Canon AE-1 AE setting not working

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Blooze

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I picked up a very nice looking AE-1 a while back on a whim because I've never owned a Canon. Came with a breech lock 50mm f/1.8 lens. Battery is new, meter works, DOF preview works, manual mode works as far as aperture is concerned.

My problem is with the lens aperture set to "A" I cannot get the aperture to do anything but stay in the f/1.8 position. With the back opened (or closed) and the camera set to a low shutter speed, pointed near an overhead light source, the aperture never changes. When the meter says it should be F/11 it just stays wide open.

I've tried moving the aperture ring back and forth through the range before putting it in "A" as I realized that this camera has a memory, but it doesn't help.

Any suggestions, or just shoot in manual and be happy?
 

Vonder

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Do you mean the lens doesn't stop down when the shutter is tripped? Is it beyond the first couple frames?
 
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Blooze

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Do you mean the lens doesn't stop down when the shutter is tripped? Is it beyond the first couple frames?

Yup, but only in auto mode. Works fine otherwise. The little pin on the back of the lens that pops out when the aperture is set to "A" is popping out and the little switch it contacts with moves. I'm guessing an electrical disconnect somewhere internally.
 

momus

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I think the lenses have a two position setting on the aperture. My FD 50 1.4 was not stopping down and when I pushed one of the arms on the back side of the lens over to another position, then it started working. Perhaps yours is the same way. Also, make sure your DOF slider on the camera near the bottom left of the lens is not pushed in.

I like the original AE-1 cameras more than the AE-1 Programs, even though the P cameras have a substantially better focus screens and a lot more features. Since this is your first Canon, at some point try one of the older FTb or TX cameras some time. They're bigger and heavier, but the build quality is really something. Your lens will fit fine on those.
 

trythis

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I'm confused by something. You said that it has a breech lock lens but as far as I know those all have a green circle on the aperture ring and not a button. Most of my breech lock lenses are FL lenses, so I could be wrong there. Breech locks do have a peg that swap from A to M. Any chance that is what you have?
 
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No, you are wrong here. Only the oldest breech lock lenses with chrome noses as well as the FL lenses have a green circle, all others have a button or rather a knob for the "A" position.
The A to M peg does no longer exist in FD-land.
 

trythis

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I may not have any breech locks with the button then. All I have with the button are bayonet mounts.
 
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Just to show you: breech lock FD with button:

FD 20mm.jpg
 

John Koehrer

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There are two levers on the back of the lens. The one opposite the infinity mark stops the lens down and the one at the side controls how far it can stop down.
The problem's the body not the lens.
To check the lens, set the lock as though it was mounted on the body and move it to the right. The lens should stop down. Next would be to move the lever (or change the f stop ring)at the side and notice the aperture. As you move the lever to different positions the aperture should stop when it reaches it's limit.
If it's working manually, The lever on the side of the mirror box isn't working properly(no duh!) That's the lever that controls aperture in auto. It limits where the aperture will stop.
Try holding the lever up as you trip the camera and it should want to move downward. in auto the lever on the lens would move to whatever the camera calculates is proper and holds it. If it's not working, the lever in the body doesn't move at all keeping the lens wide open. This has no effect in manual..........So, use it manually, be happy.
 
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Blooze

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There are two levers on the back of the lens. The one opposite the infinity mark stops the lens down and the one at the side controls how far it can stop down.
The problem's the body not the lens.
To check the lens, set the lock as though it was mounted on the body and move it to the right. The lens should stop down. Next would be to move the lever (or change the f stop ring)at the side and notice the aperture. As you move the lever to different positions the aperture should stop when it reaches it's limit.
If it's working manually, The lever on the side of the mirror box isn't working properly(no duh!) That's the lever that controls aperture in auto. It limits where the aperture will stop.
Try holding the lever up as you trip the camera and it should want to move downward. in auto the lever on the lens would move to whatever the camera calculates is proper and holds it. If it's not working, the lever in the body doesn't move at all keeping the lens wide open. This has no effect in manual..........So, use it manually, be happy.

That was my guess at this point as well. Everything works in manual mode (aperture, FOV button, meter, etc...). Was hoping it would work in auto mode just for quick shots, but it's no biggie other than the inconvenience of having to take the viewfinder away from my eye to check the aperture after metering. That's one thing I like about my Pentax MX is that you can see what f-stop you're on in the viewfinder.

Here's another shot of a 50mm f1.8 FD lens that came with the camera I found on the net. It's markings are exactly like mine.

50mm.jpg
 
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