Canon AL-1 QF 35mm cameras

The latest addition to my 35mm camera arsenal is the Canon AL-1 qf.

This so called “low feature” camera came with Canon’s first dip into focus confirmation, later to become auto focus, and in my option is hugely underrated.

Canon AL-1 QF 35mm camera with 50mm FD f1.8 kit lens

The main flaw if you can call it one, is the battery door is notorious for failing but is easily fixed with a bit of tape to keep it closed.

Other than that, the fact it uses readily available AAA batteries, is easy to use in full manual or aperture priority mode and feels great in the hand, with or without the power drive which is available, makes this an easy candidate for any photographer that wants hassle free kit for street photography.

I have been very lucky to buy 2 mint examples of which I took for a full try out at the Freedom march in London of the 18th September 2021.

My idea was to take these 1980’s cameras, one with the kit 50mm f/1.8 lens and the other with the FD 135mm f/3.5. I used various B&W film in the 50mm and Fuji colour in the 135mm.

I hoped I could make images that gave the feel of the 1980’s and with the pictures below I think I got the look and feel I was after.

Using the “Sunny 16” rule as a base, I was able to keep the shutter to around 1/250th for most of the shots, tweaking the aperture as I went.

The internal meter was a great tool to help me gage and make changes in shutter speed to keep the pictures exposed well.

I am going to give them both some tlc mainly changing the light seals, as they are over 40 years old and it never hurts to do that job.

Overall I am smitten with the Canon AL-1 and very soon will be offering some that I have bought to refurbish and offer for sale here so you to can join in the fun of film photography with me.

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