nikons and Minoltas i found the Canon arrangement of controls annoying. I'd double check all the things BeBu suggests first, and then either get a meter or use the Nikon.
  15. how does the developed film come out though? Thats the question to ask onself.. at least with cameras that use the bubble on a stick with a balance needle, you have slightly more exposure latitude. youll be within a certain range of "acceptable" EV if you keep the stick inside the bubble. With my cannon FTb i learned that some films in some situations need the stick in the top half or bottom half based on how bright it is outside.

    I think its why SOME of the european brands of black and white film have been getting a resurgence among film users. ONE of them, i know offers a range of 10 stops of exposure correction if you use their proprietary developer.
  16. LOL!
    And there's an alien base on the dark side of the moon.

  17. They get mad if you talk about that base. Last time i told anyone about it, all my beer got replaced with......... diet walmart brand cola.....
    Vincent Peri likes this.

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