A short gear porn post today just for fun. Some of you may have read and remembered my post from a few years back titled “A-OK!“, in which I discussed the brand new Canon A-1 body that I picked up at the time. As I had written, that body became my primary film body for a number of reasons, the main one being that it just takes some amazingly fine photos. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I find these cameras sexy as hell in the looks department either, but their pure functionality as a picture taking machine is what really makes them shine.
With that in mind, here are a couple of shots of the second A-1 body I purchased to use as a backup to my first one. The first was taken with a Nikon D7100, and the second one was taken at the same time as the first, but with my original A-1 and some Foma 200 B&W film. I like both shots, but the one I prefer is the B&W one as I had repositioned the camera better in order to more clearly see the top deck and controls, which are something that greatly contributes to the awesome look of the camera.
In either photo though, as you can see, the camera’s in brand new condition and is absolutely spotless – it even came with the base plate and pressure plate protectors still in place. If you were ever curious about what a vintage camera in general, and the A-1 in particular, looked liked in their heyday, this is it.
Now, not everything is fluttery rose petals when dealing with vintage gear unfortunately, and this A-1 is no different. Despite being pristine cosmetically and functionally (even had perfectly good seals), after having sat unused for nearly 33 years it developed the characteristic Canon FD squeal that is a sign of dried out lube in the mirror assembly. Not a big deal at all, but it did mean that it’s been sent out for a CLA and I’m currently waiting for its return, as well as that of my original A-1 which needed a little TLC also after having been used for over three years non-stop. To say I miss them is an understatement, but I have my Nikon F4s and the little Pentax Program Plus still to fill the gap, so all is not lost.
Speaking of the F4s, I have to admit that once the Canons come back it’s going to be a real battle to decide which system is going to get used the most. On one hand, the Canons are very lightweight and capable cameras to carry around, very durable, feel great in hand, have wonderful optics available, and I have a nice working system built up for them. Plus, they are a real pleasure to shoot since I love a good manual focus camera.
On the other hand, the F4s offers all of that and more (except size and weight) in a practically bomb-proof body that to me is as equally aesthetically pleasing and just as much a pleasure to use – maybe more so for some situations where the AF capability is simply better suited. That, plus the fact that with the addition of a manual focusing screen I can use it manually the same as the Canons makes it a real challenger to them in a number of ways.