Canon AE-1 Value
The most important thing when valuing a Canon AE-1 is to determine if the camera is fully functional. There are several common problems that the Canon AE-1 can have that will prevent it from working correctly.
An important thing to know is that the Canon AE-1 has a electronic shutter. In order for the shutter to operate, a 4LR44 battery is required.
The Canon AE-1 also uses 35mm film. Color or black & white film can be used. If you do not have experience with film photography, I would recommend choosing a 400 ISO film for your first roll.
Prices change all the time. Generally prices is November and December will be the highest.
As of the time publishing this page, the Canon AE-1 with a lens, generally sells for between $100-$200. The price is determined by the included lens and any accessories.
Expenct to pay more for a better quality lens and if a battery is included.
The best way to determine the price of a vintage camera is to check completed eBay sales. This will show how much a camera has sold for.
Sales price will be affected by if the camera is fully functional, condition of the camera, as well as if any additional lenses or accessories are included.
It is possible for lenses to be worth more than the value of the camera. Lenses with fast apertures as denoted by f/1.4 or f/1.2 on the lens name plate can be worth hundreds of dollars.
The most common lenses that are found with the Canon AE-1 are a Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 and Canon FD 28mm f/2.8. A slightly less common and more expensive lens is the Canon FD 50mm f/1.4.
If the camera has the sports grip installed, it will need to be removed to be able to access the battery compartment.
A battery is required to test the camera. Without a battery, the camera shutter will not fire.
Corrosion in the battery compartment can be neutralized and cleaned with distrilled white vinegar.
It is important that the Canon AE-1 film door is light tight. This is done by using foam around the edges of the film door.
Unfortunately, the foam will break down and degrade over time. It is easy to replace, but a camera needing the light sealing foam replaced will be worth less than one that does not.
If the shutter “squeaks” when the shutter button is pressed, the mirror escapement mechanism may need to be oiled. Here is a page that covers how to fix the Canon AE-1 shutter squeak.
There is a tungsten wire that extends across the top of the camera. If the wire breaks, the ASA will no longer be set correctly, which will potentially cause exposure problems.
This is a very common problem. Replacement parts for the Canon AE-1 are no longer being produced. This means that replacement parts must be pulled from other cameras, which can make them expensive.