< Back to the Photography Museum Cameras
When I received my Canon EOS Elan I couldn’t afford to buy additional EF lenses. My photography buddy, Rob, suggested I buy a used Canon FD body and a few lenses to go with it. We visited a used camera store and he helped me pick out a nice black Canon A1 body and MA motor drive with a Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 lens. (I believe Rob had been shooting with a Canon AE-1 program, but switched to an EOS A2E about this time). Rob gave me his old not-very-sharp Vivitar FD-mount 24mm f2.8 lens, introducing me to the world of wide angle photography. A few months later, a friend of Rob’s who worked as a rep for Fujfilm was selling off his Canon FD 24mm f/2.8, FD 35mm f/2, and FD 50mm f/3.5 macro prime lenses. I thus built a kit including body and drive and a suite of primes for quite cheep (much less than the cost of a good single prime EF lens). I also had my dad’s FD 70-210mm f/4 to use.
The A1 was originally released in 1978, and was a fully electronic body with manual, priority, or fully automatic exposure modes. It had a much more robust feel than the EOS Elan. After I acquired my EF 80-200 f/2.8 L lens I carried both bodies and systems for many years, using the A1/FD setup for wide angle work, and the Elan/EF setup for telephoto work.
The A1 still holds a special place in my heart. Perhaps because it was a critical part of my own early photographic development. However, I think it was also just an incredibly well designed and built camera.
I don’t bother to shoot film anymore, but I still occasionally use my FD lenses on my EOS M-series bodies via a Fotodiox adaptor.