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New Contributor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎12-19-2014

Canon A1 camera

I'm tiring to do a model shoot. I want to use my 35mm camera for it.
I need tips on using new studio lights/triggers with this camera.
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,414
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: Canon A1 camera

If you get it connected to the flash sync it should work fine.

Reputable Contributor
Posts: 766
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: Canon A1 camera

@grbailey63 wrote:
I'm tiring to do a model shoot. I want to use my 35mm camera for it.
I need tips on using new studio lights/triggers with this camera.

The A1 is a great old camera!


The easiest way  to use with studio strobes would probably be to attach it to one of the strobes with a PC sync cord (which probably was provided with the strobe) and then set the other strobe(s) to trigger when the first one fires. Most strobes have a built in "optical" trigger to be able to do this.


Don't know what triggers you have, but if they're some sort of modern wireless they may or may not be compatible with the old style of hot shoe used on A1 cameras. If they are a simply radio trigger wih a single pin, they are probably universal and will work. But if they have a number of pins on the hot foot, they may be a dedicated type that's only compatible with certain cameras.


 It's been a long time since I used an A1, so confirm everything with the user manual... if you don't have a maunal for the A1, here's the link where you can download  the A1 manual: Mike Butkus has a huge collection of vintage camera manuals available for free (or a donation, if you wish).


Some basics, just from memory....


AFAIK, you will not be able to use the camera in any of its auto exposure modes. I think you'll  have to set it fully manually to use it with studio strobes.


Your camera has a flash sync of 1/60, if I recall correctly. You can use slower, but no faster shutter speed than that.


It would be best if you had a flash meter... where you could enter the ISO of the film you're using and measure the output of the flashes, then set your lens aperture accordingly (turing the power level of the strobes up or down as needed). Personally I use an old Minolta III, Minolta V and Sekonic 358 flash/incident meters, both with my vintage cameras and with my modern DSLRs.


If you happen to have some sort of continuous lighitng, instead of strobes, you could meter with the camera's built in metering system. But because you mention "triggers", I suspect you have strobes. Those require the special type of light meter to measure their brief flash of light. However, if you know the specifications of the lights, distances, etc. there may be some fairly complex calculations that will get you close to a correct exposure without  a light meter. Consult the user manual.


Shooting with film, you don't get immediate feedback the way you do with digital. So I'd suggest you set up your lighting and subject location, then use the light meter and/or calculations to get yourself in the ballpark with your exposures, then shoot a test roll of basic color negative film set to the rated ISO, bracketing your shots widely. Get that developed at a 1 hour lab (if you can find one locally) and then study the results to determine what exposure settings have given the results you want.


This will give you a more accurate starting point, though you might need to tweak it a little if you use a different film or processor in the future. Mark the locations of the lights, subject, background and write down your settings, so that accurate exposures are repeatable in the future. If you move anything or change any setting, you'll need to make other adjustments to compensate.


Hope this helps!



Alan Myers
San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7DII (x2), 7D(x2) some other cameras, various lenses & accessories



New Contributor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎12-19-2014

Re: Canon A1 camera

Thanks it has helped me. It gives me something to think about.
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