The Canon AE-1 is a 35 mm single-lens reflex (SLR) film camera for use with interchangeable lenses. It was manufactured by Canon Camera K. K. (today Canon Incorporated) in Japan from April 1976 to 1984. It uses an electronically-controlled, electromagnet horizontal cloth focal plane shutter, with a speed range of 2 to 1/1000 second plus Bulb and flash X-sync of 1/60th second. The camera body is 87
The AE-1 has a Canon FD breech-lock lens mount and accepts any FD or New FD (FDn) lens. It is not compatible with Canon's later Canon EF lens mount, though adapters made by independent manufacturers can be found. Original FD lenses, introduced in 1971, did not rotate in the mounting process; instead, a locking ring at the base was turned to attach the lens. This was often criticised as being slower and more awkward than the bayonet mounts of competing cameras. The counter argument, though, was that as the lens/body mating surfaces did not rotate, there was no wear that could affect the critical distance from lens to film plane. In 1976, in addition to the AE-1, Canon also introduced the New FD series of lenses that rotate the whole lens barrel to lock. During the late 1970s, there were approximately 40 Canon FD lenses available for purchase. They ranged from a Fisheye FD 15 mm f/2.8 SSC to a FD 800 mm f/5.6 SSC.
Accessories for the AE-1 included the Canon Winder A (motorized single frame film advance up to 2 frames per second), the Canon Databack A (sequential numbering or date stamping on the film), and the Canon Speedlite 155A (guide number 56/17 (feet/meters) at ASA 100) and Canon Speedlite 177A (guide number 83/25 (feet/meters) at ASA 100) electronic flashes.
The AE-1 was a battery powered (one 4LR44 or PX-28) microprocessor-controlled manual focus SLR. It supported either manual exposure control or shutter priority auto exposure. The exposure control system consisted of a needle pointing along a vertical f-stop scale on the right side of the viewfinder to indicate the readings of the built-in light meter (center-weighted with a silicon photocell). The viewfinder used by the AE-1 was Canon’s standard split image rangefinder with microprism collar focusing aids.