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Canon Rebel G (EOS 500N)

by Philip Greenspun, 1995

This article is two types of readers:

  • hard-core Canon EOS system user trying to figure out whether the Rebel G is a good kick-around body
  • beginners considering a first single-lens reflex

Hard-core Canon EOS users start here

Clean Room. Microdisplay Corporation. The Rebel G is incredibly lightweight, about half the weight of an Elan II or an EOS-5.

The viewfinder seems cramped and it is tricky to position your eye so that you can see everything, especially for this big-nosed eyeglass wearer [note that Canon makes an EP-EX15 eyepiece extender to increase eye relief, but I haven't tried it]. There seem to be three AF sensors and they are widely separated. Unfortunately, the sensors don't light up red for focus confirmation like an EOS-5's. There is a round circle in the LCD screen at the bottom of the frame, like an old Nikon 8008.

The read-out shows aperture and shutter speed, which AF sensors are active, and a meter scale. Unlike the A2e, Canon did not cripple the USA model of the Rebel so you get a full meter scale in the viewfinder at all times, even in metered-manual mode.

Speaking of metered manual, you don't have a second control wheel on the back and you don't have an aperture ring on the lens. So the finger wheel changes the shutter speed and you have to cramp up your fingers to press a little shift button on the back while turning the same wheel to set the aperture. If you switch to an autoexposure mode, then the same little shift button and wheel dance will do exposure compensation. The amount of compensation is visible at all times in the viewfinder on the scale.

The camera basically is in multi-segment matrix metering magic mode by default. If you press the exposure lock button, it switches to meter the central 9.5% of the frame. It is conceivably possible to remember to use this feature in manual exposure mode, but I don't think that I will be able to remember it.

My theory is that this camera is useful only as a matrix-metered aperture-priority backup body for color neg film or TMAX 400 CN. Alternatively, it would be useful in the studio for flash exposures where one is setting the exposure on the camera manually. [By the way, if you want to use a Rebel G in the studio, remember that it has no PC cord socket. Moreover, I've had trouble getting my Canon bodies to trigger my Sinar Bron wireless trigger. Canon makes a little plastic box that sits in the hot shoe and has a PC cord output. Send a check for $32 plus your state sales tax to Canon USA, 1 Canon Plaza, Lake Success, NY 11042, attn: CPS. Ask for them to send you a "Hot Shoe to PC Adaptor". Questions? Call (516) 328-4840 and ask for Janet.]

Another glaring omission is the Rebel G's lack of a depth of field preview. With Nikon, one can understand why they leave this out on their cheap bodies, since they need a mechanical shove to stop the lens down. But in Canon's case, it would just have been an electric button somewhere.

The built-in flash is nice for fill. Unfortunately, you can't adjust its exposure. If you want a variable fill ratio, you'll need to use an accessory flash like the 540EZ that lets you set exposure compensation on the flash. As with all Canon bodies, the Rebel isn't designed to let you use the built-in flash pointing straight ahead in conjuction with a shoe-mounted accessory flash bounced up to the ceiling. It is a shame.

I guess this sounds pretty negative. It shouldn't. I paid $250 for my Rebel G. It makes a nice backup in a bag stuffed with $10,000 of EOS lenses and a real body such as the EOS-5. I think I'll use it for goofing around or to keep at the office.

Beginners start here

I wish I could write more, but basically I think that this is a bad body for a beginner. It has all the confusion of a modern super AF body like the Elan II or EOS-5 without the capability. It is too hard to focus manually. It really ought to have depth of field preview. It is too hard to use in metered-manual mode (since you have only one control to set both aperture and shutter speed).

Though I've covered this ground in "what camera should I buy", I'll toss out a few things that I think are better than a Rebel G: Elan II, Nikon 6006, used Nikon 8008, Pentax K1000 or similar old manual body.

If you get one

Oh yes, if you get one, you absolutely must get the cute GR-80TP grip. This is ridiculously cheap and expands into a tabletop tripod. Unlike the VG-10 grip for the EOS-5, it doesn't have an extra shutter release or control wheel, unfortunately.

A little trip

Chinatown. San Francisco, California I had to go to San Francisco to meet with my publisher (see my book behind the book story for what that is typically like) and the Environmental Defense Fund (some planning for www.scorecard.org). I started packing at 6 am for an 8 am flight. I knew that I'd only have a few spare hours in which to take pictures. I didn't want to take a P&S camera because I'm growing less fond of them. The camera that I could easily grab was the Rebel plus the 24-85 USM zoom lens. I walked around the city for an afternoon and exposed 85 pictures on Kodak Royal Gold 400, with the intention of adding them to my California exhibit. I mostly used aperture priority autoexposure and left the camera to autofocus (and pick its AF sensor) all of the time.

I sent the undeveloped film directly to Advanced Digital Imaging where they were scanned to a single Kodak PhotoCD (check it out if you want to see my yield). I converted them using the software that I describe in my book. Here are the best (IMHO) of the 85 images:

Near the corner of Haight and Ashbury streets in San Francisco, California. Haight-Ashbury District. San Francisco, California Chinatown. San Francisco, California Painted wall on the border between Chinatown and North Beach. San Francisco, California Chinatown. San Francisco, California The Painted Ladies Victorian houses of Alamo Square, sometimes referred to as Postcard Row because of the backdrop of downtown skyscrapers. The Painted Ladies Victorian houses of Alamo Square, sometimes referred to as Postcard Row because of the backdrop of downtown skyscrapers. Chinatown. San Francisco, California Ben and Jerry's store at the corner of Haight and Ashbury streets in San Francisco, California. Sic transit gloria hippie. Golden Gate Park. San Francisco, California Golden Gate Park. San Francisco, California

The bottom line? I found the combination very practical for this photojournalism-type assignment.

Where to Buy

The Rebel-G is stocked by Adorama, a retailer that pays photo.net a referral fee for each customer, which helps keep this site in operation.

Text and pictures (c) Copyright 1991-1995 Philip Greenspun

Article created 1995

Readers' Comments

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-- -- , January 11, 1998; 08:26 P.M.

I just purchased a Rebel G on the advise of a relative who is also a photographer/photo store owner. I am a beginner in almost every sense of the word having only taken photography in high school (about 8 years ago). Despite the review here, I must say that I thoroughly enjoy the camera. I feel that it is very easy to use (if you can read the manual which comes with it) and it takes amazingly clear pictures. Maybe I am saying this in total naivety because I am truly a beginner. However, this camera (with a 35-80mm lens, a 75-300mm lens, and a 2x comverter) is leaps and bounds above my point and shoot camera. Photography has become a hobby for me and at this time I feel no need to spend thousands of dollars on lenses. Maybe in the future I will eat these words!

a rodolico , January 15, 1998; 12:18 P.M.

After having used a Pentax SLR for many years I was given apresent of a Canon Rebel G with the 35-80 II lens. My old fully manual Pentax H1a took beatiful, fool-proof shots until my manual clip on meter broke. The optics were excellent. I now have shot a roll with the Rebel. On automatic it takes good shots. In the creative mode it allows the user to take as much or little control as desired. My concern is will the optics even approach those of the Pentax. Which reasonably priced lens would allow it to perform equal to my old Pentax? I had a 35mm f3.5, 50mm f2, and 135mm f2.8 .The lens I used almost exclusively was the wide angle 35mm. Any suggestions?

Dave Herzstein , January 19, 1998; 02:28 P.M.

Avoid the EF 35-80/4.5-5.6 lens! Its a terrible lens if not stopped way down. Much better is the EF 28-105/3.5-4.5 or any of Canon's prime lenses.


Greg Martin , January 19, 1998; 05:06 P.M.

I'd like to comment on Phil's statement that the Rebel G is a bad body for beginners. Since I was a beginner when I bought this body, I can't look at it from the same perspective as a pro, but it never occurred to me that this was a difficult camera to use in metered-manual mode.

I have no problem changing the aperture, rarely do I even have to move my eye from the viewfinder to do this. Changing the aperture is the least of my problems. The focus point selection button is the pain in the butt for me. I have fairly large fingers, and I have no hope of finding that button without glancing up from the viewfinder.

The other special function button (for turning off the beeps, multiple exposure, etc...) is just as hard to push, but being able to adjust those settings while looking through the viewfinder is not terribly useful anyway, since there isn't any feedback for those in the viewfinder.

About the DOF preview, yeah that would be nice, but I find that without it, I think more about where I'm focused and what effect my aperture is going to have. If I'd had DOF preview, I may never have bothered to learn how to do it on my own. Of course, lenses without the distance scale (ie. the 50/1.8 II) don't help. I guess that's what you get for buying a $90 lens.

At any rate, I don't think the Rebel G is _that_ bad of a beginner's camera. It allowed me to find out that I was indeed interested in 35mm SLR photography, and I've taken some pretty decent pictures with it.

Luis Valle , February 11, 1998; 11:43 P.M.

I4m also a begginer and i used to work with a full manual minolta camera. I didn4t found any problem with my Rebel G, except by the price$$$ here in Mexico, (like $750. us, body and a 30-85 lens)and it is4nt hard to use even for a begginer, i fully recomend it.

John Millard , February 23, 1998; 11:44 P.M.

I LOVE THIS CAMERA!!! This is the first SLR that I've owned since college, back when I was seriously into photography (full home darkroom, the works). I upgraded for a couple of hundred bucks more to the 28-105mm USM lens, and I'm sure glad that I did. The glowing reviews herein are not exaggerated. My sister has the standard Canon lens that came with her Rebel G package, and the difference in our photos is astounding. She's going to upgrade soon. My first roll of TMax 400 B&W came out great and Wolf Camera did an excellent job on the prints. Great tones and contrast, and I even forgot to use the polarizer on the first 10 or so shots. What I love the best about this camera is the program mode and how simple it is to alter the f-stop and shutter speed with a twist of the data wheel. I don't have to look up from the viewfinder to change it either. I center meter when I turn the camera on. Then all I have to do is focus on my subject, hold down the shutter and compose, and click away. If I want to change the aperature or shutter speed, I give the wheel a twist and the camera compensates to ensure that I always get good exposure. I have'nt used the full auto mode yet, although I'm going to give it a try just for grins. My first roll of Kodak Royal Gold was superb too. This is a great beginner's camera that is simple to use, and yet has plenty of features for a more advanced user. My philosophy is that you should spend your bucks on a decent lens and worry less about the body. I'm no expert, but I do know good value, and this camera fits the bill. This is also the lightest camera I've ever owned. I'm thrilled with my purchase.

Robert Krawitz , February 28, 1998; 10:33 A.M.

I think it's a great camera for a beginner. After listening to me complain about how I just couldn't do what I wanted to with my P&S (a Pentax wide range zoom), my wife bought me a Rebel XS (previous model to the G) 14 months ago. It really has everything a beginner is going to want -- whatever the limitations of its metering and so forth, it can certainly do everything a K1000 can and then some. After all, you're certainly welcome to use it in manual mode and ignore the metering. Yes, the +- only indication is a pain...

I've used it for some studio sessions (with a Sunpak PZ4000, an umbrella, and a reflector) and a wedding, and people like the results. I'm awaiting delivery of an A2 that I bought used for a good price (yes, I would have preferred an EOS 5, but they're hard to come by used). I'm not going to dump the Rebel, though.

Glen Johnson , March 11, 1998; 11:39 A.M.

The Rebel G is a great camera for a beginner. I've known several people who learned on this camera, and in direct "time - motion" studies for novice use, it beats anything that's out there.

Instead of whining about the Rebel, perhaps the reviewer should have bought comparable models from other manufactures and done a PP style model face-off.

A real beginner can stick it on the green box setting, put the lens on autofocus, and concentrate on composition. I have a friend who has done quite well in PSA competition with his Rebel on Av, with Velvia metered by the matrix meter. He now has an Elan II as well. He loves the Elan II, but he didn't throw out his Rebel.

For folks who are already advanced users, I would much prefer a Rebel G and EOS EF 35mm f/2 to a Hexar, Nikon 35/28 Ti, Contax T2, etc. as a viable small camera alternative. It is a heck of a lot more versatile than any of these more expensive options.

Sure, if you like the EOS 5 interface, you're going to find the Rebel G's interface cumbersome. Try an N50 or an N70 first, and then pick up the Rebel G and see just how cumbersome it really is.

An Elan II is not a good substitute for a Rebel G if you're looking for something that is really light. And it isn't an option for many people who are on a tight budget. Most of the folks who buy Rebel G's end up as happy users.

As for the flash synch question - don't waste your money spending $32 with Canon. The Nikon equivalent part is cheaper and works fine. It is available in most stores where Nikon cameras are sold. There is also a generic version of this hot shoe synch cord adapter, and it will generally be cheaper than the Canon part too.

Paulo Bizarro , March 19, 1998; 07:35 A.M.

First, I do not have this camera, but I used to have the (now) old EOS 1000, the first EOS to feature the PIC dial on the top left hand side of the top plate. These two cameras have a lot in common, except for the 3 focus points and 6 segment metering (the 1000 has 3). I was a beginner at the time, so I wanted a camera that I was able to grow with and learn. The 1000 was fit for purpose, and the 500N does it as well at the present time.

Of course, DOF preview is a must, but how many beginners have had the "darkened viewfinder" experience when stopping down the lens and complaining it is not useful because "I can not see a thing"? The 500N has the most important exposure modes available, it is light, and unbeatable for the price. Furthermore, it grows with your photography.

Ian Johnson , June 10, 1998; 12:07 P.M.

I've just bought an EOS 500N to return to photography. My last SLR was fully manual & bought in 1979. When I chose the camera I was comparing it with the EOS 50N which seemed much heavier and more expensive for very little benefit, faster X-sync, d.o.f. preview and "eye" focus selection. I chose the 500N and got a Polaris meter with the change!

I've put a roll a day through in the 3 days I've owned it, and tried a variety of "difficult" shots. My verdict is the focus point selection is awful, fill-in flash poor, and I don't like the results from the programmed modes.Shutter and Aperture priority modes I feel are excellent, however. This is based on shooting the same shot twice, Once full auto in a mode, Once using a priority mode. The autofocus feels good, but this is the first auto anything camera I've used. The documentation I've found hard going, and I've managed to really confuse the metering with some shots, but overall I'm very pleased with the body, and feel I made the correct choice. A decent fixed focal length lens somewhere between 50-100mm would be a major improvement however.

Overall I feel it is a good "re-beginning" camera. The thumb wheel for changing aperture/shutter in priority modes works fine, the exposure lock and changing aperature in a non aperture priorty mode is a real pain. The only real problem I have is when photographing with the camera body held vertically I lose the status bar in the viewfinder if I rotate the camera naturally, but this may be due to me being left-handed.

John Lau , June 25, 1998; 09:56 P.M.

I have the 500N, EF 50/1.8, EF 50-200/3.5-4.5, SIGMA 28/1.8, EX380, and the 60E3 remote control. I can live with the minor inconvenience of the button layout, and enjoy the price function weight the 500n gives me. None of the 'weakness' said is major for a regular user and the camera is not designed for a pro anyway. My whole family enjoyed the extra sharp and contrasty picture because of good focussing and sharp lens. I have a FE2 and the DOF is useful only in very bright situations. I recommend this camera to any beginner who has decided on a Canon.

Steve Pfaff , July 21, 1998; 01:05 P.M.

I am a large format photographer and dont often use 35mm cameras. But, I used to have a Leica R model in case I needed something small, portable and quick. When I found out about the Rebel G, which is even smaller and lighter, I did a direct comparison between the Leica, with a 60mm 2.8 lens, and the Canon, with the 50mm 1.4. I found the Canon lens to be sharper, though the Leica had more contrast (It has been shown that a picture with more contrast often appears sharper, even if its not). The difference, however, was so small that Im not sure I could tell the difference from a random selection of slides. In short, I sold the Leica. I almost never take the Rebel off the P mode. Since this mode allows the use of Canons wonderful program shift feature (this allows the photographer to scroll through all the possible combinations of aperture and shutter speed, that the cameras light meter thinks are correct, in a second or two). If you dont think the light meter is going to be right, set exposure compensation or have the camera automatically bracket exposures. If you are a decisive moment type photographer, this is the camera for you. Its light and easy to carry, focuses in a snap and is ready to shoot at a moments notice. And you can customize your shutter speed, or depth of field, with the camera to your eye in a second or two. I often use the plastic 28 to 80mm lens that came with the camera, because it so light and focuses so fast. Its adequate for most things. The 28 to 105mm is sharper (and focuses just as fast), but its heavier and larger. Other lenses I can rent, as necessary. Hey try this, Rebel G owners! Find a store that rents the Big White L teles, put one on a tripod and stick your Rebel on the end of it. These are amazing lenses and youll be amazed at what your little bargain camera can do. The 70-200mm f2.8 L, in particular, produces slides that have a presence that, while common in large format, is rarely seen in 35mm.

Ben Groot , August 04, 1998; 03:43 P.M.

I bought the Rebel G (500N) about 2 months ago and have been quite pleased with the results I have been able to achieve (see http://cpsc.ucalgary.ca/~ben). I purchased it as a starting SLR and have found it is capable of everything necessary. I have to agree though that the little thumb dance required to change aperture values can be annoying at times. I would have to say that if you have the money, go for the Elan II (EOS-50) simply to get the thumb wheel, plus the leave-the-leader option on mid-roll rewind is a bonus. If money is short or the weight/size is important to you by all means get the Rebel it is a fully functional camera that will get some of your best pictures because you won't mind to carry it.

Dave Jenkins , August 12, 1998; 09:00 A.M.

I'm a corporate/advertising/editorial photographer of some 25 years standing. I've done an award winning book, and I also do weddings in the photojournalistic style. I've used the Canon EOS system since 1993 (after giving Nikon a year's trial), and have an EOS-1, two A2s, and a 10s, plus 12 lenses (all Canon).

So what am I doing with a Rebel G?

My real love is the decisive moment, revelation of human nature type of photography practiced so beautifully by people such as Cartier-Bresson, Elliot Erwitt, Robert Doisneau, Andre Kertesz and B.A. King. But, while I'm successful in my profession, I'm not very good at this one kind of photography that is most significant to me. I have a Canon P rangefinder camera, a Leica III-C, and an Olympus SPn, a fine little rangefinder with program or aperture preferred auto exposure. I try to always carry one of these with me. I believe in my heart that it's better to learn to read the light with my eyes so that setting exposure becomes automatic, and to learn to zone focus so that all I have to do is raise the camera and shoot; but in practice I flub it. I get a few shots I like, but not many.

I recently read the book "On Being A Photographer" by David Hurn and Bill Jay. Hurn is a very distinguished photojournalist, and a member of Magnum, the great photographer's cooperative group. In the book, he mentioned that he had always used Leicas, but because his eyes are no longer what they used to be (he is about 64), he has switched to the EOS Rebel because it is the lightest and quietest of the autofocus SLRs.


So I bought a Rebel G body and hung my 50mm f1.8 on it. It is everything I hoped for--the perfect "walking-around" camera. It is small, light, and unobtrusive. And quiet. I think it actually makes less noise than my Leica. Phil says it is best as a backup body loaded with color neg or TMax 400 CN and used in aperture priority mode. OK. That's pretty much what I was looking for, and it is great. I'm now attempting shots I wouldn't have attempted before, and making shots I wouldn't have made before.

Another thing Hurn pointed out that I am finding to be true: at any kind of public event there are so many people using cameras of this type nowadays that if you avoid looking like a "photographer" hardly anyone will notice you. That's wonderful! Imagine the camera itself making you invisible and anonymous!

Doug Tanner , November 26, 1998; 11:07 P.M.

The Canon Rebel G body does everything I expect it to do and the EF 75-300 USM when using a solid tripod and RS60-E3 (bulb) allows me to get very good shots. The real test came when I had the original 35-80 lens mounted and a shot came up that would not wait I had to put trust in the cheap but not too cheezy outfit with no time to mess with settings and composition I grabbed the shots, the camera has good intuition. I might buy other EOS bodies and lenses but this is a good starter to build around.

richard silfverberg , December 03, 1998; 11:50 A.M.

oh, and if you're looking into getting the tripod grip for the Rebel G - consider the BP-8 instead. i does not have the annoying tabletop tripod.

Hung Luong , December 17, 1998; 01:42 A.M.

I bought the Rebel G abput a year ago. I was really amazed (my first roll) on how clear and sharp the pictures are (thats in auto mode) Now I'm playing a bit more and have upgraded my lens to Canon 28-135 IS USM. One photogrpher that llok @ my pictures though I was using a tripod. I told him about the image stabilizer and he was really amazed! I suggest that when u buy this camera buy the body only and get a USM or better lens.

Philip Floraday , January 04, 1999; 12:59 P.M.

I would just like to say that the Rebel G is a decent body for beginers. I bought mine in June of 98 and I mostly love it. It is incredibly lightweight and still has the important features of the high end Canon models, the P, AV, TV, and M modes. These4 settings are all you really need in a beginers camera. I bought this camera specifically for my backpacking trip this summer and it was perfect for backpaking. I have several professional photographers as friends and they have all had the same basic reaction to this camera "wow what a great lightweight body.."

I personally didn't even know that a depth of field preview existed when I bought this body so I don't miss it. Plus the Rebel G is incredibly cheap for all the stuff it can do. It even has E-TTL features when used with the 380 EX flash. That is one thing that the EOS 5 can't do that this body can.

B. Kumar , January 13, 1999; 06:41 P.M.

I have owned Rebel G body with canon 28-80 lens for about 2 years (the very first week it was available). I fully agree with your review - for some one with glasses it is very hard to see in the viewfinder and read tiny prints at the bottom, some of the buttons are awkward to press while looking in viewfinder, built-in flash is almost useless, and lack of depth of field preview is a major drawback. The aperture priority mode gives good results - other modes seems OK. But then when I baught it nearly 2 years ago- there was nothing better in its price range. With a hindsight, elan -2 body or N70 (Nikon) should have been a better choice for getting the value for money. I suppose someone who can afford - that is the way to go. No one buys camera every year - so why try to cut the corners.

I am going to buy 380EX flash soon, and that should resolve one of the major problem with this camera.

George Bielinski , January 15, 1999; 07:33 A.M.

I think that 500n is a very good body for a beginner, like myself. "You get what you pay for" and for someone on a budget (especially a beginner) it is one of the best bodies availiable. Even on a fully automatic mode no compact camera comes close, and this is important when you ask someone (who has no idea about photography) to take your picture with your camera. Maybe one day when I decide that 500n isn't enough I will move one step up, but at the moment I am very happy with my 500n. And did I mention that lightwieght body?

Mahlon Lovett , January 18, 1999; 04:49 P.M.

I brought a Rebel G because I was unhappy with the fact that exposure bracketing on the Nikon N70 switches off after EVERY sequence. (When I want to shoot with bracketing I prefer that bracketing mode stay ON, thank you!) Another favorite feature (Wish my Nikon N60 had it!) is that in manual mode I can touch the exposure lock button, which takes a ''spot'' reading, and then thoughtfully, looking at the top of the camera, shift the exposure setting up or down from ''normal.'' Unfortunately, the camera forgets the reading and goes back to sleep after 4- 5 seconds of inactivity but usually that's enough time to make the desired setting. I still use both systems, Nikon and Canon, but would recommend the Rebel G to anyone who asked me about it. Its light weight makes it a dream to travel with, and the exposure system seem very reliable.

Ronald David Boutwell , January 26, 1999; 02:53 A.M.

I have not owned a NEW SLR for years. I purchased a Canon T50 back in 1986. Believe it or not, I used it and the Albinar Macro Zoom lens until about a month ago. The lens eventually failed. I purchased the Rebel G Kit along with a telephoto lens. I love this thing. I haven't taken a truly bad shot yet. I am planning a 2 week walking tour of Northern Thailand in May and plan to take the Rebel G with me. Judging from the ease with which I have taken a dozen or more flawless rolls of shots thus far with the rebel G, I think this years Thailand trip will yield remarkable memories on film.

Mark Soho , January 30, 1999; 09:06 P.M.

I just got a Rebel G/QD for christmas with a Sigma 28-80mm f3.5-5.6, and I thoroughly enjoy it. At first I was a bit intimidated by the lcd and all the buttons, I had a Canon AE-1 (1976)before, but after one or two rolls I got quite used to the controls and find that it shoots with exceptional quality. I only wish I could have more than 1-2 frames per second, I like doing action series, and maybe if I could find an underwater case.

Bent Are Iversen , February 05, 1999; 06:45 P.M.

I think the 500n is a very good body to beginners with no or little experience. I bought mine about 8 months ago, when I was new to photography, and I must say that the 500n was very easy to get to grips with. Some comments on the camera:

  • The meter is by some reason not very accurate in Av and Tv modes, but very very accurate in P mode. I don't know why, but in Av/Tv mode it often underexposes. In P it's almost always right.
  • The camera has very good ergonomics, but it's not very solid. Mine has seen very hard use (80 rolls in 1/2 year) and the plastic is starting to crack here and there. Be nice to it.
  • If you have the 500n, get the 50/1.8! This is an excellent, small, light and budget-friendly combination. The 50/1.8 is so sharp! Camera dealers should offer this as a 'starters pack' instead of offering it with slow and not-so-good 28-80s. AF is actually very fast, although noisy.
  • Also, get the BP8. It greatly increases the handling comfort, plus it adds weight making it more stable.
  • AF is much faster and more accurate if you use only one AF point.
  • The internal flash is not very good. If you need a cheap and good flash, get the compact and intelligent 220EX, which is made for the 500n.
  • Who needs maglite when you got AF assist light?
I'll keep mine until it falls apart, and then I will probably get a new one...

Cait Hunter , February 15, 1999; 04:26 P.M.

I'm a relative novice when it comes to photography, and recieved a Cannon Rebel G for Christmas of '97. Since then, I've used it on two continents and four countries, and have been terrifically happy with my results. While I'm less interested in the technical side of things (I don't care _why_ my photos look like they do, as long as I can figure out how I did it...), the different modes have let me learn at my own pace, without worrying about trying to learn what all the assorted terms mean, and how to adjust the relavent settings at once! I'm not a professional, and never will be, but as an enthusiastic amateur, I love this camera.

steve pearson , February 17, 1999; 05:28 A.M.

I have owned (and still own) all types of cameras. From a Pentax Spotmatic, a Rolleicord TLR, a Canon T70 and two Nikon F3s. Six months ago I bought an EOS500N with 38 flash and it is the only camera I now use - every day - professionally. I have a 28-105 lens and do nearly everything in 'P' mode. Who not? That's what it is for. Sure it has its little failings, but show me ANY piece of fine machinery that SOMEONE doesn't have SOME gripe with. I'm rapt!!

Michael Tierney , March 02, 1999; 08:22 A.M.

I've just bought a 500N and think its a great camera for beginners. It mightn't be as ergonomic as the other more expensive cameras like the Eos 5 but I really wouldn't know. What I do know is that it gives the beginner a great means to experiment with full manual photography as well as fully automatic settings when too much care isn't required. The viewfinder is pretty dark though and I have found it hard to focus in darker situations, but that aside I wouldn't really get carried away by the fact that there is DOF preview etc etc... if your a beginner I believe you should be learning the hard way in the first place.

I had doubts about purchasing this camera after reading some reports on some web pages but I have no regrets about buying the camera after seeing the results. The one downside to the package I bought is the 28-80 lens that came as standard (In Northern Ireland)... really dark and pretty crap really.

William Duggleby , March 08, 1999; 10:04 A.M.

My present Canon Rebel X (the version without a built-in flash), is my fourth 35 mm camera. The first, a Voigtlander Vitessa, was a camera to learn the basics on. The second, a Canon IV-S-2, was a range-finder camera for serious use. (The Canon was a Japanese knock-off on the Leica 3F, just as the Nikon was a knock-off on the Contax.)

When it came time for me to buy a light weight, quiet camera for backpacking, I bought an Olympus OM-1MD (but without the motor drive). This tradition lives on in the Rebel. As a Colin Fletcher accolyte, I believe that, in backpacking at least, weight (NOT image) is everything. (A quiet shutter helps with moose and elk.) The usual lens (35-80, f/4.5-5.6) is an OK lens. It will do until the right thing comes along (along with the money). On occasion, I use my daughter's telephoto (a Vivitar).

So I don't have a depth-of-field preview; I don't pretend to be Ansel Adams. I can use the Automatic Depth of Field mode (called A-DEP on the dial). Just focus in on the closest distance, punch it in, focus on the farthest distance (say infinity), punch it in, and shoot. The camera sets up at the hyperfocal distance. Of course, you might have to use a tripod and a SLOW shutter speed, but you should have thought of that in the first place! And the field being viewed remains bright as day, with the iris diaphragm wide open.

I take almost nothing but landscapes, so I don't need a flash. The Canon Speedlight units are better than the built-in anyway (and there's always a Nikon unit, as mentioned earlier). The only accessory I have is a remote release to cut down on shake with the shutter release. To me, this is more important than a mirror lock-up (which WOULD be nice, though.)

I still use my OM-1MD (it's a little jewel) to carry either some big glass or for B/W film (like Ilford's chromogenic film). And I plan to let my granddaughter use the Canon IV- S2. Those old rangefinders were built like a truck; all you have to do is keep them clean. And she'll get my Weston Master II light meter. Talk about a tool that takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'. Whoops, showing my age.

Thanks you for an excellent RESOURCE.

William Duggleby

Aaron Weaver , March 15, 1999; 01:37 A.M.

I have the Rebel II, the standard Rebel kit lens which is a 35-80mm 4-5.6, a Canon 300EZ Speedlite and also the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8. I used the Rebel kit and the 300EZ while I was on my Junior Year Abroad in Spain and I only had the 35-80 lens for the entire time. While I grant that the Rebel Kit is not the top of the line nor does it have the best lens, it did everything that I demanded of it. I started out with an old Kodak Hawkeye Instamatic 126 format camera and then worked my way up to a Kodak S100 point and shoot. Then I was given a Canon AT-1 with the standard Canon 50mm f/1.8 for Christmas one year and used it for 4.5 years until it finally just wore out. I learned the basics of photography and when I bought the Rebel II kit, I did a test run with two rolls of slide film when I first bought it. While I realize that my Rebel II is older than the Rebel G, I found that even with the most finicky and most narrow exposure latitude slide film, the exposures were always right on. If anything, I have had better photos since I started using this camera than when I was using a fully manual one. As for the quality of lenses, my only gripes with the lenses are that the inexpensive zooms are very slow and are not as easy to manually focus as the prime lenses of Canon. However, I have found that it is only under extremely low light that the autofocus will not work, but nothing different than when I used my Canon AT-1. The only other gripes that I have had are that most of the inexpensive Canon lenses have no depth of field scales which I often need in my landscape work, but sometimes i can use the Auto-DEP function instead. However, in low light it is often difficult if not impossible to use that feature. Another gripe is that there is not place for a cable release for bulb exposures. I do have a Kalimar K-90 which is fully manual and mechanical for the times when when I don't want to deal with some of the limitiations. On the whole, I think that even with the low end Canon set up of mine I take excellent photos. It is not the price of the features of your equipment that matter, it is how you use what you have. When I was starting out in photography, I used old or very basic cameras and I still took better photos than some photographers with top of the line equipment.

To boil this all down, even the most basic camera and least expensive lens can still be put to good photographic use. It may not be the best solution, but sometimes it is not the equipment that snags the shot, but the knowledge and technique of the photographer that matters. My Canon Rebel II will remain in my location bag so long as it continues to work. In that time I may have other bodies or other camera systems, but I know what I can do from experience, and the automation of the exposure and focus only helps reduce the time it takes for me to grab a shot, but i never totally rely on it. I just use it as a base point to go from.

Michael Mee , March 18, 1999; 02:38 A.M.

When I first read this page almost a year ago I was mostly a beginner trying to find a camera to go backpacking in Europe with. With some trepidation from Philip's comments, I nonetheless purchased a Rebel G body and splurged on the then-new EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens. The size and weight of the body was the clincher for me - especially since the lens dwarfs the body in both respects!

After spending 4 months travelling with it (and still a beginner :->), I'm hard pressed to think of a better solution (though I'd love a smaller lens with the same capabilities!). I used mostly Fuji Velvia slide film and even with the lens' image stabilization capabilities had to worry about slow exposures -- but the resulting higher quality images make up for the minor hassles this entailed. Key to this was a high quality "tabletop tripod" as the lens weight makes standard plastic tripods unuseable since the tripod pivot point can't support the weight of the lens dangling so far from the attachment point.

Getting back on topic (the camera): the lack of aperture preview was a hassle for a beginner like me with slow film so I just guessed a lot, used fill flash a lot and it mostly worked out ok. Being a nerd beginner I never liked the "green" P&S setting but found that "P" was a great choice and soon got used to spinning the wheel to get my desired aperture/shutter speed combo and triggering the tiny buttons to dial in over/under exposure.

Battery life was good. With generous fill-flash use (say 1/5 roll) and occaisionally leaving the camera on overnight I still got about 12 rolls (36 exp) on my first set, and replacements were readily available anywhere (print) film was. Mid roll rewinding was a hassle since the camera doesn't leave the leader out (or I couldn't work out how without the manual). Doing this was foiled anyway by the slide processing lab that sliced a couple of images in half due to my mid-point roll change before they noticed it (newbie mistake not to mark the processing envelope when I dropped it off). Dropping the camera once or twice (about 1 foot) didn't obviously harm it, though I think the lens took the brunt of the fall (I still cringe to think about this). I didn't have a 'proper' camera case either, but it seemed happy living in separated portion of my back/waistpack (water, dust & dirt protection but no padding).

The ultimate worth was demonstrated to me when after the first 4 months we started walking long distance trails in England. Mindful of the weight, I left the SLR behind and took a Ricoh GR1 (28mm fixed) which is tiny. But, even with the dramatically higher bulk, weight and hassle factor (it was a wet couple of months) it would have entailed, I wish I'd taken the Rebel+lens. The Ricoh is an awesome tiny camera which took beautiful slides and was incredibly convenient to carry and pull out at a moment's notice, but there were many many shots where I just wanted to zoom in and frame something just so, or get the foreshortened view 135mm provides, or just take a simple portrait shot without being right in someone's face.

Anyhow - all this is to say, I really liked the Rebel G body with the 28-135mm IS lens. It seems strange to have a $500 lens on a $250 body, but it worked for me and I have a set of images I really like as a result (highlights taken with this equipment at http://pobox.com/~mikemee if you're interested).

Barry Pehlman , April 12, 1999; 09:19 P.M.

One comment that Philip made concerning the Canon PC adaptor available for $32.00. I bought the Rebel G as a studio backup camera to my 1N. I needed a PC connector on the Rebel that was safe to take a high voltage flash without damaging the circuits. I called Canon about the situation and they said that their PC device was simply a hot shoe/PC adaptor. It was not designed for the Rebel or even the 1N. They gave me the phone numbers of Wein and Lumedyne for a PC device to safely bring the voltage down to 6, the max for either AF camera. Lumedyne's PC adaptor was rated at 11.5 volts so I ended up calling up Adorama after reading a brief description in their catalog on the 6 volt Wein Safe Synch ($37.50). The unit I received didn't have a model number on it, but Adorama put a #990-550 designation on the shipping invoice. The problem is that the directions said it was a 11.5 volt model. I found out today through an article in the May 1999 Pop Photo that Wein has updated this model for Canon AF SLRs to the 6 volt version. The only way for me to tell the actual voltage was on the packaging. The unit I received will be returned.

So be forewarned. Some of the older Vivitar 283 models put out over 200 volts, enough to destroy either the Rebel or the 1N. Most studio strobes can be just as high. Get the correct Wein Safe Synch (6 volts). Read James Bailey's article on page 60.

cindy Ginter , April 27, 1999; 11:01 A.M.

I have a minolta SRT 201, it is all manual and heavy as a brick to carry around. I picked up a rebel and almost fell over, a decent SLR that I feel like dragging to Hawaii with me. Most of the time I will use my old Minolta in my pottery studio to create decent slides of my work. So think about price and ease and you have yourself a bargain!

walt morton , May 03, 1999; 05:34 P.M.

I currently own a Rebel G and I bought it for one feature: light weight. After hiking to the top of several mountains in Jackson Hole, Wyo. with a Nikon F4 around my neck like an albatross, I was ready to trade it in for something MUCH lighter. The rebel G is much easier to run around with. I would advise any beginner to consider getting an older camera with MORE manual features instead of digital pre-sets, since that is a great inexpensive way to begin, and the more I use cameras with complicated digital feature sets, the less I like them.

Richard Christie , May 25, 1999; 09:05 P.M.

I bought my 500N two years after my EOS 50 purely on the grounds of reduced weight for multi-day hikes. In this regard it has served me well, giving pretty much the same image quality I am used to. I find its partial-metering exposure lock to be quite convenient. However, even with non-FTM lenses on the 50 I prefer to focus with the button on the rear of the body (CF4=1) most of the time, and miss this on the 500N. Such deficiencies I can live with. That said, I would not recommend this body to anyone for whom weight is not a major issue. I find the film advance to be somewhat erratic with gaps between frames inconsistent compared with the 50. Worse, it has quite bad mirror slap and no function for mirror pre-fire, so using it with a long-tele is probably a bad idea. Equally bad is the darkness of the viewfinder, making manual focussing rather hit and miss. The quality of the viewfinder, mirror, shutter and film transport of the EOS50 is far better than the 500N, however, it is a pity the rest of the body is only marginally better constructed. I'm keeping both of them.

Ryan Peterman , May 26, 1999; 02:18 A.M.

As a newbi last year I was using a crappy 35 p&s. It broke, surprise, and I started shopping. I had always been told that the system was one of the best. Now a year latter I cannot remember what really pushed me over the edge, but the salesperson helped. She showed me he pics of the cammera and compared them to the minolta. It was a big diference. I also liked the idea of cannon being a "knowen" name. I bought it improto. It came with the 28-80 the mini tripod and "pistial grip". the grip was excelent to help learn to use the small buttons. Overall I have decided to go more pro, I will be going up to a much better body and lens. It was and still is the best body to learn on. I have taken some lessons on av priority ect, so on full manuall or av priority whatever, it is great to play with.

I give it high ratings. With a tripod, it is a good backup body, something to play with and learn on.

Aung Kyaw-Myint , June 11, 1999; 08:54 A.M.

My parents got me a Rebel G for my 17th birthday and I love it. It was my first SLR camera and well, that Rebel G, my photography books and my best friend taught me everything I know today about photography. Sure, the camera is not perfect and we wish we could change a few things about it but for the price I paid, i think it's an extremely good deal. I recently bought an EOS A2E but i still carry my Rebel with me everywhere I go. Personally, I think the Rebel G makes a great camera for beginners who want to discover the beauties of photography and Canon cameras. and even if you upgrade your equipment like I did, it makes a great backup body to have around.

Aung Kyaw-Myint

George McGinn , June 23, 1999; 07:49 P.M.

I've been a photojournalist for 20+ years, and up until now I have shot mostly Pentax, Olympus and Nikon manual focus. I decided two weeks ago to buy an autofocus. So, I looked at what my peers were using - Canon & Nikons costing 1000's of dollars with Sigma and Tamron lenses.

Remembering a word from an AP photographer a long long time ago about equipment, I decided to buy the Rebel G and save the $1,000 and buy a really good piece of glass for it. I still shoot for the wire services and stock, and these last two weeks you could not tell what camera body I was using.

His comment was - who cares what you use and what you look like --- with a good lens and the appropriate skills, then end result is all that counts.

If the body has all the features that you need, then buy it. The Rebel does have it's place (and it takes the same lenes as the EOS-3).

Bennett Sheehy , June 28, 1999; 04:42 P.M.

I started out with an old Ricoh XR-7, but bought a Rebel G kit when i decided to try an autofocus camera. I was astounded at how much lighter the Rebel G was. It takes good snapshots, but I still use the Ricoh for more serious work. I'm also annoyed by the lack of a standard cable release socket, pc socket and DOF preview lever.

Overall, it's far better than any P&S I've used.

Henry Gonzalez , June 30, 1999; 02:32 A.M.

I purchased the Rebel G in August of 1998, in preparation for the birth of my first child. I reasoned that I could frame stills of her much easier than I could force someone to sit in front of the television to see video of her cooing and whatnot. I chose this camera in spite of some concerns I had from reading this review, primarily because Phil in other sections of this fantastic web site recommends not obsessing over the body, but to put money into the lenses. I purchased the 28-105 USM, replacing my cheeseball 35-80 that came in the kit. I can only say that this investment was the biggest mistake of my life!!! I am now hooked. I don't have any plans ot go pro, but I will forever be viewing the world around me in terms of Shutter Speed and Aperture Value. My bank account will never be the same, there are just too many goodies in the EOS line to run out of some new "necessity" and the Rebel G offers an inexpensive gateway to this wonderful albeit expensive world. This is the perfect beginners' camera. I have used a couple of other bodies since purchasing my rebel, and will readily admit that it can be somewhat cumbersome in comparison, I find that it is not unduly so. The prints that I have gotten back of my daughter, as well as other subjects have been sharp, and decidedly better than anything I have gotten from any P & S I've ever owned. Also, I have come to use P or Av almost exclusively, I watched what the camera chose in the different Auto Modes, took note of the results, and tried to duplicate them in the "Creative" modes. The bottom line. I truly beleive that the intuitiveness of this camera actually "taught" me the basics of exposure.

By The Way, I just read the brochure for the new Rebel 2000. Guess what? The new Rebel comes with DOF preview button, as well as 35 zone metering using E-TTL, or six zone metering using A-TTL. Also new in the Rebel 2000 is that it has seven focusing points giving you more options when turned vertically,however still no glowing focus points on the viewfinder, you still have to rely on the data display in the viewer. You can get the BP200 which gives a verticle grip with a second shutter release just like it's older cousins. Looks like Canon is getting serious about the Rebel. My dilema now is should I dump my Rebel G and invest in the new 2000, or should I upgrade to an Elan II or better? Hmmm... time will tell, and so will my now anemic bank account.

Eric Pollmann , July 02, 1999; 06:14 P.M.

I came into Wolf Camera set on an Elan IIE. Surprisingly, (and fortunately for my bank account) the store rep talked me out of it and into a Rebel G. Then, at the last minute, I took a look at the Rebel 2000. While only $20 more, it was smaller, lighter, more focus zones, and the clincher - DOF preview.

The interface that is touted as 'difficult' above is one of the main reasons I bought the Canon. When the camera is in full manual mode, both aperature and shutter can be easily controlled with the right hand without altering grip, and settings are bright and visible in the viewfinder. Admittedly, those buttons would be nicer if they were a bit bigger, but otherwise, I found the thing outright friendly to use.

From my perspective as a beginner, this is a great beginner's camera.

Chris Talbot , August 11, 1999; 04:16 A.M.

I think the consumers have spoken, hmmm?

I have owned my 500N for three days. It is my first SLR. I have shot approx. 70 exposures so far. They all turned out acceptably, some even brilliantly, except for when I did something stupid (close-up bulb exposure of a flower at night with no flash in windy conditions, ahem).

I love this camera...

Ima Newboy , August 14, 1999; 07:36 P.M.

Well, I took the plunge and bought the Rebel G kit with the 35-80 lens refurbished from an auction site before I ran across this great page. I'm still waiting to get the first roll back so I can only post regarding impressions of the camera features, but I'm sure if the prints are as sharp as some posts above suggest they will be, I'll have to declare this purchase an unqualified success.

I was drawn to this particular model first because of the Canon name and because I've had recommendations from two friends [much more serious phtographers than I am] that Canon was a very good choice at most of the low-to-middle-of-the-range price points. The prices I saw online for the "G" / 500N were US$60 - 80 below store prices and this struck me as a good bargain. And the fact that the 500N body was an established model, three or four years in manufacture was also a reassurance.

The thing that finally clinched it for me was the specs on the Canon web site. Particularly the weight and the availablity of lenses.

I've owned one SLR previously, a Pentax SF-10 with a Takumar 28-80 autozoom. What a beast! I've not actually weighed it, but that combo must weigh at least 4 pounds. Plently heavy stuffed into a backpack and excruciating for more than 10 or 15 minutes on the neck strap. My new Canon Rebel "G" with the 35-80 lens weighs about a pound and a half and, while any camera will get to your neck if worn long enough, the weight is tolerable for much longer. Add to that the fact that Canon is a much smaller camera and can actually fit into a pocket on most of my jackets; not so with the old Pentax.

Not to belabour this point, but the Canon G mounted on a small Velbon DF-10ML tripod STILL weighs less than the Pentax brick. With this new combo I would have taken a lot more shots while on previous vacations -- don't underestimate the downside of an unneccesarily heavy camera and lens!

A word about the controls -- despite some mixed reviews above, I'd say that they provide a good bridge between absolute beginner and experienced user. For people just getting started, the "Programmed Image Control Zone" on one end of the dial will give anyone about as much flexibility you'd want. For folks like me with a little more experience, the layout of the controls may be a little confusing or cumbersome at first, but the documentation with this body is quite good and the controls quickly become second nature. Much simpler than say, swithching from a Macintosh to a Windows system or vice versa.

The hardest part for me was learning to work the shutter with my middle finger. After reading the other comments, I realized that this was (for me) the best way to go -- manipulate the main wheel with my index finger while keeping my eye to the lens and snap with the middle finger. I have big hands but fairly slender fingers, but the gnurling on the wheel is coarse enough even for someone with sausage fingers.

The other big bright spot was the availablity of and compatibility with the range of Canon EF lenses. My next investment will probably be a higher power zoom like the 80-200 or 75-300. The way I see this is that if you invest in some serious lenses they will also be compatible with other, more professional bodies in the Canon line, and the "G" will make a decent backup body.

I have only a few small beefs with this rig: 1) The hot shoe doesn't come with a plastic cap and thus the contacts are exposed. [Woulda cost Canon, what, 30 cents?] 2) The 35-80 lens requires a hood-and-adaptor set-up that attaches to the lens with a screw and then must be unscrewed to use the built-in flash, though reversing the hood as for storage might be okay -- I don't have this part yet, but will try it.

So as not to end on a negative note, I'd want to add that not only is this camera very quiet, it is also stable. When you click the shutter, you feel almost no torque which seems promising for longer exposures without a tripod and for longer zooms.

All in all, I'd say I'm very pleased so far. I hope that Rebel G proves sufficently durable to keep around for many years.

[Now for the plug -- I got this configuration (Rebel "G" with 35-80 lens) from www.dealdeal.com for US$279 plus tax and shipping. They seem to have a fairly regular listing of these Canon bodies, lenses and kits. As mentioned, my rig was reconditioned, and of course you don't always know what that means. But sometimes it means nothing more than that the piece was a returned item tested and repackaged. If "reconditioned" or "auction site" scare you, look elsewhere, but DealDeal did get the correct item to me intact and in a timely manner via UPS]

James Casey , August 19, 1999; 02:36 A.M.

After deciding to get more serious into photography earlier in the summer, I replaced the old hand-me-down manual Canon I was using for the Rebel 2000 (EOS 300), and since then I've been more than pleased with the results.

First of all the Rebel has the greatest feature for a poor college student such as myself: price. After doing a bit of research and a lot of playing around, the Rebel 2000 definatly gives you the most bang for your buck.

There are a few things that bugged me, though:

1) I wish I hadn't've bought the kit. The 28-80 II is one cheap lens- If I wanted a lower end zoom I would have gotten a Sigma or Tamron that is much more solid feeling than the Canon lens. I ended up buying the Canon 50/1.8, while it is just as cheap in construction as the 28-80 II, but the benifits of the inexpensive fast lens far outweighs the drawbacks- I keep it mounted on my camera 98% of the time.

2) The Rebel is light and compact, a little too much so for my huge hands. This was easily fixed with the bp-200 battery pack and vertical grip, which I love. The camera fits into my hands perfectly now, the 4 AA batteries gives the perfect center of gravity, and the shutter in the grip is great for snapping vertical shots or getting very low to the ground.

The interface on the Rebel is excellant, in my opinion. If you have doubts, try explaining the features of the Nikon N-70 to a true beginner, and the Rebel becomes a whole lot easier. Yes, a wheel on the back for aperture would be great, but I have no trouble pressing the aperture button and rolling the wheel in full manual, even in dark conditions, and the functions are simple enough to learn and remember when you need it.

Overall, I believe that the Rebel 2000 is an excellant camera for a beginner- especially since Canon upgraded from the Rebel G. The 2000 focuses faster, its metering system is much more elaborate, and the DOF preview at times is a great help. Beginners can experiance the full benifits of the EOS line without the price, and it's still simple enough to learn the basics of photography without being overwealmed.


Mark Huang , August 20, 1999; 06:23 P.M.

I have something to say about the light-weight and cheap Rebel G body. yes, I like the light weight and the price, those were the reasons I bought it 2 years ago. However, after two years of light use (about 50 rolls), and especially after I used some heavier lenses (such as Canon 75-300 USM), I found a crack on the plastic body just under the lens release button. Yes, the plastic lens mount is OK but the plastic body behind the mount is broken. Although it won't affect the use now, I have bought a new EOS-5 and found it much stronger than the Taiwan made Rebel G. Actually I have considered buying the new Rebel 2000, but the durability is my concern.

For now I am not sure about the same plastic EOS-5 body, maybe the alloy Nikon body is better. However, you get what you paid for, right?

Timothy Breihan , August 21, 1999; 03:55 P.M.

I suppose the fact that the Rebel G is the largest selling SLR in history (or so a store clerk told me) speaks of its merit, but I truly hate this camera. I don't own any Canon gear to date, but have shot with Rebel Gs as well as Elans A2s and a 1n, and the G has the worst user interface of them all. This is in contrast to the wonderful user interface of the Elan II, which is so easy to figure out that one only has to open the user's manual for the custom functions. My biggest complaint with the Rebel G, however, is the shoddiness of its construction. It is the only all plastic Canon, and, if you change lenses a lot, the bayonet will quickly wear down. Granted, most Rebel G buyers will never take the standard 28-80 les off of the body, but a plastic lensmount just seems wrong to me. I personally find the Elan II to be the best Canon currently on the market in a price to performance comparison.

Paulo Bizarro , September 09, 1999; 06:49 A.M.

I have been using EOS for 9 years, and having used probably most of the EOS bodies that have been in the market (1000, 100, 50, 630, 5, 1N), I can only praise the new 300. I am a petroleum geologist currently involved in several projects worldwide, and I needed a camera that was: 1. Light and easy to use (I have a 1N, but it is not a good choice to throw into a backpack or shoulder bag); 2. Reliable, with the basic functions. The 300 was the obvious choice to me. I have also bought the kit, but as soon as I could I have dumped the 28-80 lens and traded it for the 28-135 IS zoom. By all means, the 28-80 is optically an excellent lens and it served me right for a couple of slide rolls, but I needed a lens to use where no tripods were allowed. For instance, to photograph inside the Museum of Anthropology, or the Diego Rivera's Murals, both in Mexico City. I also concur on the BP-200's usefulness, it works like a charm. There is a reason why Canon have called the EOS range a "System", because it truly is developed with the same underlining philosophy. I have no doubts the 300 will sell like crazy, as the EOS 1000 did in 1990, and the EOS 500 more recently.

John Clark , October 08, 1999; 09:04 A.M.

I own a 1000Fn which preceded the 500 (which in turn preceded the 500n). Anyway, this camera has served me well in the 6 years I have owned it. I bought it at around the time the 500 was released, but chose it over the 500 due to discounts and so forth. It's proved to be a very capable camera and I can't fault the interface. (In fact, I love the command dial - I recently upgraded, and was considering the 5, 3 and 1n. I chose the 5 due to being the only one that has the command dial, which I feel is great if you are like me and want a bit of consistency in your gear; another compelling reason to avoid the 1n and 3 was the noticably louder film transport - the 5 is *deadly* silent and very quick with it).

My biggest two faults with the 1000Fn were the transport speed & noise (it's a loud bugger) and its timid AF (compared to the newer bodies). Looking back, I miss having the CF button (as I'm a CF4 fan and always find myself pressing the spot where it would be had Canon incorporated it into the 1000Fn). The plastic lensmount has seen plenty use, but I believe it to be in perfect condition - I doubt that my lenses are heavy enough to wear it- my heaviest is the 28-70/2.8L, and the 1000Fn has no problems with that).

I use the 1000Fn as my 'black 'n white' camera - it almost always has a roll of FP4+ loaded - and I tend to keep my EF50/1.8 mkII in permanent residence on this body.

Despite being tempted by the thought of buying a 3 to retire the 1000Fn, I do still like its compact & light build, the built-in flash (works well with the 50/1.8 & FP4+) and the fact that its metering has rarely failed me in all these years. I'll probably end up giving it to my girlfriend or sister & getting a 3 or whatever replaces the 1n, but that's probably a wee bit off).

Verdict: a capable little camera, if a bit noisy & dated.

V Beck , October 28, 1999; 02:50 P.M.

Many thanks for the excellent efforts. Beginning camera purchasers should be aware that the Rebel G review offered herein is significantly dated, considering the introduction of the upgraded Rebel 2000 many months ago. Potential purchasers may find www.camerareview.com to be a useful (and current) source for comparison of the newer model with the older by consumers.

D.L. Boomershine , December 06, 1999; 08:43 A.M.

In March of 1999 I purchased a Rebel G and a Tamron 28-300lense. The only other 35mm I own is an Argus C-44 purchased in Viet Nam in the early 60's. So I must be considered a beginer again. I like to take photo's of rodeo and concerts,along with wild life. I don't get to take a lot of pictures, but what I do take I want to be good ones. The only bad pictures I've taken with the Rebel G has been MY fault. I find this camera very easy to use, and after 52 roll's I like my choice even better.

Tristan A , December 07, 1999; 12:53 P.M.

I've been using this little fellow rather intensively for over 6 months already and love every moment of it because of its small size. Its appeal lies in the fact that it's different from its bigger brothers yet share most of their features. Although it has non-metal lens mount (which cuts weight and reduces cost), I have not seen the slightest sign of wearing on the lens mount. It still gives the same solid feel even with my other white lenses.

Another camera in this class which has a metal mount is the F60. Nikon is forced to use metal for their cameras because of the small F mount; it's a necessity rather than an added feature. I had been on a look out for a F100 backup, something the 300's equivalent but couldn't be convinced there is one now. Firstly, the F60 is too big for my need. It doesn't serve my call for a smaller SLR, not a big point and shoot. I'm sad my F100 has to do without a companion. I've even considered F90X and F70D, but those were 1994 technology and just too big and heavy with little features that could improve my photography, not to mention they are still expensive for their age in this country. Secondly, 2 things really deter me from buying the F60- the lacked of ISO film speeds overwrite and non-D flash. The D-flash thing is what sells Nikon and the F60 does not have it. So, what's the point of getting the SB-28 or the SB-27 if the camera could not support what the speedlights do (you will need an external flash one day , no matter how powerful that built-in flash is)? Also, forget about doing high speed sync (aka FP flash) with the F60, only F90X and better could do this. I thought only compact cameras do not have manual film speed setting. This means that I could not rate ISO 200 film at ISO 400. A major drawback this is.

Actually the F60 has its edge against the EOS300. It has a higher X-sync speed (1/125 vs 1/90), exposure compensation up to +/-3 stops, diopter correction and is equipped with the most powerful built-in flash in this class of camera. I must also say that the F60 is weightier and bigger (may not be a good point for this class of consumer level SLR). Go ahead with F60 if these help you but bear in mind it still uses the ancient AM200 autofocus module, first appeared in e F4 of 1988 (can you believe this?!!). Autofocus on this body is staggering slow and noisy (by today's standard) when coupled with non-AFS Nikkors. Really disappointing Nikon did nothing about the AF system for 10 yrs. Do I have to add that this camera would not even autofocus with those Nikkors equipped with Silent Wave Motors? So much about using the F60 as a backup camera for the professional or sports photographers!

The list of sorrows don't just end here. Assuming you are a pre-autofocus Nikon user, you would find that your F60 would not meter with your collection of manual Nikkors. My personal feeling is that if you don't intend to buy and use manual focus lenses, Canon would be a better choice now since the main pulling factor for owning Nikon cameras is to utilize the manual lenses. If you are still deciding which is better, only Canon has the DOF preview, which works with less noise than my F100! In addition, all present day EOS bodies are supported with vertical grips, the one for EOS 300 is particularly useful as it has a vertical shuttle release button with dedicated on-off switch and uses AA batteries. I don't think even the more expensive F70 could be fitted with a vertical grip, sad. One last point, the F60 could not be used with a cable release!!! Go figure what it might mean to you. Well, if all the above still don't mean much to you, you might want to know that F60 does not support multiple exposures. In view of this list of shortcomings, can I possibly recommend such a camera as the F60 to a first-timer or for that matter, anybody?

As a point of interest, Canon has the EOS 88 (or EOS 3000) which has three autofocusing points armed with a current AF software (not something a decade ago). This 'lowly' Canon enables ISO film speed override, does multiple exposures, uses all the latest advanced EF lenses (Image Stabilizers included), would take remote cable release and could be fitted with AA battery pack (which improves handling). Best of all, all these for a price lower than the F60. If your budget allows, a little more money and the EOS 300 will be yours. Among the reasons why I couldn't resist the EOS 300 is not just the fact that it is real bang for the buck, it's technology like 35 metering zones, CMOS AF sensors, 7 focusing cells, 1.5 fps, and Depth-of-Field preview. Could any current Nikon SLRs at this price point match the Canon? Try to convince me to think otherwise. Yes, anybody could take excellent pictures with the N60 and N70, but my question is this- Why wouldn't anyone willing to buy an SLR for the price of an N60 get a Canon? With that kind of technology and feature of the Canon, there is absolutely no match in the market today.

So far, my younger brother who knows little about photography had burnt 4x36 prints with this baby and the 28-135IS for his class outing. The pictures all came out nearly perfect, virtually indistinguishable from those L lenses and EOS 3. I personally find the AF performed beyond my expectation. Although the BP-200 adds weight and dimension to the otherwise small camera, it really is useful in providing extra grip space which in my opinion is lacking on the EOS 300.

It's not all praises for the 300 though; there are still room for improvement. When used with flash, it's important to select the relevant focusing cell to obtain optimum exposure instead of lock focus and recompose. In this regard, I really wish Canon could make the focus pt. selector bigger and more accessible. Other small buttons are rarely used. I also wish for a shuttle which goes to 1/4000s for those fast lenses, flash sync to 1/125s and maybe 2fps (Minolta's 505si bettered the EOS 300 in this aspect). Here I must say that Nikon has a viewfinder which to my eyes is easier to see compared with the EOS 300.

All in all, this EOS is a joy to use if you just want to walk the streets without feeling burdened by the camera. It is my opinion that the EOS300 is the best camera for any new comer to SLR photography and at its price, no other modern SLR of any make is as well supported. Go for it even if you already have a Canon SLR, you wouldn't ever regret buying it.

Shourya Ray , December 08, 1999; 09:02 A.M.

a minor correction to Tristan's comments above on the Nikon F60 (N60).

>> This means that I could not rate ISO 200 film at ISO 400. A major drawback this is. [sic]

While the N60 does not have a ISO override feature (which is off course very valuable) you can indeed push film easily. For example, if you have ISO 100 film in the camera but would like to shoot at ISO 400 (push 2 stops), then you simple set the exposure compensation dial to +2 and leave it there for the whole roll. this is the SAME as setting the ISO override to 400. similarly, if you have ISO 200 film that you want to shoot at ISO 400, set the compensation dial to "+1".

Naturally, you have to remember to ask the film processor to push process the roll.

my comments here apply to any camera. if your camera does not have an exposure compensation dial then you will have to manually compensate by increasing your shutter speed by 2 stops or open up the aperture by two stops.

In other words, having a firm grip on the dynamic relationship between 1) Film speed, 2) Aperture setting and 3) Shutter speed is critical to operating a camera (especially ones that don't have simplified buttons to push).

Tristan A , December 08, 1999; 12:49 P.M.

A major correction to Shourya Ray's comment about exposure compensation. By rating an ISO 200 film to ISO 400, we are essentially under-exposing the film. If as he says, to "set the exposure compensation dial to +2 and leave it there for the whole roll. this is the SAME as setting the ISO override to 400". What he would have done is over-exposing the film!!! How could the two processes be possibly the SAME. Isn't he recommending to do the opposite?

Mr Ray later added: "if your camera does not have an exposure compensation dial then you will have to manually compensate by increasing your shutter speed by 2 stops or open up the aperture by two stops". By increasing the shutter speed, it is reducing exposure, but by opening up the aperture, it is increasing exposure. What is he really trying to elucidate? Perhaps I've misinterpreted his message.

Anyway, I'm not somebody who uses the manual ISO overwrite very much. I just feel that installing such a feature on the N60 shouldn't be something very difficult for Nikon to do (I'm not asking for DOF preview which I know is tedious for Nikon considering it would require a mechanical aperture linkage). It's a very basic SLR feature which I think should be found on a consumer body.

NB: Back to the original issue: I'm not exactly sure that EC is the same as setting ISO manually. Can these two functions be used in place of each other? Could someone sort out this confusion please.

Shourya Ray , December 08, 1999; 02:28 P.M.

oops. good catch Tristan. i screwed up my examples. so let me try again:

** To simulate a DX override from ISO 100 to ISO 400, you will have to set the EC (exposure compensation) to "-2". This will effectively, underexpose the film by two stops.

** If you don't have an EC dial, then you can manually REDUCE the shutter speed by two stops or OPEN up the aperture by two stops. Reducing the shutter speed lets in more light. Similarly, opening up the aperture lets in more light.

** On my N60, if I adjust the EC dial by "-1", it actually changes the shutter speed by 1 stop (ex. 1/500 to 1/250). I suspect that in most cameras, changing the EC setting probably changes the shutter speed only. Hence, if you don't have an EC dial or an ISO override button, you can simple slow down your shutter speed to use 100 speed film in low light conditions (but then you have to worry about hand-holding the camera...)

hope this clears up the water (which i inadvertently muddied one post earlier!)

also, a warning that it's very easy to leave the EC compensation dial to -2 (or whatever) and then load a new roll and forget to reset the EC dial to 0.

roy Jackson , January 31, 2000; 06:14 P.M.

Hi I'm totally a beginner and just got the EOS500n. I'm looking on explanation about the usage of the automatic modes that the camera features. In other words - why and when to use the different icons on the command button. Any suggestions about where I can get information about it, or maybe someone knows the answer to my question? Couldn't find any detailed description in Canon's web site. thanks,Roy.

William Vragovic , February 10, 2000; 11:19 P.M.

I purchased a Rebel G with the standard 35-80III lens about five months ago. I bought it as a replacement for my fully manual Yashica FX-3 that was stolen on a trip to Europe this past summer. I've shot a lot of rolls since I recieved it and recently added a Cokin filter system to it. So far I've been really pleased with my results in all of the modes, though I don't like to use the "green box mode" as much since I'm used to doing everything myself. I think that this is a great camera for a beginner who has some access to direction from someone with expiriance in the EOS system. The camera allows you to learn basics of composition in full auto mode and then, as you become more comfortable with the camera, move on to the creative controls. It really is a camera that you can grow with. As for myself, I love the weight of the Rebel. Practically nil compared to my heavy, all metal, FX-3 though I must admit I was dubious at first to the plastic lens mount, it seems to be holding up very well. It is a great walk around camera, providing you with a lot of flexibility and axcess to Canon's great line of EF lenses. I'm going to upgrade my lens pretty soon I think, the lack of a distance scale is starting to get old, and I really want a more versitile flash. This is a great camera for the beginner and it will always have a place in my bag, even if I ever get an EOS 1n, it will make a great back up body, and for the price (I got mine for $330) it can't be beat.

Vadim Makarov , August 19, 2000; 01:42 A.M.

Viewfinder of Canon EOS 500N during partial metering in manual mode

  • Using Partial Metering - contrary to what Philip says, I've been using my Rebel exclusively in manual mode with partial metering (image above is from this page)
  • Using A-DEP Mode - tips on correct use of A-DEP mode for focusing, illustrated with examples of photos
I finally got an EOS 3 and kept my Rebel as a spare body. The primary reason for upgrade was 97% viewfinder, comparing to 90% in the Rebel (I shoot slides and the ability to see the whole composition in the viewfinder is important to me). Secondary reasons included the lack of MLU, inconvenient flash compensation (via changing ISO speed) in the Rebel and the lack of any protection from rain (it was usually getting wet inside and starting to take pictures on its own after being used to photograph rainbows for some time :-).

Scott Davidson , September 21, 2000; 12:46 A.M.

I bought the Canon Rebel G w/ a 35-80mm Canon lens as a kit. It cost about 300.00 plus some shipping. I got the camera around Dec. of 98 and I love this camera. This is my first SLR and I've been in the photography hobby since then. I'll admit, the camera can't go outside in the rain or anything with alot of moisture but I use this camera for shooting lightning photography and have not had one problem. I have the Canon remote control to do the bulb exposure mode and have some good results with it...its hard to get good lightning pictures where there is ligth in the forground..you need total dark to get real good shots. I purchased the Canon Speedlight 540EZ and it works like a dream with this camera. I work in a photoshop and I have a few of my photos displayed in our frames. I have had many pro's mouths drop when I tell them I shot the pictures with a Rebel G....they are used to the Canon EOS Pro series cameras...like the EOS 3 and 1N. Many are Nikon fanatics but they stopped ragging me on my camera after they saw the great results I got from it. This goes to show...the camera is only a quarter of a great picture..it's the photographer's skill and being at the right place at the right time. Read the manual that goes with the camera and the flash (if you get a external Speedlight flash). If you read that and study it...experiment with the features on the camera to know where they are. Its like school or a new job....study it and you will know it better!! I rate this camera a 10 out of 10!!

Howie Wu , January 29, 2001; 10:42 P.M.

I disagree with the author's comments about the GR-80TP grip. This grip is useless and it is NOT cheap -- it costs about 20-30 dollars. The tripod is not able to support the Rebel G with any lens longer or heavier than the 35-80 zoomy. Unlike other grips/power boosters, this grip doesn't integrate with the camera body very well, it looks cheap and flimsy, it is just horribe, I would not recommend it to anyone.

The camera is OK, but I would choose the Rebel 2000 in a heartbeat for the depth-of-field preview alone.


Jon Thompson , May 15, 2001; 04:00 P.M.

After 3-4 years of very moderate use, My Rebel G malfunctioned in the middle of an important architectural session. Upon loading film, about 10 frames are wound onto the take-up spool, then the camera shuts down. Removing and replacing the battery gets the camera going again, but at the 10th or so frame. The local Canon repair shop here in San Antonio, TX, thinks it is an electronic film tension sensor. Repair price: $100-$150. Although the shop said the Rebel G in general did not have a repair history problem, I think the camera's light weight relegates it to light use. I do some lens switching and am also worried about the plastic lens threads. I am now shopping for a sturdier Elan II or Eos 7 so I can keep my Eos gear. It's a perennial truth that we each discover on our own: spend the extra money on a better camera ( and lens ) and you save money in the not-so-long run.

Daniel Sayre , July 12, 2001; 05:26 P.M.

On a recent trip I had a slight accident with my Rebel G... I dropped it out of my pack onto hard gravel and it promptly rolled and bounced down a steep rocky slope for about 60 feet to stop just short of falling into a river.

Not only was I able to recover the film but after some cleaning I found it worked to perfection. I used it for the rest of the trip and shot perhaps 8 more rolls with no problems. If nothing else this is a pretty tough little camera!


Quang-Tuan Luong , July 18, 2001; 01:34 A.M.

I have a Rebel 2000, which I think isn't functionally that different from the G (more focussing points and metering segments, E-TTL, DOF button). Although I own more than $20000 of gear, I did not hesitate to use it as my only 35mm camera and meter for more than two cumulated weeks of wilderness travel in Alaska. I don't see any reason why one cannot expose properly slide film in this camera. The metering options and displays are quite adequate once you learn how to use them, the main limitation being having 1/2 stops instead of 1/3.

Orlando Andico , April 07, 2002; 11:21 P.M.

The EP-EX15 eyepiece extender does help increase eye relief and prevents nose-rubbing. Also useful for eyeglass users like me. Unfortunately, it gets even harder to see the entire viewfinder frame (hard enough without the EP-EX15). And worst of all, the EP-EX15 has a 0.5X magnification, so on a typical 0.7X body the overall magnification becomes 0.35X which is insufficient for manual focusing on the matte screen.

Joe Sereno , March 09, 2005; 01:43 P.M.

I purchased my Rebel G not really having researched what it was that I was looking for. I decided on the Rebel G for the price (US $150). It was only the body. After reading all the above comments I realize that I messed up with the lens. I got a $95 Quantaray 28-90mm which coincidentally doesn?t have the distance scale either, although I haven't found much need for it. As one comment read, the lack thereof forces me to think about the result of the aperture I choose. That is certainly working for me because by now I can mentally see what result the chosen aperture will give me. The flash that wont pop up when a dedicated unit is on the hot shoe is also not an issue. Once again Quantaray came to the rescue with a twin flash, bounce, swivel, motorized zoom flash for US $150. You may set it to full auto TTL, full manual, or remote/slave(you can have the unit 20ft away from the camera and it will fire automatically in sync with the built in flash. This is also great since the body does not have a PC socket. Also the dual flash reflectors allow you to use the bounce while the sub-reflector serves as the unpoppable built in flash. I speak of this flash because I have found that it enhanced the Rebel G tremendously and makes up for most of its shortcomings when it comes to lighting. I have shot baptisms, birthday parties, etc., and the results are superb! I love this camera. I have not found the controls difficult to operate at all. Here?s a tip I didn?t see anybody mention. If you're trying to shoot full manual, choose Aperture priority, choose an aperture, then switch the program dial to full Manual. Now just adjust the shutter speed. The aperture will remain the same as you chose while you had the program dial in Aperture Priority. The only downfall for me is that half the time I forget to use one of the camera's many features, which would have improved the print had I remembered to use them. Overall I am very pleased with the camera. I'm sure there's some full time pros out there smirking, thinking "what a fool". And perhaps you're right. I just think that the G deserves much more credit than it's been getting. Yes, there are higher end models with fancy shmancy features that the Rebel may not incorporate, but all in all, I'd say 85% of time, this little rascal asks nothing of the EOS's or Elans ;-)

Matthew L. Leach , March 04, 2006; 11:31 A.M.

I've bought a Rebel G for ?40 ($60) along with the standard 28-80 lens and a couple of bits and bobs. It's been great - I can't afford much gear, and everything I've taken on it has been pretty impressive compared to cameras I've owned before. Yes, the buttons are a mite fiddly if you're using gloves out in the cold, but it's not much of a problem most of the time.

Would definitely recommend to others.

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