The A-1 was the top-of-the-line A-series camera. (The AE-1 was the first in this series.) It was a sophisticated electronic camera with all-digital control.
Besides the shutter speed-priority AE and aperture-priority AE modes, it featured the first fully automatic program AE mode, preset aperture-priority AE, and Speedlite AE mode.
The viewfinder information was also easy to read with a 7-segment red LED readout. The control settings were displayed at the same time which made it very useful.
Besides Power Winder A, developed at the same time as the AE-1, accessories for the A-1 included the compact Motor Drive MA which attained a maximum shooting speed of 5 fps. This Motor Drive had a convenient vertical-grip shutter button. Also, there was the Speedlite 199A which had bounce flash capability.The A-1’s body had a fine black finish.