I had the pre-AE series Canons from 1967 to 1982: An FX and an FTbN.
While attending a convention in Manhattan in 1979, I walked into a camera store on or near 47th st. The Canon A-1 had been on my mind because it seemed to be a logical follow-on for me and the F series I already owned. I played with the A-1, and asked the young salesman how much. He said “X dollars” (I have long forgotten what X was). I said, “OK, here’s my MasterCard.” He took it back to the cash register and had a whispered conversation with a senior employee, maybe the manager.
He came back to me, all apologetic-like, and said, “I’m awful sorry—I made a mistake. My boss just told me that we can’t sell you this camera at anything less than (X+30) dollars.” I thought about it a moment and reached over the counter to snatch my credit card back, while saying “No thanks. Have a good day.” I turned away and walked straight out the door. I heard the sales guy call after me, but I couldn’t make out what he said. I was already at the door and didn’t look back.
Kept the F-series Canons for about 3 more years before selling them for two Olympus OM2ns and a Mamyia C330. These were all stolen a few years later.
After going without reflex cameras for a decade, I finally got back into them with the Canon EOS line, which coincidentally had been introduced the same year my Olympi and Mamiya were stolen. 2 film EOSes and 2 digital EOSes later, I’m still with that system.
Postscript: At the gun show today, a guy had a couple of old folding cameras, and also an Argus C3 with a bunch of lenses and other accessories. I had taken my first 35mm pix with my dad’s C3. If I hadn’t found a good C3 specimen on the web a year ago, I would have made the guy an offer.
Post-post-script: There was a roll of Kodachrome 64 in that C3 when I got it, run almost completely through. Last week I mailed the roll off to Dwayne’s lab; it’ll be interesting what, if anything comes of those slides.
For those who don’t know, Dwayne’s photo service is the last remaining lab for Kodak-process slide film, and they’re shutting down that process at the end of the year.
47th St. is famous for bait and switch and all kinds of flimflam.
I was using the image to demonstrate aperture to somebody a couple of years ago. Here's the "stopped down" image for the uninitiated...
I "bought" (for a very small fee) the FT from my father around 1976 or so, after I got my first job. I shot many rolls of film through that camera. Mechanically, it still works fine. Can't get the mercury batteries any more, but you can get a reasonable facsimile (supposedly) to supply the meter.