Thursday, 7 March 2013

Review - Canon EOS 50e 35mm SLR

If you have a Canon EOS DSLR then it makes perfect sense to pick up a 35mm SLR to play around with.

Most of your lenses will work (more about that later) and you'll find it familiar to use.   The 50e is really cheap at the moment, you should be able to get one for less than 15 pounds easily.  That's 400 pounds less than it was in 1996! (It was called the Elan IIe in the US)

The 50e is has all the automatic and manual modes that the DSLRs have today and they work in exactly the same way.  All the symbols are the same too, so as long as you know Canon, you'll find it really easy.
If you don't know the Canon cameras, then it's easy to pick up a manual for the 50e online (see here).

Loading the film is automatic, just make sure the leader reaches the orange line, and the whole film transport is motorised.  The unit uses a 2CR5 battery, which will last ok as long as you don't overuse the flash.

At the end you can set the camera to rewind the film so that the leader is still there which is useful if you do your own processing. (Set custom function 2, CM02, to '1')
But the best feature is the eye controlled focussing.   Many of the more expensive Canon models at this time had this feature and surprisingly it actually works.  In the viewfinder there are three boxes which, when you depress the shutter button halfway, will set the focus to the one you are looking at.  Magic!  It works better if you calibrate it first, the manual says it's accuracy improves over time.  Most people dismiss this feature on the 50e because there are just three focus points (rather than the seven on the later Canon EOS 30).  However the 50e has another trick that the 30 can't do.

After you've chosen the focus point, keep the shutter button half depressed and look at the small rhombus in the top left of the viewfinder.  This engages the depth of field preview.   I can't think of how many times i've never bothered to check this before taking a shot, this feature makes it second nature.

And remember...over 400 pounds in 1996. ($=£, 1:1 in the nineties)

Worst feature - Short battery life with flash (just 18 rolls!)
Best feature - Eye Controlled DoF preview.

Rowenta Street, Bolton - Taken using a Canon EOS 50e with Tamaron 55-200mm lens.  Feb 2013

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