Canon AE-1Program or Canon F1

Discussion in 'Canon FD' started by khitrovg, Jul 18, 2004.

  1. HI Everyone, I have been a digital shooter for a long time and as a
    kid I used to have Canon AE1 which I loved dearly. I want to go
    back to that camera, but now I am torn between more functions on the

    Do you think it is worth spending $100 on a good condition AE1

    You might ask what do I photograph. Well pretty much everything, I
    love portraits the most.

  2. Sure is. I have an AE-1P and its a great camera. I use it when I don't want to take out my Elan and get all funky with it. Get a good 50mm 1.8 or 1.4 and start shooting.

    I started with an AE-1 and I will never give it up.

  3. Hi Greg,

    I started out with an AE1, bought an AE1 program, and then bought the F1N with the AE prism because I thought I needed a "pro" body. I quickly sold the F1N within a week. It is a solid camera, with a faster shutter speed and better build but the drawbacks are significantly heavier weight, louder shutter sound, and increased bulk. I have no regrets about using an AE1/AE1 program, and 100 dollars for an AE1 program, in good condition with no shutter squeak is a good price. I have shot landscapes, portraits, weddings with just my AE1 and AE1 program and have not found it lacking, except for a faster shutter speed. I compensate for that by using an 8X ND filter to bring the light levels down, but since I switched to using Reala 100 speed film, and FP4+ 125, its been less of a problem. Hope that helps!
  4. The only reason today I'd go for an F1 or FtbN is if I needed to shoot ultra-long
    exposures like night shots (20+minutes), because there's no worry about battery drain.
    With the A-series bodies, the battery is drained when the shutter is open. The F1 also
    has mirror lock-up, which is caluable if you intend to shoot a lot of macro photography.

    The AE1 is nice, but so is the A1, which offers [P]rogram automation. I still use my A1
    which I bought new many years ago.
  5. Hi, Greg!
    I have used both the AE-1 Program and the F-1 bodies, and personally I prefer the New F-1 (last version in the F-1 line); quite simply, it's a just a better camera body all-around than any of the A-Series bodies. It will do everything the AE-1 Program does(and more), and is far more durable (quite frankly, the F-1 bodies are built like battleships; I believe you could pound gutter nails with one and still not harm it!). True enough, the F-1 is more bulky and heavy than the AE-1 Program, but this personally doesn't affect me; a good tripod will help out there if necessary.
    However, that having been said, you would be best suited to judge your preferences where a camera body is concerned. Either camera is suitable for portraits, and really it's the lens and your skill that will make or break the shot, not the camera body. For you, the AE-1 Program will seem much more familiar, since you used the AE-1 some years ago. Another consideration is if you are enamored with shutter-priority AE, the F-1 or New F-1 may not be your first choices either; both cameras require additional equipment to perform shutter priority AE, whereas this exposure mode is basic to the AE-1 Program. Where the F-1 would excel over the AE-1 Program is, again, durability, and the ability to more easily explore some of the more advanced photographic techniques (manual mode metering, stopped down metering for things such as macrophotography, multiple exposures, slow-speed flash exposure, etc.). In the end, these may be compelling reasons for you to choose the F-1 or New F-1 over the AE-1 Program.
    If you are interested in an AE-1 Program, I have one for sale. Follow this link to learn more details about it.
  6. My first SLR was an AE1-Program, and I've owned all three versions of the F1 (F1 and F1n mechanical, and F1N electronic with AE finder).

    I honestly prefer the F1s over the AE1 series. They just seem more intuitive to use, and the build quality is better.

    Just curious: why aren't you asking about an A1 vs an F1, or even a T90?
  7. Derek Zeanah,

    I am not familiar with A1, therefore I can't ask, would you be interested in comparing A1 to AE1?
    I would appreciate it greatly.

    Thank you all who have given me your honest opinions. I am still deciding.

  8. You can go here for details on the A1. I've never owned one, but the specs are impressive, as is the heft of the cameras. Personally, I think the T90 is your best bet unless you need mirror lock-up or to use an older bellows, but that's just me.
    What exactly are you looking for in a camera body? What made you ask about these 2 cameras?
  9. Heft? The A-1 weighs only about two ounces more than the AE-1.
  10. I own AE-1 (two) and a New F-1. I also have tried A-1, AE-1, T-50, T-70 and T-90.

    To be honest, I would say go for the F-1. As other have said, it's build solid (I've dropped my camera by mistake to a solid floor). The camera survived on till today.

    On top of that AE-1 reliance to battery and electronics often gives problems at the least expected moment (like battery runs out in the middle of wedding shoots). Sure the battery is easy to replace but F-1 has a better indicator.

    Neverthless, AE-1 Programme has something in it sleeve: weight. I can put the camera into my pants side pocket (no lense) or in my hip bag.

    In the end, it's your goal with the camera will dictate your decision. Either way, enjoy it - both are great cameras!


  11. Greg,

    Yes it's worth spending $100,00 on a good condition AE-1 Pr. Some remarks however.
    I own several FD cameras in the F, A and T series. My favorite is the F1new. You can either use it as a very basic camera or built it up like a not so basic camera camera. Either way, it's the best in my opinion. It will cost you a little more then $100 thought. Close second is the T-90 wich I love for it's all in one almost complete package. For instance, you get three metering options (average, partial and spot) without having to change screens. This baby will also will run a little more then $100.

    In the A-series I prefer my A-1 above al other A-series cameras. I think it's the most flexible of all A-series. I think you can get one of these for around a $100 too. Second in the A-series is the AT-1. Why, I love the match needle metering and the simplicty of this one. Mine got stolen a few years ago and I still want to replace it. The AE-1 and AE-1pr are also great and an excellent buy but like I said, the A-1 is more flexible at about the same price.

    Well wathever you decide, I think you can't go wrong unless you buy a T-60, T-80 or a T-50 (the T-50 is way better then the other two but can only be used in program mode)
  12. Well, to throw another 2-cents worth into the discussion now that we've expanded it:
    I agree with the others that have said the best A-Series camera body is the A-1; it has the most features and exposure mode capability (six different ones) of anything in that series. I've also got a few of those to liquidate from my too-big-a-pile of FD goodies; if you're interested, click H E R E.
    Still, my absolute favorite FD body is the T90; it's just the penultimate FD manual focus camera body. My second choice (a close second, mind you) is the New F-1; solid, reliable, and thoroughly capable. I would personally put the A-1 third behind those two FD bodies; it's a great camera and gives you all the capabilities you could ever want in a package every bit as compact as the AE-1/AE-1 Program. Like you, I started off many years ago with an AE-1 and loved it. But I had always wanted (but at the time, could not afford) an A-1.
  13. I started out in the early 80's with an AE-1, followed by an A-1. Then in the 90's I got an F1N followed a T90. Beautiful cameras!
  14. I have four Canon F1s - need I say more?
  15. That you're an octopus?
  16. Or has an F1 fetish!
  17. It's more the latter. The other day I saw yet another F1 sitting in a shop-window and had to be dragged away kicking and screaming. I'm thinking of establishing a rehab clinic for F1 addicts.
  18. Get a good condition AE1 Program .. sweet camera. I've bought and sold no less than four AE1 Program cameras and I reqret ever time I've sold one.

    I've spent a lot of $ trying cameras: AE1 Program, Canon F1 Old, Canon F1 New, Canon A1; Nikon F100, Contax G2, Mamiya RB67, and the Bronica ETRSi; and a digital Sony for snapshots... if I buy any more cameras I'll have to do this full-time.

    Each has a unique feel and purpose. For general photography and a good entry-level SLR .. with a lot of quality inexpensive lenses, snag an AE1 Program and shoot away. This has got to be one of the best cameras for someone to learn photography .. and it grows with you as your interest and style changes. This camera will do it all: portraits, fashion, landscape, etc. The accessory lineup for the A-series camera is quite good. It is a technological wonder in that it is simple to use, easy on batteries, and doesn't break the bank.

    Sure you can find newer entry level cameras, but to get set up properly you're going to spend more than $500 easily; and of course, with digital, you'll be spending more time with the computer post processing than with the camera.

    There are quite a few people selling the AE1 Program .. buy a high quality specimen from a reputable dealer, yes, even if it $50 more .. you'll be glad you made the purchase. It is indeed a fun camera and it takes you from just being a point-and-shooter to being a photographer. I wish they still made this camera, 'cause I'd buy it new again.
  19. Forgot to answer part II of your ? -- Well, I own three F1's; the old F1 (on loan right now) and two F1-New series. I use the F1's for special purposes beyond general outdoor photography -- one F1 is dedicated to tripod/studio useage; the other I use as a backup or with different film when going on assignment. The F1's are much more expensive than the AE1 Program; they are indeed heavier and better built. I certainly wouldn't want to "carry" an F1 with 12 AA battery pack, flash, and assortment of lenses on vacation; and having shot a few weddings with one they tend to get heavy with continuous use. And yes, there are so many more options/accessories for the F1, from different focusing screens to motor drives, etc.

    The AE1 Program - seems to be a great travel companion; certainly not the same build quality as an F1, and unlike others I would never consider clunking it around for photojournalism or subjecting it to harsh enviornments -- I'm just more careful with the AE1 Program which is easy to carry all day long .. and it meets all my needs. As I said before, I've bought/traded four of AE1 Program cameras .. my daughters each have it with a variety of lenses, and they both refuse to give it back to me despite my loaning them the F1's .. so there you have it ...

    One thing is certain in photography and that is there will always be another camera which seems to seduce us. We look at someone's great photos and exclaim, well, I've got to have that lens .. or that camera body .. then my shots will improve! This of course is silly .. unless you have a special need for the F1, well the AE1 Program will do most of it anyway at 1/3rd the cost. For your needs, perhaps the AE1 Program is just what you need .. spend the extra cash on another lens & film; or get the AE1 Program and shoot it for a year then sell it -- I've seen these camera go from $100 to $225 on the used market over the last three years. Spend more money on lenses, that's where the differences are significant, much less so on body selection.

    PS: I love to see my cameras used in motion pictures .. any of you guys see "The Truth About Cats & Dogs" - the fashion photographer is using a Canon F1 in his studio shots with the models .. love the girl shots, but the dog steals the show!

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