Canon AV-1: Your Introduction to the Basics of Photography


I'm a perfectionist. I always have been, and probably always will be. As much fun as it is taking pictures using toy cameras, with their unpredictable lenses and even less predictable viewfinders, I needed more control in my photographic life. Enter the Canon AV-1.

Canon AV-1 © RRT877, Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

This film SLR was made by Canon in 1979, and yet it still produces images that rival its modern-day counterparts. The age of the camera is also the reason why you are able to pick them up second-hand for ridiculously low prices. I paid 20 British pounds for mine on a certain internet auction site, which included a 50 mm /1.8 lens and a hard case. i also recently bought a 28 mm wide-angle lens for a mere 8 GBP. Only a monkey would sell such a beauty of a camera for peanuts.

The reason why I prefer the AV-1 over Canon's sister camera, the AE-1, is that this one allows for aperture priority instead of shutter speed priority. This allows you to control the depth of field, which everyone knows is a very useful tool in photography. The camera also boasts such features like a self-timer, bulb mode, and automatic flash photography (when used in conjunction with the specific flash). It's also compatible with a wide range of film speeds, from ISO 25 to 1600 and everything in between.

If you have ever been tempted by the world of SLR cameras but have been scared off by all of the knobs and dials, this is the perfect camera to start with.

This is a review submitted by Community Member minty

written by minty on 2010-06-02 #gear #people #35mm #review #slr #canon #gig #punk-rock #live-music #av-1 #lomo-review


  1. emilios
    emilios ·

    Great article great pics! I have the AE-1 but this is a fantastic camera as well.

  2. miaumiau-wildekatze
    miaumiau-wildekatze ·

    thanks for sharing!

  3. squamy
    squamy ·

    Great article! I might just have to pick one of these up :)

  4. zark
    zark ·

    Wow! Both galleries are absolutely stunning! Thanks for sharing!

  5. nicolas_noir
    nicolas_noir ·

    Fantastic galleries - especially love the depth of field and bokeh on the skateboard shot!

    I use an Olympus OM2 which is aperture priority, which is great and very useful. Been lusting an AE1 but hadn't realised it it shutter priority which is probably not as useful - you've converted me!

  6. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    great review and great shots! ! these old SLR's are fantastic! :)

  7. falsedigital
    falsedigital ·

    Nice gallery :]

  8. simonjamesonweston
    simonjamesonweston ·

    great to see a review of a real camera - it seems as if it has been a while since the admin people here put any up.
    We all have lomo cameras - which is why we are all here - but this doesn't mean that we only use them. There are millions of old fully manual MF and 135 cameras out there on that very internet auction site being sold for nothing compared to any new digital camera and they both work really well and challenge you every time you pick them up. great article ;)

  9. satomi
    satomi ·

    Awesome! I'm glad you went over the difference between AV-1 and AE-1 because I was wondering that. thank you!

  10. tallgrrlrocks
    tallgrrlrocks ·

    What a great review. So inspiring. I especially like your last line... "this is the place to start." The world of SLR seems less scary to me because of that thought. Great gig photos too!

  11. adi_totp
    adi_totp ·

    thanks for sharing! love it! :)

  12. abbydennis
    abbydennis ·

    only a monkey. LOVED that.

    just found my mom's old canon slr over the weekend. it hadn't been used in ages, but there was half a roll of film in it and the battery still worked. unreal! and you hit the nail on the head for the need some of us have for control. i treasure my diana so, but a little precision now and then is nice. glad for the comfort of my new vintage find. :)

  13. minty
    minty ·

    thank you all very much. i have more recent photos using this camera on my blog...go check it out!

  14. dogma
    dogma ·

    Nice camera!

  15. eva_eva
    eva_eva ·

    cool camera!!!

  16. makeyuu
    makeyuu ·

    cool shots, cool people

  17. middernachtlopper
    middernachtlopper ·

    Cool shoots. The pics look neat and beautiful :)

  18. minty
    minty ·

    just want to make clear, it's not a autofocus camera nor is the advance coupled to the shutter! not sure why is says that.

  19. victorvg84
    victorvg84 ·

    I´ve got ine!!!

  20. let-life-live
    let-life-live ·

    question, does that mean you need to buy a flash for the camera? would the diana flash work? thanks!!

  21. azizaazul
    azizaazul ·

    My Dad gave me this camera and my first roll was blank. I am confident it was down to user error after reading your article, so thank you. I'm now shooting another roll and really hope my Dad's camera works out for me as it did for him.

  22. sarvalfon
    sarvalfon ·

    My mom bought one of these brand new in 1979. Last year (after a lifetime of coveting; literally), she passed this gem into my hands! I have never been let down by the beauty of the images this camera produces. The best part for me is the sentimental aspect; I am photographing my child with the very camera my mom took my baby pictures with.

  23. timjames
    timjames ·

    My late Father had an AV1 and now im using a mint AV1 they are still a camera of beauty take awesome pictures , I'm old school and grew up with film , strange thing is I've gone back to it and fallen back in love with the photography once more ,

  24. paul2017
    paul2017 ·

    Found one today, 55€.
    Without the lens.

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