How to Use Canon AE-1 & Review! [Digital to Analog Experience]

Here’s how to use the Canon AE-1 Program 35mm film camera and my review of it from the perspective of someone who started shooting digital and going back to film. THIS is a LOT of fun!

Rather than just a plain review, I’ve also included some basic tutorial on how to use the Canon AE-1 as I had to learn it all from scratch such as loading 35mm film, attaching Canon FD lens, and also using the shutter speed priority exposure meter for taking shots in aperture priority(without the actual mode).

I had to re-learn everything about photography including putting the 35mm film on the camera.   I swore I did this before in the 80s as a kid with my dad’s camera but first time actually doing it myself.

(Pull and put the film in the slot)

(Close the cover)

(Set the ISO of your film by pressing on the small silver button and moving the ISO dial.  If using ISO 100 film, set to 100.  If using ISO 400, set to 400. etc…etc… There are also ways to set higher ISO (e.g. Set to ISO 1600 on ISO 800 film) to get higher shutter speeds in low-light but for now, just set to the film ISO, will have more on that.)

(Take a photo then move the lever until you reach 1)

Now, most of the review is cover in the video so I am not going to regurgitate everything in this post but I just wanted to outline some of the more basic things of the camera but on actually how to use the camera, please watch my video tutorial along with your Canon AE-1.  If you have any questions about how to use the camera, please leave a comment below and I would be happy to answer them! (You can also just tweet me @zedomax for faster response.)

Overall, the Canon AE-1 takes exceptionally excellent shots for a fully-manual 35mm camera.  There is shutter priority mode but my favorite mode is aperture priority which the AE-1 does NOT have.  In order to do the same, simply set the aperture dial on your lens to manual then use the Automatic shutter priority mode(“A” on the dial) then use the recommended aperture in your view finder to get the correct exposure.  It is a lot of manual dialing work with the shutter and aperture but once you get used to it, you will be able to take flawless photos.

Although this is my very first time using a 35mm camera(that’s not an instant camera), I was able to take some decent photos like below: (You can check out all of them on my Flickr account here)

(Click photo to enlarge)



I got my AE-1 and lens on Amazon here:

Canon AE-1 body only – (I had a bunch of scratches on the mirror but it didn’t affect my final photos as the mirror is only for viewfinder.)

Canon 50mm F1.4 (Grab the slightly faster 50mm F1.4 instead of 50mm F1.8 for more bokeh!)

I also grabbed Canon 28mm F2 for wider shots on ebay.

My main YouTube channel – Max Lee (This is where you can check out some of videos I make with my cameras.)

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