Canon AE-1 By Shane Caut

Canon AE-1

By Shane Caut

Hi Steve and Brandon,

I thought I would write a submission highlighting some of the beauty of Australia captured on a Canon AE-1 Program film camera.

To begin with I am a novice when it comes to photography and have only started working at this passion the last year or so, so I know I still have a lot to learn. Your site has been a constant source of inspiration and information, which I have keenly absorbed and so I wanted to share my progress.

My first serious camera purchase was a Leica M8. I was all set to start with a Fuji X body, when I was shown a used Leica M8 in the camera store and I was hooked. The M8 seemed to make so much sense to me and I did not get lost in all the gadgetry that other digital cameras can provide. I love how the M8 taught me the basics of setting the ISO, shutter speed and aperture. What more could anyone need?! I started with the Voigtlander 35mm f2.5 color skopar lens and it is certainly a great value for money lens. Wanting to try a wide-angle, I purchased a 24mm f2.8 FDn lens which I thought I could adapt to the M8 and focus using zone focusing. This worked fine, but that lens just did not belong on that camera. I then did some research and decided to try the lens on a body it was designed for. This led me to the Canon AE-1 Program. This camera is a delight. It is simple to use, ergonomic, quite small for a slr, and can be purchased for less than $100.

I fitted the lens to the body and took it on a trip to Melbourne. Some of the results are below. The other shots are from the streets and beaches of Adelaide.

I have used a few different films in my fledging film endeavour: Velvia 100, Ilford FP4, Ektar 100, and Portra 400. All have their own unique signature, and to my eye provide a depth of character difficult to recreate on digital. I am now hooked on film, and switched my Leica M8, which I did love and will always be thankful for purchasing, for a Leica M3. The M3 is in another stratosphere to the other cameras, and is hard to put down once you start hearing that almost silent click of the shutter release and experience that super smooth advance lever. I now have a nice balance of the M3 with a Canon 50mm f1.4 ltm lens and the Canon with the 24mm.

I hope readers enjoy the photos and feel free to provide any critical advice.

I have just started a flickr site here:[email protected]/

Kindest regards,

2568-09 (848x1280)

2568-15 (1280x848)

2565-19 (1280x848)

2565-21 (1280x848)

2565-32 (1280x848)

2565-16 (1280x848)

83670027 (1280x839)

32540022 (1280x848)

13680016 (1280x848)

13680023 (1280x848)

13680034 (1280x846)

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  1. My first serious camera was the AE-1, it was unusual in it’s day as a shutter speed priority only in an era dominated with match the needle cameras.
    I eventually replaced it with the A1 which was revolutionary with it’s LED numeric display and PASM in the early ’80s.
    I still have this camera and the 50mm 1.4 FD and the newer style plastic 35mm FD without the aluminium screw collar. Funny thing is the camera case was of some cardboard substance which fell apart under the weight of years.

  2. these are all great- glad you picked up such an awesome but expensive hobby! #3 is my favorite out of all of these. keep up the great work.

  3. “I did not get lost in all the gadgetry” I believe a digital level gadget would have helped out most of the photos.

    • Hi Corvus, yes sure. All I meant by that statement was that for me, coming from a background of a point and shoot being the only digital camera I had used and other than that a old Nikon film camera, I was a bit overwhelmed with all the customisation and things current cameras can do, so the Leica in its way made sense to me and I was able to learn the basics. Now of course if I had a digital I would cherish all those options and would probably want more hehe. I have used a Fuji x100 briefly and loved it. Take care.

    • Thanks Mike! The umbrella by the beach shot is with Velvia 100, and the group of umbrellas is Portra 400.

  4. Gorgeous shots. Have an AE-1 program myself…splendid “kick around” camera…especially on vacation! I find it suprisingly easy to focus accurately; even at f/1.4

    I love the color and the compositions here…thanks for posting!

    Best regards,

    • Thanks all for your kind comments!
      Patrick and Fergus…yes I have started looking into medium format already! A Rolleiflex TLR would be awesome!! I imagine the viewfinder would be a joy to behold!
      Patrick…I have thought about the 85mm f1.2L FD, it seems an beautiful lens 🙂
      Fergus…The Leica M3 is nice, I love it. It has that old school all mechanical feel to it, and is as solid as can be, yet easy to carry around. I imagine all the other Leica M film cameras would be similar. I do like the high magnification of the M3, but is obviously not as practical for wider angles if looking for built in frame lines. A built in light meter would be handy, but having to think about exposure for every shot has made me learn pretty quickly, so I actually enjoy that aspect to it also.

  5. I love film and use an ancient Pentax k1000 myself and like you I also have a Leica M8 which is wonderful especially for black and white as you probably know already. Your choice to use film has been a wise one as your wonderful images show ! I never had an M3 but I know people rave about them and some believe them to be the best Leica or indeed camera ever made -a slight exaggeration no doubt.
    Keep shooting -and I must say that Patrick has made a good point there are beautiful medium format film cameras now going for a song -medium format black and white is really beautiful !
    Best Wishes

  6. Love the color shot with the beach umbrella. In my research, the AE-1P, or the A1 are the best film bang for you money. You can get the “trinity” of lenses pretty cheap, and they are all beautiful L glass. Enjoy your film journey…next we’ll see posting about your recent Rolleiflex TLR purchase and how you are hooked on Medium Format. 😉

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