Canon F-1n VS Canon AE-1 Program : LUSENET : Canon FD : One Thread

Good Day! I am just getting my feet wet, but my passion for the art of photography is strong. I am the proud owner of 3 Canon AE-1 Programs, and am still learning more and more about them each day. I have been exploring a few web sites recently and have been seeing a lot about the F-1n. It is described as the "Flag Ship" of the Classic Canon SLR's. My question is what makes it considered more of a professional camera than the others in the "A" series? Is this a camera I should be seriously thinking about investing in in the near future as my knowledge and skill grows? How about the A-1, is that a good stepping stone to look into before tackleing the F-1n? Finnaly, what would be a reasonable price to look for in the F-1n or even the A-1? Thanks for your time. ~Evan

-- Evan Ryan (, November 06, 1999


Hello Evan, I've owned a couple of AE-1's as well as an AE-1Progam. The "A" series cameras can give excellent results. You can "grow" as much as you want with them. I don't have any experience with the fist 2 versions of the F-1, but do own a NEW F-1. It was built to withstand the punishment that a working professional photographer would likely expose it to. It was expensive when new, and still is. It is of considerably heavier construction, and build quality is very high. Auto exposure is possible with with accessories (aperture priority was built in, but requires the AE Finder for reading shutter speeds). All that said, if you like to work maually, using in-camera metering, and keep complete control over exposure, you will not regret getting an F-1. It's analog viewfinder display is (IMHO) much more intuitive in manual operation than the LED viewfinders.

-- Tom Kessler (, November 07, 1999.

Tom, thanks for your time and response. ~Evan

-- Evan Ryan (, November 07, 1999.


The F-1 and F-1n are mechanical cameras. They work fine without any batteries. They do have internal meters, but the basic camera is all manual after that.

Now you can change the finder to do Aperture Priority or Shutter Speed Priority, you can change to a Booster T finder to deal with very low light and very long exposures. You can use a waist level finder like a TLR, you can use the Speed Finder to make quick action shooting easier.

You have available power winders and motor drives, long film backs (250 exposure on the F-1 and F-1n), data backs, all sorts of things.

They were built like tanks.

One BIG problem with them. They both use the PX625 mercury cell for the meter, which is no longer made. There are other options, but they do suffer from some small problems, versus the mercury cell. The F-1N (which is different than the F-1n) uses the same battery as the A series.

Personally, I prefer the T90 over the F1s. It is lst top line manual focus camera before the EOS came out. It looks like and EOS and has lots of features that did not come back until the new EOS 3.

BTW I have an F-1n, A-1,a nd two T90s.

-- Terry Carraway (, November 08, 1999.

As someone pointed out in an email, the F-1 and F-1n will NOT do aperture priority. It will do just about everything else.

-- Terry Carraway (, November 09, 1999.

Thanks Terry, you've been quite a help! ~Evan

-- Evan Ryan (, November 12, 1999.


I still have an AE-1P and AE-1 cameras as well as other A Canon series ...lets say i'm an avid Canon user. I tell you when i finally got my hands on an F1n I realized that i'm holding on this very fine piece of machine. First, it feels very rugged enough to take punishment ( of course you won't allow that to happen) and the gadgetries that come along with it. A series comes along with an average metering system while with the F-1n you can change its metering pattern by changing its focusing screen. Attaching an AE head on it and you got aperture priority mode. Again attachinfg a motordrive or a winder and you got shutter speed priority. With this piece of equipment you can do quite a heck of a job. And also before i forget there's one characteristic tha i love most of all about this camera it can fire its shutter from 60 to 2000 without battery.

-- Alvin S. Granada (, November 15, 1999.

Hello, I'm an avid fan of Canon cameras and own 8 including 4 EOS. Personally, I love my AE-1 P and my A-1. Both cameras are capable of professional results. I never really saw the need to buy an F-1N. Having a professional camera does not make one a professional. A professional with an amateur camera does not turn the pro into a novice. What is more important to me is that one is comfortable with the equipment and knows all the functions. The A-1 is great since it has lots of functions and you can do a lot with it. I myself really take good care of my equipmnet so I see no need for the so called rugged "pro" cameras. Anyway, just recently my entry level EOS (EOS 888) which I like to take around for casual snapshots fell 5 feet down to a cement floor and survived without a scratch. Everything functioned perfectly. I guess even so called amateur equipment can take severe punnishment. Thanks.

-- Ramon Jalandoni (, February 11, 2001.

I wish you guys hadn't fallen so squarely on the middle of the fence. I have the AE-1P and love it. I've been considering one of the many F-1n(N) series on eBay and can't decide if the $ value is really in the camera when you have a 'new' (read overhauled) AE-1P. Now I still don't know. I wonder what Evan did?

-- Rick Porter (, April 26, 2001.

My F-1N has worked beautifully since I bought it new around 1983 with the insurance money from an A-1 and some other equipment that was stolen. By having one body that would last, I've built a very versatile system and haven't had to worry about replacement, new lens mounts or anything of the sort. I've been able always to expand without taking too many steps backward. I'm not that attracted by autofocus or many of the other features of the newer 35mm systems.

At this point, I think there is much to be said for a rugged, overbuilt camera like the F-1N, given that parts for all these bodies will be increasingly difficult to obtain in the future. They also weren't designed around the old mercury battery used in the F-1 and F-1n.

-- David Goldfarb (, April 26, 2001.

I am an avid user of the older model Canon F1n (I have used about 4 different ones now) and also use my daughter's AE-1 P. I prefer the manual control offered by the F1n and also its superb, rugged quality. These cameras were machined to 1/100,000th of an inch and would be far too expensive to manufacture today. Apprarentlyt, Canon kept improving on the design of only a couple of their camera models (during its production run) - the F1 being one on them. I love to be able to easily overide the meter, hook up to a simple flash system and know and feel when the exposure is right. I used to have a Canon T90, but one of the built in motors failed to work when I was on a wedding shoot! The T90, A-series and newer EOS Canon's do a fine job, but for reliability under pressure you can't beat the old F1n's. I am confident that the old F1's will outlive the likes of the T90's and A1's, etc. There were two slighly different models - the F1 and F1n. The first went to ASA1600 and the second to ASA 3200. The second model has the film reminder in the back and had some internal improvements. If you can, get the second model. They both tend to sell for around the same price. I hope this helps.

-- chris hayden (, May 19, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ