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Canon: Canon AE-1
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1976-1984. 35mm film, SLR camera. First microprocessor-controlled camera. Over one million cameras sold - groundbreaking result for SLR industry.
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The AE-1 is a historically significant SLR, both because it was the first microprocessor-equipped SLR and because of its sales. Backed by a major advertising campaign, the AE-1 sold over one million units, which made it an unprecedented success in the SLR market.
The AE-1 has a Canon FD breech-lock lens mount and accepts any FD or New FD (FDn) lens. It is not compatible with Canon's later Canon EF lens mount, though adapters made by independent manufacturers can be found. Original FD lenses, introduced in 1971, did not rotate in the mounting process; instead, a locking ring at the base was turned to attach the lens. This was often criticized as being slower than the bayonet mounts of competing cameras. The counter argument, though, was that as the lens/body mating surfaces did not rotate, there was no wear that could affect the critical distance from lens to film plane. In 1979, Canon introduced the New FD series of lenses that rotate the whole outer lens barrel to lock. The inner lens barrel remained stationary, and thus the signal levers and pins still did not rotate. During the late 1970s, there were over 50 Canon FD lenses available for purchase. They ranged from a Fisheye FD 15 mm f/2.8 SSC to a FD 800 mm f/5.6 SSC, plus special purpose lenses like a 7.5mm circular fisheye, and a 35mm Tilt & Shift lens.
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