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how to use an old 55mm AE-1


I need some idea. I have an old AE-1 with 55mm lenz camera. I didn't use it more than a decade. Please give me your thoughts on what to do with this old camera.



Hi Paul and welcome to the forum

If you don't want to use it, you can offer it for sale on a social media site: something like Craigs List, or send it to a company like KEH who will sell it and give you either cash or a credit to buy sometging from them.

cheers, TREVOR

Before you ask us, have you looked in the manual or on the Canon Support Site?
"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris


Hi PaulCA,

Trevor gave you some good ideas on what to do if you want to sell the AE-1. It’s still a desirable camera. In fact, the rental department of the local pro oriented camera store still has one (and FD lenses) for rent.

 If you wish to use it, please make sure you inspect it carefully to make sure the light seals and mirror cushion are in tact and the electronic and mechanical systems are working properly.  

Inspect the seals and cushion (make sure they are not missing, sticky, dried out or otherwise degraded) replace the battery with a fresh new battery and see if the shutter works and the shutter speeds seem to “sound” right. I would think that Googling “how to check out an old SLR” would give you some more detailed ideas on how to determine if you have a functioning camera body and lens. 

Good luck!


What usually goes first.  If you have left its battery installed and it leaked, a baking soda mixture used sparingly with Q-Tips in the battery compartment can help.

I see the guys mentioned the foam seals on the back cover and mirror box.  You'll know these have failed if they are crumbly and/or your developed film has a reddish tinge at their edges. 

If the body was stored in a cool, dry, non humid environment, you'd be surprised how well it holds up to the test of time.   

This was my first camera and my start in B&W and darkroom photography (1978).     

Bay Area - CA

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