purchasing Canon AE-1


New Member
Feb 24, 2010
i really dont know which section to post this.

I am new to film cameras and is looking forward to start with it.
i am considering to purchase a film camera and seems like
the Canon AE-1 program is a good buy.
But i have a couple of questions in mind and i hope that anyone can
help me clear my doubts.

1) is it wiser to get a mechanical or a electronic film camera? i believe that the canon AE-1 needs battery to work, and i heard that, for electronic, the chances of failing is higher due to the circuit board and stuffs.

2) Any tips on how can i check the camera before i purchase it?

3) Any introductions of any other film cameras that i might be able to get with a budget of around $350? :)



Staff member
Jul 23, 2007
I am not familiar with Canon AE-1.

Its a mixed bag of considerations.
Mechanical cameras might be a bit longer lasting w/o the electronics, but they lack creature comforts. (Eg. no auto winding; more importantly - no metering)
In fact most SLRs will require a battery of some sort as they usually have a meter. Make sure the model you are getting is not using an extinct/rare battery type.

More modern electronic SLRs have all the creature comforts and convenience like a DSLR. In fact the main diff is the sensor is now the film and there is no review LCD at the back.

Either type can be a joy to use depending on how you like a slower or a more convenient approach.

As I'm mainly familiar with Pentax cameras, here are a few to consider
K1000 - an all metal robust camera popular to this day with photography students. The updated version of the famous Pentax Spotmatic.
KX - not to be confused with the DSLR version. A really nice camera. Robust build, metering, DOF preview.
ME super - This is a really nice elegant camera. As small as a FED2 (leica copy) rangefinder.
MZ-5n - A modern SLR with the convenience of one. Auto film advance/winding; spot meter/center/segment metering; Auto focus; Av, M, Tv modes. Just like a DSLR except that it uses film.

The best thing is that all the above cameras are around $150 in good condition.

Next best thing is that the lenses used on these cameras are cheap and can still be used on a Pentax DSLR if you have one.

BTW, Pentax is in fact the first Japanese SLR manufacturer and not some no brand name.


Good luck hunting for a SLR ;)


Staff member
Jan 3, 2008
Pasir Ris
Canon AE uses FD mount. There are still lenses around but there is not auto focus and aperture has to be set manually. You cannot use FD lenses anywhere else. When Canon introduced Auto focus they changed the mount to EF and the camera series is called 'EOS'. All EOS cameras (film and digital) can share the same EF lenses (with some limitations for EF-S lenses).
What pinholecam mentioned about lenses for Pentax is also valid to a certain extend for Nikon, Minolta (now owned by Sony) and other brands. Best to read up the history of certain brands and their models. Certain mount types where not exclusively used by a single camera manufacturer (M42, Contax / Yashika C/Y) and you can find lenses and other cameras from many different vendors. Example: Zenit 122 (Russian camera) with Carl Zeiss lenses - both use M42 mount. Zenit cameras are built like a tank ..

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