Canon AE-1 Program or Nikon FE?

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by ParanoidHiro, May 5, 2014.

  1. cgw

    cgw Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Probably the biggest single difference among these is the meter display. The EM/FG/FG20/FM variants(except the FM3a) use LEDs; the FE/FE2 use a match needle display. With the exception of the late model FM3a, all sold strongly which means no shortages on the used market. I often see the remarkably capable FG+50/1.8E kit in very nice shape for peanuts. If it matters, the EM/FG/FG20 bodies are a bit smaller than the FM/FE variants.


     
  2. timor

    timor Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I have one like that, even with the winder. Very nice to shoot.
     
  3. cgw

    cgw Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It's a sweet little camera that's often overlooked. Have the 45/2.8 Ai-P that makes the FG almost pocketable. Funny but the new Fuji X-T1 is the same size as the FG.
     
  4. Gromit801

    Gromit801 TPF Noob!

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    To thoroughly confuse things, look hard at a Minolta XD-11
     
  5. dubiousone

    dubiousone TPF Noob!

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    Canon A series are my favorites! The AE-1 Program and Ae-1 are very similar. Both are shutter priority meaning you set the lens on A and the camera picks the aperture according to what shutter speed you select. With the AE-1 Program you also have auto exposure with the shutter set on program. Just focus, compose and shoot. The AE-1 has a needle that indicates the aperture the camera is using (or recommending) and the Program uses LED's. Like all A series when the shutter flywheel lubricant dries up they squeak. They usually squeak for a while before it seizes but this DOES NOT RUIN THE CAMERA. it is a simple fix to do (BEFORE it seizes) either by a CLA at a shop or a DIY fix. Search Youtube for Canon shutter squeak fix. I have a drawer full of Canons and they all work fine. Like anything old there's occasional maintenance involved. Like having an old car LOL, but usually with cameras once its right they run for a long, long time. I have plenty of that old gear that's not seen a CLA service this century and they're good!

    The Nikon FE is more manual, it has a match needle. One for shutter one for aperture. Select both until those two needles align, perfect exposure. The FG is a bit different, the FG-20 has a needle to show the shutter speed and a little window that reflects the aperture right in the viewfinder. The FE2 has TTL flash but is mostly the same as the FE. The Nikons have an exposure compensation dial the Canon's do not however they do have a little button to up the exposure for backlit subjects.

    The Canon A-1 is more automated; full auto where the camera selects shutter and aperture and has an exposure comp dial on top. There's LEDS in the viewfinder that show the selected aperture and shutter which will flash if the exposure is not correct. The A-1 also does shutter priority, aperture priority or full manual. It might be a little simpler to use though ANY of the cameras you mentioned are pretty simple, about as point and shoot as 70-80's cameras get!

    Canon lenses are cheaper than Nikon. Buy a bundle with the camera and two or three lenses is often more cost effective. Stick to Canon/Nikon/Tamron/Sigma/Vivitar brand lenses. Some of the 'hashimotomat' or 'vexor' brand lenses aren't all that well made BUT...I have a few of those off brand lenses that are pretty decent. Stick with the name brand stuff so you don't end up fighting your gear. Now, go GET a camera and have some fun!!
     
  6. Canoneer

    Canoneer TPF Noob!

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    Some comments on what others have said above.

    1. Canon FD lenses are definitely cheaper than Nikon. If you are into street photography, you probably want a fast medium telephoto plus a versatile wide angle, the 35 is a good choice. I don't like zoom lenses any more, too long, heavy and slow. But used zooms of all brands tend to be cheap on eBay, while fast primes are bid up.

    2. Canon rules the roost now in digital. But through the 1980s, it was the other way, with most pros using Nikon. Nikons have very good build quality, more so than most Canon film cameras. An AE-1 was my first SLR, and it is still in great condition, accurate meter, but it does have plastic parts inside. The "chrome" is really plastic. By contrast the FE (which was $100-150 more expensive in 1980 than the AE-1) is smaller but more solid, with ball bearings where they count and pro level components (Nikon for some reason tended to bring out new tech first in advanced amateur level cameras before they introduced it in their flagship line. True of the FE and also the N90s). If you can get a Canon in good shape cheap, then great. But in quality and mystique, the edge goes to Nikon.

    3. Nearly all old film cameras are dirt cheap. You can get a Nikon F3 now in good usable shape for $100 or less. An N90s for $30-45. And these are cameras that ran close to a thou new. Be careful about pro level cameras, because they may be about worn out. Nikon FMs tended to be used professionally, and those I've seen appear to be heavy users. Canon F1s are still pricey on eBay, and I suspect most are worn out and not a good buy. EBay prices on everything are all over the map, so there is no substitute for watching and learning before you bid.

    4. I disagree with some of what was said above about certain cameras. Correct me if I am wrong. The Nikon EM is a small aperture priority only camera with a needle that shows the shutter speed the CPU selected for you. Some film enthusiasts still carry one because they are cheap (<$30) and pocketable, ideal for street photos. If one breaks, small loss. (There is a pancake 50mm lens that makes them seem even smaller.) The EM is plastic on the outside and you think it is a dinky little plastic thing, but I understand it has a solid metal chassis underneath and has some impressive tech under that plasticky exterior. I prefer the FE which has a needle in the viewfinder that shows shutter speed when you go aperture priority, works like a match-needle if you go full manual, has easy exposure compensation +/- 2 stops, and will do multiple exposure. A great thing about the FE and the F3 is that they will take any Nikon F-mount lens, from 1959 on including non AI lenses; not true of later Nikons, which will not mount the old lenses. The Canon AE-1 is not built like the AE-1 Programmable; structurally they are different cameras with the programmable a half-generation ahead but behind the T-70.

    5. For me, I like knobs and dials and needles better than LCDs and multi-function buttons. So I am cool with the FE, AE-1, F3, and so on. However, in a camera like the N90s you can buy incredible technology with wonderful viewfinder readouts and autofocus for under $50. I am not familiar with post FD mount Canons.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2014
  7. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Easy for who? Were talking $50 cameras, paying a shop $100 to repair it is silly.

    Better off buying the less likely to need repair camera which is the Nikon. Speaking from personal experience buying and selling cameras, old Nikon's are FAR more reliable than old canons.
     
  8. timor

    timor Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Atg some point we gonna have to start repairing cameras. But then good luck with parts. That will be the real ens of film photography. :D
     
  9. compur

    compur Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    "Parts cameras," that is, broken bodies, are plentiful and cheap. I have lots of them. When I want to sell them I list them as an auction on eBay with a starting bid of $0.99 (otherwise I can't give them away). Sometimes they only sell for that 99 cents, sometimes a little more. It's better than throwing them away, I guess. With some cameras, I do throw them away because they won't even sell at 99 cents and I can't use them myself (mostly the broken plastic AF SLRs of the 1980s-90s). If I have time I remove the screws before tossing because that's about the only parts I can use from them.
     
  10. timor

    timor Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Problem is, that mostly the vital parts are broken. Like shutters, gears and electronics.
     
  11. minicoop1985

    minicoop1985 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I have a lot of parts cameras with good shutters if anyone's interested. Pay shipping and they're yours. Lemme know what you need and we'll work it out.
     

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