Canon AE1 Program


The newest addition to my camera collection is the Canon AE1 Program. This is the automatic version of the AE1 which I reviewed a few months ago. It is just a coincidence that I got this camera at the same time as my Pentax Super Program becuase these cameras had to be competing against each other around 1984. I had to chuckle at the lens cap because it had “Official 35mm Camera of the 1984 Olympics” on it.


Both this camera and the Pentax Super Program represent the peak of consumer 35mm SLR cameras. They were reliable, accurate, compact, had great lenses, and could take a beating. This is pre “Rebel” days, before cameras became bloated with electronics and features that doubled the size and weight of cameras.


The controls are logical and easy to use. If you aren’t real sure what you are doing you can leave it on the automatic setting and not worry about it. When you want to go manual the controls are right where you would expect them. If I have a complaint about this camera it is that I miss the needle light meter of the plain AE1 version. Flashing lights and numbers can’t compete with the simplicity and common sense factor of a needle. This is a minor complaint, however, and I highly recommend this camera.


Here are some of the auctions on Ebay for Canon AE1 Program cameras that you might be interested in:

12 Responses to “Canon AE1 Program”

  1. Sigivald Says:

    Obviously this means you need to find a Zenit-E Moscow 1980 commemorative!

    Cheap, easy to find, and a reasonably solid totally manual M-42 SLR.

  2. Chuck T Says:

    I’ve had one since 1983 (with the 1984 lens cap) and it remains my favorite camera. A couple of years ago I picked up a Canon 35-105 3.5 lens, which is heavy, but wonderful. Worth the money.

    I prefer it to my Elan 7E and even to my 20D. I’m just not fast enough on the focus to get great shots of my kids. Plus, scanning the film just takes time.

  3. Judy G Says:

    I have a Conon 35 MM camera that also sports the “Official 35MM Camera..1984 Olympic Games” on it. It is an AE-1 program. Do you have any idea what the worth of this might be. I don’t even know how to operate it.

  4. WHLanteigne Says:

    I have an A-1 I got for $20 because it was “dead, and you can’t buy batteries or film for it any more.” Also came with the Olympic cap. Replaced the A544 battery and it works fine. I’m looking to fill out my FD collection, I have the TLb, an FTb, and a pair of Bell & Howell FD 35’s (rebadged Canon TX) (also a non-FD, Bell & Howell Auto 35 Reflex, a rebadged Canon EX EE). I use the A-1 mostly in manual mode, but the automation, and very long shutter speed, actually is quite useful in doing small-aperture, available-light pictures. I’d love to have an AE-1 (non-program) and the others in the “A” series.

  5. Ashlie Says:

    Hi I Just got an AE1 program and I dont know how to use it. I was wondering if you could tell me about the speeds and stuff like that.

  6. danb Says:

    the ae1 program is automatic for the most part, you set it on program and the speed of the film. if you hold down the button just slightly it will tell you where to set the f stop ring in the view finder. set the ring, focus and then push the trigger down fully. is a good place to find a price on most cameras.

  7. hudson motlaleng Says:


  8. Sandy Cromwell Says:

    I would like to sell a Canon AE-1 Program Camera. The box says it’s “The Official 35mm Camera of the 1984 Olympic Games” and has a lens cap that says that. I think it’s in mint condition. It’s in its original carrying case. All the original books that came with it are here and the box it came in. There’s also a box for a Canon Lens FD 50/1.8 which I guess maybe is the one on it. It’s clean, really clean, in its own carrying case. I had it repaired when I got it a few years ago, but have never taken a picture with it. At the same time, I bought a Sunpack multi dedicated auto 2000DZ electronic flash unit to use with it. I live in San Diego.

  9. Sandy Cromwell Says:

    Oh, you can reach me or leave a message at 619-550-5955.

  10. chris Says:

    i have a brand new boxed ae1 programme complete with 85-210 canon lense a cannon 177a flash ans camera case all brand new and never used

    do you know of a collector who might be interested in buying these

  11. Sam Gambacorta Says:

    Dear Chris,

    Is your Canon Ae-1 still for sale?

    Please contact me at 847-251-5714. Thanks.

  12. Isaac Says:

    Hey, I have the regular version of the AE-1 from 1984, but I can’t get the light meter to work. I’m new so are there any suggestions you can give me?

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