Flash for Canon AE-1

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I have previously posted a question concerning the use of a Canon 380EX on a Canon AE-1. Since I received no responses, this appears to be a less than ideal solution to my flash problems. My own test photos have shown some potential problems as well. My question now regards suggestions for a flash for the AE-1. I prefer to buy something new that would be dedicated to the AE-1, with zoom and bounce capabilities, if this is possible. I have no strong objections to used equipment, however. Thanks for your assistance.

-- Richard Snyder (rsnyder@lc.cc.il.us), November 04, 1998


Richard, A Canon Speedlite 199A is a perfect match for your AE-1, you should be able to find a good one for about $100-120.


-- Tom Kessler (T70SSRS@aol.com), November 04, 1998.

If you must have a new dedicated flash, there are a lot of third party manufacturers who make them. Sunpack might be the best choice since they use modules and can be dedicated to other cameras by purchasing a new module. I have an Achiever with a zoom and bounce head, and it worked fine on my AE-1 when I had it. Vivitar makes a couple, but I don't think they zoom. Ritz also sells a store brand (Quantary) which I think is made by (imported by?) Promaster. If the flash is powerful enough a zoom feature really doesn't matter though.

The AE-1 doesn't allow for a lot of dedication though, so you may decide to go with a plain auto flash. Dedicated flashes for it are really just auto flashes that set the shutter speed to 1/60 automatically, and set the aperture in some cases, depending on the flash. With some you have to set the aperture manually. If the AE-1 were capable of TTL flash exposure a dedicated unit would be a lot more useful. Since it isn't, if you need a good bit of power, I would recommend either the Vivitar 283 or Sunpack 383. Both are non zoom auto flashes (you set the aperture on your camera, and the flash decides when to shut itself off by metering the light for the selected aperture) that cover lenses as wide as 35mm and have a guide number of 120, which is more powerful than most zoom flashes at full zoom. If you feel you must have a zoom flash, the Vivitar 285HV is basically a zoom version of the 283, but with added bulk, and a slight loss of power at the short end. They are a little more versitile than the dedicated units, cost a little less (about $65 for the 283), and all you really give up with your camera is automatic shutter speed setting.

-- Brad (reloader@webtv.net), November 09, 1998.

Tom and Brad,

Thanks for your responses to my inquiry about flash units for the AE- 1. I just have to do some serious shopping now.


-- Richard Snyder (rsnyder@lc.cc.il.us), November 09, 1998.

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