Tightly screwed together
Plasticky joint parts
Prone to scratch
From RM 300
Canon’s AE-1 was born in a time where cassettes was the norm and the AE-1 Program later in time when compact disc was in its introductory phase. A sophisticated processor led the company to world domination making unprecedented sales success. From automatic shutter speed to automated aperture with only focus to nail, the AE-1 P cannot be anymore foolproof in the 80s.
Being in black, the panels are glittered with enamel while its silver alternative’s in chrome. Both plating are applied to deliver a feel of solidity. This one has been paired to a 50 millimetre, a focal length that forces photographers to move their feet for composition instead of resorting to zoom. That apart, an f/1.4 was favoured over a 1.8 for its larger aperture but comes with drawbacks like additional weight and a minimum of f/16.
Moving on, the Program features modern camera conveniences like self timer, split screen focus and suggestion of aperture, the latter two delivers an even wider safety net.
If something has to be faulted, it’d be having to wind after every shot. Then again, the process is an enjoyable one, like shifting a manual transmission. Thanks to film’s dynamic range, it is often where more time is spent appreciating one photograph before swiping for the next.
This Canon manages to strike a good balance between automation and analogue making it something worthy of consideration should anyone be interested in having a taste of film photography. What’s more the AE-1 P consumes so little energy that it basically feeds off the sun.
When it comes to choice of film, an Agfa 400 is a good place to kick things off for its competitive price and colour delivery. They still could be bought at reasonable prices despite the cease of production so it is wise to hoard before they’re all gone.
If black and white is what you’re after, Ilford HP5 or Fomapan 100 could just be your cup of tea. As for Kodak’s Portra 400, it is just one of the best by being sharp and true to life. There is no go-to film as more fun will be had than regrets in each and every one of them.
At under a thousand ringgit for a state of the art example, you won’t lose much (if at all) should the experience not turn out be how one imagined. It is a conversation piece, teaches patience and a fragment of history that deserves a place in the cabinet even if its sole purpose is to be an ornament. The AE-1 was a camera for everyone thirty years ago and today, the film camera for anyone.