Another Canon AE-1 Flash question : LUSENET : Canon FD : One Thread

I bought my Canon AE-1 in 1980. I misplaced the (cheap) flash that came with the camera and I'd like to get a better one anyway. From what I've read on this message board, is the Speedlite 199a compatible with my camera? Also, which internet sites are good for purchasing camera equiptment and accessories? tHANKS.

-- Cathy V. (, March 13, 2001


B & H Photo in NYC is one of the best, may not be the cheapest sources of photo equipment by mail. Check out their listing of used equipment at The website is at They usually have the 199A. If not this month, try next month.

-- Shamael Afzaal (, March 13, 2001.

Hi Cathy,

Yes, the 199a is compatible and is a very good unit. The question I must ask is, what do you wish to do with the camera? Canon has made a number of flashes over the years with varying performance and features. The 199a was the top of the line in 1981 and as such is very powerful, has 3 different aperture settings and a twist/tilt(TT) head. It's also heavy and can be a bear to use. If you don't want something as overbearing perhaps look at a 155 or 188. This one is smaller and does not have a TTZ head.

Two others you may wish to consider that make autoflash easier are the 277T and 299T. These are newer versions that work with the AE-1 (and T series cameras) and add a switchable program feature where they determine the rough distance to the subject and command the camera to use a certain aperture. The 299T has a twist/tilt/zoom (TTZ) head while the 277T doesn't. The zoom head allows the light to be concentrated in a smaller area for longer lenses.

The manuals are available on line at:

B & H are good but expensive. I recomend - they are expensive but good and if you really need it now. Look under 'used' and 'Canon manual focus'.

Many of these flashes should be available locally with a bit of looking for probably much less than from the email dealers. I was able to get a vivitar 3500 with canon module for C$25. This one is not super powerful but does have a twist tilt zoom head and is very compact and light. Perfect for an AE-1. I used to have a 155a flash and it worked well. I gave it to a friend and bought a vivitar 4600 system flash which was a bear. Gave great results tho' with the TTZ head. I also picked up a 299T off ebay for $35 (sorry Terry) but it was missing the battery hatch. A monster flash!

Feel free to ask any questions,



-- Duane K (, March 13, 2001.

BTW, the 199A doesn't have a twist head. Just tilt.


-- Ketil Johansen (, March 13, 2001.

Thanks for those helpful responses. I've heard of B&H but I wouldn't want to go there without any info first! I'll also check out the web sites.

I need a better flash mostly so I could take pictures at school functions and things of that nature. I've been relying on a small "point-and-shoot" for the past few months but I've grown weary of those dreaded red eyes staring back at me from my photos. Also, I'll be taking indoor family portraits and close-up shots.

I read somewhere in an older post that the 199a is good for school function type photography. That's why I was interested in that particular flash. The 299T has some interesting features too. Now I'll have a hard time deciding.

I also have the original 50mm FD Canon lens that came with the camera. I'd like to get a zoom lens too for more versatility. Should I take that into consideration when choosing a flash? (I suspect not) Can you also recommend a zoom lens for my AE-1? So many questions!!!

Thanks again.

-- Cathy V. (, March 13, 2001.

By the way, the lens I have is a 50mm, f1.8, which isn't the easiest to focus under non-optimal lighting conditions. I've read about "brighter lenses" elsewhere on this message board. I think I may be a candidate for one of those too!

-- Cathy V. (, March 13, 2001.

For avoiding red-eye, the thing you need is a flash bracket to take the flash off the camera. I recommend one of the Stroboframe brackets designed to keep the flash over the lens in both the vertical and horizontal positions, avoiding distracting shadows (try them out if you can, to see which is most comfortable for you).

The 50/1.8 is a perfectly good lens. Very sharp and one of the lightest and most compact in the FD line, and probably the least expensive. You might want to try the 50/1.4, which is about a half stop brighter and is a bit sharper, and is not too expensive either. The FD 50/1.4 is the standard against which the other FD lenses were compared for color neutrality. At much greater cost, you might look at the 50/1.2L, which is quite noticably brighter than the 1.8, but not necessarily sharper than the 1.4 (though the wider aperture will allow you to focus more precisely), and more prone to flare than the others. I have all 3, and each has its place.

-- David Goldfarb (, March 14, 2001.

Check out a1/html/flash.htm for Canon flash compatibility chart.

-- Lawrence Kingsley (, May 19, 2001.

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