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Canon Elan II

by John M. Sully, 1996

Though cheap, the Elan II contains two of best features from the Canon EOS-1 and EOS-5 cameras: (1) simultaneous AF/MF with USM lenses; (2) the big thumb wheel on the back of the body. In addition, it adds high speed flash sync (via pulses, up to 1/4000th) and a new flash exposure system that is slightly less lame than previous Canon EOS models but still no match for Nikon D (or a $50 P&S camera's). Probably the eye-controlled focus point selection on the IIe works better than on the EOS-5/A2e, a body introduced in 1992 -- Philip Greenspun (editor)

The Elan II is the first modern, auto-everything snazzy SLR with which I've had a lot of experience. My previous cameras were a Pentax K1000 and before that a Zeiss Ikon Contaflex. When I got the K1000 I thought it was the height of technological achievement because I could focus with the lens wide open and it had a built in lightmeter. All I can say is that camera technology sure has changed.

Basic Features

The Elan II is a pretty fully featured camera. It has 6 segment evaluative metering, center-weighted metering and 9.5% partial metering -- even Canon wouldn't call it "spot" metering. The portion of the frame metered by partial mode is tied to the focus point which is currently selected. It also has depth of field preview, a mirror pre-fire feature which is tied to a 2 second self timer, a very capable fill flash system and all of the other features which are commonly found on mid range SLR's. Combine this with a very easy to use interface and you are looking at a real winner in the mid price range.

On the top left of the camera you will find the command dial which selects one of several different operating modes, ranging from the PhD PIC modes -- the "image zone" in Canonese -- to the "creative zone" modes: shiftable program, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual and depth of field mode. In the PIC modes only evaluative metering is used, except for close up mode which uses partial metering. In the "creative zone" modes the metering mode chosen by the 3 position switch under the command dial, evaluative, partial or centerweighted averaging, is used.

There is a button on the back of the body which selects additional functions:

  • ISO speed override
  • Auto exposure bracketing (+- 2 stops, 1/2 stop increments)
  • Red eye reduction
  • Flash exposure compensation (+- 2 stops, 1/2 stop increments)
  • Multiple exposure mode
  • Turn off the friggin' beeps

Push this button multiple times to cycle through the various functions. You adjust the function setting with the main dial which is located behind the shutter release. Press the shutter release halfway to register your setting. When you press the function button again it picks up at the last feature you diddled with, a nice ergonomic touch. For example, I often use either auto bracketing or flash compensation. Once I'm through using the function pressing the button once and the turning the special function off is easy. When I want to reenable it, I just push the button once again. This is good, thoughtful ergonomic design and helps to make the camera easy to use.

Underneath this function button is the mid-roll rewind button. Turning on Custom Function 2 instructs the camera to leave the leader out on rewind, a handy feature for those of us who shoot different types of film in different conditions.

Next to these two buttons is the "quick control dial". This dial is a piece of genius. In most modes it controls exposure compensation, but in metered manual mode it controls the aperture. There is a switch just above it which enables and disables it so that you cannot accidentally set exposure compensation. I just leave it enabled all the time. I'm not that klutzy. This dial falls naturally under your thumb and makes adjusting exposure compensation or aperture a snap.

The focus mode selector is located on the right side of the top panel. It is a three position knob which selects one shot focus, AI focus or AI servo focus modes. One shot is focus priority, the camera will not fire off a shot until the AF circuitry is satisfied. AI focus is a hybrid mode which normally operates as focus priority, but if the computer decides that the subject has begun to move it switches to follow focus mode. AI servo mode is follow focus mode, the camera will take an exposure irregardless of whether the AF circuitry is happy or not. I normally just leave the camera in AI focus mode. Underneath this switch is the film advance mode switch which chooses either single shot or continuous. I normally just leave the camera in continuous mode.

Next to the focus mode knob is the LCD display window. It displays shutter speed and aperture, frame number, battery status, exposure compensation (or manual meter reading) whether or not flash compensation is set, red eye reduction setting status, whether or not you have custom function active, MF/AF active status and a whole bunch of other stuff. Really it is a wonder that you can decode all of this, but you can.

Just in front of the LCD panel lies the main control dial and the shutter release. The main control dial controls the main feature for the exposure mode you've chosen. In program mode it handles program shift. In shutter priority it handles shutter speed, and in aperture priority it changes the aperture. In manual mode it sets the shutter speed and aperture is set with the quick control dial on the back. This is so much easier to use than the Rebel XS that it isn't even funny -- when using manual mode on the Rebel changing aperture/shutter speed combinations required lots of button punching/holding and was in general a pain in the ass. Using manual mode with the Elan II is a breeze.

Finally, there are two buttons on the back of the camera right behind the LCD. One controls exposure lock and the setting of the current custom function when in custom function setting mode. The other controls the choice of focus point, automatic or one of three selectable points. To change focus point, you need to press the focus point selection button and then spin the main control dial. This selects each focus point in turn and then selects automatic focus point selection mode. Changing the focus point is so easy and quick that eye control focus almost isn't necessary, but more on this later.


The classic complaint from eyeglass wearers about Canon cameras still applies to the Elan II: there isn't enough eye relief. As a result, I need to move my head around to see the entire frame and the displays. At least on the Rebel XS I was able to buy the Eyepiece Extender EP-EX15 to get some more eye relief. Unfortunately, such a goodie is not available for the A2/Elan II, although the same part can be used on the 1n. I note however, that the situation here is considerably better than it is on the Pentax 67 I've been using recently. With that camera I can't even see the whole viewfinder with my glasses off!

Other than that, the viewfinder is nice. I often MF with my 100/2.8 Macro and the scene snaps in and out of focus sharply and quickly allowing for easy MF operation. MF gets progressively more difficult as you go to slower lenses, but this is to be expected. The viewfinder displays an adequate amount of information:

  • Shutter speed/aperture
  • Exposure compensation setting
  • Flash status (on/off)
  • Flash compensation status (on/off)
  • Flash sync speed mode (normal/high)
  • Scaled manual meter (no stupid +- arrows)
  • Range of exposures if AEB is turned on.

Custom Functions

The Elan II has a host of custom functions, but I find the following most useful:

  • CF02: Film leader position after rewind (in or out)
  • CF04: AF activation method (AF on shutter, AF on AE lock, DOF preview on AE lock)
  • CF05: Self timer operation (10 sec timer or 2 sec mirror prefire)
  • CF09: Flash sync in Av mode (normal Av operation or force sync to 1/125)

As for most people, I find CF4 is the most useful and used custom function, I typically leave it set to 1 (AF on AE lock button), but like anything else this depends on the shooting situation I am faced with. Since I never use the self timer I always leave it in mirror prefire mode.

So how does it work?

Pretty well. I have fairly small hands and all of the controls fall readily under my fingers and the camera operates quickly and intuitively. I never need to take my eye away from the viewfinder to set any of the major functions (aperture, shutter speed, exposure compensation). Other important functions such as flash compensation and exposure bracketing are easily set. The only thing I don't like is the Custom Function stuff. I have hard time remembering what function controls what feature, and if I forget to put the manual in my camera bag (100% of the time) there is no hope of remembering anything except CF4 which I use constantly. If Canon supplied a sticker for the bottom of the camera which allowed you to connect the numbers with a name life would be much easier.

The AF is, as is usual with Canon, plenty fast. I have all mid-range USM lenses: the EF 20-35/3.5-4.5, the EF 28-105/3.5-4.5 and the EF 100-300/4.5-5.6. I also have the EF 100/2.8 Macro, which doesn't have a USM focusing motor. All of the lenses, except for the 100/2.8 Macro, are really quick and quiet. If Canon makes the lens I'm looking for, and if I can afford it, I'll buy it. In these circumstances I would never consider a 3rd party lens. USM is that good. So far I've had a grand total of 1 picture out of focus, and that was because I was too close to my subject and hoped that the DOF of a 24mm lens would save me. The AF is really good

The metering system seems to work quite well, although I initially thought that it underexposed mainly because I shoot Velvia and was rating it at ISO 50. Changing that rating to ISO 40 fixed that. All the other types of film I've used have been exposed quite well. I have checked the calibration of the meter via the clear north sky at noon method and found that the meter registered the correct exposure in all of it's modes. In general I just trust the evaluative metering if I have the misfortune to find myself shooting in the middle of the day. As the scene grows more contrasty the evaluative metering becomes less trustworthy. Generally, in tricky lighting I switch to using a handheld 1 degree spotmeter and use the camera in manual mode. Often I check my calculated exposure against the exposure recommended by the meter and they seldom vary by more than 1/2 stop or so. I still use the exposure I calculate, however; I've just never been able to trust computers.

On a recent trip to Yosemite I was shooting in the valley near sunrise and ran into a situation where my calculation and the camera's recommendation differed wildly, with the camera recommending much more exposure than I had calculated. For grins I decided to shoot two sets of brackets, one at my exposure, one at the camera's recommendation. When I got the slides back, the ones taken at the camera's exposure were hopelessly overexposed, so I think I'll still trust my own calculations in difficult light.


As I mentioned earlier, I have 3 upper middle class consumer zooms and a snazzy macro lens:

  • EF 28-105/3.5-4.5 USM
  • EF 20-35/3.5-4.5 USM
  • EF 100-300/4.5-5.6 USM
  • EF 100/2.8 Macro

I have also owned the EF 75-300/4-5.6 II USM and I can't really recommend it. This lens, and the very similar EF 75-300/4-5.6 II are very soft at the corners, even stopped down. I was never able to get what I would call an elargeable slide out of it. The EF 100-300/4.5-5.6 USM which replaced it is reasonably sharp and has produced several slides which I have enlarged to 8x12 with good results.

I bought the 28-105 to replace the truly awful EF 35-80/4-5.6 II which came with my Rebel XS kit. The 28-105 is a really nice, sharp lens. Sometimes I wish it was a little faster at the long end but overall I'm thrilled with the performance of this lens. The same comments apply to the performance of the 20-35. Both of these lenses represent very good value for your optical dollar, sure they could be faster, but then they would cost $1500 each instead of $325 and $450, so don't complain.

All three of the USM lenses share similar construction characteristics. These are:

  • Full time manual focusing
  • Focus distance scale
  • Ring USM motor
  • Non rotating front element
  • Metal lens mount

Sad to say, they all have a substantial amount of plastic in their construction, but that seems to be pretty usual in consumer grade lenses these days. The really outstanding feature of these lenses is the full time manual focusing. This feature, when combined with custom function 4, allows you to choose manual or auto focus as the shooting situation dictates without having to switch the lens or the body from auto focus to manual focus and back. This is really great if you like to shoot with a wideangle and use hyperfocal distances, just set the lens to the hyperfocal distance and shoot away. If you see a shot where AF is practical, just press the AE lock button and the camera will focus, probably better than you can. Nothing to remember, no switches to switch.

Finally, there is the EF 100/2.8 Macro. I know it doesn't have USM, but so what. This lens is so sharp, so contrasty and it's color rendition so brilliant that it is worth every penny of the $600 I spent on it. If you own a Canon and you take macro photographs, buy this lens, not only is it a great macro lens, but the 100mm focal length and f/2.8 maximum aperture makes it a great portrait lens as well.

[Ed: the new Canon 180/2.8 USM is an even nicer lens, but alas costs $1600.]


One of the principle innovations contained in the Elan II/IIe is E-TTL flash exposure. This uses a white preflash from the flash, combined with the evaluative metering system to balance the background and subject exposure. Canon's previous fill flash system, A-TTL, has gotten a pretty bad rap and is certainly inferior to the Nikon 3D matrix system. E-TTL is Canon's answer to that.

First, Canon, although many of its lenses do return distance information, still does not use it to calculate flash exposure. Why? My guess is because Nikon has a patent on using focus distance information to calculate flash exposure. Too bad.

But Canon's answer in the Elan II works pretty well. I've found that it provides nicely filled shadows in outdoor portraits (or scenes which require fill) with the flash set to -1 or -1.5 stops of compensation. Off center subjects are handled well with results which are identical to those gained for centered subjects. However, I have found situations where a subject was underexposed because of objects in the foreground which I was using to frame the main subject (it wouldn't have worked anyway...). I expect that a distance based system would have correctly exposed the main subject.

Of course all of this flash trickery only works with the Canon 380EX which is a reasonable unit by itself. One of the really neat things about it is its ability to sync up at all shutter speeds when you use high speed sync mode. This is great for people who like to use fill flash outdoors. Since the 380EX is fully automatic you can't really use it to do fancy manual flash tricks, but if you only want fill and don't want to use it for macro work, etc. it should be sufficient. I just wish that Canon would come out with a 540EX.

Overall the 380EX/E-TTL system provides a substantial improvement in the quality of fill flash provided by the Canon system. It still isn't up the the standards set by Nikon, because it is still possible to fool it without a ton of effort, but it does work much better than A-TTL or straight TTL flash metering.

Why I should have bought an Elan IIe

The only difference between the Elan II and the Elan IIe is the eye controlled focus. I tried it out in the store and basically felt it was a gimmick given how easy it was to set the focus point manually and how well the automatic focus point selection worked. Nice, but not worth $50. What I hadn't counted on was the eye controlled depth of field preview.

On the Elan II the DOF preview is enabled by setting custom function 4 (CF4) to 2. This leaves AF start on the shutter and moves DOF preview to the AE lock button. Normally I prefer to leave CF4 set 1 which puts AF start on the AE lock button and moves AE lock to the shutter release. The great thing about this configuration is that you can manually focus or use auto focus as the situation dictates without having to change the focus mode. But the problem here is that you can't have both AF start on the AE lock button and DOF preview on the AE lock button at the same time. The Elan IIe has an eye controlled DOF preview feature which works around this problem. It's not crippling, but if I were given the choice again, I'd get the IIe because of eye controlled DOF preview.


The executive summary on this camera is: in this price range it can't be beat. The Elan II ($420) competes in price with the Nikon N50 ($410) which can't even begin to touch it in terms of features. The camera is easy to use and figure out, Canon's USM AF technology is impressive, and the fill flash finally works pretty well for off center subjects. But, buy the IIe instead of the II because the eye-controlled DOF preview is a more important feature than you might think.

Photography in General

When I bought a little point and shoot thinking it might be fun to have a camera once again I never dreamed of the obsession which would take hold. I remembered that when I was in high school and college that serious photography was fun for me and that I was good at it, but I thought that I could be happy with a point and shoot. How wrong I was. I've since indulged myself by buying just about every piece of equipment I wished I had been able to buy in the poor student days. This means that I have to lug around a 20 pound camera bag anytime I go out for a serious shooting session.

And you know what? It's worth it. I've rediscovered a very satisfying hobby and am taking better photos than I ever have, mainly because I am now able to afford all of the equipment I wanted but couldn't afford when I was a poor student. This is nothing against simple cameras and a simple kit, but more capable cameras and more varied kits allow you to take shots which work in a much wider variety of situations. I'm glad that I no longer need to look at something and say: "I could have a great picture here if I only had a macro lens". I just got a roll back from the lab and every shot on it was a keeper. That's never happened for me before, I won't say I owe it all to the Canon Elan II, but the camera helped me immensely because it didn't stand in my way.

In the end, that's the highest compliment you can pay to a piece of photographic equipment.

The BP50 battery pack

Here's a note from Javier Henderson ...

The Canon Elan II/50 (e) uses the relatively expensive 2CR5 battery. The price isn't so high in the US, but it is apparently costly and sometimes hard to find elsewhere in the world. Also, if you use the built-in flash for fill (or worse yet, your main flash), the battery runs down rather quickly.

With that in mind, I ordered the BP50, which retails for about $60 at the merchants listed in photo.net.

The BP50 accepts either a 2CR5 battery, or four AA cells. Aditionally, it has a vertical grip, with a shutter release button that duplicates the functions of the camera built-in release button. Unfortunately, it does not have the very useful multi-function dial found on the Elan II/50 (e), which is a shame.

It feels a little on the cheesy side, very light weight, and made of the same material as the camera body. It attaches to the camera by means of the tripod socket (the BP50 has in turn a tripod socket).

I haven't done the math, but given that AA cells are quite a bit cheaper than 2CR5 batteries, the unit will probably pay for itself over time. The vertical grip comes in handy, and the Elan IIe/50e will even do eye controlled focusing while held vertically.

In sum, it's a useful accessory, well worth its price.

Copyright 1996 John M. Sully.

Article created 1996

Readers' Comments

Add a comment

Bob Atkins , February 10, 1997; 06:33 P.M.

Just a couple of comments on a very comprehensive review.

(1) I believe my Elan II consistantly underexposes by about 1/3 stop. I compensate by setting the ISO 1/3 stop low (ISO 80 for an ISO 100 film). This isn't much and some people might not notice it, but I do.

(2) It's really nice to have the option of using AA batteries via the BP-50 battery pack and grip. Rechargable Ni-Cad's are so much cheaper in the long run than Li cells!

(3) The wired remote is useful since it doesn't self cancel after some fixed time like the IR remote function

Toomas Tamm , February 17, 1997; 07:48 A.M.

While Canon has omitted a list of the Custom Functions from the body, one can be easily created with a word processor and laser printer. With a 5-point font and essentially no line spacing one can fit 10 lines of readable text into the empty space on the left hand side of the bottom of the body (if you have the camera, you will find the space easily).

If you use TeX, you can find a sample source file for the labels at this url: http://www.chem.helsinki.fi/~toomas/photo/cf-labels.html .

Dennis M> Guten , February 27, 1997; 04:17 P.M.

I have to agree with Bob that the problem of the cutom functions is easily solved by putting all the custom functions on computer and printing out at about a font size of 5. I did this and laminated it to the insides of all my lens caps so i always have this info available.

Agnius Griskevicius , June 30, 1997; 06:56 P.M.

After reading all the hyped comments about the Elan IIe, I bought into them. Now, half year later, I am sharing my experience with you.

Good things:

The camera is light and controls are logically laid out, which makes camera a joy to use. Did I mention the camera is light?

Bad things:

I also got an AA battery pack, but to my disapointment there was no exposure lock/focusing point selection buttons on it. For the same price you get the buttons on EOS-5, so I thought... Too bad! Batery indicator loves to tell me my AA cells are about to die. Sometimes they are right, sometimes they are not. It is quite anoying. Camera's autofocus/exposure randomly stops working in the remote locations, like Santa Monica Mountains. Could be quite a bummer! After sending camera to Canon, they replaced the contacts and the upper plate (printed on icons were coming off from my daily use). They could not find anything wrong with electronics. I haven't used camera much since, so I can not say if camera fully functional. Eye controlled focus works, but it is only usefull for slow moving/static objects. In fast action photography the selection speed is unacceptable. Metering is consistent, but underexposed.


Should have listened to Phil and gotten EOS-5. I probably would have been much happier with it. Now I am a proud owner of an EOS-1n, and haven't had any suprises yet. Meter is right on the money, and no "experimental" or "work in progress" features. It just WORKS! Now, with my trust into Canon restored, I can concentrate on taking pictures. For the money, I would get A2 or EOS-5. It is proven technology, and it works.


John David Miller , July 21, 1997; 08:02 P.M.

I was surprised to see that you didn't like the 70-300 4.5-5.6 EF II zoom. I found it to be very sharp, even around the edges. Even still, I returned it, the Rebel G body and the 35-80 I bought with it and now own the much-heavier Elan IIe and 28-105 3.5-4-5. Why? I wanted a wider range than the 35-80 and the 28-105 seemed to "fit" better with the Elan IIe. I must say, however, that the Rebel G works remarkably well (and is VERY light) for the ~$300 you pay for the kit. I returned the 70-300 EF not because I didn't like it, but because I liked it so much I want to get the USM IS model!

-- jdm

Luciano Costa , December 27, 1997; 12:44 A.M.

Elan II E. Wonderfull camera. Two small problems so far. First, some brands of batteries dont work with the camera !!! Second, the main dial of my camera has broken after 16 months of use. And the repair costs 40% of the camera price. Should I complain to Canon ?

Piaw Na , January 24, 1998; 08:48 P.M.

About the BP-50 grip. If you want to get a RRS QR plate for an Elan IIe equipped with the BP-50, RRS won't sell you one, because they claim that "it's just not stable." The alternative is to get an EOS-5 and its grip, which RRS will sell you a plate for.

Jeffery E. Gale Sr. -- , January 28, 1998; 12:15 P.M.

Seeing as how I just purchased the Elan II a few weeks ago. I have not had the opportunity to experence the camera at it's fullest. Althrough, when it has been put to the test, it has passed with flying colors. I did feel as through the BP-50 was overpriced. (80.00 dollars East Coast). I'am glad that I made the purchased. Seeing as how I was a Elan owner in the past I feel as through Canon has developed an excelent product. I will continue to be a loyal patron.

V. LaBolle , February 15, 1998; 08:39 P.M.

I have experienced the battery problem i.e., when changing from one brand of battery to another, the camera would not work. I recalled a post somewhere that suggested adding a thing piece of card board e.g., from a 3X5 card into the top of the battery compartment to assure good contact. This worked. Originally I had a Sanyo battery and when it wouldn't work I switched to a Panasonic with the piece of card. I have "heard" that a free repair is available from authorized repair centers. I live in the sticks so I haven't tried it.

Thomas Smith , February 26, 1998; 02:31 P.M.

I like the camera, but for those that haven't found out yet, one of the custom fuctions (#2, I think) doesn't work the way you would expect. If you set it to leave film leader out after rewind, it only works when you reach the end of the roll and the camera starts to rewind automatically. If you press the rewind button halfway through a roll, you're stuck with no leader. The only way around it I found was to cover the lens and take blank pictures (in manual mode) till you reach the end of the roll.

One other finding...when I tested the 28-80 USM IV lens, it performed extremely well with slides under a loupe. However, when checking for consistent exposures across the range of f stops, (blue sky at 80mm), I noticed a white haze in the center of the frame (diffraction?) at the smaller apertures (f22-38). This probably isn't noticable in most scenes, but I'd be curious if anyone else has seen this.

kevin kemner , March 09, 1998; 11:00 P.M.

On the BP-50 battery pack you need to use LR6 batteries our the equivalent. If you use standard over the counter AA batteries the meter will initially read low and after a few minutes use read full. This is due to the lack of surge capacity in commercial AA batteries. The LR6 is a photo battery with higher output and recovery although with a shorter life span.

Piaw Na , March 20, 1998; 01:40 A.M.

Thomas, I've never had the problem you describe with CF2. I leave the leader out all the time, and have used it with mid-roll rewind with no problem. Are you sure your Elan isn't defective?

I bought my Elan IIe May '97. I've played with a lot of other cameras since, including a Nikon N70, a N8008s, an EOS 1n, and an EOS A2e, and I have to say that by far, the Elan IIe is still the easiest to use camera I've encountered. The fact that most of the controls are knobs that you twist or turn mean that even in pitch black you can figure out what settings are set where. The camera is a pleasure to use, and never gets in the way. A laudable achievement!

Rich Buttiglieri , April 07, 1998; 03:33 P.M.

You can't use IR film because the frame counter in side uses an IR beam to count the sprocket holes. Most older cameras use a mechanical counter when the gear turns pulling the film by the sprocket holes... (this make sense??)

As for the leader-out debate, I read somewhere that you must be in one of the Creative Zone settings for mid-roll rewind to leave the leader out.

Hope this helps.

Bobby Downes , May 19, 1998; 03:44 P.M.

I love this camera. Within two hours I understood every function, and have not once been confused by any of it. It is very well laid out, and I love the lockable command dial.

The camera has never let me down yet, and has even survived being sprayed with a super-soaker (although it didn't take too heavy a hit).

If you want a camera that gives you plenty of control without getting bossy, this camera is perfect. I just wish it had more focussing points, and more weatherproofing (so that rain needn't stop play).

Karl Katzke , June 14, 1998; 10:30 P.M.

I beleive that the Elan II is a keeper. While there are some features that I miss, such as the vertical grip ae lock, fp selection, and main control wheel, and some things like the metal finish that I don't particularly like(Try mounting an 'L' lens... the white ones... on this camera and then looking like a pro :(!!! ) , my experience in using this as an advanced ameteur/student has been overall good.

I, too, found that the lower iso films (50, 100) are underexposed, no matter how I expose them. One of my friends with a Nikon had the same problem with the same type and roll-batch of film (Fuji Sensia II 100), so I ignored it and considered it a problem with the emusion.

The autofocus is fast and crisp no matter what. I really like being able to move the AF to the back button, that's a truly nice feature. Spot metering would be something I'd look for in a future camera... maybe when I upgrade in the fall.

I've been pleased so far with Canons... I still think that no matter what, they make the best optics!!! Throw Nikons to the sharks!


Cliff LeSergent , June 21, 1998; 11:40 A.M.

One of the few things I dislike about the Elan IIe is the tacky aluminum finish. It's too bad Canon won't let us have the black version that is available in Europe. Maybe if enough people ask for it, they might reconsider...

Ted Marcus , June 29, 1998; 11:24 P.M.

I just got an Elan II, after my trusty EOS 650 gave up the ghost after nine years. I'm still getting used to the different "feel" of the Elan II. One thing I still haven't figured out is the benefit of using center-weighted averaging versus evaluative metering-- the 650 had only evaluative metering and usually worked quite well with both slide and negative films.

I have also noticed that the little red light that makes the selected focus sensor square blink is "sloppy"; there's a blotch of red light along the bottom of the viewfinder when the square blinks. This is most noticable when shooting in low light. I first thought my camera was defective, but when I had a look at other specimens in the store, they all did the same thing. At least this blinking can be disabled.

The Elan II is certainly lighter than the 650, and the control layout may turn out to be more convenient once I get used to it. I miss the partial metering button that was where the focus sensor select button is; the metering mode switch under the mode control dial is sometimes awkward to operate. I'm also finding that I use the "one-shot" AF mode, since the usual trick of focusing and recomposing makes the AI Focus mode think the subject moved and changes the focus; again, this problem may be a holdover from the 650 that will go away once I get used to selecting the right and left focus sensors.

The lens I got with the Elan II is the new Canon 22-55 zoom, intended as a normal lens for APS. It replaced the somewhat heavy and clunky 28-70 I've been using for nine years. Although this lens cuts corners with a plastic mount and lack of focusing scale, it's small, light, responsive, and decently sharp. It's an inexpensive way to get an ultra-wide lens, which is normally quite costly.

Karl Katzke , August 24, 1998; 12:18 A.M.

Well, I've had the camera for six months, and the verdict is in... I'm keeping it at least until Canon comes out with it's vauge new bodies in the next month or two. Not even the Canon sales reps know what the bodies will be or look like, Rumor has it that there will be two, something similar to the N90s, and something to replace the A2. Supposedly, it's supposed to be called the A3, but that's just rumor right now.

But about the Elan... I bought the model without the Eye Focus... I tried it in stores, and even after calibrating, it still seemed gimmicky and more like a toy than a tool for me. I need RESPONSE...

I've stayed with the 28-80 that came with the camera, but recently I've expanded to a 75-300. We'll see how this one turns out... I may end up returning it. I'm planning on buying a 70-200 2.8L, but that's a little pricy for me right now. Waiting for the overtime pay I'll get from work this winter... And for the return of the Cash in With Canon rebates at the end of September.

I did add the BP-50 vertical grip, and I'm waiting to use up the lithium battery I've had in the camera since I bought it. If you don't use the built-in flash, they last freakin' forever!

I also added the 380ex flash, and I'm planning on adding a sunpak 4000 or the 540ez later on. The 380 is great, especially for fill flash, because of the super-synch that it has. I need some meat though, something to light up the night with. The 380 won't QUITE do that.

I also padded the outside of the body with black gaffer's tape for grip. The plastic, although textured, got slippery after a while, in my experience.

I'm happy with the metering, and the camera overall. It's a good buy, and I actually like the silver finish... :) Go for it, just don't get suckered into too many consumer level enhancements... pay the money!


-- -- , December 29, 1998; 08:33 P.M.

I purchased my Elan IIe exactly one year ago and for the most part, I love it. I bought it knowing that I would not outgrow it quickly like I would with a lower end body. It's a great camera to grow with.

Lately however, the eye controlled focus has not been reacting as quickly or as precisely as it once did. For example, I might want to focus to the left, but the system favors the right box.

I tried recalibrating it, but it did not seem to correct it. So if anyone has any ideas, email me!

Overall: great camera, logical controls and good price/value.

Maury Weil , January 06, 1999; 04:00 P.M.

I recently had an auto focus problem with the Elan IIE. It turned out that the focusing beam was hitting the lenshood of the 2.8 70-200 zoom. The problem could be corrected by shooting without the lenshood or by attaching the 380 EX flash and setting the center focusing point manually. The camera would then use the flash's focusing light which was not blocked by the lenshood.

Kevin Steiger , January 29, 1999; 10:57 P.M.

After being an avid Canon fan for many years (FT-QL, F-1, AE-1, A1), I decided to try Nikon. The N70 is pretty much foolproof, but the controls were not at all intuitive. I absolutely MUST carry the N70 manual everywhere.

Then I saw the Elan IIe with its controls so similar to my older Canons that I knew I would feel much more at home. Just love those quasi-analog dials! The Nikon sits in a camera bag while the Elan is my new

Mekissa Hutson , February 11, 1999; 02:54 P.M.

I have done a lot of research before I decided to but a new camera. I settled on the Canon Elan II. I'm still waiting for it to get here, but from what I've read, I made the right choice!! Thanks to everyone for their input!


Vinicius Matangrano , February 23, 1999; 05:47 P.M.

For Ted Marcus: I missed the partial metering button, too, when I started using my Elan II (I had a 500, before I bought the Elan). But with a little patience I got used to move the metering mode switch without looking at it. It's not as easy and fast as the back button, but it works. About the servo AF, I suggest that you set CF4 to 1, to link AF to the back button. If you want servo AF, keep the button pressed until you shoot. If you don't want it, release the button when focus is achieved, then recompose. Unfortunately (I think, maybe you don't), I guess your lens won't allow you to manually focus without switching to "MF", so that you could take full advantage of this really useful custom function. Maybe you'd like to try a 24-85, it's a nice lens (take a look at the review). Hope this helps.


Eric Yuzon , March 09, 1999; 09:28 P.M.

I just purchased the Canon Elan II and I really love it. It is my first really serious camera and I settled on it after lots of research. I wanted to comment on the CF2 feature that leaves the film leader out. I don't if it was really settled. I did notice a few things about it. First, it is true that this function only operates in one of the Creative Zone modes. Second, when you switch to one of the Automatic modes, you'll notice that the CF indicator in the display will disappear. This probably means that none of the CF modes will work when the camera is in one of the Auto modes. I found this by mistake when I went to switch out a partially used film cartridge. Anyway, it's a great camera! Very easy and intuitive. With the camera doing exactly what I expect it to do, all I have to do is concentrate on composing pictures!!


Joerg Michael , March 27, 1999; 07:01 A.M.

I just got the EOS 50E last week. I made my decision mostly based by information I found here. Looks like I made a good decision. I got the 50/1.8 and the 28-105/3.5-4.5 USM with it and so far I4m one happy camper. Eye controlled focussing works like a charm for me after just one calibration cycle. I would also like to mention that photo.net was what actually caused my decision to get a new SLR in the first place. Nice work, Philip and the others!

Mario Giberti , May 01, 1999; 10:10 P.M.

I too was looking to move up from my 15 year old Pentax K1000. Thanks to all of the advise from Phil and all of the other people posting here and in other related sites, I bought a Elan IIe with a 28-105 lens. The same week I ran into a dealer selling a mint 100-300 USM Canon 4.5-5.6 for $160 ( with a Canon skylight filter included) at the Spring Photographic Show at Waltham High School. My first three rolls resulted in a total of three of the best pictures I have ever taken. I just feel as though the camera is allowing me to concentrate on composing more then on the mechanics of focusing and setting the exposure. I will work on taking over control of the functions as my confidence with the camera grows, especially when the limitations of the metering system in unusual lighting situations arises Thanks again for all of the info.

Andrei Lau , June 12, 1999; 10:31 P.M.

I think the Elan 2e is well worth the money though there is always room for improvement.

One thing I think it should improve is that the meter goes off too fast after shooting. This is particular problematic when exposure compensation is set, that do not allow time to reset it to normal. Every so often if I am not careful enough, the next picture taken may carry the the unneccessary compensation from the previous one. Positive thinking it may help to develop the habit of carefully viewing all the view finder information before pressing the shutter. But I would prefer to have a custom function allowing the meter to go off longer time after each shot.


Chris Hay , June 16, 1999; 09:37 P.M.

I have been a fan of Canon manual cameras for 30 years. Formerly a pro, now semi-pro, I thought it was time to move into the '90s (1990's) and try a little automation. Now mind you, my serious work is still done with an old RB - weddings, portraits, product photos - but photography is also my hobby. I know that the vast majority of people making a living with photography do what I do, but like the rest of you I hold out hope that I may capture some images that are salable to publishers as well. Carrying a well equipped 35 system makes that hope a possibility. Also, I just shoot for fun! Fun in medium format becomes tiresome and expensive. 35mm is adequate for most uses, and the Elan IIe fills the bill nicely.

It is cheap, light and dependable. Excellent photos depend more on the lens and tripod, but this camera body is more than adequate as a basic building block of a real system. I'd rather have the three of these bodies than just one "professional" body for the same cost. Of course, some models will have more this or faster that, but do you really need 1/12,000 sec. shutter speeds and lightning fast motor drives? Only highly specialized professional work requires this, and only rarely at that. For most, wanting more than this camera offers is just ego talking. True, there is no pc flash terminal on this model, but I fire my studio slaves with a camera mounted unit pointed upward at low output. (Studio photos are really the realm of medium format anyway!).

If you couple this camera with the 380EX flash, you have one of the most foolproof systems available. One walkthrough with the manual and I was ready to go - the camera is logical and intuitive in its layout. Eye control works perfectly for me. After calibration (which takes only seconds to complete) the eye control, including DOF preview, is dead on with my glasses, sunglasses, or no glasses. I have never used the highest available shutter speed, and the 2.5 fps motor drive is just right to catch a sharp image on the second or third frame of a slow speed hand-held shot. It is also fast enough to catch a variety of positions of divers, race cars and jumping dolphins.

I have actually used this camera for portraits and weddings, and it is exceptionally easy to use and provides commercial quality results.

If you need a flexible, general purpose 35mm camera system, the Elan IIe has no competition. Dollar for dollar, you just can't get more!

Chris Hay

Edwyn Schuchhard , August 02, 1999; 05:50 A.M.

I use my Eos 50e now for 2 years and don't have many complains. It's a very light combination (I traded it for a much to havy Nikon system after towing it for 4 weeks in Sri Lanka jungle). And the weight was for me the number one choise. Last year I again travelled Asia, but with my Eos it was no pain.

I have the 28-105 Canon USM lens and I am pleased with it, and I have a 80-300 Canon USM lens but I am not satisfied on the quality, hard the focus realy sharp, not realy that sharp pics. And I use a 100/2.8 Tamron Macro, this lens is my favorite. Realy sharp, it makes a good combination with the Eos. Also my Speedlite 540EX was a good choise.

I use my camera often for travel (landscapes, for people I use a harmless looking Hexar) and nature photography and with great pleasure. But a had my problems to, not all brand batteries fit well as said by Luciano Costa. I had to use some paper underneath it to make contact with the poles.

But my main problem is that I sometimes had much to dark pictures using hi-speed films (Fuiji 800G Superpro) I haved used them in densed forests and cloudy areas. With my normal Kodacrome 64 films I never had this problem. Does anybody know of this?


Michael Walker , August 15, 1999; 11:05 P.M.

In July of 1998 I finally saved up enough money to buy a Canon Rebel G. Sure I had researched the Elan II (e) and would have loved to buy it, but alas, It was well out of my price range. Heck the Rebel was out of my price range, but hey when you get into photography, you either make yourself poor buying stuff or it sits in a closet somewhere collecting dust. I loved my rebel. It performed excellently and never once gave me a problem. I was never limited by it because I was "to good" for the camera. Now, at the end of the summer, I decided to move up. So I did the dumb thing and got a Rebel 2000. Sure, it has 35 zone metering and aprature preview, but other than that it was a Rebel G. I also noticed it was not built quite as sturdy as the Rebel G. I shot my first roll with it and by my second roll the pentaprizim was crooked. There is more plastic used in the 2000, and the pop up flash doesnt want to stay down. So I returned it. I have not lost my faith in Canon, no I love thier "one-handed" setup. With Nikon, you need three hands to operate the thing. One to hold the body, one to focus the lens, and one to hold the function/set buttons. With Canon, you have one on the body and one on the lens. So...I put an Elan IIe on the hold shelf, and come Wed. It will be making its way to my camera bag. From what I have read on this board, and heard from my co-workers (I work at Wolf Camera) The Elan II has not let them down. May this be a camera I dont outgrow for many years to come. I have a website that displays some of the pictures I took with my Rebel G, and like 2 that I took with the 2000, but I am constantly updateing it as new pictures find thier way onto film, and soon some actuall Elan II pictures will be showing up there, I encourage you to visit it and let me know what you think. The address is: http//:www.autocannon.homepage.com Thanks, and happy shooting. "Photographers are one of the most violent groups of people, first they frame you, then they shoot you, then they hang you on a wall."

Jerry Cannon , September 25, 1999; 10:11 P.M.

I bought an Elan II about 6 months ago, just to try out a canon camera, I have also a N-70 and an N-90S which I like very much. I also like the Elan II very much. So far I have done 2 weddings and several church functions with the Elan II and have never had a problem of any kind. It works very well, all of the controls are very east to find and use. I have had only good experiences as far as exposure and mechanics goes. It seems to on the money every time, as long as I do my part and pay attention to what I am doing. I think anyone who down grades the Elan II in the proper exposure department either don't want to take the time to learn how the E-TTL system works or wants only a point and shoot. I probable like the N-90s better, but not enough to justify the 500 dollars difference in cost. I had rather have 2 elans than one n-90s. I am a firm believer in Nikon camera, Nikon flash, Canon Camera, Canon flash. All in all I just don't see how you can go wrong with the ElanII, and 380 ex.

Inge Stubdal , September 27, 1999; 02:19 A.M.

I just bought a Canon EOS Elan II yesterday, at the Bon Marchi in Bellevue, Wa.

I have used a really, REALLY old Pentax EX II camera - that was the camera I learned photography on. I had a 58/1.4, a 200mm and a 38 - 100 Zoom lens.

I was pretty happy with it - until I got my hands on the Elan II.

I must say that it was an impulse deal - so it's good to hear your comments on it. to of my friends have in the past week bought a Nikon N-60 and a Nikon N-70. My choice was between the N-70 or the Elon II.

Two stores in the Seattle area said two completely different things - one recommended the N-70, and Nikon over Canon all the way, while the other store elevated Canon. It came down to personal taste, and the accessibility of functions on the Elon II. The N70 does seem rather awkward - although I lked the grip better on it.

The dual-dial on the Elon is wonderful. I really love that I can set the aperture using the dial on the back pane, as it is a real messs to reach on the N-70 - and the Elon II is cheaper ($ 414).

I did not get the standard lens that comes with it, but instead I got the new Tamaron 28 - 300 f3.5/6.3 lens. At 500$, it gives me, as an amateur, a good all-round lens.

I did not go for the eye-controll version, but I might just try to go back therre tomorrow and exchange it (it seems that you ppl exschange cameras so easily :P) I've also bought a couple of filters (A1 instead of a UV - don't know if that was good or bad, as it warms tones just a little bit) and a circular polarizer.

Now all I would like is to foot the bill of a 17mm or the likes, as well as maybe get the standard ~50mm/1.4 lens

Some things I have noticed already, without seeing any pictures yet:

When I use the automatic mode, it pops up the blitz to stop backlight - when I am targetting a paraglider half a mile away - the N-70 did not do this. I guess the N-70 is better at knowing the range to target.. Also, the N-70 will not pop up the flash in auto mode, it will indicate that it requires the flash. the Elon II will pop up the flash whenever it deems flashing appropriate (you can close it again, and it won't use it - but the pop-up engine makes a little noise.

Other than that it seems fine. It has fewer preset 'modes' for taking special kinds of pictures (portraits/sport/macro etc..) than the N-70, but as far as I can tell, these are only specific combinations of shutter speed and aperture, so you would want to setthese yourself anyways.

The multiple frame forward is slower than on the N-70, but It will still eat your film pretty quickly.

It seemed to me that the N-70 was better at adjusting the focus automatically when the distance shifted greatly - but I haven't double-checked this yet (same lenses though).

Why do Cannon have the AF/MF setting on the lens and not on the camera? Other than that, I'll have to check out the USM lenses, since you guys speak the world of them. I would love to have MF/AF at the same time. This does not work with my Tamron lens.

Well, tomorrow I'll get all my pictures, so that'll be exciting :)

Alex Yap , October 01, 1999; 02:17 A.M.

I just got my EOS 55/Elan IIE QD back from the shops. The main control dial broke. Yup on a Elan IIE not A2E. It happened halfway through a shoot during one of the local festivities, the only mode that works was Manual. Best test of experiences ever. And when the results came back from the lab, it was AOK :) Other than this malfunction, I like everybit of my EOS. Ergnomics with this SLR is fantastic and I find it easier to use than my EOS 10.

Kevin Han , October 13, 1999; 05:09 A.M.

I have used my EOS50 for about a year. Now it's malfunctioning. There's this burning smell emmited from the built-in flash section. The "no battery" symbol blinks everytime I expose the first frame, indicating that something's wrong (according to the manual). The LCD simply fades off at times. Know what? The built in flash has even fired a few times when still closed! Once I couldn't off the camera. Not when put to L. Had to take the batteries out and "reboot" it. Oh man. I'm taking this back to Canon. I would never send something so messed up to other service centers.

ryan allen , October 18, 1999; 03:58 P.M.

I've owned my elan IIe for more than a year now and I am still very happy with its performance. This camera has EVERYTHING a photographer needs....... except for 1 thing. In aperature priority mode (AV) and shutter priority mode (tv), you are stuck with having your flash sync permanently set at SLOW SYNC. Therefore, without a tripod you must use either program mode or portrait mode to take shots indoors(which I take many of). There is a custom function (#9 i think) though which allows the user to set the shutter speed at 125 in AV mode. But if I wanted to do that I could just go manual and set it to that speed much faster than going through the custom function list. So much for that useless custom function, duh for Canon engineers). Anyway because I would like more control over my indoors shots, I always use the metered manual of the camera. The Nikon F70 on the other hand does allow the user to select between slow sync and normal sync but I believe that's the only advantage that camera has over the elanII. Does anyone have a way to beat this drawback? I've been looking all over the internet to find an answer but it looks like I'm the only one that's bothered by this. Hopefully an engineer at Canon will read this and change the useless custom function #9 into allowing the user to choose between slow and normal sync. Don't get me wrong though. The Elan IIe is no doubt the best camera in the world for its price and features.

P.S.I didn't really comment on the camera cuz it looks like you all know how great it is already.

Pratik Bhattacharya , October 26, 1999; 08:42 A.M.

EOS 50E is definitely an excellent body. It is very competitively priced for what it is. The eye-control is godsend. I use it all the time. 50E is a type A camera and hence is compatible with the EX flashes.

EOS 50E does lack spot meter, interchangeable viewfinder, 21 point evaluative metering among other things. But I don't really miss them as I do not use the partial meter anyway. I trust the evaluative metering with exosure compensation. The metering is fine IMO. And my 50E does not underexpose. Flash exposure with my 550EX is spotless.

Things that I really miss are faster frame advance and exposure in 1/3 stops. If I can live with these two, I probably will never buy a better body.

A first class camera to enter the Canon system.


Inge Stubdal , October 30, 1999; 06:54 P.M.

I am back - after having used my EOS Elan II (EOS 50) since late september '99.

I think it's a great camera - for my little experience with such cameras. -And I've spent entirely too much for a lowly amateur!

I have probably done things no self-conscious photo.net photographer would do - I bought the following lenses with or shortly after getting the camera:

Tamron 28 - 300mm 3.5/6.3f Quantarray 18-35mm Quantarray 50mm/Macro 2.8f

It has been a fun re-introduction to photography for me.

There is one thing I am wondering about though - and would greatly enjoy if someone could enlighten me:

The built-in AF assist beam - it only seems to work in the 'green-zone' mode - and I really don't use that mode at all.

In other modes it doesn't seem to kick in - and whatever I do with CF 7 - it doesn't change things.

This is a little problem - as the camera doesn't seem to do AF correctly in low light enviroments without the AF assist beam.

If anyone knows a way around this, I would be greatful!!

please E-mail me: inge@worshipper.com


Andrzej Krytenko , November 12, 1999; 04:46 A.M.

I have been using EOS 50E for about 1 year. There are two things I'd like to say about that:

1. I bought it in Germany, so it was shiped with german manual. In spite of my weak german language knowledge I learned to use all its functions in no more than two hours.

2. Taking photos with EOS 50E is pleasure. Sometimes I think I'm getting too lazy, especialy when I remain my prevoius full manual Zenit camera. Some pictures are underexposed but it's not difficult to correct that. (Besides I have a feeling that more prints are ruined because of bad processing in photolabs than not proper exposing.)

Actualy EOS 50E makes the job that modern SLR should do and the rest is the matter of used lenses and films.



Wee Keng_Hor , November 28, 1999; 09:57 A.M.

The all black Elan II has been around shortly after the initial Elan II launch. I've 2 Elan IIE (or 55, the Japanese version), one is the orginal black/silver and the other the all black.
I'm so used to the Elan II that I actually returned the EOS 5 in exchange for the all black Elan 55. I couldn't stand the slow EC and disabling the EC function when I turn the camera vertically. Also, the EOS 5 command dial isn't smooth which could spoil any moment.

Kurt Maurer , December 25, 1999; 11:36 P.M.

Hi. I've found most comments in this section to be helpful. I have the Elan IIE and love it. Remember comparing this camera to highend stuff like the A2 of even the N90 isn't really fair. It falls into the same category as say the N70 or even the N60. This is a great camera for the money. Opt for the 28-105USM. The N70 lacks DOF and multiple exposure. The interface is more criptic and the camera is heavier (N70). Some diehard Nikon fans call that an advantage (a heavier camera). After a day of trucking it around Disney World what will you call it? Hands down the Canon can't be beat in it's midprice range.

John Gallardo , December 28, 1999; 04:02 A.M.

I just recieved an Elan II for christmas. I absolutely love it. Took it hiking with me and it was great, lightweight and easy to use quickly. This is my first SLR, and I found it really easy to use... I've graduated from the PIC modes (portrait, landscape, etc) and find myself using the programmed and DEP mode mostly. Something that I don't think has been mentioned, the DEP mode is great... I found it invaluable when I was hiking, in order to get certain shots to come out just right. It is a perfect tool for composing a shot.

The one thing that I don't like so much about it, is the flash metering. I was playing around with it and I don't find it too reliable (this is with the on-camera flash, not with an EX). I noticed that in Programmed mode it almost always just went to the largest aperature and gave it a 1/60th shutter speed, even with the lens off. And in aperature or shutter priority (and of course, manual) the meter just seems to ignore the fact that the flash is there, so you have to basically calculate the exposure by hand. I guess this would be fixed with a 380 EX flash and E-TTL flash metering... but the on-camera flash is pretty weak still. Aside from that, I have no complaints... great camera, love it lots!

Michael Konrad , December 31, 1999; 05:25 A.M.

I think there is no more to say for the moment.

I wish everyone a happy new century.

And dont forget: every day is filled with new experiences !

Derrell Wilson , January 28, 2000; 04:00 P.M.

I just bought a IIE with the 28-105 USM from B&H last week. I also have a Mark I 1.8 50mm on the way from an ebay auction. So far, I've been pleased with the camera. ECF works amazingly well. After only a few calibrations, it's working like a charm.

One thing I wanted to add is that I think the camera balance is better with the BP-50 battery pack added than without. It distributes the weight of heavier lenses across the camera body.

I have noticed that my camera sometimes locks up, and the battery light starts flashing. I'm not sure if this is because of low batteries (although they are new LR6 batteries) or if it might be a problem with the camera. I haven't used the camera with 2CR5s, so it may just be a problem with AAs.

Anyway, I'd say it's a great camera!

Vinicius Matangrano , January 30, 2000; 06:07 P.M.

To John Gallardo (and other Elan II recent users): please refer to http://www.advanix.com/~photo/bobatkins/info/faq30/flashfaq.htm. I guess it will help you a lot.

Kevin Han , February 13, 2000; 01:53 A.M.

My EOS50E is 14 months old. It is a good camera. It really is. But too bad is wasn't built though. Tomorrow will be the third time I send it for service. First it was the smell problem. Turned out there was something wrong with the shutter. Then the film cover latch broke. That took Canon more than a month. Now, the shutter release is faulty. What's a gun if you can't fire it in time. This is hard. I can't wait to get this solved.

German Gomez , February 25, 2000; 07:12 P.M.

I've bought this camera today, it's my first camera (yeah!) and well it's so easy to use that a totally novice like me could learn the basics in less than an hour. I have no previous experience with SLR cameras (in fact I discover this page searching for help on them) although they always fascinated me. I friend has an old one he used to take photos of night sky with long exposures and a hand-made equatorial mount with electronic motor controlled with a computer. I help him with the design and construction of it, and I would like to know what kind of electronic shooter the Elan II (EOS 50?) has. It's just a switch or has some kind of electronics on it? I've take a look at the "official" one and it seems quite simple although the minijack has three bornes which puzzles me. If you have any info on it please mail me, I would like to build the same device my friend has to use it with my Elan II. Also I would like what do you think of Trantor 28-200 (f3.8-5.6), it's the lens I bought with the camera, the shopper told me that it is has a very good value/cost ratio, but as I've already said I'm totally new to this, and I have little money to expend on it (mainly because I'm not confidence enough to expend more money). Thanks and congratulations for your page, it's very informative (wish I've found it before buying my camera :-)

- german

Vinicius Matangrano , February 27, 2000; 10:07 P.M.

German: the minijack has one contact for "ground", another one that corresponds to "partially depress" the shutter button and the last one that corresponds to "fully depress" the shutter button. They appear in this order in the plug, from sleeve to tip. You can check it by yourself testing a RS60-E3 Remote Switch (I recommend that you buy one, it's a very useful AND cheap accessory).

Tim Norford , March 06, 2000; 06:34 A.M.

I purchased this camera after reading the comments on Photo.net. I do however have a problem for which I would be most grateful for any input.

I find both lenses I'm using (Canon EF 28-105 and EF 50mm MK I) regularly have AF problems. Both zoom in and out trying to focus and then stop, out of focus. This doesn't happen all the time but often enough to become irritating. The focus point is correctly selected and I'm not too near the subject. Seems to happen more often indoors.

I saw Jan Kozak had similar problems and mailed him, it seems he ended up giving the camera to his son :-( So is this really a problem with all Elan IIe's ? Am I expecting too much ? Does this sound like a faulty camera or do others experience this ? Any suggestions ?



Angel Hernandez , March 06, 2000; 01:01 P.M.


I only had focusing problems with the Elan in two scenarios. The first is if I had the camera in AI Servo AF mode instead of One-shot AF. Servo never seemed to work well for me. The next time I had trouble, was when I was shooting in low light with a long zoom. Make sure that if your shooting in low light, that you don't block the AF Auxiliary light. It can be easy to do if you leave a lens shade attached.

Also, if this is happening with only two lenses, it's probably not the camera. Try attaching an L series lens, and if you're not blocking the auxiliary light in low-light conditions, and you are focusing on areas of adequate contrast, and you're still having the same problem, well then your camera probably isn't working correctly.

Desmond Robinson , March 06, 2000; 06:25 P.M.

Does anyone know where I can get the all black Elan2e ? They only have it in Europe(France). Does anyone know what stores carry this grey market camera. It's called the EOS 55e (noir[black]). None of the New York places seem to have it. Canon admits that it does exist, but can't tell me where I can get one w/ out traveling to France. I hate the new all silver cameras(Elan 2,Rebel 2000). The all black Elan2 looks ten times better than the silver one we are all used to.

Dan Myung , April 04, 2000; 01:50 A.M.


I've owned my Elan II for over three years now - and I absolutely love it. It's gone through extreme elements, cluttered camera bags and dustly conditions without a single problem. I was torn between the N70 and the Elan originally - while I found the N70 to have a more "solid" feel, and a quieter mirror flip, I found that the interface on the Elan II (with all its dials and stuff) required less thinking and fumbling around to use (and hence allow me to focus on shooting). I haven't had any issues with its plastics being not durable enough for me - for the stuff I did, and the abuse I gave it - it works fine. My complaints? Well - the flash system is pretty lame - with my Sunpak pz4000 setup or with my 220ex (a pretty useless flash) i've seen exposures come out much worse than an N70 and its built in flash. Buying it originally with a piece of junk Tokina 28-300 lens (i'm happy with my 28-105 USM now). I wish its mirror slap and film advance were as quiet as the A2. And the BP50 doesn't have its own main dial and FE/focus point buttons! The Elan lets me shoot without thinking about using my equipment. I guess that's my two cents on why I like my Elan. My only recommendation for anybody looking to buy a canera is try whatever they are looking for out - hold it, shoot with it - and (excuse the lame qualitative term) see what "feels" right for you.

Greg Martin , April 07, 2000; 09:41 P.M.

I've had my Elan II for almost a year and a half now, and I've been very pleased with it. I've used it mostly in Texas, in very dusty conditions, and I've never had any problems with it functioning properly. I've been toying around with getting the BP-50 (the vertical grip thing) for a while, but I set CF04 for autofocus on the AE lock button, and I think the only button the grip gives me is the shutter release. Is it worth it for vertical handling?

I recently got the 200/2.8L II, and the 1.4x and 2x extenders, and this thing seems to overpower the body (I'm almost afraid of breaking the body when I put the 200/2.8L on it). Would the grip help this, by adding weight?

I've read here and there about underexposure problems with the Elan II. Is this widespread, or just a problem with a few bodies? I haven't noticed it much, but until recently, I shot more print film than slide film, and I seriously doubt my skill at recognising a well-exposed negative. I'm considering getting another body, in addition to this one, partly because it's nice to have two different films loaded and available, and partly because I'd like a backup. I'm thinking of either the A2 (but would rather wait for the update to the A2, if there is one), or the EOS-3. I did do the right thing, and spent my money on glass first (20/2.8 USM, 28/1.8 USM, 50/1.4 USM, 85/1.8 USM, 100/2 USM, 200/2.8L USM), and now I'd like to get a body with a spot meter which will work with the EX flashes (E-TTL), and the EOS-3 fits the bill, but it seems a bit pricey for a body. Is there going to be a replacement for the A2 any time soon?

At any rate, I've run hundreds of rolls through my Elan II, and am really pleased with it.

toan Nguyen , April 26, 2000; 04:35 P.M.

I used to own an ElanIIE. While every positive comments above regarding this camera is true, I traded mine in for an A2 after a year. My reasons for the A2 were: 1) 3.5% spot metering vs. 9.5%; 2) 1/200 Sync speed vs 1/125; 3) 5 focusing points vs. 3 4) much much quieter film advance 5)more useful vertical grip. Don't get me wrong. I still like the ElanIIE very much. As a matter of fact, I am shopping for a used one for backup.

Sanjeevan Bala , May 02, 2000; 04:07 P.M.

I am a complete beginner and have just purchased my first SLR after years of the point and shoot. I contemplated the following models and came up with the Elan II.

Minolta XTSI (No Depth of Field feature) Canon Eos 5 (A2)

I spent hours at B&H in NYC and played with the A2 and Elan II. I opted for an Elan II because:

1) it was lighter and was smaller to hold (I have small hands) 2) As a beginner in all this I wanted a body that would allow me to grow with the camera for some time before having to invest in another body.

I did not opt for the Elan II E since I felt the eye focus system was an overkill for me personally. I also read mixed reviews on how effective this feature really is.

I considered the Sigma series of lenses but in the end went for the starter kit canon lens (28-80 USM). I'm hoping to take photos this week around the city and start playing with all the manual settings.

I would also perhaps recommend the magic lantern book for the camera - as mentioned elsewhere on this site - it has good details on some of the features that the camera manual does not cover as clearly.

Eric Shen , May 04, 2000; 08:23 P.M.

I just bought a Canon Elan IIe after using a Canon FT-QL for quite a while. What a change! I found out that I was loosing a lot of shots focusing the camera, so after much research, decided to purchase the Elan IIe. This is one great camera, it fits like a glove in my hands, and all of the controls are within my reach. Even thought I wear glasses, the eye controlled focus works really well, even after only one calibration. But there is still one thing that I have not got to work on this camera: the eye controlled Depth of Field Preview. The instruction manual says to look at the top left corner of the frame after the focusing point lights up. I do not see or hear the aperture stopping down when i do this, and I also don't see the little rectangle in the top left corner light up red. Does anybody know what I'm doing wrong?

George J.Q.Zhang , May 06, 2000; 07:16 A.M.

As Bob Atkin mentioned about under exposure problem of EOS50E, I found that most people would notice more of this issue when shooting Velvia like I do. However, after a strict period of shooting Velvia with this body, I noticed 1/3 stop under exposure problem on other film like Elite 100 as well which I had used to test this new system. Hope this helps people who just bought or is buying into this body.

Dave Cooper , May 22, 2000; 05:08 P.M.


To get the DOF preview to work, I think you must set the camera to "one shot" mode. Plus you have to look at the box in the corner during the first few seconds after focusing. Hope this helps.


Samir Koirala , July 23, 2000; 03:56 P.M.

After gleaning a lot of useful information from photo.net over the years, I decided to put in my two cents here. I've had an Elan IIE as my only camera for over 4 years, and have gotten to know its strengths and faults very well. First of all, its layout and handling is exemplary, perhaps one of the best of any camera ever. The controls quickly become second nature. On many occasions I have gotten a shot I might otherwise have missed because all essential controls (especially focus-point selection, AE lock, exposure compensation, and flash exposure lock with the EX series flashes) could be operated instantly with one hand without taking my eyes off the viewfinder. Second, it's durable enough for rough amateur use. Mine has gotten knocked around quite a bit during multiple trips through Nepal and through the western US. Nothing extreme, but plenty of desert heat and sand, jungle humidity, freezing weather and the occasional drizzle. Third, it's very versatile. It's a camera whose capabilities one can grow into, and which is unlikely to ever be limiting for most users. I can't think of any other camera in which you get so much for your money. I use the depth of field, bulb with remote control RC-1, and film leader out functions all the time. Only minor gripes about the Elan IIE: the evaluative meter isn't always reliable in tricky lighting, but the partial meter solves that problem. The built-in flash disappointed me often (and mysteriously died 2 years ago), but the FEL function with the 380EX gives me very precise and predictable results. The eye-control focus is a fun toy to wow friends and family, but I hardly ever use it. And that's it. Sorry about the length of this review. Hundreds of rolls of film have gone through my camera, and it has given me pictures as I envisioned them with great ease. To me that's praise enough.

Paul Gittins , July 31, 2000; 05:22 A.M.

Excellent reviews all round - I am glad now that I took the plunge this weekend and picked up this fine camera. Being used to an EOS300 (Rebel) and an old 1000, this is a real step forward. I got the hang of the eye control straight away (I think), and can't wait for the first chance to use the camera in anger....

I picked it up for £240 ($400) second hand - it's the QD version, and got a 12 month warranty as well - a fair price.

If you are UK based, then I can't recommend MXV highly enough - http://www.mxv.co.uk/ - they are professional, friendly and very, very helpful, if something is a lemon, they will tell you - and if don't live in Sussex (myself included) then they will ship it out to you for about £7 on approval...

Anyway, back to the useful piece of information. I was thinking about splashing out on the remote control, mainly because I want to be in more of my shots and I take ages to get in place. I had picked up an Ixus in tax-free shopping a few months ago, which comes with a small remote (RC-5). I took a wild guess that Canon would only use one protocol for remote controls, and I was right - it works... handy as Canon's web site (UK, anyway) doesn't even say which remote should be used.

Thanks to all those who have fed back advice and comments on this camera, you have steered an enthusiastic amateur to spend even more money...

Todd Phipps , August 24, 2000; 10:24 P.M.

I just picked up a used Elan IIe with a new 28-135IS...this is a fun rig! I was originally going to buy a new Elan II but the store got a used IIe in so I got that instead. I find I like the eye-control a lot more than I thought I would, especially the DOF preview activated by looking at the little parallelogram in the corner of the screen...too cool! Now that the Elan 7 and 7e are out, there should be some good close-out deals happening on the II's...if you don't need the very latest thing, these are a killer camera.

Derek Johnson , October 07, 2000; 11:16 A.M.

I purchased an Elan II about two years ago now. I really liked the pictures it produced with the 28 to 80 standard lens. This may sound weird but I have had a few shots where I felt it actually over-exposed the shot. (I read all the comments about under-exposure)

I decided to try some different lenses, first I tried the Tamron 28 to 300mm. The vingneting on this lens was so bad, I took a picture of a plane in the sky and it was aweful, totally dark in the corners and you could see a round dark halo. I also found there was lots of distortion in the corners at the wider angles. I suppose if you put the hood on ALL the time it might be ok. I took the lens back.

I also tried the 70-200 L / 2.8, this lens takes great pictures and the optics are fantastic but who the hell wants to lug around such a tank? Unless your a professional I wouldn't recommend it, just because it's too heavy. The weight probably helps to take great free standing pictures though. The price tag was unreal also, WOW!.

Then I tried cannons 24 to 85mm USM, I liked it. The pictures were pretty good, there was of course some distortion at the wide end 24mm but all around a useful lens for travel.

After reading many many reviews of lenses, and looking at optical graphs I realized that I wanted a fixed lens. Although you give up alot in terms of quick composition and lens versitility, the pictures I have taken with the new 50 /1.4 USM have been stunning. Extremly clear and simple, so I went with this lens. I also bought a 100 to 300 USM and I am really happy with this lens also.

As for the Cannon Elan II body, it is my first SLR and I enjoy it a lot. I find the manual is a bit of a joke the way they describe the metering modes. It doesn't tell you much, I generally use evalutative. When there are weird shadows and bright spots (tricky metering), I switch it to partial mode and this yeilds pretty good results generally.

I recently used my friends 380EZ flash, and it took great pictures. I have found it's not often you get back a roll and all the pictures are pretty descent, this body / lens combination seems to do the trick.

those are my two bits

Allan Tan , November 02, 2000; 10:24 A.M.

My first SLR cmera was a Canon 5000 which I purchased many years ago. I took some pictures with it and was not very satisfied with the results, preferring the output from a P&S camera.

My interest was rekindled recently when I purchased a digital camera which comes with some manual controls. I played with the shutter and aperture controls and got to understand photography better.

I went back to my old Canon 5000 and realised that the camera was very limited in its functions. I then decided to purchase another SLR and after doing extensive homework in the internet, I decided to purchase a Canon EOS 50E (instead of waiting for the EOS 30)over its Nikon equivalent (budget being an important critera).

After my first few rolls of film, I was very satisfied with the prints taken with my 28 - 105 USM lens (acting on the advice of many photo.net users). These pictures were certainly better than my P&S cameras and slighter sharper than my 3.3 megapixel camera. The eye control works great and is more functional than gimmicky. The egonormics of the camera is excellent and I have nothing but praise for this camera. The weight of the camera is nicely balanced, giving you a solid feel. All the advance features are there - other than spot metering and maybe 7 point focusing. Now I go everywhere with this camera, and also my digital camera - which sports a Zeiss lens.

I would strongly recomment this camera to any serious amateur like myself who wants to learn, explore and enjoy photography.

Andy Grafton , December 13, 2000; 08:28 A.M.

I've owned the Eos 50e with the QD thingummy, battery pack and 28-105 USMII lens for about 2 years. It has been knocking around Africa and Europe with me and lives in a Pelican case when not being used. I must congratulate the components on being a lot more rugged than they look and feel, because they have sustained severe abuse and keep working. In addition to the usual dust, rain, vibrations and soforth the camera has been dropped, hard, a couple of times, had a heavy oak table collapse onto it and was thrown out of a car window into a sand dune before being rolled over as the vehicle rolled down the dune (had to dig to find camera). The nett effect of this is that the housing is much worse for wear, flash mount is mangled and QD thing has stopped working (no loss). After the sand incident, the camera needed a clean and the ultrasonic motor needed replacing because we took pictures with the lens jammed full of sand. Still takes beautiful pictures, and everything works. All in all I have been pleasantly surprised. The battery pack is a godsend if (like me) you are disorganised and end up running out of batteries somewhere where the only thing available is AA zinc-carbon.

Andy Grafton

Nick Roberts , December 29, 2000; 12:22 A.M.

I use this camera along with several other EOS models - 5,10,100,600. It's the one I take when I only take one. It's that good. But I HATE the battery pack - to me, the handling is much worse with it fitted, and the cost of 2CR5s is now so low that there's no saving. Especially as the camera seems to use far more batteries using the pack than normal. And I've now got a rechargeable 2CR5 system to cover for emergencies.

tammi tran , January 23, 2001; 11:40 A.M.

I have used this camera during the past 8 months and I absolutely love it. It's lite enough to be carried anywhere. This camera with the 28-105 lens is a perfect combination. The only thing I don't like about it is the silver metal. Couple weeks ago, I also got the original Elan. This Elan is extremely quiet. It's even quieter than my husband's A2. Both the Elans are fantastic. I have heard that the new Elan 7 is even quieter. I haven't tried it out yet. Anyway, I think any one of the 3 Elans would be more than enough for a beginner. Save the money for the lenses.

Krzysztof Jakub Dolegowski , January 28, 2001; 03:12 P.M.

I use EOS 50E since 1998. I found it is a good camera overall but I would like to put 2 complaints about it. 1. My camera tends to underexpose in some lighting conditions, especially in low light or backlight, when using matrix metering. I use slides and sometimes I just change film speed from 100 to 64 to have better results. What a shame! 2. I use BP 50 for better handling with big lenses like 80-200L I found it very helpful. But... In my opinion, it is no good to use it with AA batteries. Every time I go out in autumn or winter my battery indicator gets crazy. When I am out, it shows no power, when I get indoors it is full. I never know if my batteries are full or empty. It is just not reliable, especially in stressfull reportage work. Now I put my lithium battery into BP 50 (you can switch an inside adaptor to make it), and have good handling and sure power!

Travis Deane , February 28, 2001; 12:15 A.M.

YOU CAN USE INFARED FILM The following is a quote from the EOS 50/Elan II user guide by Hove Foto Book series ISBN 1 87403 159 2 (Page 32)

"Your camera instruction book states that infared film cannot be used in the EOS 50/E ELAN II/E. This is because the camera's ultra-quiet film winding mechanism uses an infared system to count the spockets as the film travels through the counter. This can fog infrared film. However, the fogging is limited to the bottom 15% of the frame, an it may be much less with some films. Therefore, so long as you allow for this, you can use infrared film in your EOS 50/E - ELAN II/E."

Scott Weaver , May 19, 2001; 02:18 P.M.

I've used this camera for the last 3 years on a daily basis shooting for 3 magazine publications. And a few weddings. This equipment has been subject to all environments and hasn't let me down once. It has been exposed to more than it was designed for and it continues to get the job done right. As enticing as the 1V brochure is I can't justify the added cost of this 'pro' body over the Elan 2E. Frame speed of the 1V would be the only benefit that I see. Speed is not important though in my current assignments. Excellent body and since Canon has replaced it with the 7E, the used price for the 2E I expect will remain high.

Joel Alves , September 21, 2001; 07:37 P.M.



* Eye DOF preview (GREAT TOOL when well used) * MLU prefire * Evaluative flash metering (E-TTL ) with high speed flash sync (via pulses, up to 1/4000) * 2nd curtain sync. * Silent work by Quiet Whisper Drive Film Transport System (more than EOS3) * Excellent price / performance ratio. * Partial metering linked to each AF sensors * ECF jobs great!! * Very good Handling with BP-50 * CF02: Film leader position after rewind (in or out) * Auto bracketing * Flash exposure lock * Flash exposure compensation


*AE lock and DOFP are in the same buttom... Despite the Eye DOFP. * Only 3 AF sensors but work better than EOS A2e * No spot metering!!! only partial...


I do love this camera!! The list of features is amazing for the price. I often use my EOS 50e with 100 macro f/2.8 USM and ML-3 Ring flash for dental macro photo with fantastic results. I'm in love with my 100 macro USM... I often MF and the scene snaps in and out of focus sharply and quickly allowing for easy MF operation. The viewfinder displays an adequate amount of information; is very clear for shoot mouth, better than for example, Yashica DENTAL EYE(!!!) Even in MF the ECF help me to find the better focus with the "audible beep" and the square AF sensor I choose. I have a EOS 3 and 20-35 f/2.8L AFD, 28-70 and 70-200 f/2.8L USM with speedlite 550EX and 420EX. They work togheter with a wireless E-TTL: SIMPLY A DREAM... Recently I made a photo journalism job with EOS 3 plus 70-200L and 550EX (amazing combo) and EOS 50e plus 20-35L and 420EX (great combo). The 50e show me how it is a fantastic tool for the price. Shooting fantastic portraits, landscapes and overall takes of the event with E-TTL and FP flash ... I'm a blessed man. The Eye DOFP is a great tool when well used. With a simple changing of the eye direction, voila: DOF Preview for best composition. Do not use your camera without grip BP-50!!! It increases the performance in portraits and adds very good balance to the camera when "L" lenses are used ... I don't regret each cent... This is a great camera for the money.I'm a blessed man again :-))

FUI... (in Portuguese)


Chris Taylor , January 06, 2002; 05:12 A.M.

I have had the Canon EOS 50E for about 4 or 5 years now. It is a truly fantastic camera for the money. The amount of pro features you get for the money is just astounding, although anyone reading this now will probably be looking for the EOS 30 which is the long awaited replacement for the EOS 50E. In answer to peoples comments about the film leader custom function I have not had a problem with it funtioning in any of the camera's modes. The Eye Controlled Focus does work, although not so well with glasses on which is why I tend to wear contact lenses when I go out shooting, you also need a good USM lens. Anyone reading this who already has an EOS 50E or an ELAN IIE as they are known in the U.S., if you don't already have it you should get the Canon 28-135 USM IS lens for use as a standard zoom lens. It gets every last drop of performance out of the Eye Controlled Focus, the Image Stabilisation works as well if not better than Canon says it does and the optics are a dream for a zoom lens at its price. Canon generally says that the IS allows you to hand hold shots at up to 2 stops slower than you normally would, and you can. I've hand held shots at the 28mm end down to about 1/8 sec with no visible shake at all. Anyway I've finished talking now, my final comment is that if you already have an EOS 50E, be proud of it, if you don't, go and buy the EOS 30. Finally this applies to both of you, go and buy the 28-135 USM IS, you won't be disappointed.

Aaron P. , July 22, 2002; 11:23 P.M.

VS the Elan 7e:

I owned the Elan IIe for two years before selling it for an EOS 3 which I have had for year and a half. I am about to buy an Elan II off ebay to use as a second body. Why didn't I choose the Elan 7? The Elan 7 has little to offer over the Elan II. Its lost features and problems almost outweigh the improvements and certainly do not justify paying twice the price. When I bought the EOS 3 I was worried that that it did not have the built in near IR patterned focus assist. I quickly realized that it did not need it and would focus in much lower light than I could hand hold. The Elan IIe can easily focus on low-contrast (flat/unpatterned) subjects b/c it has the pattern projection of the assist light. The Elan 7 will have focus problems in that situation. There have been some comments as to a dimmer viewfinder or problems focusing, Canon changed the reflectivity of the mirror to give the CMOS sensors a little more light, so you get less, and yet the CMOS AF and metering sensor still offers inferior performance vs the Elan II CCD sensor. We aren't talking about digital cameras folks! Speaking of Elan 7 focus problems, would ya like to know why people have been having problems with the Elan 7 AF system? Why does the Elan 7 not have as good of AF as the II? Wouldya?Wouldya?Huh?Huh? I'll tell you. The Elan 7 has the SAME sensor suite as the REBEL 2000 so that Canon can save money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Canon used the same sensor chip instead of designing a new one. That's right! Metering patern and AF pattern and sensitivities are precisely the same for the Elan 7 and the Rebel 2000 because they use the same chips!!!! (The Elan 7 has a better algorithm, but still! It's the same with the EOS-3 and the EOS-1v. Same physical sensor package, but the EOS-1v has a slightly better algorithm). The Elan II had a more sensitive suite. The Elan II AF works from EV20 all the way down to EV0 instead of the Elan 7 and Rebel 2000 which only work down to EV1.It is the same with the metering system. The Elan II AF works from EV18 all the way down to EV0 instead of the Elan 7 and Rebel 2000 which do from 18 only down to 1. That's a FULL STOP ladies and gents! The BP-300 external grip has one extra button over the BP-50… woohoo? On the other hand, the BP-1E for the EOS 1n/3/1v is only a dual power source AA battery pack with no. You have to lug around the huge, heavy, and expensive PB-E2 motor drive for full controls. Canon hasn't improved the AF really… we wouldn't want to match the EOS 3/1V because that would cut into the sales of the high-end cameras. On that note, I see there is still no spot meter on this "upgrade." I see the whisper drive system has been improved. Now it's as quiet as the OLD A2e (when its flash isn't zooming) and the original Elan. The Elan IIe is so quiet that any improvement in the film transport system makes no difference because the mirror is what makes the most noise. The frame rate has been boosted, perhaps a dandy little feature for some rich guy who wants to have a camera that shoots faster than yours, but people who really need the frame rate would be buying an EOS3/1/1V/1n/1RS or an F5/100. What? Canon put a manual focus mode selector on the BODY? (Like every other company has done for how long now?) I wish. Next thing you know they will be putting aperture rings on their lenses (that will be the day). Still we see no implementation of the Nikon D system, however they nicely copied the N80's focusing point selector. WHY DIDN'T THEY PUT THAT ON THE EOS 3/1V??? Those cameras need it a hell of a lot more with 45 AF points. It would not be very hard for Canon to simply add that feature into the EOS3 and EOS1v and release them as + models. Also, a diamond AF pattern like the Minolta 7 has would be a bit more useful than the crosshair pattern used by the Elan 7. What? The Elan7e is 15% faster at ECF than an EOS3? Well of course! The Elan7e has 7 focusing points and the EOS 3 has 45! Put the EOS 3 in 11AF point mode and it will beat the hell out of the Elan 7. The Elan 7 is a significant increase over the Elan IIe's ECF speed (I didn't use ECF on my Elan IIe). I do like the black body instead of the ugly half silver on my Elan IIe. It looks like Canon has moved the metering mode selection to a button. A BUTTON! There are too many buttons already!!! I chose the Elan IIe over the A2e because it's controls could be accessed in one step (i.e., flip the switch, turn a nob) instead of click the button and then roll the dial around while looking at some display. It is worlds easier to turn a knob or flip a switch to a known position. The Elan IIe has THE BEST CONTROL SYSTEM in the EOS line! I would love it if my EOS 3 had controls like the Elan/Rebel series instead of the hold-down-two-buttons-and-turn-the-wheel-at-the-same-time-and-take-your-eye-away-from-the-viewfinder-to-watch-the-external-readout-instead-being-able-to-confirm-the-setting-by-touching-the-physical-switch. Of course, a button is cheaper for Canon to build. There is no AF-assist light? WTF? It's going to strobe the flash instead like a LOWLY REBEL? I know some of you don't like the AF assist, but that is why there was a custom function to disable it on the Elan IIe. Canon simply cut the cost by eliminating the patterned near IR AF light and giving the flash another duty. Not only will the flash consume more battery, it will also be much more disturbing to subjects... especially at night, not to mention it will screw up your night vision. Is the Elan7e any better built than the Elan II? Not really. Canon seems to be into saving on costs. Is it weatherproofed? Of course it is not. These features would cut into high-end sales! Knowing this, why am I griping? Maybe I should be nice for a moment… the Elan 7e does have a dedicated DOF preview button… it is slightly smaller (doesn't work for my big hands) and a whole massive super duper 15 grams (NOTHING) lighter than Elan IIe. The Rebel 2000 became lighter and more compact than its predecessors with SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVED FEATURES! While the Elan7e will certainly appears to beat the N80 hands down (IMHO, the ElanIIe also beat the tar out of the N80), I see little reason for anyone to upgrade to the Elan7e from an Elan IIe. If they am going to spend more money over the Elan II, they should probably buy an EOS3. This "upgrade" release is as disappointing to me as the release of the EOS 1V vs the 3 (I suppose the 1v whups the 1n). With a used Elan IIe going for less than $200 on ebay, there is no reason for someone to waste money on a cheapie Rebel 2000; there is certainly no reason to spend $400+ on an Elan 7e when you can buy two Elan IIe's. Spend your money on lenses or film instead or buy two bodies!

-Aaron Parmet

James Robert McCulloch , August 20, 2003; 09:57 A.M.

I have through many years used all sorts of cameras and owned offerings from the usual big four. However it is becoming familar with these cameras, that help you to decide which camera if any comes close to your estimation of the ideal camera. There is no one ideal camera and since it is not easy to recommend one above the other mention must be given to Canons inovative approach to bring cutting edge technology to camera manufacture and design. Having accessed many autofocus and manual focus cameras and the way that they are used I have no hesitation in saying that the EOS 50E comes darn well close in terms of its features and value for money. Some of us aspire to a EOS1 and its variants, and the lovely features this camera offers but just how much of this technology is going to be used?? If anyone has objections, may I say that I have tried almost everything that has been made in 35mm and can't recall anyone having enthused more for ANY other camera maker. Nikon to many seem to offer some equipment which goes contrary to the firms philosopy of making most of what it makes interchangeable with one camera body to another. Have you noticed that the F mount hasn't changed to accomodate autofocus technology prefering instead to put in something similar to Pentax. Pentax autofocus technology has not been as advanced as Canons, neither has Minolta. In this respect with Canons camera technology becoming more sophisticated and with features that people want, it is easy to understand why the Canon EOS 50E is the ideal camera. Although it is not made anymore, the 30 and 33 which replaces the 50E are very advanced for their specification. I remeber the original Nikon F4 sales brochure stating that a new technology would only be incorporated in their cameras if it was tested by professionals. Well all that it means is that it will only be offered if it is a genuine help to picture taking. In contrast Canon put it in as soon as the technology is available and allows the general public to make their minds up whenther it is useful or not. In this way Canon is able to incorporate the necessary technology in its new cameras as soon as comsumer feedback is available. So there we are, having said all this do you think that the latest offerings would be acceptable? I think so and to prove a point I have three EOS cameras 620, 10 and 50E. All have diferent modes of operation but still basically deliver the goods time after time. In any case I have a trusty Praktica BC1 which is my only manual focus camera to allows me to still enjoy the delights of basic photography!!

Dustin Trejo , October 21, 2003; 09:38 P.M.

I bought a refurbished Elan II from B&H photo in August. Over the 2 monthes I have owned it, I have lost all ability to autofocus. When you have the lens in AF mode and the camera in AI servo mode, when you depress the shutter button half-way to focus, it just wanders between the 2 focusing extremes. If you switch to One shot or AI focus mode, depressing the shutter button does ABSOLUTELY nothing! This is also the case if you use it in the "creative" zones (although I use nothing but "M" mode).It will not even release the shutter when you press it down completely. The 3 focusing rectangles will not light up either. The camera was claimed to be a "demo" unit that was bought direct from Canon, because it came in the box, had the strap, manual, and battery. Could my problem be a lame battery? Everything worked fine and dandy when I got the camera, but the more I used it, the worse it got. I love this camera, but this autofocus issue is really a drag! If I wanted a camera I had to manual focus with, I woul have bought a manual focus body, and not an Autofocus.

Jon Reades , September 14, 2004; 10:33 A.M.

I have had the ElanII for about three years now and am very happy with the performance of the system and the quality of the photos -- I feel very much the (fake) photojournalist wandering around with the 35mm lens attached.

I do, however, have several small gripes:

1. As best I can tell, the battery indicator is utterly meaningless. Within two days of replacing the batteries the indicator suggests that I am below 1/3-1/4 charge. The only 'solution' is to just carry around a spare set of batteries at all times just in case (of course, you might argue that this is good practice anyway, but it's nice to have *some* idea how much time you've got left rather than have it shut down in the middle of shooting).

2. CF2 (leaving a film leader on rewind) has a very strange internal logic:

With CF2 off then, of course, you get full rewind in all shooting modes when the film finishes or when you hit the rewind button.

With CF2 on and in a creative zone you get full rewind if you hit the rewind button *but* you get leader if you finish the film.

With CF2 on and in a manual-setting mode (i.e. fully manual or any priority setting) you get leader rewind both when you finish the film and when you hit rewind.

As I said, bizarre.

3. The lens that comes with the camera is pretty worthless and there doesn't seem to be any way to buy the body alone (probably this is a margin issue for either the retailer or Canon).

Other than that, I feel like I made the right choice of a 'prosumer' camera -- nothing like the cost of a professional body, most of important features (except spot metering), and a good, solid body (was a little wary of the Rebel's completely plastic shell) that seems quite rugged.

I feel that it's hard to go wrong with this camera if you're looking to get into photography more seriously (i.e. as a hobbiest rather than an occassional tourist shooter) and want versatility and affordability.

Jonathan Woodruff , August 21, 2007; 11:13 P.M.

Thank you for your comments regarding this camera!

I am in the process of camera buying, and this will help me out a lot!



Ashley Pomeroy , March 27, 2011; 10:25 A.M.

I bought one of these a couple of years ago - I was doing a series of blog posts about Kodachrome film, and although I have an old Olympus OM-10, I wanted a more modern film body that was compatible with my EOS lenses. Also, I wanted something with a portrait grip that has a shutter button; the EOS 50 seems to be the absolute cheapest film SLR with this feature. The next-least expensive seems to be a used Nikon F-90 with an MB-10.


The BP-50 battery pack takes AA batteries, which is very useful and saves having to buy the odd lithium cells which are now hard to find. The fact of it having E-TTL was handy too. Also, unlike the older EOS 100 I used to own, the handgrip wasn't gummy and sticky. You know all this anyway, it's in the article. I can confirm it.


Build-wise it feels a bit plastic and lightweight and I'm not sure how happy I would have been paying £500 for it in 1996 (albeit that at the age of 20 I didn't have £500). As of 2011 they sell for about £20 body only although I suspect that some of the eBay auctions were won by people who expected a 50D. Curse you, Canon, for using the same numbers!


It's fascinating to read these old reviews; possibly the only place where someone has a good word for the old 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5. It was also an odd experiencing using an old film camera; the big problem is scanning the resulting images. If there was a way to put the exposed film into a machine that spits out twenty megapixel 16-bit TIFF files a few hours later I would probably use the EOS 50 more often, but as it stands I leave it on a shelf most of the time, and occasionally move it around, take it down to check if it still works, dust it etc.


Based on the dates of the posts I assume that film passed from our world to the next sometime in 2003. The 300D perhaps.

Robert Young , September 01, 2011; 10:47 A.M.

I got an Elan II so I could get wide angle shots with my Nikkor 24mm lens, because my 1.6 crop digital camera makes the 24mm lens more like a 38mm lens.

 It is a hassle to scan the negatives and then process on the computer, but I actually enjoy it. I am from the 35mm film camera era and am use to developing and printing at home. Photoshop is much more versatile than darkroom print making.  

Alan Yahnke , June 02, 2012; 07:14 A.M.

I bought an Elan IIe in 1998 if I remember right with the EF28-105USM lens. It has been a good camera, although occasionally it tells me the battery is done when it isn't if I haven't used it for a while. It will quit showing the dead battery signal by just using it most of the time, otherwise just turn it off and back on. I have two of them now, one with the battery grip that I have an EF28-135 IS on it, that one also shows the dead battery signal occasionally. Having shot one for so many years, I can tell you it is not really as big a problem as it sounds like. 

The bodies can be had on ebay for around $40 and they take the EF lenses. Nice camera, one of my favorites to shoot when I don't want to concentrate on the mechanics, really nice to use with the IS lens. 


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