I have a Canon A-1, and an FT-QL, along with a few lenses in Canon’s old FD mount. Also have a film Elan II in the newer EOS mount system. Haven’t shot any of them in a few years. I might mess around with the A-1 some time. It is a very good camera.
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.