Canon EOS 630 - Another Historic Canon Camera

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by jdm_von_weinberg, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. Canon EOS 630

    April 1989

    Kadlubek Nr. CAN 1310

    This is actually a continuation of a series of posts I have been making on historic EOS film cameras.

    1. EOS 650
    2. EOS 620
    3. EOS 630 this post here on modern film cameras
    4. EOS-1
    5. EOS 10S
    6. EOS 700
    7. EOS 5 =A2e
    8. EOS-3
    Earlier, the only home for such a place was on the Canon EOS forum, where I have to say, I was made quite welcome, even by the digital shooters. However, now that there is this forum, I am continuing here.

    The Canon EOS 630 was the fifth EOS camera
    Release date Model (US) Model (Europe/International) Model (Japan)
    Mar-87 EOS 650 EOS 650 EOS 650
    May-87 EOS 620 EOS 620 EOS 620
    Oct-88 EOS 750 EOS 750 EOS 750
    Oct-88 EOS 850 EOS 850 EOS 850
    Apr-89 EOS 630 EOS 600 EOS 630 QD
    Canon says it pretty much on their museum site ( )

    This camera is a notch above the EOS 620 with faster AF speed. Like the EOS 620, the 630 QD has autobracketing up to ±5 stops (1/2-stop increments), maximum of 9 multiple exposures, 6-zone evaluative metering, and 6.5% partial metering at the center.

    In the AI Servo AF mode, the maximum shooting speed is 2.5 fps. In the One-Shot AF mode, the maximum is 5 fps. The body came in black or metallic gray. The price was the same for both colors.​

    Specific data on the specifications are listed at ( ).

    Actually, somewhere or other, I had run across some fairly superlative description of what a great leap forward the EOS 630 was, Intoxicated by this heavy miasma, I got a 630 on eBay for the sort of usual price of these older EOS cameras. These things typically run in the tens of dollars; this particular example in exception condition was US $20.16 plus postage for the body. It had the nice Quartz Date E interchangeable back that worked on many of the early EOS cameras. In this case, the battery for it had died, so the pictures below show no date stamp.

    It's not that I was disappointed in this camera, exactly, but from a shooting view point, it is really a rather incremental improvement on the EOS 620. I used with a series of different older and newer EOS EF lenses, and frankly did not see the increase in focus speed claimed, but for my kind of shooting even the EOS 650 was adequate, so this was no problem.
    Although I had shot about a half a roll of film (Walgreens [probably Fuji] 200) with in a day or so of getting it, various things interposed themselves so getting through the last of the roll took me until now. Hence, the widely different enviroments in the pictures.
  2. Here's an ad for the camera, with Canon's contemporary hype/information:
  3. Here's my copy of the camera with the anachronistic EF 24-105mm IS L lens on it. I also shot it with a EF 50mm F/1.8 ii, a EF 35mm f/2, and a Tamron 90mm Macro.
  4. Here with the EF 50mm f/1.8 mk ii,
  5. The next day, we had a nice, but minor snow, when places to the south were in terrible straits
  6. I was setting up to do a little preparation for a later classic manual post, so I tried the EOS 630 for some soft tent work
  7. Then there are the questions, if you're more than a little, well, crazy, about "chemtrails" as shown here, Inimicable forces of evil, or just condensation up high?
  8. That's all, folks.
    Any of these early Canon EOS film cameras are still serviceable film backup cameras and can now be bought for no more than a pizza dinner. The can be used manually, and so are an alternative to old Pentaxes for learners who want to have the choice of the hard way or the easy way.
  9. I have one of these as well. Got it for next to nothing on Ebay. It is not a bad camera. Very solid build quality, and fairly easy to use. It is very easy to do multiple exposures with, something I enjoy doing from time to time. However, the AF is very much first generation, and quite inaccurate. Since I got the camera, it has puzzled me that you have made an effort to give the user a fast frame rate (you can chew through a roll of film in 7 seconds), coupled with an AF system that does not stand a chance to keep up with it.
    With that being said, if you are currently a Canon dslr shooter, and wants to see what film is all about, the 600/630 is not a bad choice, especially given the low price.
    Multiple exposure, done on Kodak Ektar 100
    Photo of my EOS 600
  10. Thanks JDM. I've had my eye on one of these on KEH since I don't own a film EOS. I like the lines a lot - strikingly clean in a very late-80s / early 90s industrial sort of way. Only reason I haven't snapped it up yet is because it costs all of $17 - I refuse to pay more for shipping and handling than the camera itself! Will have to throw it into my shopping cart the next time I buy something from KEH.
    Thanks also for the ad. Reminds me of when I was in 8th grade in boarding school. We had post-dinner "prep-hours" when you had to go to class to do your homework etc. I'd leave class to go to the library and look through back issues of National Geographic for the camera ads - the earliest version of camera porn. I still remember the EOS 1 and Pentax Super M ads like they were yesterday. 20 years later and I do the same thing - I slip out of meetings at the office saying "I should get these documents ready" and instead spend time looking at camera porn...
  11. I remember when the early EOS came out. I would hang out at the camera store ogling the things, occasionally I'd get to handle one, try out the autofocus... Man, I really wanted one (I was young), but my T90 was still pretty new and I couldn't possibly justify such a thing.
    In recent years, remembering my youthful lust for that model, I searched it out on the 'net. I gotta say I was disappointed; viewing photos of my old lust stirred nothing inside me, and so I forgot about it.
    Then I read some articles on night photography, astrophotography, and other long-exposure work. Seems this model is one of the few EOS that doesn't run the battery down when you hold the shutter open for long periods. Being an impressionable twit, and thinking long-exposure photography was just the thing for me, I bought myself a 630. The thing that struck me most forcefully was the sense that this camera felt just like the T90, my all-time favorite camera.
    So, like a fool, I bought a few more, picked up a gunmetal grey 600 (should have said Mattel on the front instead of Canon) and several EOS RT. Those models are like potato chips; you can't have just one. And they're going CHEAP. Of course, being over 20 years old, they all needed service that cost more than purchasing the camera in the first place.
    A couple of years ago I submitted a user review of this camera to
  12. Les, long exposure aperture priority mode is pretty much restricted by the meter's EV response. Looking at my trusty Gossen Luna SBC, I see that 30 seconds at f/2.8 with ISO 100 film is EV -2. The manual says the meter is sensitive down to -0.5.
    And frankly, with longer exposures than that, you're running up against your film's reciprocity boundary, and since each film is different, compensation must be calculated differently for each one. Meaning AE beyond even 10 seconds is risking improper exposure, depending on the film installed.
  13. I haven't got batteries in most of them, since I keep them with the batteries out, but on everything I've got 'live' it does seem to have the 30 sec max when Tv is selected.
    At , if you go to the posting for each model, every one of the film and digital EOS cameras that I looked at had a shutter speed range that started at 30 sec, from the EOS 650 to the EOS 1n. I think all the digital bodies share this low speed, too.
    Of course, the buLb setting allows longer exposures. On the EOS 630, the manual says:
    Use the bulb mode for exposures longer than 30 seconds like astro or night photography.
    1. Set the shooting mode to "M" following the steps on p. 15.
    2. Turn the electronic input dial until "buLb"(next to 30") displays.
    3. Set the aperture value by turning the electronic input dial while pressing the manual aperture set button or display panel illumination button.

    • The camera requires relatively little power in the bulb mode saving battery usage.
    • Bulb operation time displays by a series of three bars and numbers from 1 to 30. Each bar mark indicates 30 seconds. Maximum exposure time display is 120 seconds. (three bars and 30).
    • Bulb cannot be used with auto exposure bracketing.
    • Use the Technical Back E to control the exposure time within a period of 23 hrs. 59 mins. 59 secs. (available optionally)​
    On the EOS 3 film camera, for another example showing how little things have changed, it works like this
    • When the bulb exposure starts, the frame counter on the LCD panel counts the
    elapsed exposure time from 1 to 30 seconds. After every 30 seconds, one
    segment ( ) on the exposure compensation scale appears and the frame
    counter resets to 1. Therefore, if three segments are displayed and the frame
    counter reads “30,” it means 120 seconds have elapsed.
    • Bulb exposures consume almost no battery power.
    • To connect a remote controller (Remote Switch 60T3, etc.) to the camera, use
    Remote Switch Adapter RA-N3.​
    On digital cameras, you press the display button to see elapsed time on bulb exposures. Of course, there's not reciprocity problem as such on the digital, but noise does increase and instructions are given the manual on how to reduce the effect.
  14. A favourite camera for many years; excellent post, JDM. I love the "minor snow" pic. Here's my copy with it's favourite lens.
  15. The 630 was the earliest AF camera I liked. I had a 650 as well, and found the 630 a definite improvement. Still pretty primitive by today's standards. What it lacks though, is the quick flash sync of the earlier 620. Not sure why they went backwards on that. Reliability perhaps.
    A common issue with the 6xx series and a few later bodies is the "creeping black plague" on the shutter blades. I cleaned more than a few of those over the years. Another occasional problem is drastically shortened battery life brought on by a component failure related to the LCD. Other than those conditions, these cameras might live on for many decades more.
  16. Another great, interesting read, JDM. Learning more about the earlier AF cameras is fascinating, since they were the start of all that we take for granted today. Thanks for a great post!
  17. Good informational post with interesting pictures. I remember well the introduction of the first EOS cameras. I didn't trust them. Thought they were amateur toys. Auto focus...a joke! It took me till the mid 1990's to see the light but I was still angry about the change away from FD. I got over it....eventually.
  18. I have this camera, and it fits my hand like a glove! However, the 2CR5 batteries are expensive and I don't know if Canon ever made a grip accepting cheaper AA batteries.
    In very hot climate (like the Rajasthan desert of India in summer), the rubber baffles around the shutter disintegrate and the goo gets into the blades. I have lost a few shots that way because the shutter doesn't open fully once this happens.
  19. Addendum: I have posted the manual for the Quartz Date Back E for this camera and the earlier 650 and 620 cameras at
  20. Jim Strutz mentioned "drastically shortened battery life brought on by a component failure related to the LCD." I believe this is the result of the failed backlight placing a steady drain on the battery. An internet search should provide instructions on how to clip the wires that feed the backlight. I found this easy to do and losing the backlight is not a game-changer for me. The LCD still works.
    I have a real affection for the 630. I gave mine very heavy professional use for several years. Like any camera, you had to learn its quirks, but it was solid as rock and absolutely trustworthy.
  21. Much later addendum for those who find this in a search:
    The "Top Cameras of 1990" list entry for the 630 from Modern Photography December 1989:
    84 k pdf file
  22. A bit late here. I shoot with a Canon 6D DSLR (and Leica Monochrom) and thought about getting back into film. $23 at KEH bought me an EOS 630 listed in EX condition, which I should have in a few days.
    I can see myself having a lot of fun with this and the 35/2 IS and 85/1.8. I doubt I'll use my zooms on it.
  23. That brings back memories of the family camera shop. By the time the 630 came out I already was building a Maxxum system for myself. I remember trying out the 620 when we first got them. Great results. And great to have links to earlier EOS posts.

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