Canon A-1 with FD 28-90mm F/2.8 - 3.5 Lens with Battery Grip

The Canon A-1 is an advanced-level single-lens reflex (SLR) 35 mm film camera for use with interchangeable lenses. It was manufactured by Canon Camera K. K. (today Canon Incorporated) in Japan from April 1978 to 1985. It employs a horizontal cloth-curtain focal-plane shutter with a speed range of 30 to 1/1000 second plus bulb and flash synchronization speed of 1/60 second. It has dimensions of 92 millimetres (3.6 in) height, 141 millimetres (5.6 in) width, 48 millimetres (1.9 in) depth and 620 grams (22 oz) weight. Unlike most SLRs of the time, it was available in only one color; all black. The introductory US list price for the body plus Canon FD 50 mm f/1.4 SSC lens was $625; the camera body was generally sold with a 30–40% discount (roughly $375 to $435).

The A-1 is a historically significant camera. It was the first SLR to offer an electronically controlled programmed autoexposure mode. While the Minolta XD came out in 1977 with electronic control exposure modes, specifically Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Full Manual modes, as well as an "off the modev dial" full program exposure mode, the Canon A-1 offered "Program" mode. Instead of the photographer picking a shutter speed to freeze or blur motion and choosing a lens aperture f-stop to control depth of field (focus), the photographer relied on the A-1's microprocessor to automatically select a compromise exposure based on light meter input. Virtually all cameras today have at least one program mode.