Not always as they appear…

I recently took delivery of what appeared to be a well-kept Canon A-1 35mm SLR from 1983. It was reported by the seller as in good condition but untested. The lens was specifically listed as clean and clear. As you can see from the pictures the lens is far from “clean and clear”.

It looks great and from my experience with this model when they look this good they generally have no issues.
Sharp-looking camera.
Canon NFD 50mm f1.8 lens as seen from behind. BTW, the date code (Y1116) to the right of the red dot indicates that this lens was made in November 1984.
Opening the aperture blades to f1.8 and shining a bright LED light reveals the hidden issues with the lens – haze and overall edge cloudiness.

I knew the camera was untested (I asked the seller and they said that they didn’t have a battery) so I knew that going in. BTW, the 6v A544 batteries that power the A-1 are quite common and available in stores and online. After checking out the camera with a fresh battery I discovered that the light meter display wasn’t working. The shutter speeds sounded accurate but without knowing if the meter was responding I wouldn’t have been able to trust the camera in full auto mode. The camera also had the infamous Canon “squeal” that happens whenever the mirror assembly’s lubrication dries out over time and from sitting unused for long periods. The squeal is not caused by the shutter as some people believe.

Obviously looks can and often are deceiving and in this case, I could have taken a hit. Fortunately, I was able to return the camera. At this moment I’m waiting to receive my refund.

Thanks for stopping by, Chris

Follow me on Instagram at @ccphotographyai

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by, and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, is this blog’s property and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris, Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris.

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3 thoughts on “Not always as they appear…

  1. My favorite eBay (non) description is: “Worked the last time I used it.” When I bought a camera with that descrip that clearly didn’t work, it made me wonder when exactly was that last time?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True. Both of those are annoying (esp. when we are talking double-triple A batteries) but they imply that what you are getting may or may not work. Whereas when someone says “worked last time I used it”, there’s more an expectation that it should work now, otherwise don’t say that!

      Liked by 1 person

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