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Canon EOS Elan 7

by Philip Greenspun, 2001


Panning for Gold. Columbia State Historic Park. Highway 49. California Canon's EOS Elan 7 body is a wonderfully light, wonderfully natural tool. If you're already an EOS system user, you can adjust to the EOS 7 within a few minutes, without reading the owner's manual. If you're not an user of the EOS system, this is probably the best first body.

One unusual feature of the Elan 7 is that it is one of the quietest single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras ever designed. Rewind is inaudible without an ear pressed against the body. The exposure noises of mirror, shutter, and 4 frames per second film advance are muted.

The Elan 7 has the powerful autofocus (7 sensors) and matrix metering (35 sensors) systems that one would expect from a modern SLR. The 7e model includes an eye-tracking system that sets the autofocus sensor depending on where the photographer is looking.

Note that this camera is called the "EOS 33" in Europe ("EOS 30" with eye-control autofocus) and EOS 7 (with eye control only) in Japan.

User Interface

Bridge. Sherman Island. California Delta The viewfinder displays about 91 percent of the image plus an LCD display on the bottom... unless you're wearing eyeglasses, in which case you'll probably find yourself missing either the corners of the frame or the numbers and symbols in the LCD. The focusing screen itself is very nice and facilitates manual focusing.

The Elan 7 facilitates simultaneous use of manual and auto focus with most EOS lenses. Using Custom Function 4, you can shift autofocus from the shutter release to the exposure lock button on the rear of the body, which falls very naturally underneath your right thumb. If you have a lens with a "USM" motor, you can leave the lens in AF mode for AF or MF. When you want to focus, turn the ring on the lens or push the button under your thumb. You make a conscious decision. If your subject stays at the same distance and you don't feel the need to refocus, you need not. If CF 4 is set, the camera will never run off wildly and unexpectedly to hunt for focus. Keep in mind that this important feature is not available with very old or very cheap Canon lens designs, e.g., the 50/1.8.

The Elan 7, like all but the cheapest Canon EOS bodies, is controlled with two wheels. One falls under your right index finger. The second under your right thumb. Need to set aperture and shutter speed in manual exposure mode? You've got two wheels in exactly the right places. Need to set aperture and exposure compensation quickly in aperture-priority exposure mode? You've got two wheels in exactly the right places. Need to set program shift and exposure compensation quickly in program exposure mode? Well, you get the idea.

Depth of field preview is accomplished via a small button on the bottom left of the lens mount.

If you've got big hands, big lenses, or a penchant for vertical photography, buy the optional Battery Pack BP-300, which really ought to be called a "vertical grip". It replicates two of the most important body controls: shutter release and exposure lock/AF button. Sadly the BP-300 lacks a control dial, unlike the vertical grips that were built for the EOS-5, EOS-3, and EOS-1 bodies. You're taking vertical pictures, lulled into a sense of comfort by the fact that the shutter release and exposure lock/AF buttons are where your fingers expect. You notice that your subject has moved into shadow and the shutter speed is now too slow. You try to adjust the aperture with the control wheel under your right index finger and... it isn't there. Ouch!

Flash Photography

The Elan 7 has reasonable compatibility with all previous Canon EOS flashes. With EX-series strobes you get E-TTL exposure with a preflash, flash exposure lock, high-speed sync, and wireless control of multiple off-camera flashes. With old EOS flashes, you get plain old through-the-lens metering, off-camera control via cords, etc.

The built-in flash is nice in that there is no button to pop it up. You want to use the built-in flash? Pull it up. You're in an idiot mode and the camera thinks that you ought to use the built-in flash? The camera can pop it up.

Maximum sync speed with a standard flash is 1/125th of a second.

Tips

Sculpture Shop. Sutter Creek, California Avoid the "QD" version of this camera with a built-in date back. The fact that all of your images are being despoiled with an in-frame set of numbers is indicated only by a small bar on a rear LCD. You'll always be anxious about whether or not the date function is set to imprint. The Nikon F5 gets this right, printing the information in between frames. There is a Contax body that gets this right, saving up the information and printing it all in the first frame or two. It would be nice if Canon copies their ideas.

Do not get the Elan 7 as part of a kit with a cheap zoom lens, Canon or otherwise. The 50/1.4 is a good starter lens. Sadly, the 50/1.8 isn't a good choice due to its lack of a USM motor.

I personally advise against the eye-tracking version of the Elan 7. Although this is a very sophisticated system that works in both horizontal and vertical camera orientations, the need for the camera to figure out where you're looking adds a pre-exposure delay. Despite owning four Canon EOS bodies that do eye tracking (EOS-5 and EOS-3), I've never found the feature useful. It is always much more effective to set a sensor explicitly or let the camera's computer system make the choice. Fairness demands that the photo.net reader comments on the EOS-3 reveal that a lot of folks love eye-control AF. The trick seems to be keeing both eyes open at all times. If you put your right eye to the viewfinder and close your left eye, the act of closing the left causes a subtle squint in the right eye. This squint makes it tough for the camera to read the photographer's gaze reliably. Another trick is having enough patience to calibrate, calibrate, calibrate.

Unexpected Pluses

California State Raiload Museum. Sacramento, California. Aside from quiet operation, the Elan 7 offers some unexpectedly nice features.

First is mirror lock-up. If you're doing macro photography or using a big telephoto lens and slowish shutter speeds, mirror lock-up is critical for achieving maximum sharpness. The Elan 7 offers true mirror lock-up. Push the shutter release and the mirror goes up. Push the shutter release again to take the picture. If you engage the self-timer, the camera is smart enough to pre-fire the mirror and then take the picture 10 seconds later. All very nice except for the facts that (1) you need to remember "Custom Function 5 on setting 1" to use mirror lockup, (2) a setting for "pre-fire the mirror only when the camera is in self-timer mode" would be much more convenient for trips where you're taking some pictures on a tripod and some handheld.

Another unexpected feature is that the camera can run on ordinary AA batteries, assuming you've got the vertical grip.

Warts

Sacramento River. Downtown Sacramento, California. The program autoexposure has two flaws. Suppose that the camera picks 1/250th and f/5.6. You want some extra depth of field so you use the main control dial to shift the program 1/60th and f/11. You wait until you've got your subject framed perfectly. By this time the camera has timed out and shut off the display. You touch the shutter release. The exposure is back to its original unshifted value of 1/250th and f/5.6. Nikon gets this right with the D1. If you shift the program the camera goes into "P*" mode. And it stays there.

The second problem with program AE is that it doesn't work very well with fast lenses. With a 50/1.4, for example, the camera will pick absurd combinations of 1/750th and f/4. Unless your subject is a racing Formula 1 car you'd probably prefer to get more depth of field (smaller aperture) once the shutter speed reaches 1/250th or so with a 50mm lens.

In the age of $75 microwave ovens that can communicate in English, it is annoying to have to remember that setting 2nd-curtain flash sync is accomplished with Custom Function 6 set to "1". There are only 13 custom functions. You probably won't need to use more than one or two in daily photography. You can carry a little card with all the relevant info. But why should you have to work your brain because Canon was too lazy to program the explanations into the camera and too cheap to give you a display capable of showing them?

Like previous Elans and the EOS-5/A2 body, the rubber-belt film transport system in the Elan 7 relies on an infrared diode for positioning the film. This diode will fog a portion of the frame with Kodak high-speed infrared film, though possibly you'll be able to get away with Konica and Ilford products.

Alternatives

Karmann Ghia (Volkswagen). Sutter Creek. Highway 49. California If you need to spend a lot of time taking pictures in the rain, you might find it worthwhile to spend the extra money for a weather-sealed body such as the EOS-3 or EOS-1v. Be forewarned that these cameras are staggeringly heavy compared to the Elan 7, particularly with their vertical grips.

Old car in field. Columbia, California If you're intent on minimizing size, weight, and cost, consider the Canon Rebel series. The Rebel lacks some of the nicest features of the EOS system, however. You can't move autofocus from the shutter release to a button in the rear. There is no rear control wheel, which makes manual exposure and exposure compensation clumsy. On the plus side, the latest Rebel's vertical grip includes a shutter release, just like the Elan 7's.

Eyeglass wearers and viewing system snobs should consider the EOS-1v or maybe abandon the EOS system altogether for Nikon, whose bodies typically offer more eye relief.

Where to Buy

You can support photo.net by buying this camera from the below retailers that pays photo.net a referral fee for each customer, which helps keep this site in operation.

  • Adorama has their own package consisting of a Canon Elan 7-E Kit with EF 28-90 4/5.6 USM lens, 2 lithium batteries & strap. Philip suggested they put together a "photo.net" kit consisting of an Elan 7E with eye tracking, a 50/1.8 lens ( grey), BP-300 battery pack/vertical grip and 2 Lithium batteries.
  • We recommend a Canon 50mm lens for this camera. Get the 50/1.4 if you can afford it, since it offers full-time manual focus (a big plus with a camera that as trouble focusing in low light!). If money is tight, go for the 50/1.8 lens, available at Adorama in both grey and USA varieties.

More

  • Canon USA's brochureware pages

Gallery

Here are some pictures from the April 2001 Boston Marathon. The Elan 7's autofocus system was disappointing for this assignment. The camera lost focus in a lot of situations where the EOS-3 would have kept it. Even my memory of the ancient EOS-5's performance is that in some ways it did better for marathon runners.

Boston Marathon. Kenmore Square (1 mile from finish line) Boston Marathon. Kenmore Square (1 mile from finish line) Boston Marathon. Kenmore Square (1 mile from finish line) Boston Marathon. Kenmore Square (1 mile from finish line) Boston Marathon. Kenmore Square (1 mile from finish line)

More: a photo essay from the 1996 Boston Marathon (100th anniversary).

While packing for a two-week trip to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan, I confronted a collection of 20 cameras and camera systems. What ultimately went into the luggage? The Elan 7 body, a 50/1.4, a Canon 24-85 USM zoom, and a combination of Fuji NPH and Kodak Portra 400 NC. Lightweight and low contrast. Here are some of the results:

Yenliao Park. Northeast coast of Taiwan Ocean Park. Hong Kong Ocean Park. Hong Kong Central Market. Downtown Hong Kong Black Swan. Garden. National Palace Museum. Taipei, Taiwan Night market. Taipei, Taiwan Koi food vending machine. Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Taipei, Taiwan Great Buddha. Kamakura Sleeping on the JR train. Central Tokyo Sleeping on train. Tokyo Sumo wrestlers on the sidewalk. Outside the Sumo arena. Ryogoku District. Tokyo Sumo Competition. Ryogoku District. Tokyo Sumo Competition. Ryogoku District. Tokyo Sumo Competition. Ryogoku District. Tokyo Sumo Competition. Ryogoku District. Tokyo Yodobashi Camera shop. Shinjuku. Tokyo Yodobashi Camera shop. Shinjuku. Tokyo Wedding Photos. Hong Kong Park Star Ferry. Hong Kong

How did the camera perform while exposing 15 rolls of film? Very reliably. The computer got confused once and the camera remained frozen until the batteries were removed and reinserted. Otherwise the camera performed as expected, which is to say that its inability to focus in low light became ever more apparent and ever more annoying. And this is with a 50/1.4 lens mounted most of the time!


Text and pictures (c) Copyright 2001 Philip Greenspun.
PhotoCD scans by the good folks at Advanced Digital Imaging.

Article created 2001

Readers' Comments


Add a comment



Aaron Lam , April 17, 2001; 01:21 P.M.

The vertical grips for the Rebel don't have shutter releases.

Just a slight correction...I believe the Rebel 2000 has a grip (BP-200) that comes with a vertical shutter release. Of course, no control wheels but to the best of my knowledge the release is there. It also powers the camera via 4 AA batteries.

BH Photo Video Listing for BP-200

Greg Chappell , April 19, 2001; 10:29 A.M.

After having bought and used the BP-300 vertical grip with an Elan 7E, I can say it is a very useful item, but not having the program-shift dial is a big problem. The camera shuts off too quickly, and if you are vertically oriented you find yourself hunting for the dial if you've "shifted" to a different setting and the camera turned off before you took the picture. It's more convenient just to not have the grip fitted and have your finger where the dial is. I find myself working more with the grip not fitted for that very reason.

Chiyen Choo , April 19, 2001; 11:17 P.M.

I'd also like to add that while there are 7 focusing points, only the center point works well in situations where there isn't lots of light entering the lens. In low light situations, it begs for the IR focus assist on the 420EX Speedlite - which needs to be switched on for IR to work, and CFn7 set to 3 if you don't want flash to fire. Following someone's suggestion a while back in the newsgroup, I had the custom functions printed and attached to the back of my lens caps as an essential. That said, this is my first SLR and I like it a lot.

AC Gordon , April 28, 2001; 04:32 A.M.

The Elan 7 has a built-in diopter adjustment that I found very useful, although the eye relief is, as mentioned, not as good as with Nikon viewfinders. For anyone planning to use an Elan 7 with the new 100mm USM macro which has an optional tripod collar, the Elan 7's battery pack BP-300 cannot be used while the tripod collar is mounted. The lens just won't mount because the battery pack juts out so far forward. This shouldn't be too surprising, since the 100 USM macro's manual (which fails to mention the newer Elan 7) points out the same problem with A2 and Elan II bodies and their respective optional battery packs. Aside from having to carry the CR123 batteries in addition to the convenient, rechargeable AA's that can be used in the battery pack, this shouldn't present too much of a hassle because the BP-300 mounts/unmounts fairly quickly.

Kenneth Nyberg , April 28, 2001; 04:58 A.M.

And the weird name game continues... Just as a matter of clarity, at least in Europe the Elan 7 without the eye-control autofocus feature is called "Canon Eos 33", and the version with this feature is called "Canon Eos 30".

Andrew Grant , April 28, 2001; 10:27 A.M.

Since the program shift doesn't work to well why not just shoot in Av mode.

phichet chaoha , April 28, 2001; 04:37 P.M.

How to shift the combination of aperture/shutter speed in program auto mode? I set the camera to "P", then use the main dial on the back. It turns out to be an exposure compensation instead.

Kevin Harrelson , April 28, 2001; 06:28 P.M.

One thing that was not mentioned is that the Elan 7 does *NOT* have the near-IR focus-aid light which is in the Elan II series. This one uses an annoying white light for focus assistance.

Also, the Elan II series just looks better (I love the silver).

Peter Langfelder , April 28, 2001; 07:45 P.M.

Re the vertical grip on Rebels: the one for Rebel 2000 (EOS 300) does have the shutter button on it (I have it and use it often).

Josh Hansen , April 28, 2001; 09:41 P.M.

"The Elan 7's autofocus system was disappointing for this assignment. The camera lost focus in a lot of situations where the EOS-3 would have kept it."

Turn the eye control feature off for action scenes. I had no trouble tracking the Navy's F-16 Thunderbirds with the Elan 7E and 70-200 f4--It may have helped that they were further away than the runners above, but I would guess that they also were moving a "little bit" faster than the runners.

Gustavo Friggi , April 29, 2001; 10:16 P.M.

I bought my Elan 7e in January during a trip to New York, in order to replace my old 1000N (Rebel II). For a mid-class body, it is a great value. Though it is not rugged as top-line EOS's or, say, a Nikon, its aluminum faceplates are a nice touch. Unfortunately, during the trip I dropped the camera from 3 feet directly into pavement. Nothing happened but 2 small dents I can barely see. I've not tested enough the AF system, but have managed do track a street performer during his show in Battery Park, when he started do run from aprox. 15 meters, very fast, got a little closer and did a mortal jump over 5 "voluntaries". I got very sharp pictures... Eye-control works fine - after a dozen calibrations :(

Best regards to all.

Dustin Van Camp , May 03, 2001; 10:59 P.M.

Hello! Bought my Elan 7e in March 2001 with the 28-90 USM, bp-300 and the 75-300 USM IS lens.. I love it. Also had a Nikon N80 for a while but decided to go with Canon because of the added features for the price. I shoot some sports and the combination of having the image stabilizer and the vertical shutter release is very handy, also I am very impressed with the evaluative metering's ability to link to the focus point you've selected (via eye-focus).. backlit subjects are now not a problem, exposure is always right on. A couple of things: (1) The built in speedlight is useless (2) the lens in the combo (28-90) is fairly low grade, I would have gotten the 50/1.4 or the 50/1.8 at least if I'd have known. (3) 4 fps is pretty fast, fastest in this class of camera (4) AI servo is very good at ignoring things that block the subject for brief periods of time (5) Mirror lock up that works with the timer, boo yeah (6) selectable beep for focus lock is helpful (to me at least..) (7) C.fn for leaving film leader out (8) solid build (read: metal frame) (9) controls in the right places (esp. control dials) (10) eye focus REALLY WORKS but keep both eyes open and calibrate, calibrate, calibrate.

Granted, I'm a senior in high school and this is only my 3rd SLR, but I'm really happy with this camera and plan on keeping it for a long time.. until I can afford an EOS-1V.. wohoo..

Bart Steenman , May 04, 2001; 12:12 P.M.

Hi, I used to own the ELANII-E and I now own the ELAN7-E. The thing I noticed first was the difference in wait and the speed of AF. Also the eyefocus works a lot better than the ELANII. Still I turn to MF most of the time, because I do a lot of portrait with prime lenses set to big appertures (e.g. F2.5). A lot of time the AF will miss, and I will have the eyes of the person out of focus. I think the Canon AF is probably as good as it can get, but still no way as good as my own eyes. Therefor I don't understand all this fuss about USM. To me it looks like with the ELAN7 there has been no progress on the accuracy of AF only on the speed. Also I allways hear that "USM is very silent". Are we making prictures or are we talking about a sound system? On the contrary, I like my 50/F1.8 a lot, because I can hear when it is in focus (when I am not using MF), and it produces very sharp pictures. OK, I own some Canon USM lenses (100/F2.0, 200/F2.8), but I mainly like them because they make such a sharp pictures, not because of the USM feature.

Philip was also saying that the automatic program mode had some flaws. Sure, my experience is that the more you use any camera, the more you will be going to Manual settings, that is if there is enough time to set the camera. If that is not the case, you are probably better off sticking to the Rebel.

Martin Krobbach , May 07, 2001; 09:43 A.M.

"And the weird name game continues... Just as a matter of clarity, at least in Europe the Elan 7 without the eye-control autofocus feature is called "Canon Eos 33", and the version with this feature is called "Canon Eos 30". " Guess what, I own a EOS 30E bought in Europe and I think it´s called that way in France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. After several calibrations in different conditions (the eye adapts to different lighting conditions and the camera might encounter problems "reading" the position of the eye correctly)it copes well.

Kurt Maurer , May 07, 2001; 10:32 P.M.

Hi,

I happened onto this thread and being an Elan IIE user I thought I'd read on.

My opinion on the 7E, for those considering it as an upgrade, is that it isn't worth it. I for one, would consider paying more for the EOS3. But, conversely, I feel the camera is a great buy for the first timers or for those upgrading to "middle of the pack" bodies.

ECF. I keep it turned off most of the time. I don't find it to accurately track my eye. I find my self squinting (straining) horribly to activate eye controlled DOF preview and have coupled it to the AE lock button via custom function.

As far as USM goes. It isn't just quieter, it's faster too. If you photograph certain types of wildlife you will appreciate the quite nature of the EOS system and associated USM equipment.

All in all, a competent body, but you're not getting much more than an Elan II.

Kurt

Gary Voth , May 08, 2001; 02:52 A.M.

Well, one of the things you would get is a real depth-of-field preview *button* instead of the squinting eye trick...

I recently had a chance to work with the Elan 7 and came away rather impressed. The AF technology in the camera seemed competetive with the top-line Canon bodies, quite a bit faster than the Elan II in all respects. And the new focusing point selection method reminds me of the F5's.

But there are things the spec sheets don't tell, like the amazing quietness of the camera. In use it is far quieter than any SLR I've used or even a Leica M camera (with winder). Also, despite being very compact and lightweight it feels surprisingly solid and good, particularly with the BP-300, which couples to the camera more securely than the battery pack for the Elan II. The black "alumite" top cover has a very nice finish and looks less plasticky than the EOS-3. (Canon says it's metal, but I suspect its molded polycarbonate with deposited metal particle layers or some such space age thing.)

A few quirks I noticed: the metering system does turn off too quickly, and there seems to be a bit more shutter-lag time (the EOS1/3 cameras seem a bit more responsive, or perhaps its just the shutter release has a different feel). Also, the viewfinder on the camera I used also was distinctly warm-toned, something I've never seen on other Canon bodies. And of course, like the Elan II, flash sync is limited to 1/125 and there is no PC socket... Overall though, these are things you can live with.

Quite honestly, unless you are covering wars for a living or need 7-10fps film advance (perhaps you are the top Formula 1 photographer in Europe or something), then this is all the camera you (and I) may ever really need.

Gustavo Friggi , May 08, 2001; 08:40 P.M.

Kurt, no doubt the Elan II is a very good body, but the Elan 7 is the natural evolution of it. The price difference between them is not significant and really pays off. I disagree with you about considering to pay for an EOS 3: it costs way more, and targets another level (I would recommend, though, for anyone planning to photograph under heavy weather conditions, while the 3 is well-sealed, and the Elan 7 not...) If you look at the other companies' line of cameras, there is not a single one that matches the Elan 7 in its price range.

Best regards.

Hans Friedrich , May 08, 2001; 10:45 P.M.

It looks like the Elan 7 would be a good body for an intermediate photographer like... um... me. I've done a lot of digital work with a Kodak DC 4800, but I'm getting a little bit frustrated with some of its warts and shortcomings and I think I'd like to get into film photography.

I like Philip's suggestion of a 50/1.4 lens. So if someone who was just beginning a system was looking to buy the Elan 7, the 50/1.4 lens and just one other Canon lens, for use in macro, portrait and some landscape photography, what would be their best choice?

On another note completely, this review was worth the web space for the new Philip photos alone. I love the portrait of the little girl at the top of the page!

Gary Voth , May 10, 2001; 02:25 A.M.

In doing additional field work with the Elan 7 I've discovered a few things that weren't apparent at first blush. Therefore, I need to ammend my initial post with these concerns/observations:

Viewfinder issues: there are apparently some design issues which affect the usability of the Elan 7 viewfinder, particularly in bright outdoor light and when using long lenses. You can see a marked difference especially in comparison with the EOS-3 / EOS-1V viewfinders:

1) Eyepiece glare: The rear of the Elan 7 viewing eyepiece is apparently not well coated. This is particularly noticeable in bright light when wearing eyeglasses. The sun strikes your face and causes significant reflected glare that makes viewing quite difficult. By comparison the EOS-3 and EOS-1V do not exhibit this to any significant degree (although the Elan II does). I suspect that the rear eyepiece on the Elan bodies is an optical-grade plastic while that on the pro bodies is coated glass. Note that this can be alleviated somewhat using Canon's oversized rear eyecup for eyeglass wearers, although this eyecup must be removed when changing film and is therefore inconvenient.

2) Viewfinder vignetting: the Elan 7 viewfinder appears to exhibit a very pronounced center hot-spotting and darkening at the edges using longer focal lengths. This is very marked with my 100-400 at the longer end, to the point of making it hard to compose and focus. But it is also distinctly visible using the 70-200 at 200mm. It could be related to the technology used in the Elan 7's focusing screen, or perhaps the mirror is just slightly too small. I did not have long fast glass available so it's not clear how this might change with a larger maximum aperture. By comparison, my Elan II body shows much less vignetting (though there is still some) while my EOS-3 shows zero (this camera has remarkably bright and even viewfinder brightness at all focal lengths).

3) Viewfinder brightness: I did not at first trust my initial impressions, but I have verified that the Elan 7 viewfinder is distinctly dimmer than the other Canon bodies I compared it to. It is dimmer even than the Elan II, which really doesn't make sense because they should be the same. Perhaps this is related to problem 2; unfortunately, they seem to compound each other.

4) Autofocus hunting: The Elan 7 seems to hunt more than the EOS-3 when using the 100-400 under similar conditions. This seemed noticeable with the peripheral focusing points, less so with the center point. More testing is needed but it seems to be there. Again, it's hard to say if this difference would be noticable with faster f/2.8 glass.

To me these are serious flaws (especially the first 3) that make this camera questionable for the kind of work I do. It really makes me angry, because so many other aspects of this camera are superb.

Bottom line: if you wear glasses or regularly use long lenses, check these issues out very carefully before you invest. If you are bothered by them you might be better off with a clean used EOS-3 body for only a little more money. You'll have a camera that is louder, bulkier and less jewel-like, but one that is unquestionably a superior picture taking machine.

Anthony Grasso , May 14, 2001; 04:43 P.M.

I have been using the Elan 7E for a few months now. Previously, I was using the Elan II. It appears to me that the fact that the new Elan 7E does not have an infrared focusing assisting in low light is a major disadvantage. I went to a wedding this weekend and took some pictures in the church and I thought the wedding party was going to attack me. The strobe on the built in flash was strobing like crazy. I had to turn it off using one of the Custom Functions. I then had to focus manually indoors which can get a little tricky with this camera.

I rarely ever had any problems with the Elan II.

Ehssan Dabal , May 17, 2001; 03:19 A.M.

I had the Elan 7 for few weeks now and I am not happy with the focus. My Canon A2 camera can focus on objects without visible texture easily even in dim lighting (sometimes without the assist red light.) The Elan 7 has a problem with flat surfaces; I noticed that even in good lighting conditions it keeps attempting the focus without ever getting it when the surface is plain.

There is something I liked about it however. Philip talked about how the imported version of the A2E (called EOS-5 in Europe) has an important feature that is not available in the US version. When you use the camera in the Manual mode, you can only tell if the image is overexpose, underexposed, or has the correct exposure. The EOS-5 however had a different metering system where you can tell how much the image is overexposed or underexposed. Thankfully, Canon made the Elan 7 with the latter type of manual exposure metering. I put the importance of this feature second to the ability to preview the aperture which is also included with this model.

Anthony Grasso , May 18, 2001; 02:26 P.M.

Just to add to my previous auto focusing issue, I have the same problem with focusing not just when a room is dark. If an object itself is dark, the auto focusing does not focus on the object. Again, this is without the annoying focus assisting beam on the built in flash head. It neither focuses on flat or other dark surfaces if the assisting beam is turned off. I find this to be a major disadvantage to the Elan 7. I find my old Elan II to have better and just as fast auto focusing overall.

vladimir khlebnikov , May 21, 2001; 02:44 P.M.

I am an EOS 55 (Japanese version of Elan IIE) user. One important difference between EOS 55 and Elan 7 for me is that the Elan 7's body is smaller (and lighter). It is not that small as in Rebel series, but still, the EOS 55 is a better fit for my hand and it gives me much more solid feel. I think this issue is important for hand-held operations and I beleive it should be very serious consideration (often ignored, though) when choosing a camera body for your personal use. Therefore, small size/weight in not always an advantage. From this point, EOS 3 is even better.

Vladimir

Matthew Leeg , June 05, 2001; 06:26 P.M.

Just a quick correction to this very thorough article. The last paragraph in the "User Interface" section states, "Sadly the BP-300 lacks a control dial, unlike the vertical grips that were built for the EOS-5, EOS-3, and EOS-1 bodies." This is correct, except for the fact that vertical grip made for the EOS-1 and EOS-1n, called a PB-E1, does not have a "Main Dial" or "control dial", as the grips for the EOS-5 and EOS-3 do. One can use the EOS-3's grip, called a PB-E2, on the EOS-1 or EOS-1n, but I believe that the PB-E2's "Main Dial" will not function under those circumstances. Regarding the Elan-7, the author is correct, in that the absence of this dial from a vertical grip can make vertical shooting somewhat cumbersome.

Josh Hansen , June 12, 2001; 09:58 A.M.

Eos 7e vs. Canon Eos 5

I own and use both cameras so here is a list of advantages of each that are important to ME from MY experiences with these cameras in the field. There may be other unmentioned advantages that are important to YOU.

Eos 5 Advantages -- *brighter, more magnified, greater coverage viewfinder (helps for manual focussing and for using depth of field preview--where you need all the light you can get), *better construction (with the exception of the command dial), *bigger size (grip feels better to me), *spotmeter (very useful--although its still sort of a “fat” spot at 3.5% or so), *full fuctioning vertical grip that feels great (wish it could take AA batteries though), *more powerful zooming pop-up flash (still weak compared to shoe-mounts though), *1/200th (full power) flash sync speed (nice when you need lots of flash power and a faster shutter speed), *2 second mirror pre-flip (i use this all the time when i'm too lazy to plug in the remote or don’t want too because of its horrible screw-in design), *autofocussing in low light is better than the elan (also uses a red focus assist beam)

Elan 7e Advantages -- *depth of field preview button (very useful), *smaller size and lighter weight (better for travel and hiking), *ETTL flash (works great with the new EX flashes), *quicker eye control focussing ( i gave up using this using the five but find it useful in some situations with the 7), *infrared remote (useful for travel, self-portraits, etc.), *vertical grip takes AA batteries (but not as nice to use as the grip on the 5), *has true mirror lock up (though in pictures i doubt you could ever tell the difference between this and 2-second pre-flip), *has a stereo plug style cable release (quick and easy to plug in, compared to the one on the 5)

By the way, the ommission of the 2 second mirror preflip on the elan 7e body was quite a shock for me. This may seem trivial, but hear me out. When I go out to shoot with the eos 5 I seldom use the remote release. You can do everything except bulb exposure without the remote if you use the 2 second mirror preflip--works all the way up to 30 second exposures. So, if I'm not taking any moonlit landscapes, I don't even bother with the remote for the 5.

With the elan 7e, you MUST use a remote for mirror lockup (2 second pre-flip with the infrared wireless remote or a more traditional mirror lock-up with the wired remote release). There is no way to do mirror lock-up on the body alone. What happens if I forget to bring a remote or if I lose it on a trip? Now I have to sit there and wait for the 10 second timer--plus lose the actual mirror lockup! Canon should not have removed this feature from the elan 7--i believe that even the elan 2e has this feature.

with my eos five and custom function 12 (mirror pre-flip), i can shoot 3 bracketed exposures with one push of the shutter. flip....click.....flip......click......flip......click. why did canon ommit this great feature from the elan 7? doesn't the elan 2e even have this feature?

Julian Loke , June 17, 2001; 03:44 P.M.

I have some facts about the Elan 7E which might increase the accuracy of the previous comments from an EOS 5 user dissatisfied with his Elan 7E.

  • The wireless remote control unit RC-1 attaches securely to the camera strap via a dedicated clip that seems just as secure as the clips on Canon's front lens caps.
  • Mirror Lock-up (MLU) is indeed possible without a remote control using the CF5=1 and Timer/Remote mode without "losing" the MLU. When the release button is pushed, the mirror flips up, a 10 second timer activates, then the frame is exposed.
  • MLU with a 2s delay is also possible, but does require a wireless remote control unit RC-1 set to "2"
  • Even Auto-exposure bracketing (AEB) is possible with MLU. This is best achieved the wired remote control RS60-E3 but is also possible with the RC-1 or even without a remote release.
Still confused? A table about Elan 7 MLU and AEB is being drafted as part of the EOS Documentation Project.

Andy S , June 18, 2001; 12:32 A.M.

"Sadly, the 50/1.8 isn't a good choice due to its lack of a USM motor." - Philip

"Philip Greenspun also recommends getting a 50mm 1.8f lens with this body." - Ad?

Is this an Adorama advertisement? If so, at less they should have read his review, and not of what they think we should buy from them.

Mahesh Venkitachalam , June 19, 2001; 02:57 P.M.

I just upgraded from an Elan II E to an Elan 7. (Not an Elan 7 E because I found eye control to be useless and had disabled it all through the 2 years I owned the Elan II) Here are my impressions after 3 rolls of slide film through it, all of which are direct comparisons to the Elan II.

PLUSES:

1. It is really much quieter. I used to find the mirror slap on the Elan II to be too loud for candid shots of people. With Elan 7, it is really muted. The silent rewind for the Elan 7 is so quiet that the first time it happened, I was staring dumbly at the camera, wondering why it's not working, not understanding that I had finished the roll and it had rewound.

2. Having a separate button for DOF preview really helps. The exposure lock button is free now to play with.

MINUSES:

1. It has trouble focusing in low light, especially on uniform surfaces. (without the flash assisting it) I did direct comparisons with the Elan II, and the II fared much better.

2. The viewfinder has more glare compared to the Elan II when a bright light source is behind you.

MISC:

1. Highly recommend the vertical grip/battery pack BP-300. It really improves handling. 2. I never understood the confusion about MLU. I guess this is because I actually read the manual.

Overall, I really like the Elan 7, and am happy about the upgrade.

Josh Hansen , June 28, 2001; 10:50 P.M.

ok, sorry for the false information above. julian is correct in his statements. i didn't mean to be so harsh on the elan 7e. its a good camera and i do like to use it (obviously i should be using it more). my only point was that i think the eos 5 is more camera for the money, provided you don't do lots of flash work or need a small, lighter camera. this is just my personal preference and i know there are people that have used both and prefer the elan. they are both good cameras for the money. if you are really on a budget, the elan 2e might be your best option.

"I never understood the confusion about MLU. I guess this is because I actually read the manual." Mahesh

take a look at Julian's excellent table on the e7 and MLU. its obvious to see why people might be confused about this. i'm not sure what manual you have for your elan, but the manual for mine doesn't give even half the information that can be found in Julian's table. this is not a case of RTFM -- its a case of go try all the different combinations and see what happens and write it all down -- or the easy way is to print out Julian's table.

abraham heinsheimer , July 04, 2001; 04:57 P.M.

i've been an elanII user for close to four years now. i was a happy elanII user for about half of them, then i started to really understand the camera's limitations. i felt the frame/per/second advance was just too slow for a lot of situations. i felt the focusing wasn't overly quick or responsive in a lot of situations, even with some good quality lenses (50 1.4 and 20 2.8). and no mirror lockup. then the elan 7 came along and i was thinking of an upgrade. after all, it seemed to satisfy all these problems. but wait. . . . no spot meter. no spot meter? that's an upgrade? i use my elanII in spot metering mode all the time (like %85), so i couldn't really imagine going without it, and can't really understand why canon would leave it out, other than to create consumer demand for the much more expensive eos3. with all the above posts, there are very few concerning the lack of a spot (or whatever you want to call it) meter in the elan 7. does this mean none of you miss it? is the new metering system that good? what's the deal?

Chau Nguyen , July 08, 2001; 09:02 P.M.

I could not visit Canon EOS bodies comparison as linked in this page. This URL should be: http://www01.bhphotovideo.com/FrameWork/charts/comp_canslr_1.html

Danny Dalal , September 05, 2001; 03:57 P.M.

I have an Elan II that I'm happy with. I was excited about the Elan 7 because I need a quieter, faster camera.

Unfortunately, after spending quite a while using the Elan 7 with my lenses (50/1.4 and others) I found that its AF isn't nearly as good as my Elan II's.

The Elan 7 would hunt around or not even try to focus, while the Elan II would find focus immediately without any drama. I found the 7 very frustrating to focus (with or without ECF). So, I'm sticking with my Elan II.

Additionally, I wanted a brighter viewfinder (like the Eos 3, or the 1v for example). Oh well. Next time Canon.

Danny

Jesse Lee , September 17, 2001; 10:24 P.M.

Recently I took an EOS 33 to Japan for two weeks, and the experience was a wash. The AF was all over the place at times, especially in low light conditions (happened to be rather cloudy those days, but isn't that the ideal situation?) even when I try to focus with the dead center. It would get it wrong and my pictures came out looking like I had it on MF all the time and couldn't focus. Got scolded/reprimanded/nailed by my boss pretty bad for the horrible stuff that came out from it. Of course, I shouldn't have been trusting an assignment to an EOS 33 in the first place; should have used my 1v or 3, instead, but i thought it would be good to get used to the newly acquired 33. Is it me, or is it the camera's AF really goofy?

Eugene Ageenko , October 18, 2001; 01:39 P.M.

I have upgraded to EOS 30 (Elan 7E) as early as possible, in December 2000, and has been among first adopters. I always liked EOS 50 (Elan IIe) and found many nice features in EOS 30 that were present in a good old EOS 100 (The original Elan)

I like the review on this site and would like to comment some details, which found most importants or disagree with.

> One unusual feature of the Elan 7 is that it is one of the quietest single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras ever designed.

It actually replicates EOS 5, which has been quitest ever camera ever designed.

> If CF 4 is set, the camera will never run off wildly ... not available with 50/1.8.

I am not quite understand the point about 50/1.8 here.

> I personally advise against the eye-tracking version of the Elan 7.

I am completely disagree. Later (Ref Gallery) authors says himself that Autofocus is not reliable. IMHO, ECF is the great feature, and it makes many of my friends to upgrade from to this camera.

I believe that auto focuspoint selection is reliable only on 1V where there 45 points, and the algorithm is finally tuned up. BTW ECF on EOS 30 should be even faster than on EOS 3.

> I've never found the feature useful. It is always much more effective to set a sensor explicitly or let the camera's computer system make the choice.

First is diffucult, need to press shutter half-way, then press manual-focus selection button, and then press buttons around quick-dial to move focusing point. Difficult to do it when looking trough the camera.

> The 50/1.4 is a good starter lens. Sadly, the 50/1.8 isn't a good choice due to its lack of a USM motor.

Focusing on 50/1.8 is as fast as on USM lens like 28-105 USM (but a bit noisy). IMHO 50/1.8 is just fine (however 50/1.4 is indeed better).

> about MLU

Camera manual is really hard to understand all about MLU stuff, and avrious combination of this feature with self-timer, auto-braketing, and remote control in various modes.

> ther unexpected feature is that the camera can run on ordinary AA batteries, assuming you've got the vertical grip.

This is what battery pack is actually designed for. Nothing unexpected here.

> The program autoexposure has two flaws.

Agree! I was very suprised to see these effects. Unpleasant, would I say.

> You can carry a little card with all the relevant info (about CF)

This questions bother's me all the time. Even Rebel 2000 (Eos 300) has some symbolic information for the minor set of CF!

> (On Rebel 2000) You can't move autofocus from the shutter release to a button in the rear.

Never used this feature, altough many people talks so much about it. IMHO it is useless, or I miss the point (if so please advice me). My point is that when doing most of normal photographs (not talking baout special cases), camera will not focus at all, you allways must remember to press this * button (when keeping shutter depressed half-way, unsure here), then press shutter.

It is very hard to do, IMHO. I belive I am wrong. Please correct me.

> (On Rebel) There is no rear control wheel

Quick Control Dial is a second great feature of the camera after ECF. (the third is the ability to use any metering mode you want)

> a big plus with a camera that as trouble focusing in low light

YES! Canon 30 cannot focus in lowlight (unless you use flash 420 EX). Reason - Because EOS 30 has no nice red pattern light used for focusing. !! In contrary it will pop-up the flash-gun and use iseries of strobes for better fopcusing. It is SO INCONVINIENT because distracts subjects! (but there is CF to disable this odd behaviour)

> The computer got confused once and ...

It happened with me as well. Removing the lens and putting it back solved the problem.

Eugene Ageenko. ageson@yahoo.com

Lester Chan , October 20, 2001; 10:44 A.M.

Eugene,

> (On Rebel 2000) You can't move autofocus from the shutter release to a button in the rear.

Never used this feature, altough many people talks so much about it. IMHO it is useless, or I miss the point (if so please advice me). My point is that when doing most of normal photographs (not talking baout special cases), camera will not focus at all, you allways must remember to press this * button (when keeping shutter depressed half-way, unsure here), then press shutter.

It is very hard to do, IMHO. I belive I am wrong. Please correct me.

It works this way. If you set CF4 to option 1, the * button becomes the autofocus button while depressing shutter halfway is for AE lock.

Suppose your subject is relatively static, you only have to focus once using * and recompose freely without "re-focus and re-compose" every time after releasing the halfway pressed shutter button.

Certainly, depending on your metering mode in use, you may got different exposure value from your composition if you just press the shutter button in your real shot. Better use manual mode with this.

Hope this helps.

Julian Loke , October 20, 2001; 04:02 P.M.

I gave up using CF4=1 or CF4=2 on the Elan 7E because of the loss of the Auto-Exposure Lock and Flash-Exposure Lock functions.

A tip from the Elan 7E group is to use One-shot focus-lock and recompose, or with Servo AF to use DOF Preview button to lock focus and exposure.

Cheers

Eddie Konno , October 25, 2001; 02:21 P.M.

I have tried using CF4 at 1 and didn't find it useful because I had to bend my thumb to start AF by pushing * button. I use my thumb to press AF selection keys since I own Elan 7 non-ECF. And CF 12 is 1 since I don't like surprises in finding in-focus AF light on at previous point. These CFs are the greatest difference IMHO from Rebel 2000.

Bill Jameson , December 06, 2001; 03:30 P.M.

julian wainwright [mossmoon@hotmail.com] wrote above (in part):

...no spot meter. no spot meter? that's an upgrade? i use my elanII in spot metering mode all the time (like %85), so i couldn't really imagine going without it,...

The Elan 7, like the Elan II/IIe, has three metering modes: center weighted, evaluative and partial. In the Elan II the partial metering covers 9.5 %, in the Elan 7 10% The EOS 5/A2 spot meter is 3.5% if I remember correctly and the EOS 3's spot meter is 2.4%. The EOS 1N, 1v, 3 also have partial metering, the EOS 5/A2 does not.

Vincent J M , February 24, 2002; 01:37 A.M.

Just purchased a used Elan-7e and a BP-300 last week after months of hesitating. Having got used to the working speed of the EOS-3, I feared that the Elan-7e would be slow to use after reading others' comments. That is not the case.

I've been using it with the 100 f/2, 200 f/2.8L, and a 28-105 USM zoom. AF in good light is as fast as the EOS-3. The first time it fired the AF-assist flash blasts, I nearly jumped out of my skin. Then CF-5 came to the rescue. With the red AF-assist on my speedlite, its performance in low light is very very good - the AF has been positive and fast.

Probably the best thing about the Elan-7e is that the eye controlled focus actually works. I've used ECF on my old Elan-IIe and the 3. With the IIe, it was OK, but with the 3, it was miserable. But with the Elan-7e, I only had to calibrate it once, and it's worked perfectly with almost 100% accuracy since then.

Finally, the two main reasons I bought the Elan-7e : true mirror lockup, and a DOF preview button. Might just retire my EOS-3 in the coming months. IMHO this is one of Canon's best cameras till date.

David Frech , March 06, 2002; 10:01 P.M.

I don't understand why everyone wants to compare the Elan 7 to the EOS 1V or 3. There's no comparison. But go to a wedding with your Elan 7/50 1.4 and 420EX flash mounted on a Stroboframe Flip, shoot a couple of rolls of 100F and NPH400, your results be everybit as good as THE PHOTOGRAPHER with his big EOS 1V. People will say your pictures look "Professional," They might even invite you to take pictures at their wedding...and pay you for your work. It happens!

Bas Scheffers , July 10, 2002; 07:04 A.M.

What AF problems?

I have owned the EOS 33 for a couple of months now and I never have a problem with it locking on, with the 50/1.8 nor the 28-105 II. After being "warned" about this before buying, I was surprised to find that even in conditions I would not be able to take any pictures due to low light, the AF still locked on. I just don't like taking pictures at 1/2 second on a moving London Underground train. I give up before the camera does. The only problem is with low contrast subjects. Try and make it focus on a white wall and it's lost, but that's forgiven.

I love it and thoroughly recomend it to anyone that can't afford an EOS 1 or 3!

Fabio Goes , July 28, 2002; 01:37 P.M.

I am upgrading from an EOS 300 to the Elan 7 (although I'd rather go to an EOS 3 could I afford it) and am shocked at the stupid metering system selection method. Push a button, get you face OFF the viewfinder to look at the lcd and turn a wheel? that's some wart.

Now, I took 99% of all pictures on the EOS 300 in manual mode by comparing the centerweighted reading to a "bigspotmetering" (9.5%) of a region of my choice and adjusting accordingly.

That is pretty easy to do on the rebel, because it defaults to centerweighted in manual mode and the * button works as a central "bigspotmeter". Definitely not many complaints about it.

Now I find out I can't do that in the Elan because some jerk decided it would be easier to press a button, take your eye of the camera to look at the lcd, turn a wheel, look at the viewfinder again and then have to repeat the process to change back the camera to evaluative or centerweighted? Damn crazy. Impratical.

While the * button seems to still function as a "bigspotmeter" on the program modes, it seems not to work at all in manual mode. Is that right? What do you people who shoot in manual mode do when you want to compare diferent readings of the metering system?

Also, why do you claim the shutter of the EOS 33 is quiet? Since I have sold my EOS 300 I can no longer compare between them, but the shutter release of the EOS 33 doesn't seem quieter at all, sounds pretty much the same if you ask me. Granted, the film wind can be quiet (haven't loaded film as yet) but tripping the shutter without film in the machine is very audible!

Robert Medina - South Jersey/Philly , September 07, 2002; 07:37 A.M.

I purchased the Elan 7e To go with my 70-200 2.8L lens. I sold two other Rebel bodies and 3 lenses to purchase it. I would have rathered upgrading to the EOS 3, but that is not economically feasible at this time. I still have my elan II as well. As far as the general layout goes: The 7e is layed out nicely. it is a small change from the elan2, but did not take any time to master. i like some of the upgrades from the elan2. Pros: 7 points AF 4 fps, 3.5 in predictive af all black body ae lock button on bp-300 quieter than elan2 remote rc-1 seems to work better than on the elan2 total compatibilty with the 420 ex flash ( which it should but this was a plus for me I already had the 420 and it works better with the 7 than the 2) eye control focus(it does work)

Cons: trouble focusing in low light mirror lock up is horrible, the elan 2 had it better. body little small for my hand, elan2 fits like a glove

Frank Bunnik , December 13, 2002; 01:22 P.M.

I just purchased the eos 30 (elan 7e) 2 days ago so I can not and will not give any detailed comments on the performance. My first impressions, having owned an eos 1n, are very good. Though not as strongly built as the 1n, it still feels solid. The camera with BP300 and my standard 2.8-4.0 28-80 L lens (lens alone 945 grams) fits my big hands (I am 2.03 meters myself) very well.

Before I decided to buy this camera I read among others this review and it's comments. Some of these comments are not fair and some are downright silly.

First of all, a lot of those who gave their comments wrote that the elan 7 is not worth the upgrade from an elan 2. However, those who do make this change do NOT upgrade. They merely change to a bit more modern camera in the same price range. Those who use an elan 2 and change to an eos 3 upgrade, as do those who own an eos 300 (rebel 2000) and change to an elan 7.

Second: Some wrote that their elan 2 could autofocus on a plain surface, something they say the elan 7 can not. Though I have no experience with the elan 2, I find it hard to believe. In my opinion there is no autofocus camera that can focus on a plain surface (without some aid like an IR pattern). My eos 1n certainly could not do it and I have tried an F5 and it could not do it, for the very simple reason that autofocus needs CONTRAST to focus and a plain surface has NO contrast.

The constant comparison between the elan 7 and the eos 3 is ridiculous. The 7 costs about 450 us dollars here in Holland, the 3 around 1.200,00. It is logical that canon does not built all of the features of the expensive model in a cheaper camera. Of course this would cut in sales, can we blame Canon for that?

One person even blamed Canon for not having a switch on the camera to go from autofocus to manual. Why? The switch is on the lenses. Easy to use and in the right place for your left hand. Why should I want a tiny switch on the camera that I can only use by taking the camera from my eye (Nikon)? Besides, why built something useless that can only break down?

I have tested the autofocus of my eos 30 in my dimly lit living room while not using the eyecontrol. I had no problem with the autofocus, even with my 5.6 400mm lens. The 6 points out of the centre focus a lot better than the ones on my eos 1n. Those focussed so bad I hardly ever used them, instead always using the centre point and recompose.

That's it for now. Frank

Michael J Hoffman , December 31, 2002; 05:18 P.M.

I purchased my Elan 7 as a back-up to my EOS 1N (great photographic tool). Since the purchase, the Elan 7 has become my main body. Having owned EOS cameras since their inception in 1987, the Elan 7 is intuitive in use; however, it is not as pick-it-up-and-go as some have suggested. I had to read the manual and still revert to it at times. I like just about everything about this camera in form and function.

The first thing that I noticed about the camera when I got it was the compact size and light weight. It is almost too small and too light. I bought the BP-300 battery pack with the camera and I feel that the handling of the camera is greatly improved with the BP-300. I have very small hands and the camera by itself still felt too small. With the BP-300 attached the camera is still compact and light, but with better balance and a more solid feel. The metal top plate serves to add to the feeling of rigidity of the camera, as does the metal lens mount. The black finish looks more professional than that of the silver Elan II.

Functionally, the Elan 7 is fantastic. Above all else this camera is quiet. You could easily use the camera in a quiet environment such as a church or theatre without fear of distraction due to camera noise. This feature alone makes the camera a good purchase. Some have complained about a dim viewfinder. I don't find it dim, but it looks much smaller than the viewfinder of my 1N. The placement of controls is very intuitive for the established EOS user. The DOF button is the only control which I find to be poorly placed and too small to be as useful as it could have been otherwise. As for the problems with low-light AF capabilities, I have found the camera's capabilities to be more than sufficient (mine will AF at 1/2 sec @ f/2 on ISO 250). The seven AF points are a nice and useful addition. The metering system is superb. On a recent street photography outing in NYC, I exposed seven rolls of Tri-X. The light was constantly shifting from cloudy to bright, so I used the evaluative metering. Every single frame on all seven rolls was properly exposed and in focus. The on-board flash is much more useful than I thought it could be. It is great for daytime fill to lighten up shadows in eye sockets, et al. It is also useful as a primary flash in some situations. If you know enough to understand light and the limitations of this type of flash, then you can get some really nice images using the on-board flash as a primary light source.

Some minor quibbles are the lack of a PC socket and the lack of a LCD backlight (the camera would be PERFECT with a backlighted LCD). Also, exposure values set in manual mode do not transfer to Av or Tv modes as is the case on the 1N.

Even when considering the little imperfections, I think this camera is the best value going in the world of 35mm photography. Most of these imperfections are only negatives when viewed in comparison to a body costing four times the price of the Elan 7. This is a camera which is suitable for everyone from beginner to pro. One can learn and grow with this camera; it also makes a dependable "back-up" for a pro grade body. In all honesty, my 1N now sits in the bag unless I need the PC socket for a studio shoot, or if I need to photograph in inclement weather.

I almost wish I'd purchased three Elan 7's instead of a 1N. Almost.

Image Attachment: Lucky Cheng's, NYC.jpg

Andrew Grant , March 26, 2003; 05:45 P.M.

I recently acquired an Elan7 to supplement my D30. Compared to the D30, the viewfinder is bright and the autofocus is much better. I prefer the feel of the D30 in the hand though (the 10D is even better). I wish the Elan7 used the same cable release and if the grip had a control wheel I would perhaps have bought it. Neither camera has a spot meter so I bought a hand held one which works great (Minolta Spotmeter F). I would have been nice if the Elan allowed exposure adjustments in 1/3 stops but, since I won't be shooting slides in this camera, that is not such a big deal.

I bought the Elan 7 primarily to shoot B&W C-41 film which I then feed to my scanner (I use XP2 Super because it has no orange mask). I could shoot in Color using the D30 and then convert to B&W of course (and have done so a few times). However shooting C-41 B&W allows me to take advantage of the huge exposure lattitude fo XP2 Super relative to a D-SLR. I think scanned XP2 is also more detailed than the D30 and just as smooth at similar ISO speeds.

I would suggest that anyone just starting out skip the Elan 7 and the scanner and just buy a 10D. You will save money (taking film costs into account) and learn much faster with digital.

Aaron P. , May 07, 2003; 10:16 P.M.

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've bought 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. Before you say anything about CCD vs CMOS, remember we aren't talking about digital cameras. Speaking of Elan 7 focus problems, would ya like to know why people have been having problems with the Elan 7 AF system? Wouldya?Wouldya?Huh?Huh? Why does the Elan 7 not have as good of AF as the II? 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 and the only grip with no camera controls. If you want vertical controls for the professional cameras, you have to lug around the huge, heavy, and expensive PB-E2 motor drive for full controls. The BP-1E was purposely made inferior to prevent from cutting into PB-E2 sales. Similarlu Canon hasn't improved the AF on the Elan 7 really… they wouldn't want to be close to the 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 Elan series "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 focusing distance information (which is electronically reported to the body by nearly all Canon lenses) into the flash system like Minolta and Nikon have been doing for years in addition to the information reported by the metering sensor. 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 their 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. It would really boost their sales. 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 because it would place the sensors at 3rd points! 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 its ECF 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 original Elan IIe since it only had 3 AF points). I do like the black body instead of the ugly half silver on my Elan II. 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 (and to be fair, cheaper to weather seal). 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 and wont allow the camera to focus on contrastless flat subjects like white walls which the Elan II can focus on. Is the Elan7e any better built than the Elan II? Not really. Canon seems suddenly to be into saving on costs and building their equiptment to sell to a particular market share while not infringing on the sales of other equiptment in their line. 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 Elan series "upgrade" release is as disappointing to me as the release of the EOS 1V vs the 3 (though I suppose the 1v whups the daylights out of the 1n). With an 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. Save your money and avoid the faux "upgraded" Elan 7 which in many ways inferior to its predacessor. Spend your money on an Elan II and buy more lenses or film instead or buy a second body!

-Aaron Parmet

Jim Mueller , June 04, 2003; 08:29 P.M.

I'm having a blast learning with the Elan 7e. This is NOT the type of camera you just pick up and run with. You MUST read the manual. After using an Olympus OM-1n and a Leica M5 and M6, the Canon Elan 7e is just so much more fun to use. It's a much more powerful camera too.

I also want to add that I think Philip's comments about the Elan 7's inability to focus in low light are a little over stated. I just finished shooting a roll of Agfa B&W at an Art Museum with a 24/2.8 (splendid lens). At times the exposures in low light were 1/4 second at f/2.8, but I had no problems autofocusing. But there certainly are other cameras that have better low light focusing ability, such as the Nikon N80.

I also disagree with Philip's remarks about the Quartz Date version. I'm never anxious about whether it's turned on or not. A single quick glance is enough to know whether the Date function is active. You need a pointed object to change settings so it's almost impossible to turn it on accidently. Plus, there may be an asignment where you must document the date.

Another disagreement is with the Eye Control. It works well enough for me. Low light situations makes it less reliable but much of the time I find it useful enough. If you only need it 10% of the time, it's worth it because you cannot add it later at any price.

The Canon 7e is not a perfect camera, but it is still a wonderful camera. The main reason I chose Canon over other brands is because the Canon lens system is astonishingly good. If you look on Photodo.com, you will find almost all Canon primes are within two tenths of a solid "4" or higher. At one time, I lived in the the bizzare world of Leicas. In comparison, Canon equipment acually looks cheap! As an example the Canon 50/1.4 (4.4 on Photodo.com) costs $300 at B&H as compared to a Leica 50/1.4 Summmilux (4.2 on Photodo.com) costs $1800!!! When evaluating equipment, you have to look at what else is available at that price point. You also have to look at the complete system, lenses, flash, and other accessories available to you.

The 7e is just the right size, has just the right features, just the right ergonomics along with super quiet operation, and is supported by one of the best lens and accessory systems of any manufacturer. Somehow, the 7e as a whole is much greater than the sum of all those qualities (minus a few weak points).

Greg Chappell , July 05, 2003; 02:41 A.M.

As an eyeglass wearer I have to add this camera works just fine. Be sure and set the diopter correction when you first get the camera- it makes a huge difference in focussing manually. The speed of advance in continuous mode and the "L" glass lineup and build-quality of the L-lenses are the reasons I chose the Elan 7 body over the Nikon N80. The 17-40L and 70-200/f4L with the Elan 7 makes a great, lightweight, first class outfit. I skipped the 7E- eye control does not work well for me.

Adam Beauchene , October 27, 2003; 11:52 A.M.

I've had the ELAN 7e for a year, it's a great camera. To remember which custom functions were which, I made a tiny little card with the functions that I use the most, and taped it in the space between the thumb wheel and the vertical row of buttons on the back.

A warning about waterproofness; while I am waiting to pick up the EOS-1 that I found in the classifieds, I took my ELAN-7e on a late-fall weekend schooner trip in Penobscot Bay in Maine. It was misty, but it never really got rainy...on the last day of the trip, the thumb wheel and all of the buttons on the back stopped working. I was very careful to protect it from spray. I know that the higher-end Canon cameras can deal with a little water; something to consider when deciding if this camera is right for the photography that you engage in.

Ashwin Chathuruthy , August 25, 2004; 10:35 A.M.

I have had a canon Elan 7e for two years. Few days back the shutter started getting stuck and showed a low battery signal. I must have run around 100 roll through it by now. Well now I suspect the durability of the camera. I have sent it in to find out whats wrong.

Pros Flash compensation Good feel Good Metering Eye control

cons Viewfinder fogs Depth of preview button is a bit hard to find Shutter went bad in 100 rolls Does not focus at low light. Solved it by using the speedlight flash

Scott Pickering "25 ASA" , November 21, 2004; 11:00 P.M.

I have had this camera for over a year (2+ years now as of Feb. 2006). I love it. Its a good upgrade coming from being used to a T-90. It may not have spot metering, but its lighter, quieter, and just as fast. The metering seems more consistent too then what I got with the T-90. I'm getting a second body (7n) for my setup, as I prefer using film over digital (I have a Rebel XT). Its a responsive camera and easily gets good results from. The only issue is the well known low light focussing, which using a speedlite helps with. I hope the 7n helps in this regard. Great camera for weddings since its quick and quiet. Mine gets battered around a bit, so I'm glad it uses metal for some of its construction. I did however notice the smaller viewfinder then what I'm used to with FD bodies. I was not too concerned as the viewfinder on the Digital Rebel XT is even way smaller. Keep in mind the Elan 7n may be discontinued in the near future as as of Feb. 2006 its been taken off Canon USAs website. Most camera stores are no longer stocking these. I had to order in my 7n to just get one. Its cheaper now then the original series too, so its worth getting a new one to keep over the years.

Victor Tzen , January 08, 2006; 12:56 P.M.

I have been shooting with my 20D for over a year now. I still love having my Elan 7e around because I can shoot my 17-40mm lens at 17mm and enjoy the wide angle. The light weight makes it easy to carry around with my 20D and a couple of lenses. I'm very happy with this camera and still use it often.

William Naegele , August 02, 2006; 06:38 P.M.

I notice the film threads on photo.net have become pretty tattered since the digital tidal wave.

But for someone like me, who likes to squeeze 20x30s out of "miniature" cameras, 35mm makes a lot of sense. [Only with primes, of course -- no zooms need apply.]

In order to match the quality of, say a $300 Canon Elan 7, you'd need a $3,000 Canon 5D.

It's getting tougher to deal with film media, but, for a least a while yet, I'll hang on to my Elan II.

Patrick S , July 20, 2007; 05:05 P.M.

Back in the day, when it became apparent that Minolta was going to be the last to enter the DSLR world, I contemplated switching to the EOS system and purchased an Elan 7N. Nice camera, but that one froze up on me a couple times and that's not acceptable. Sent it in to Canon for repair, twice. Idiots sent it back unrepaired the first time. By the time it got back, repaired, I'd moved on to a 10D and I sold the Elan.

Fast forward to 2007.

Film cameras have started to get harder to find, and I wanted one of the "latest and greatest" of its day. I Just bought the Elan 7NE with the reportedly horrible kit 28-105 lens. You know. The one with the *gasp* plastic lens mount. Result? I like them both. If you want a NICE 35mm camera before they stop making them, this would be a good bet. Will we see another 35mm SLR from anyone?

Lena Messana , April 07, 2012; 09:27 A.M.

I purchased my Elan 7 in 2002.  I did not shoot manual at all back then.  Amazing with every photo.  I never ever had a focus issue.  Very rare I would develop a roll, and have any blurry photos.  This week, I have powered it up, and am on my first roll since 2007 when I purchased my D40x.  (I still have that..great...great camera...but have since moved on to the D90, sold that, purchased the 7D in a Nikon to Canon jump that changed my world  - and now I have the 5DIII!!)  Decided since ALL my lenses work for both my Elan 7 and my DSLRs - to take my old baby out for a spin.  I have 10 rolls to use and abuse... having switched fully to manual last year finally, and haven't looked back.  This first roll will be my test, to see how I do in M without seeing the results directly after.  Cannot wait!


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