Several Questions from new-ish AE-1 user

Discussion in 'Canon FD' started by roger_broadbent|1, Jun 9, 1999.

  1. I have just taken up photograpy 'seriously' (i.e. more than holiday snaps and in the search for pleasing images) in the last 6 months. I have an AE-1 and have been generally very happy with it, with the exception of creative flash possibilities. I have a few questions that are nagging and that my local camera shops can't answer. I hope someone here can help.

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    1. When focusing, I notice that my 35mm f2 new FD and 50mm 1.8 new FD don't appear to quite focus at infinity according to the microprism and split screen when the end of the focus travel is reached. I compared performance with a T series camera in the shop (T50 I think) and its 50mm lens and my lenses gave the same viewfinder appearance on both, i.e. none quite focused out to infinity on microprism and split screen. The effect is very slight and I don't see any corresponding problems with focus on my pictures, even at "infinity" (>200m on 35mm f2) at maximum aperture. Is this normal? Does it correspond to the hyperfocal focusing limit of the lens at maximum aperture or something clever? Or do my lenses and/or camera need servicing for optimal performance?

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    2. Using a dedicated flash, the shutter speed is automatically set to 1/60s. This prevents 'creative' use of longer shutter speeds. Will this happen with non-dedicated flashes or dedicated flashes connected via an adaptor to the PC socket? My Cobra TWIN30TD A series dedicated unit has a 'slow sync on/off' switch which has no effect on my camera.

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    3. Regarding 'creative' use of flash again, most flash units I see have one manual and up to 3 auto settings in 2 f-stop intervals. What are my choices for units giving a wider range of fill-in flash possibilities, given the restriction of a fixed 1/60s shutter speed? Or do you find that such a unit gives enough versatility? Are there any intelligent units for the AE-1 that will set a predetermined amount of fill-in, in relation to the available light?

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    4. What are the slow-sync and fill-in capabilities of the newer and/or higher-end FD cameras? I am thinking of A-1, F-1, T90, possibly T70 and variants.

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    I will be happy to supply any relevant details you need to answer. Or just guess.

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    Thanks

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    Roger Broadbent
     
  2. I guess the AE-1P should be added to the list in 4.
     
  3. What you are seeing at infinite focus is common, and not a "real
    problem". Nothing can be made perfectly, and what you are seeing is
    likely tolerable error. Even if something is off a bit, shooting at
    infinity at f4.0 or narrower aperture will yield perfectly sharp
    images. Remember, you are looking through the lens and focusing at
    full aperture - the narrowest depth of field. Learn to use the depth
    of scales on your lenses. Also learn to set your lens for
    "hyperfocus". These things will help you understand why a lens need
    not focus perfectly at infinity and still yield sharp results, and a
    better working knowledge of depth of field. Setting a lens at its
    hyperfocal point allows one to shoot with a huge depth of field. I
    shoot my 35 f2 with a depth of field commonly from 3 ft to infinity,
    everything in perfect focus. A very handy thing to use!
     
  4. Roger,

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    1. The lenses SHOULD focus at infinity. If it is not off much, it
    doesn't make a lot of difference. It can be adjusted, what it is
    normally is that the stop is set slightly wrong. First check your
    lenses on a couple of other bodies. One common thing is for cameras
    with interchangeable focus screens is for them to not be fully seated.

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    2. I don't know which flash you have, but the 199A on an A-1 allows
    slow speed sync. The switch on your Cobra flash should only make
    difference if you set the shutter speed to greater than 1/60th. Any
    higher shutter speeds should still auto set to 1/60th. Realize that
    you only have front curtain sync, so any slow sync effects on moving
    subject will have the ghost image occur after the flash image. Moving
    people will look they are walking backwards. BTW any PC connected
    flash works like a hot shoe flash on manual.

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    3. Not much choice in using the flash as a auto fill in with these
    cameras. You might be better with a Vivtar 285HV which allows a 5
    stop range of manual settings.

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    4. The A-1 with 199A allows slow speed sync, but only front curtain.
    The T90 with 300TL allows sync to 1/250th, slow sync, second curtain
    sync, and flash exposure compensation. Some many choices, I end up
    putting the flash on P. :) The older F-1 doesn't even have a hot
    shoe.
     

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