Quirks, And Brilliance- More Canon AE-1 Notes

Homeless Man, Downtown Worcester- Canon AE-1, 135mm f/2.8 FD, Kodak Portra 400

Homeless Man, Downtown Worcester- Canon AE-1, 135mm f/2.8 FD, Kodak Portra 400

My son and I were on our way to play some ball, and go to the library, when I took this photo of a homeless man and his bagged bottle, with the AE-1, and 135mm f/2.8 FD. A fantastic lens. The Canon AE-1 is maybe the funnest camera I’ve shot with since picking up the Nikon F a couple of years ago. However, as I mentioned in an earlier post, it is far from perfect, and does have more than a fair share of quirks.

The ASA/ISO film speed control is an absolute nightmare to adjust with any ease. I believe that the AE-1 Program later made changing this easier. But on the AE-1, it is not something you want to reset frequently. If you are shooting a wide latitude film, such as Portra 400, you may want to switch from 320, to 400, to 800, and 1600, on the fly. Easier said than done. The shot below, taken in the children’s section of the library, was shot at 1600:

Giraffe In Worcester Public Library Canon AE1 Portra 400 135mm f2.8 FD Kodak Portra 400 Shot At 1600

Giraffe In The Library- Shot At ISO 1600

OK, as mentioned in the last post, The AE-1 suffered from the dreaded “Canon Squeal”. When activating the shutter, it sounded like it had a cough. While not impacting the camera performance in any way, it sounded sick. The old lubrication on the flywheel gear having long since dried up. Thanks to a can of Remington Gun Oil with Teflon, and some great instructions online: http://jetbutterfly.web.fc2.com/camera/e_squeak.html , this was easily repaired in about 10 minutes. You do NOT have to take the top of the camera apart, and buttons and fasteners, washers, etc.. It can be done by taking the lower plate off (TWO screws), and squirting one brief blast of oil with the included straw, into the lubrication point for the flywheel. Work the rewind/ shutter sequence about 100 times, and it will pretty much go away. Repeat the sequence to make sure. Use it very sparingly. Too much, and you could flood the shutter curtains. But really, it isn’t open heart surgery. It is a very easy do-it-yourself repair. Next up? New light seals, and a mirror damper.


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