Balloon Repair Station

Camera’s in full Focus – by Steve Roake

Canon AE1P frontIt came as a surprise to me to find out the other month that there are a growing number of colleagues who are privately retrospectively pursuing a trend which smacks in the face of fresh and new and encapsulates older generation technology and opens debate whenever discussed. What I hear you say, could possibly entice people who are used to working with cutting edge technology into spending their hard earned cash on yesterday year stuff ? The answer is simple, Photography.

There are a growing band of enthusiastic photographers which are following a craze that is sweeping across the country where snappers are comparing the digital age compositions with their fore fathers from both the eighties and nineties. In a nutshell, what they like to do is get cameras from each decade, line them up and take the same photos and then see which camera produces the best results. There is no doubt amongst camera buffs that older generation cameras still utilise more pixels than the digital age but as the gap is closing , comparing like for like is an interesting project.

A friend of mine called Ashley is one of those people and with ownership of a mid 90’s Canon EOS camera and the latest greatest current model, needed an 80’s comparison. Low and behold on top of a chest of drawers in my house, languishing in a camera bag was my 1980’s Canon AE1P camera.Canon AE1P rear

Whilst I offered my camera for comparison, I didn’t expect the results to reveal that in fact all who perused the subsequent compositions , actually preferred those taken by my “old and Trusty”. Having been stored for some 25 years at least, all that was required to get the old beast going again was a new lithium battery and some film. In terms of its condition, I’m told it has the tale tale Canon click when the mirror is moved and having researched with a local specialist, I’ve been told that an £85 service will ensure its good for another 35 years. This is somewhat ironic since these types of camera (and for simplicity ill stick to Canon), are readily available via EBay in body only format fully serviced for less than the price I was quoted. The “daddy “of all Canon Camera’s at that time was the A1 and even these can be procured for sensible money if you search EBay thoroughly.

Canon AE1P fullTechnologically, these types of camera gave the owner a chance to either have shutter priority or aperture priority when composing their images and for those of us who were just plain thick, there was also a fully automated function.

At the time this article was written a good condition AE1P (the P stood for programmable) can be picked up for around £48 with new seals and no squeaks and the same goes for similar contemporaries from Pentax, Olympus and Minolta.

The only downside to the equation is that knowledge that you have no idea how the finished photograph will look until the developing is done, however who says that you need the latest greatest technology?
So if you fancy a nice punt, “focus” your efforts in joining the growing band who are going back to yesterday year and grab yourself a bargain before it’s too late.

I thought this topic was perfect for the Old and rusty section of Chris delightful website, and as a fellow aficionado of the if it works ok why change it rule of thumb, will be servicing mine and hoping I’m still around in 35 years time to still enjoy Canons delightful AE1P.

If not, it will go with our Bakelite “Trumpton” style telephone which still has the best sounding bell going and works every time we dare to plug it in. Guess I’m just getting old LOL.

Now where did I put my walking stick?
Steve Roake