Choosing the Right Canon AE-1 Battery: 4SR44, 4LR44, PX28A

The Canon AE-1 requires a 6-volt battery to operate. Compatible Canon AE-1 battery options include 4SR44 (silver oxide), 4LR44 (alkaline), or 28L (lithium) batteries are all compatible.

This is because the AE-1 has an electronically controlled shutter. This means that the shutter button on the Canon AE-1 will not fire without a battery or a dead battery. The light meter will also not work.

Battery replacement is easy, just open the battery door with the tip of a pen. If you have the action grip installed on the AE-1, use a coin to unscrew the grip so that the battery compartment can be accessed.

Battery Battery Chemistry
4SR44 Silver Oxide
4LR44 Alkaline
PX28A Alkaline
A544 Alkaline
K28A Alkaline
V34PX Silver Oxide
28L Lithium

The Canon AE-1 requires a 6-volt battery, often provided by batteries with codes such as 4SR44, 4LR44, PX28A, A544, K28A, V34PX, and 28L. These batteries vary in their chemistry.

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4SR44 Batteries:

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28L Batteries:

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4LR44 Batteries:

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The Canon AE-1 Program battery requirements are the same as the AE-1.

Compatible Canon AE-1 Batteries as listed in the official manual.
Compatible Canon AE-1 Batteries from the Manual
  1. Correct Batteries Examples
    Lithium 6V Duracell PX 28L
    Alkaline-manganese 6V Eveready (UCAR) No. A544
    IEC 4LR44
    Silver Oxide 6V Eveready (UCAR) No. A544,
    Duracell PX 28, IEC 4SR44
  2. Try to make a habit of checking the battery at the following times:

  • After loading a new battery.
  • If the shutter won’t function when the shutter button lock lever is on “A”.
  • Before and after making many long exposures.
Information about compatible batteries for the Canon AE-1 35mm film camera
Information about compatible batteries for the Canon AE-1
  1. The AE-1’s battery check circuit not only tells you whether the battery is good but also how good it is. When you check a new battery, the meter needle will rest below the battery check index. The weaker the battery the higher the needle. If the meter needle is exactly in line with the index, the battery is still good but it will not last much longer. Have a new battery ready.

  2. There are two other signs that the battery is weak and needs replacing:

  • The meter needle takes more than about three seconds to come to a rest after you press the battery check button.
  • The meter needle fluctuates above and below the battery check index while the battery check button is pressed.
  1. Pressing the battery check button, the shutter button, or carry the camera, take care that nothing presses down on these controls.

  2. Remove the battery if you do not expect to use the camera for a long time.

  3. Do not try to take the battery apart and never dispose of it in a fire.

Silver Oxide batteries, such as the 4SR44 and V34PX, provide a steady voltage output throughout their life cycle. They are known for their high energy density and long shelf-life, which can make them an ideal choice for the Canon AE-1.

Alkaline batteries, such as the 4LR44, PX28A, A544, and K28A, are commonly used due to their availability and affordability. However, the voltage of an alkaline battery declines gradually as it discharges, which may result in inconsistent performance over the life of the battery.

Lithium batteries, such as the 28L, offer the longest life and best cold weather performance. They maintain a steady voltage output over their lifespan and have the highest capacity among the three chemistries.

Open Canon AE-1 Battery Compartment
Open battery door

In terms of battery life and consistent performance, Lithium batteries stand out as the top choice, followed closely by Silver Oxide batteries. Both these types maintain a steady voltage throughout their life cycle, ensuring consistent performance for your Canon AE-1 camera.

Alkaline batteries, while cheaper and more readily available, may cause faulty performance as the battery voltage decreases over time.

Using the camera in cold weather will decrease the battery lifespan. It’s always a good idea to have a fresh replacement battery while out shooting. It is easy to find 2 batteries or more being sold together.

Cheap batteries that do not have a recognizable brand name will also likely not last long. Do not store the camera with these battery inside as battery leakage is more likely to occur.

Canon AE1 Shutter Speed Dial and Film Advance Lever
Top of a Canon AE-1

As a battery starts to lose its charge, its voltage output will begin to decrease. For a camera like the Canon AE-1, this can lead to a range of malfunctions. You might notice slower shutter speeds, incorrect light meter readings, or a complete inability to take pictures, even with the film advance lever cranked.

If you notice these symptoms, it’s likely time to replace the battery. The Canon AE-1 has a battery check feature illuminates an LED indicator light if the battery levels are good.

The choice of the best battery for Canon AE-1 camera should be based not just on compatibility, but also on battery chemistries. Lithium or Silver Oxide batteries can provide longer life and more consistent performance, but often at an increased cost.

Here is what is listed from the Canon AE-1 camera manual. The Canon AE-1 specifications can also be seen on the Canon Camera Museum website.

The user manual lists the following compatible battery types:

  • Alkaline-manganese - A544, 4LR44
  • Silver Oxide - 544, PX 28, 4SR44
  • Lithium - PX 28 L
How to Perform a Canon AE-1 Battery Check

It’s important to check on your Canon AE-1’s battery health. Performing a battery check is a straightforward process that will give you a clear indication of the battery power level. The battery check button is located next to the film rewind lever.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to perform a battery check on a Canon AE-1 35mm film camera:

Canon AE-1 Battery Check Button

Press the battery check button while looking through the viewfinder. The meter needle in the viewfinder will move.

Canon AE-1 Battery Check Indicator

If the bettery is good, the meter needle will rest at or below the battery check index.

If there is not enough power, it will rest above the index. Replace the battery.

canon ae-1 battery installation
Loading a Battery in the Canon AE-1

The manual tells you to use the viewfinder cover from the hot shoe to open the battery door. Your camera most likely does not have this small, easy to lose, piece of plastic. You can use a pen cap or other small piece of plastic to gently press the tab that holds the battery door closed.

If your camera has the action grip, it will need to be removed in order for the battery door to be opened.

A battery that is left too long in the camera may leak. Any battery salt in the battery chamber and battery contacts can be cleaned with a small amount of distilled white vinegar on a cotton swab.

  1. With normal use, the correct battery should last about one year.
  2. It is necessary to take special precautions with the battery when you are shooting in temperatures below 0°C (32°F). See p. 68.
  3. Remove the battery if you do not expect to use the camera for three weeks or longer. This will prevent damage from a battery leaking.

The 4LR44 and equivalent batteries have a diameter of 13mm and a length of 25.2mm.

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