Canon EOS 10s - another historic Canon camera

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by jdm_von_weinberg, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. The Canon EOS 10s (merely EOS 10 outside the USA) was introduced in March, 1990, at the same time as the EOS 700 which I reported on earlier (link). Two lenses were also introduced at the same time, the EF 35-135mm f/4-5.6 and a singleton in the EF lineup, the EF 30-80mm f/4-5.6 PZ - PZ stands for "power zoom". I'll come back to the latter lens later. Other accounts of this camera are found at link, for just one example.

    The 10s was normally supplied with the EF 35-135mm f/4-5.6 USM, although mine came with the EF 35-80mm PZ (Power Zoom) lens that was more usually the "kit" lens on the 700. The 35-80 PZ is a little hard to find, so it was more the "object of my desire" in this case than the camera it was being sold with. In any case, since I had already covered the 700 model, I went ahead and shot the test roll for this camera using the lens I got with it.

    The major innovation in the EOS 10 was the development of the Multi-BASIS AF sensor. In the 10, this had three focusing points, hence the "multi-basis". One-Shot AF and predictive AI Servo AF are available. The camera in the Full Auto mode also detects whether the subject is still or moving from the Multi-BASIS points and automatically set the AF mode. The focusing points could be selected automatically or manually.

    Another featured addition was the built-in bar scanner, yes, bar scanner. A booklet of bar codes was provided to automatically set up the camera for different kinds of shots. The was during the George Walker Bush presidency, during which the President was supposedly amazed by the existence of bar scanners (but see link). I remember bar scanners for personal computers during this period that would scan in code for programs (in Applesoft Basic as I recall).
    There are, of course, still scanners in every shop nearly; but this did not turn out to be a major addition to camera technology, although apparently some current Blackberry type cameras may scan in bar codes, but not for picture control. I don't have the bar code book, so I don't know how it works. At least it doesn't seem to respond to my box of corn flakes. The 10s was supposed to be one of the smartest cameras up to its time, but I don't think it was that smart. Then again, who knows what the cereal and the camera are up behind my back? Some examples of the codes at (link) included such things as "Wedding with candlelight"

    Like the 700, the camera has a built-in flash and the two cameras are similar in appearance as the second picture below shows.

    The 10s was considerably more complex in its capabilities, while remaining very easy to use. It was received with acclaim, winning both the Japanese Grand Prix for 1990-1991 and the European Camera of the Year for 1990-1991.

    In terms of specifications, the EOS 10s has a fixed eye-level pentaprism with 92% coverage. Various view screens were available for it. It has a vertical-travel, focal-plane electronic shutter with speeds from 30 sec. to 1/4000 sec., B. X-sync at 1/125 sec. Film advance was 5 fps, still very respectable.

    There is also a built-in interval timer for intervals from 1 sec. to 23 hr. 59 min. 59 sec. for frames 2 to 36. This is a feature I didn't try out for this report, but I will definitely use at some point for a series of some kind, maybe the same scene over the course of a day or some such. Cool.

    Unlike the EOS 700, but like modern higher-end EOS digital cameras, there is an LCD panel that displays the settings in use.
    The viewfinder display shows the AF points, shutter speed, aperture setting, and a number of other indications.

    Like so many of the earlier EOS cameras this used a 6 V 2CR5 lithium battery. The camera has a mass of 625g

    There is also a camera shake warning. Eh? I turned it off and set the custom function to take pictures even if the shutter speed was too "slow". Standing there pushing the shutter release while the camera tells me it's too dark or too slow or too shaky to take a picture is too much like a "Nanny camera" for me. I want it to do what I want. No Nikon F ever told me when I couldn't take a picture, by golly, no matter how stupid it thought I was. (Am I guilty of personification here?) A puzzlement to me is that there seem to be two ways to turn off the camera-shake alarm - through the custom function 14 and also with the "electronic input" dial. I just turned as much of it off as I could. At least one "shake" warning is based on the inverse of the focal length of the lens rule.

    There's really a quite diverse set of "Shooting Modes" on the command dial:
    1. Manual
    2. Camera-shake Alert
    3. Depth-of-Field AE
    4. Aperture-Priority AE
    5. Shutter-Priority AE
    6. P
    7. L (off)
    8. "Green zone" full automatic programmed - the green rectangle still with us

    Programmed Image Control (P.I.C.)
    9. Portrait
    10, Landscape
    11. Close-up
    12. Sports

    13. the Bar code mode.

    Selection of these is via a command dial with the usual EOS symbols we still have for the most part. The oddity for me was that to turn the dial off "Off" (cunningly disguised as a red L, as it was in those days), you had to push down a central button. I don't remember encountering this before, but perhaps it is on many of the EOS cameras I've never handled. There's a warning in the manual not to turn the command dial without first pushing the button.

    Another shooting mode is Flash AE (A-TTL or TTL program flash AE with built-in flash).

    There was also a August, 1991, special commemorative model of the 10s to commemorate Canon selling 60 million cameras worldwide, Both it and its 'normal' EF 35-135mm lens were outfitted in a silver finish instead of the usual black (link). They sold together for 140,000 yen, the same price as for the black camera and lens a year earlier (the advertised price for a regular model out of New York in 1994 was mostly CALL, but some retailers listed it at $290, and the lens was another $270).

    This was a limited edition that also came with a numbered "gold" medal. How limited, I do not know, but from one serial number reported there may have been as few as a 1000 or as many as 9999, given a four-digit number with leading zeros.
  2. Lenses
    As indicated, the EF 35-135mm f/4-5.6 lens was released together with the Canon EOS 10s and is listed by Canon at their museum site (link) as being the 'normal lens' for the camera.
    The lens I got with the 10s however was the EF35-85mm f/4-5.6 PZ. This is unique in the Canon EOS family of lenses in having a power zoom. But that's all, so to speak. There are two buttons on the lens to zoom long (marked with a single tree) and nearer the body a button for wide (marked with three smaller trees). There are no other manul controls on the lens whatsoever. All focus, aperture settings and so on are set by the camera. Moreover, on the EOS 700 it was sold with, there's no way to tell what the aperture or focal length are. This is a SLR point and shoot lens. Just AE and the infocus dot display in the 700 viewfinder. Since that's generally true for the EOS 700, I realize I should have indicated that more clearly in my earlier report on that camera.
    However, on the EOS 10s the aperture on the 35-80 PZ can be set manually from the camera in Av mode and so forth. There is absolutely no way that I can see to tell what focal length you have chosen with the buttons. You just compose and shoot. I don't have a contemporary US price for the 35-80mm PZ but the Canon listing is 26,000 yen, so this was not an expensive alternative, quite the opposite.
    However, the 35-80mm PZ has a significant place in EF lens history. Here it is -- it's the first EF lens with a completely PLASTIC mount, Oh, the humanity! Quelle fromage! The picture below shows this horror, oh, the horror. This is the direct ancestor of the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 in terms of the mount and in terms of APS-C it would have been a 20-50mm lens, so it fills the same niche for film cameras.

  3. So it was probably not nice to shoot the 10s with the 35-80mm PZ, or at least arguably not making the most of the camera. All the same, it's the lens that led me to get the camera which I would otherwise probably overlooked -- which would have been a mistake, as I now acknowledge.
    So anyhow, here are the first pictures.

    On the left is the "Red October" theater department red flags, I still don't know why they are flying red flags, Eh.
    On the right is a view of the imaginatively named Communication Building with some of its satellite links.
  4. On the top is one of the very fine residence halls (not to be confused with "dormitories") There are a bunch of these with very nice rooms on a peninsula jutting into the campus lake. In front of it on what has become a rather "greasy" lawn are some Southern Illinois Geese (they used to be Canada Geese, but have taken up full-time residence).
    The bottom picture shows the Home Economics Building (actually it does now have a name). My department offices used to be in the basement there in my early years at the university. It's a very nice International style building like the dorm, er, residence hall. I like Bauhaus, as you could tell.
  5. The last group of pictures is a sort of medley of the campus.
    On the upper left is a statue of not the founder, but the beloved leader who took a small teacher'c college and built it into the second research university in the state: Delyte Morris. The library did have a name-- Delyte Morris Library so named when he was still the serving president of the university. Other things were also named after him. I have a guess why his statue is cut off at the knees, but that's another story,
    On the upper right, is a window in the administration building. The bricks show off the 35-80mm pretty well, I think. The building is called Susan B. Anthony Hall - it was originally a women's residence on the old center campus. Another older building was named after Governor Altgeld was one of the Altgeld Castles (link) at Illinois universities. Both Anthony and Altgeld were fairly progressive and controversial in the time when. Hm.

    The lower left picture is simply a closeup with the 35-80mm PZ of some flowers. The campus is beautifully landscaped over all with lots of gardens, woods, lakes and so on.
    Finally, the lower right picture is a picture of our coal-burning power plant. The campus is a pioneer in trying to find clean coal technology and has a large coal program, appropriate in an are where the coal mines are a major economic force. President Morris had very strong feelings about the university serving the region while simultaneously fulfilling a research function.

  6. As the box in the first picture suggested, I shot up some 2003 Elite Chrome 200 for these shots and scanned them in.
    That's all, folks. Next up will be the Canon EOS 3. After that I'm thinking of maybe a more general historic post about EOS cameras and lenses, but that may not be until fall since I'm off to visit my daughter in school in Vancouver, BC, for a while.
  7. Hi JDM,
    Attached is a picture of my EOS 10, one of the commemorative examples (this one nr. NL 120) of 1991. The gold medal is shown, as well as the bar code booklet you have mentioned.
    Nice review,
    Best regards from Holland,
  8. The commemorative one is nice looking, isn't it?
    Thanks for posting it.
  9. And one more funny thing, it's remote transmitter, the RC-1 is still in use, 19 years later, on my EOS 550D!
  10. Hmm. I have an RC-5 remote for an XTi. If I get motivated sometime, I'll get a new battery for it and see if it works with the 10s. According to some sources it will work. :)
  11. My first EOS was the 10S I bought in Dallas, TX -- May 1990.
    The lens was something like the 28-70 variable aperture. I bought a backup 10S a couple years latwer with a slightly better lens -- the 28-80 or something? My kit was stolen 10 years ago; one of the 10S bodies though did survive.
    My surviving 10S is now a film backup to my EOS 3. Nice posts JDM -- again!
  12. I think the 10/10S is a notable EOS camera for a number of reasons. It introduced a load of firsts, as mentioned above. The multiple focus points, infrared remote and sprocketless drives were groundbreaking or very early features. It was unique for using a kind of infrared vane system (like an old mechanical mouse) for counting sprocket holes, which meant it had precise infrared beam frame counting but didn't fog Kodak HIE and EIR film. It could also hold its shutter open without draining battery power, like the earlier 600 series cameras.
    But I think it's most notable today for being the first camera to establish the body shape of basically every major SLR released since. The icon dial, the popup flash, the rounded body shape... It basically looks like a contemporary digital EOS SLR, only with no back screen and fewer buttons.
  13. Incidentally, the 10 is the only film camera I really use these days. The main drawbacks are the lack of a rear control dial, its modest autofocus speed and sensitivity, and the fact that it annoyingly forgets shutter speed and/or aperture settings when you change dial positions.
  14. It's also fairly loud in use - particularly so as it was soon joined on the markey by the 100/Elan, which was close to silent.
    The barcode book shows sample scenes. You choose the appropriate one, scan the code, and place the scanner against the receiver to upload the program. Up to 5 different settings can be used, overriding the PIC modes. The scanner and one book came with the 10/10s, another book of codes was available separately, and this setup could also be used on the 100/Elan.
    The camera shake warning uses the focus sensors to detect actual camera shake, whereas similar indicators in other cameras simply used the 1/focal length rule. I mentioned the other day that the QD version is unique in that it prints from the body side, rather than the back - this allegedly gives a cleaner result (I've never actually used it on mine!) and means there's no pressure plate cut-out, thus making it safe for IR film.
    I've not used mine for some years, yet I always loved using it (albeit not in manual mode, given the lack of rear whel) as it felt so solid and reliable.
  15. Oh, another unique feature - a built-in intervalometer. That was kind of cool. You could even combine the intervalometer with the multiple exposure feature, to get multiple shots on the same frame.
    The barcode system used ordinary Interleaved 2 of 5 barcodes, and essentially encoded basic camera settings. (which exposure mode, drive mode, autofocus mode, etc) It was, in hindsight, an utterly stupid idea, as you'd have to carry around the barcode reader and the booklet. Better off just using P mode or learning how to actually use the camera.
  16. I've have a 10s ... love the camera. It has sooo many great features. I wish there was a digital version.
  17. Another great historical write-up, JDM. I've learned a lot from these, especially since my earliest EOS days began with the A2. I've recently picked up a couple of older EOS bodies, the 650 and 10S (although I sold the 650) and find that I like using the 10S a lot. It's really a nice camera that deserves the accolades that have been heaped on it.
  18. I found one of my original 10S lenses in my closet -- it's a mostly broken EF 28-80 USM 3.5-5.6. I remember 16 years ago I like that lens a lot -- uses the 58mm filter.
  19. Thank you for this history but Canon has had a Canon Museum web site for years addressing cameras, lenses, etc.
  20. Yes, Brian, and there are links above to that site and others.
  21. I have the EOS 10qd version. I originally got it because it can be used for IR film. I assumed that it had some sort of mechanical counter for sprocket holes, but close inspection indicates there is none. There is a couple of rollers that can possibly be used for film placement. I tested this by using 35mm unperforated microfilm. I had to punch one hole in the leader to engage the take up reel. The camera loaded the film correctly and advanced as normal….all with no sprocket holes. After developing the film, the frame spacing seems perfect. I do not think this camera counts sprocket holes at all. It figures it out from either a roller measuring film passing through the film gate or the motor in the takeup reel keeps track of revolutions. I’d say the first though as the motor theory wouldn’t work well for different film thicknesses. This is a happy revelation for me since I have a lot of microfilm and my other clunky attempts to modify cameras for the unperforated film have been less than satisfactory.

Share This Page