Reviving a Canon AE-1 Program

Reviving a Canon AE-1 Program

I recently came across this Canon AE-1 Program, to say it was in bad shape would be an understatement! I decided to purchase it simply because I didn't want to see it go to waste. It had multiple issues but the biggest ones were the shutter would not fire and the film advance lever was destroyed.

This was the damaged film advance lever, missing parts and damaged beyond repair. 

Thankfully I had some spare parts in stock so I knew that I could replace it.

Replaced and already looking much better!

The next problem to solve was why the shutter was not firing. I removed the old battery to find that the inside of the battery compartment was damaged. So I cleaned up the battery terminals to see if it would fire.

Cleaned up and ready to go?

A fresh battery told me that the electronics were now working as the light meter was now displaying in the viewfinder. But frustratingly the shutter still would not fire, so it was time to open the camera up and see if I could identify the issue. The release magnet is often a problem area for Canon SLRs such as this one so that was the first place to check.

Off came the base plate and the problem quickly revealed itself. Some residue had built up on the magnet preventing it from releasing when the shutter button was depressed. A quick clean and a few test fires brought the shutter back to life!

The release magnet in question

Now the camera was functioning it was time to resolve any more minor issues. When inspecting the camera body I noticed that the film counter window was loose so I needed to remove the top plate to refit it.

Next job was the viewfinder which had lots of dust and debris on the inside. Removing the eye piece gives access to the inside glass and the corresponding part of the prism. 

 Eye piece removed and the prism cleaned.
Viewfinder reassembled 
To remove the top plate, the film advance lever and the ASA dial have to be removed. This has the added benefit of making it easier to clean the top plate. 
The final job was replacing the light seals, starting with the mirror bumper. 
Removing the front plate makes it easier to replace the foam
Once all of the other light seals had been replaced, the refurbishment was now finished and boy did she look much better.
While it is very rewarding to bring a camera back to life, it is even better when you get to go out and use it. So I loaded up a roll of expired Fujifilm C200 and and went to photograph some of the flowers in a local village. Here are some of the results!
Back to blog

Purchase your own Canon AE-1 Program below

Accessories for your Canon AE-1 Program

1 of 4