|Canon AT-1, 50mm FD Lense, Fujifilm 200|
The AT-1 was a 35 mm single lens reflex (SLR) film camera, with a double-roller rubberised cloth curtain focal plane electronically controlled shutter, manufactured by the Canon Corporation of Japan in 1977. It was a battery-operated camera, without which the film advance lever remains stuck and the shutter appears jammed. Being a manual version of the AE-1, it lacked the expensive automatic exposure (AE) microprocessor technology, therefore establishing its value just below the AE-1 price threshold. The AT-1 has an FD lens mount and can accept FD and FL range of lenses. In this multi page review and repair guide, we see every aspect of the camera including battery type, how to load film, and current worth and value.
It was the second camera in the series, and identical to the AE-1 featuring the same electronic shutter mechanism, magnetic release, and automated flash synchronisation. However, the AT-1 uses the match-needle exposure mechanism.
Please refer to the Canon AE-1 How to Load 35mm Film article for more information about opening the back cover, loading film, and rewinding film. The steps are also identical to that shown in the Canon AV-1 How to Load Film article, because they all have identical film compartments.
Canon is one of those wonderful companies that always listens to what their customers want, and the Canon AT-1 was for those people who loved the new streamlined compact design of the A-series but wanted individual exposure control like that of the FTb. In addition, many photographers were accustomed to the older CdS photocell metering system, but liked the modern centre-weighted average metering. When I studied the engineering design of this camera, I noticed that they have taken the best and most reliable design concepts from previous models and incorporated then into this. In terms of reliability, this one comes close to perfection, and has very few problems.
Unbelievably, the main brain of this camera is a mechanical computer consisting of cogwheels and linkages. The shutter speed, CdS photocell, and aperture setting, feed this mechanism, yet the shutter is electronically controlled. All of this involves precision systems integration and interfacing between electronic and mechanical subsystems.
Many professionals and amateurs prefer this camera, because they understand how light behaves with different aperture and shutter settings, but more importantly, this camera is for those who are willing to take some time composing each frame.