Canon AE-1 Program Battery: Best Place to Buy and How to Install

by Tom Shu

When I first got the Canon AE-1 Program I had a little trouble finding the right battery for it, so I hope this short article will help you find one. The Canon AE-1 Program battery is a 4LR44 or 4SR44 6V battery.

The best and cheapest 6V battery I have found so far when considering shipping price is this one on Amazon

What I like about this battery is if you have Amazon Prime, you can get shipping for free. If you don’t shop on Amazon often, you can also find 6V batteries like this one at your local pharmacy, convenience store, and big-box retailers like Target or Walmart. The good part is that this battery is pretty common.

Canon AE-1 Program Battery Life

image of 6V battery in hand

Based on the original Canon AE-1 Program Manual, the battery should last at least 1 year with normal use.

I’m assuming modern-day batteries are better and more efficient than ones from the 1980s when this camera first came in the market, so the 1-year battery life should be accurate.

From personal experience, I have been using the Duracell battery for the last 6 months and it has been working great. After 6 months of consistent use, I still get a full battery reading from the camera’s battery check button, so I think the 1-year battery life claim is true.

Some people have asked me if there is some sort of “Canon AE-1 battery hack” which will extend the lifespan of the battery or make it cheaper to buy. Honestly, in my opinion, there is no need to spend time on this. 

The 4LR44 or 4SR44 6V batteries are already at a low enough price point that it’s easy to pick up a couple of spare batteries and carry them with you. Plus, the 1-year battery life span will already be more than enough for most people.

How to Replace the Canon AE-1 Program Battery

Replacing the batteries in this camera is really easy. All you need is a coin, key, or another similar item that can help you take off the action grip and you’re good to go.

Here is how you replace the battery in case you’re wondering.

1. Unscrew the action grip

unscrewing action cap on camera

2. Open up the battery chamber

3. Load the battery so that the positive and negative sides of the battery match the illustration inside the battery chamber. Insert the negative end of the battery first, push down, and then insert the positive end of the battery.

4. To check if the battery is working properly, half-press the shutter button or hit the exposure check button. You should see the LED indicators light up inside the viewfinder. You can also use the battery check button to see if the battery is working too.

image of camera dial

5. Close the battery chamber and put the action grip back on.

up close image of camera grip

How to Use the Battery Check Button

1. Turn the main camera switch to “A”.

up close image of camera dial

2. Press and hold the battery check button that is located next to the rewind lever. 

image of camera dial

3. You should hear about 6 or more beeps per second, which will indicate that you have enough battery and it is working. If you don’t hear any beeping or if the beeping is slower, this means your battery life is low and you will need to replace it soon.

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