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Canon AE-1 Program Camera review – Beginners’ Best Choice

https://i0.wp.com/phitienkiem.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/canon-ae1-program-review-8-of-8.jpg?fit=1800%2C1013&ssl=1 1800 1013Aidan BellAidan Bellhttps://i0.wp.com/phitienkiem.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/aiden-bell-1-1-of-1.jpg?fit=96%2C70&ssl=1June 3, 2020June 14, 2021

At first, I had trouble falling in love with film. I’m still learning, of course, but these days I’m at least comfortable calling myself an experienced film photographer. I have the Canon AE-1 Program lớn thank for that.

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I’m often asked questions by those who are ready và willing to jump into photography. A recommendation around which camera to lớn buy or what lens works best for portraits of their dog, the các mục goes on. My mind starts racing because I feel obligated to think of an answer that would help them best. Nine times out of ten, these questions are about digital photography.

The funny thing is that I rarely carry around digital cameras for personal photography anymore. I constantly have the Canon AE-1 Program strapped around my neck at family functions, gatherings with friends, or any event that I want lớn remember. I also use it for any personal portrait or landscape projects that I may conjure in my head.

The camera, or as I lượt thích to hotline it, “ol’ reliable,” was given to lớn me by a relative knowledgeable of my love for the craft, who had found it sitting in her parents’ attic after years of disuse. They keep all of their items clean, so, the camera was in mint condition. Being my first film camera, it holds quite some sentimental value, but it also allows me to say this camera is great for those ready lớn start with film. It has taught me everything I currently know about analog photography and has truly shown me the meaning of slowing down when framing a shot.

Now when I’m asked about the best beginner camera by those willing to lớn dabble in film photography, I immediately recommend the Canon AE-1 Program. I’ve been shooting it for over two years, và while it’s not a perfect camera, it is the best beginner-level 35mm SLR. 

The Camera as Teacher

The Canon AE-1 Program is a 1981 revision of the original AE-1. To this older camera, the AE-1 Program adds a full automatic Program mode, an electronic light meter readout in the viewfinder, và a few smaller changes which have been explored in-depth in a previous article wherein James compared the two cameras at length. It’s by all measures an excellent camera for any cấp độ of shooter, yes, but it’s greatest strength may be in its ability to lớn teach first-time users about the three basic settings that determine the exposure of any photograph: ISO, shutter speed, và aperture.

ISO number refers to lớn the sensitivity of a film or image sensor (James wrote about this in depth in another article). Briefly, the higher the ISO number, the more sensitive a film or sensor is to lớn light. With digital cameras, it’s possible lớn adjust the sensitivity of the sensor at will. Since the AE-1 Program is a film camera, the ISO value comes from the film stock. For example, Kodak Ektar 100 is a 100 ISO speed film whereas Cinestill 800 Tungsten is an 800 ISO tốc độ film. Simple.

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The ISO dial on the top left of the Canon’s toàn thân is used lớn calibrate the camera’s light meter to lớn match the ISO of the loaded film. It can also be mix slightly higher or lower than the film’s “box speed” – this is called over- or under-exposing film. Over- or under-exposed film can then be developed differently from film shot at box speed khổng lồ achieve different final image styles as desired by the photographer. This more advanced process is known as “push” or “pull processing,” and it allows us lớn shoot certain film in special circumstances where it might not be best-suited, such as low light environments. The ISO dial of the AE-1 Program can be positioned from 25 lớn 3200 ISO, a range that will cover the needs of nearly any film & photographer.

Our second factor, aperture, is the amount of light that enters the lens lớn expose the film (or sensor on a digital). By changing the lens aperture (f stop numbers) we can determine how much light hits the film, & how much depth-of-field an image will show (James wrote about this as well, which can be seen here). Canon FD lenses include an “A” mode for use on camera bodies which can control lens aperture – the AE-1 Program is just such a camera. 

Lastly, the camera’s shutter speed determines the length of time that light will expose the film. The AE-1 Program’s shutter is capable of speeds from 1/1000th of a second lớn two seconds, and is controlled by a dial on the đứng top right of the body. On this same dial is a setting for Bulb mode, for long exposures, in which the shutter stays xuất hiện as long as the shutter release button is held down. Shots using this mode only turn out usable or even pleasing lớn the eye if a shutter release cable is used with the camera on a tripod. 

On the same dial is a setting labeled “PROGRAM,” & this is the feature that sets the AE-1 Program apart from its sibling model in the Canon A-series, the AE-1. While the original AE-1 offers only shutter-priority semi-auto mode and full manual mode, the AE-1 Program adds “PROGRAM” mode as well. This is basically “automatic” mode. Set the lens aperture to lớn “A” & the shutter speed dial khổng lồ Program và the camera automatically chooses the best aperture và shutter tốc độ based on the current lighting situation as read by its light meter. When this mode is in use, a “P” flashes in the viewfinder. Otherwise, an “M” for manual flashes.

The inclusion of this Program mode is one of the things that makes the AE-1 Program so perfect for beginners. It was extremely intuitive when I first started, making the transition from digital lớn film stressless. If I was ever unsure of my shot, I could count on Program mode lớn help. 

The AE-1 Program in Use

What we have with the Canon AE-1 Program is a straightforward electronic camera that can shoot in fully automatic Program mode, và semi-automatic Shutter-Priority mode (set the lens to A và choose your shutter tốc độ – the camera will select the correct aperture). This is perfect for those just starting. It will effectively let the new photographer see exactly how ISO, shutter speed, và aperture work together lớn make a properly exposed photo. It’s also got full manual mode. And for me, this was the hard part – doing it myself. 

Using the camera in manual mode helps us become a better photographer, but, it’s a rocky road. Learning lớn properly expose an image on an entirely manual camera is intimidating, especially when you can’t see your image directly after the shutter release. And, I’ll admit, I did not know this camera had a light meter for my first two rolls. I received back some disappointingly underexposed shots during my beginning stages with film photography. Mistakes happen. It’s important to learn & move on.

And that’s what I did – I was forced to lớn learn how lớn use “ol’ reliable” in order khổng lồ “reliably” make decent photos. Once I did research on the three factors of a photo, mentioned above, I came to lớn find that the light meter on this old Canon is actually quite accurate. I used a cheap Fuji stock to test it out & discovered that the meter focuses on properly exposing the brightest point in your image unless selectively metered a different way. With a tripod, I tested its accuracy with bright windows from dark rooms, sunlight in shaded areas, và lonely lamps in dimly lit rooms. Most of the time, just based on the meter, the image came out with the brightest parts properly exposed unless manipulated otherwise. For example, in my window test, what is seen through the window is visible and properly exposed, whereas what is in the room is underexposed.

The light meter operates by taking the information of the film’s speed, determined from the ISO dial, and the desired shutter tốc độ of the photographer, and calculates what aperture would properly expose the current lighting situation. When the shutter is pressed halfway, very small LEDs are projected into the viewfinder to explain to the user what aperture the manual lens should be adjusted to. If a situation is too dark, the LED projects a flashing “1,” whereas if the situation is too bright, a flashing “32” is projected.

So, the camera is exceptional at understanding whether or not the current loaded film stock can handle the current situation at the desired shutter speed. As a beginner, this is a quality feature that definitely taught me which settings work well together khổng lồ make a properly exposed photo. Now after dozens of film rolls, I can (almost) confidently shoot without using a light meter.

Chuyên mục: Tin Tức