Introduced in 1979 into an already crowded family of super slick Canon 35mm SLRs, the AV-1 has always been kicked around in the world of auto exposure cameras. Most question the need for such a camera that only features aperture priority AE. Whereas its much more famous siblings like the AE-1 and A-1 have gone down in history as two of the best 35mm AE cameras of all time (my opinion), almost no one has seen an AV-1 let alone use one. Probably the only other lesser known Canon is the AT-1.
Why aperture priority? Simple, you select the aperture (f-stop) on your Canon FD lens based on the lighting available and the depth-of-field that you want in your image. The camera selects the proper shutter speed based on the film’s speed (ASA, ISO, DIN) and the f-stop that you selected. If there’s not enough light to hand hold the camera it’s up to you to know your limitations. If you’re a steady shooter then you may be able to squeeze off a shot at let’s say 1/30th of a second with a wide-angle or normal lens. If you’re like most people you’ll more than likely be much more successful staying north of 1/60th of a second. The AV-1 will auto expose accurately down to (or up to) 2 seconds! You’d better be on a tripod for that shot or have your camera perched on a flat, stable surface.
The other reason for the AV-1’s existence is that it cost significantly less than the other A series cameras – much lower but with no real drop-off in build quality IMO.
Here’s my AV-1 in the pro-black finish. It’s a beautiful camera and it accepts all of Canon’s FD lenses (which is a major plus) plus it was designed to operate with the Canon Power Winder A and the A2 and it provides full auto flash with the Canon family of Speedlites like the 133A, 155A, 177A and the 199A (all are dedicated electronic flash units for the AV-1). One final plus, it uses the still very easy to find and afford No. 544A silver oxide 6v battery.
So here’s the “Single Shot Focus” of my AV-1
This one was made in June 1982 (date code is W628K)
Studio Camera: Fujifilm X-A10 set on aperture priority AE
Thanks for stopping by! – Chris
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