Got dad's old Canon AE-1 Where to start?

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by FastRedPonyCar, May 20, 2008.

  1. FastRedPonyCar

    FastRedPonyCar TPF Noob!

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    Hey guys. Sorry if this is in the wrong forum section but I was talking to my dad about upgrading from my canon S50 5mp digital camera to a nice digital SLR.

    I lack the funds right now to really get into the digital SLR world and he said that he had an old canon 35mm slr. So he takes out the AE-1 and says if I want it, I can have it. Why not right?

    Included with the AE1 are the following:

    50-200mm F3.5-4.5 zoom lens (Tokina)
    Canon 28mm F2.8 Lens
    Canon 50mm (either F1.8 or 1.4 I can't recall) Lens
    kalimar 52mm skylite filter
    Screw on lens hood
    automatic mountable flash
    all the manuals and stuff.

    Though I'm bummed that I dont' get that instant gratification and convinence of digital pics, I think having this and a little assistance from the camera with it's "revolutionary" automatic aperture and exposure ability as well as fully manual use, It'll be a good first SLR camera to learn on and once I'm familiar with how it all works, move up to a more advanced digital camera.


    Now for some questions.

    The batteries in the flash bled all over the inside of the flash so it's pretty much done for. Can anyone recommend a good replacement flash (preferably one that you can tilt the flash direction) Will ANY modern flash work or does it require one of the older models?

    The websites I'm reading about the camera talk about a needle in the view finder. I don't see this. The battery is still the one that was in the camera when it was last used (who knows how long ago) and I'm wondering if the needle shows up with a healthy battery or if my particular model doesn't have this?? I DO see the little red M or green P and the red number indicating reccomended lens setting so I'm assuming this to indicate a properly functioning camera. Any explanation about the missing needle?

    It came with 2 rolls of fuji 100 speed film. I'm going through these basically to test the camera to make sure it works and if it's taking decent pictures, great but I'm still just playing around with the aperture/iso/shutter speeds in various lighting conditions right now to see how the little auto sensor works out for me. What would everyone recommend as a decent film to use with this for both lower light band performances in bars and still/nature shots. I know they're totally opposite so if it needs different film speed/type, that's fine.

    What type of lenses would you guys recommend for both low lighting and basic nature shots. While I'm not necessarily NEEDING a wide angle or fish eye or macro, specialty lenses like that could be fun to experiment with. If the lenses I have are good for high quality all around use, that's fine but if I want to step up to one or two really nice lenses that can shoot in a variety of lighting conditions, I'm interested in that. A friend of mine recommended getting a polarizing filter. Where can I find one of these that will fit? And are they as good/necessary as he says they are?

    Also, I dig the old retro 70's and 60's looking photos where the colors are not as vibrant or rich. While I haven't had any of these pictures developed yet to see what they'll look like, will I need to use photoshop after I get them developed to achieve this look or will the fact that the camera was made back in the day help contribute to this? Or is there a specific type film with lower color quality that could help me get this effect?

    I've been reading several photography websites to try and get as much info as possible. Our local camera stores have photo classes I'm thinking of attending if they even cater to the 35mm SLR crowd anymore. Any supplemental literature would work whether it's online or in a book store.

    Anyways sorry for all the questions. I didn't know if this belonged in the beginners section or this section so I figured the film photo guys/gals would be the best section to ask first.

    Thanks!

    - Drew
     
  2. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Ditch the color film, get soe basic stuff to develop your own film. Get some TMax 100 or 400 and have fun. The learning curve to process your own film is zero to insane, man, and it's fun. I did it this spring and I wish I had never put it off. I might be printing right now. And it is cool to blow a roll of film, go home and be looking at the negs within an hour. There are some good posts in this film photography 'Darkroom' section with some start up gear lists that will get you pointed in the right direction. Also some processing procedure threads.
     
  3. Valethar

    Valethar TPF Noob!

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    You can find a Vivitar 2800 auto thyristor on eBay usually. This has a head that will tilt upwards at 45, 60, 75 and 90 degrees. If you find one that has all of the filters, get that if possible.

    I bought one just last month for about $30 US, (for an AE-1 P) and it works fine.

    Also, there is no 'needle' per se. The 'needle' on this model is the LED numbers you're seeing in the viewfinder.

    Some things you may want to look for:

    - Check the foam padding around the film door and on the mirror bumper. If they're looking degraded or gummy, you may want to look into having them replaced. This can be done with a do-it-yourself kit for around $30 (Can usually find them on eBay) or by sending the body in to have it replaced by a tech (cost varies).

    - When you snap a picture, if you hear a squealing noise, you have the infamous 'Canon Squeal'. This too can be corrected by a technician if you send it in to be serviced. I've seen some techs offer this service on eBay for around $30 to $40, but it can run upwards of $100 if you go to a local shop.

    - Check your lens apertures for oil. This can be done by placing the lens on the camera body, setting the aperature to it's highest setting, and pressing the aperture lock on the body (a lever on the right of the lens if you're looking into the lens itself). Take a mini Maglite or other flashlight and shine it into the lens. Slowly rotate the aperture ring on the lens and observe the blades. They should not have any spots of oil on them, and should all move smoothly through the range of stops. If one or more tend to stick or not move properly, you may have congealed oil on them, which would require a qualified technician to correct, or replacing the lens.

    A good tutorial on this, with pictures, can be found at http://www.techarp.com/showarticle.aspx?artno=194&pgno=5

    Another helpful FAQ on FD mount lenses can be found at http://canonfd.farah.cl//CanonFD_faql.html

    Hope this helps some :)
     
  4. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Another great flash to pick up would be an old Promatic FTD4000 with a Canon module. I just got one and this thing is great. Gives you swivel and a second straight flash and you can zoom the flash to increase the guide number for more distance to your flash lighting.
     
  5. Jus7 A Phas3

    Jus7 A Phas3 TPF Noob!

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    Your 50 is perfect for low light work, your lucky to get so much glass.
     
  6. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The lenses you have for this are alredy decent. One suggestion I might have is if you want to test the meter and workings of the camera you shoudl shoot a roll of slide film. If you shoot slide film you will get out of the camera exactly hat you shot and no lab will have the opportunity to adjust things for you so you will be able to test the accuracy of th meter.
     
  7. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    the standard AE-1 Viewfinder looks like this

    [​IMG]

    I highlited the needle, when the meter is not active it rests at the bottom of the viewfinder and is out of site. press the shutter relese half way for the meter to kick on and the nedel to appear.

    Compatable lensed are Canon FD mount lenses, they can be found almost anywhere used equipment is sold.

    Color quality is in the film, so the camera will take pictures with real color with proper exposure, so you'll prolly be wanting to go PS for Bleaching.

    Also get a deisent Film enabled scanner, scanning prints is just bad from my experience.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2008
  8. Cat nt Tat's Dusky

    Cat nt Tat's Dusky TPF Noob!

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    I broke out my AE-1 back in January.

    B&H has lots of used lenses for the FD mount, but from the looks of it, you have that covered.

    Enjoy!
     

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