Introduced 1976

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Introduced in 1976.  When the AE-1 came out, Through the Lens (TTL) manual-metering models were still the mainstream in the 35mm SLR market. Autoexposure (AE) models were still at the very top end of the SLR market. They were expensive and produced in small numbers.

The AE-1, however, was designed from the ground up with five major units and twenty-five minor units. They were centrally controlled by a microcomputer. By incorporating electronics, the parts count could be reduced by 300. The manufacturing of the camera was also highly automated. This made it possible to produce a low-cost camera having high-end features.

SPC for TTL full-aperture metering with shutter speed-priority AE or TTL stopped-down match needle manual metering (centerweighted averaging). Exposure compensation range of +1.5 EV. Metering range at ISO 100 and f/1.4: EV 1 - 18. Film speed range from ISO 25 to 3200.