The Canon AE-1 was a landmark in the SLR history (this is right, no ‘D’ there). It was introduced back in 1976 and if you are holding any SLR/DSLR from Canon, there are probably traces of the AE-1 design in it. Why is it so good? And why you should get one today? hit the jump to find out.
The camera starts selling at around $50 on ebay, so its easy to get one, and lenses are just as cheap, especially if you get a 1.8/50mm lens.
One of the prime reasons that the AE-1 is so much fun is its viewfinder. It is very similar to the Canon F1 flagship. (or flagship of at the time). It has a Matte focusing screen with a built in split screen and a microprism band. It the kind of focusing screen that you would see in spy movies when the camera “looks” inside the viewfinder. Remember, there was no auto focus back then, so you had to nail focus perfectly.
The other fun of the camera is that it is very simple, yet has some metering. There is no spot/center metering, no scene selection, no focus modes to select from and definitely no colorspace to set. It really goes back to the basics. .
I already have one of those, do you?
P.S. missed the first three seconds of the video, its worth going back and looking at them again.