Canon AE-1P focusing screens on A-1?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by akdinvites, May 23, 2012.

  1. akdinvites

    akdinvites Member

    May 23, 2012
    I find that the 4-way split image focusing screen gives me better focus (Focusing Screen L for AE-1 Program). However, I have 3 Canon A-1s and I like them a lot.

    I know that there were replacement screens for the Canon A-1 but unlike the AE-1P screens they were not user replaceable. My questions are:

    1) Can the AE-1P focusing screen be installed in a Canon A-1?
    2) If so, are there instructions available for user-servicing the A-1 screen?
  2. Markster

    Markster Member

    Dec 30, 2010
    Denver area
    I don't know if they fit, but I have read that to change the focusing screen on the A-1, you must remove the entire top of the camera body to get at it.

    I'm not trying to replace mine, but I have been playing with a non-functioning A-1 to repair it and taking the top off is somewhat involved. IMO it's not easy. Possible, yes. You'll need to see if the screens are compatible before investing the effort to try it out.
  3. Vanishing Point Ent.

    Vanishing Point Ent. Member

    Apr 10, 2009
    Los Angeles,
    Multi Format
    Yes , it can be done & it's not difficult for an experienced camera repair person !

    Yes , it can be done & it's not that difficult, but it should be done by an experienced
    camera repair person.
    The reason to do this as that the one thing lacking from the Canon A-1 is a Laser Matte Screen.

    This was first offered in the New F-1 & then the AE-1 Program.
    This is important, the AE-1, does NOT have the Laser Matte Screen.

    I was told about this by a Canon Rep, back in the day.

    When I did it, I installed a Canon D, ( gridded ) screen.
    These help me keep horizons level.

    Basically what you do is;
    1. Grind the tabs off the screen that holds the screen into it's frame, thus removing it from the frame.
    2. Pull out the screw that sits in the throat of the camera, above the mirror.
    3. If the screen doesn't fall out tilt the camera until it does.
    3. Replace it with the Canon AE-1 Program's Laser Matte Screen.
    4. Replace the retaining screw.

    What are the results:
    You will gain a 1 stop advantage in focusing ability !
    Focus will now snap in , where before it was more of a hunt & peck system.
    This essentially updates the camera, to the same focusing ability as a T-90.
    The exposure will NOT be effected !

    Finally, when I traded in my A-1 camera & FD lenses for an EOS A-2 camera & EF lenses,
    both Calumet & the person they subsequently sold it to, went nuts for it, as neither of them
    had ever seen this before.

    Remember this should be done by an experienced camera repair person.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 7, 2012