Canon AE1 vs F1

Discussion in 'Canon FD' started by danielscheel, Aug 5, 2018.

  1. Hi everyone! I just started film shooting and bought recently a Canon AE1 but was wondering if maybe the F1 was more suitable towards me.

    I shoot quite often and was wondering if there were major image quality differneces between them two or if it is only pure mechanical and body differences.

    Let me know and thank you!

    Have a lovely day,

    Daniel xx
  2. cmuseum

    cmuseum cmuseum

    No optics in the body hence no difference in image quality.

    Go for an F-1 if you need exchangeable viewfinders or focusing screens (the later one can also be had with an AE-1 Program), choice of spot, partial or spot metering (New F-1), faster motor drives (note that 5 fps Motor Drive MA would fit AE-1 Program), larger film magazine, shorter viewfinder blackout, better robustness or if you just like the sturdier feel (and sound) of a pro camera.

    Did you consider a T90 or even EOS film cameras?

    If your focus is on image quality you may be better off investing into good lenses.

  3. Thank you so much for your kind response!

    I have not really looked at the T90.

    What do you mean by larger film magazine?

    thank you and have a lovely day!

    Daniel xx
  4. cmuseum

    cmuseum cmuseum

  5. Yes, F1 for durability and versatility. As for a larger film chamber, the F1n and original F1 will take a 250 exposure magazine. The New F1 will take one that will hold 100 exposures. For both, you'd need a motor. BUT, these days I can't see much use for either. I had a 250 back for a while and ran maybe a total of 300 feet of Ektachrome through it. I used it for racing photos. These days all you can get in 100 foot rolls is B&W (?) and to develop you'll either have to find one of those HUGE Nikor tanks and reels (no fun to load) or find a lab that does continuous roll developing. (I doubt you can). Also, you'd best have a loader/counter for the big backs.

    Either camera will take a data back, but again I doubt you'd find much use for it.

    T90? To me too many buttons and a little suspect in the reliability department, but a lot of guys here love it.

    As a final thought, I'd use my new AE1 for a good while making sure you wanted to stay with film BEFORE you blow maybe $250 for a really good F1
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
  6. Dustin McAmera

    Dustin McAmera Yorkshire, mostly on film.

    I'd use my new AE1 for a good while making sure you wanted to stay with film

    What Chuck said. Do photography, not gear-aquisition. If after a while you're aware of the AE-1 limiting you, then consider another camera body. Meanwhile, if you have spare money, get another lens.
    My first camera was an AE-1, and I still have it. I think if you do enough with it, you might start to wish it had aperture-priority AE (as well as, not instead of, shutter-priority). You can get that on an A-1. Either of the A-series cameras may suffer from a mirror-brake problem (the 'Canon squeal') - easily put right if you can find someone to do the work, but will make your camera less of a bargain. As far as I know this doesn't affect the F-1.
  7. I LOVE the New F-1, but at this point you have a perfectly serviceable body and IMO would be better served by building up your lens collections.

    I've not been successful in finding a lab that will do still film.

    IMO, the best chance is probably going to be buy short ends of cinema film(the Kodak Vision stocks are impressive films) and see if you can get a cinema lab to develop it for you. Some may not want to deal with a length that short, while others will.

    The owner of the local camera store told me that he use to develop his B&W 100-frame lengths(which are about 13 ft) in a largish sauce pan, but I'd be afraid of the film sticking to itself.

    Regardless, I consider the long exposure backs to be more of curiosity than anything these days.
  8. I do have to admit that a 250 back on an F1 powered by the motor drive and sporting a 500mm FLF 5.6 all resting on a tripod with a pan head made quite the impression - and quite the sore shoulder hauling all that around.

    Of course, Nikon upped that with a 100 foot back. (750 exposures (?) )
  9. Do you know what that fits? It sounds like something I need :)

    With frame spacing, I figure 1.6" per frame. Using that figure, I come up with 750 frames also.
  10. For the F2: Nikon F2 750 Back
    There was one on ebay not too long ago - got 0 bids and was listed at $4,500.
  11. Thanks-I was hoping it was an F2 item since I have plenty of them. I don't like one for $4500, though...

    I put a bug in Chuck's ear at the local camera shop that I'm looking for never know what he might find on the floor of his office in the store.
  12. What, and you passed??? :)
  13. What on earth would I do with a film magazine?
  14. You could look at the pictures in it I guess Dieter. Or read the articles. I always bought Playboy just to read the articles :)
  15. Thanks for the kind response. I was just wondering in terms of picture quality is there any difference?

    Thanks xx
  16. Doubt it. Both cameras take the same lenses. Differences in image quality will come from intangibles, like how well you focus and meter. Plus how well a camera sits in your hands and how comfortable you are with its controls. These are things that can only experienced by using a camera. If you can, try using an F-1 and see what you think. If you like it, buy it, If not, keep your AE-1.
  17. I haven't thought about what they can do, but do the usual C41 minilab machines allow for continuous rolls?

    You could use XP2, or an actual color negative film.

    But yes, I don't have anything at home to do 100 foot rolls.
  18. Image quality is defined by the lenses, not by the bodies. So if you want more or better quality, you must invest in lenses.
  19. The T90 is probably the top of the Canon FD line, but it has an unfortunate tendency for the dread (EEE) shutter malfunction to show up.
    I'd personally suggest that you get a Canon AE-1 Program if you go in the AE direction.

    Here's a chart of the A-Systems cameras and some accessories like different focus screens.

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