First film SLR

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by levon_monte, May 30, 2010.

  1. I've had a rebel xti for a few years now and am a pro-amateur doing portraits and exhibits here and there. I want to take a photography class in the fall, i've never taken one. I'd like to take a film class and go from there to learn the inner workings of photography with the dark room and all that film entails. I came across an article that named Canon's Elan 7 as one of the best film cameras. I researched it and it seems like a economical choice, I'm on a tight budget.

    My question is this: I'm considering the Elan 7 with an EF 28-90mm f/4-5.6 III lens. The body seems great and the lens decent enough. I can get both for around $120 total, which is my price range. Anybody in here have this body or lens for opinions?

    I'd love to get the EF 24-85, but it's too expensive, and I read the EF 35-80mm is the worst lens in the EOS line-up ever offered. For the money is there another lens and/or body I should consider? Something in the $150 price range? I know the 50mm f/1.8 is a great cheap lens, but i'm looking for something with focal range for walking around with, not a prime. Any advice is appreciated! -Levon
  2. Hi:
    I own an EOS-30 + 24-85 combo, which I got for about $300 used back in 2005. I do find the camera have a very nice balance and runs very quietly for both film winding and rewinding. Being a long time EOS user (since 1991) , I do not find anything placed at awkward position and everything is just where you suppose to find it. However, I cannot tell whether you'll find it familiar with the layout of the Digital rebel, but I suppose the family affiliation of EOS is better than other brand. I'm still a film user.
    As a side note, I do own 'the original' 35-80 came as a kit with my EOS-1000F (the original rebe!). I also use a 28-90 before. I find that the 35-80 is slightly better than the 28-90. The 28-90 is just too soft even when viewing at the 4x6 print. I think I might be the only one you can find on the net who tell you this :)
  3. The Elan 7 series are great little cameras for the money, but hardly qualify as "one of the best film cameras." I'd call out a T90, 1V, F5, F6, FM3A, M6 and at least a dozen other models before invoking the humble Elan 7. You'll find Elan7 AF a bit pokey and quirky compared to your XTi. However, you'll love the larger VF and QCD. Probably make you want to upgrade the XTi to a XXD series later...
    The EF 28-80 and 28-90 are among Canon's worse lenses. Are all the lenses you currently own all EF-s? Any EF lenses (but not EF-s) will work fine on the Elan. If you must buy a kit zoom, the EF 28-105 3.5-4.5 USM is a much better choice and a bit cheaper than the equally good EF 24-85 3.5-4.5 USM. If you really wanna go retro, flip for a niffy 50 and zoom with your friggen feet.
    My old Elan 7E review:
  4. Thanks Huang. Do you find your camera suffers in low light? I was turned off by reading a review a few minutes ago that said it's poor AF in low light and it doesn't have an AF assist light, just the flash. The Elan II has an AF assist light, making me lean more towards that body. I don't want my subjects getting strobe flashed for the camera to focus. I'm thinking the Elan II with the 28-90 might be the way to go.
  5. Puppy face, I only own the canon EF-S 18-55. I need an EF lens for this camera. I know the 28-80 and 28-90 are crap, I guess I should plan on spending a little more for the 28-105 or 24-85. I found some on ebay for $140, and elan II's for about $30. As you can see, i'm not going for BEST film camera, but best for around $150 with lens. Now I just need to decide if i go for the 24-85 or 28-105 II lens. i'm leaning toward the latter, the 24-85 has strong barrel distortion according to
  6. I'm with Peter. 7e + 28-105/3.5-4.5 (mind you, not the 4-5.6 version) will make a great combo and will serve you well on your rebel as well. Also consider the 50/1.8. Great little lens for a song.
    Happy shooting,
  7. " I read the EF 35-80mm is the worst lens in the EOS line-up ever offered."

    That was one of my first lenses when I switched from Nikon to Canon. IMHO actually this lens took some pretty decent pictures if I can remember... The range, compact size, weight and semi-macro features, made it a pleasure to use for snap-shots and general walk-around photography .

    This lens however, was made from all plastic(cheap plastic at that) including the mounting ring. The construction is even worse than the construction on the 50mm f 1.8. The main problem with this lens in my opinion, was that you could not override the AF, doing this would cause the AF on the lens to shut down for an indefinate period of time.

    You might consider purchasing the 28-105mm 3.5/4.5 which IS a little bit above your range, but does have AF override, is more solidly built, has semi-macro capabilties, has a better range, takes fantastic pictures for the price, and it is definately worth it.

    Thanks for mentioning the 35-80mm lens by the way, I was about to dump in the trash can when I decided to see if it still works, and by Golly it still does after 10 years !
  8. Don't forget other expenses like batteries and filmrolls...
  9. I actually just grabbed my Elan 7 yesterday (borrowing from a relative). I normally shoot with a 20D but miss the days of film and not thinking too much about the shot after I've taken it. I also love the surprise of "wow, I forgot I even took that" when I get film developed. And I've just found myself spending too much time wanting to immediately pp all my digital shots.
    Anyway, the 7e works beutifully with my EF lenses and I especially like that my 17-40mm is actually a wide angle lens! Wohoo.
    If the 7 was taken care of it's a nice little camera. In terms of Lenses... The only one I could recommend out of my lens line-up would be the 50 1.8 You can find them for around $75-$100. I would take that prime over any plastic zoom IMO.
  10. Levon, why not get an Elan 7N (or 7NE)? It was introduced in 2004, and consequently has many of the latest features of the best EOS film bodies, including a much better AF system than the earlier Elans. And it's almost as cheap as the others.
    With film bodies, your lenses and film are the critical determinants of image quality. So you might want to save for a good zoom, such as the EF 24-105/4 L, that you can use on both of your EOS bodies. For now, I would forget the kit zoom and pick up a 50/1.8, as Puppy and Erik have suggested.
  11. The Elan 7 is a very nice camera and packs a lot of capability into its fairly compact size. I have one as a film backup to my 1vHS--not that the 1vHS really needs a backup, but I digress. The "7" is a very satisfying camera to use and it's one of the quietest cameras Canon has ever made. As for lenses, Peter's suggestion of the 28-105 is right on the money. That's a great lens that I see people using on their Canon DSLRs still. If you can avoid the 35-80 then you probably should. Interestingly it was my very first EOS lens and the same lens that I used to shoot one of the pictures I've sold the most copies of (a great shot of Comet Hale-Bopp) while mounted on my old Canon A2. I briefly owned the 28-90 lens but got rid of it as fast as I could. If you can splurge a little more you might consider the 28-135 IS, a great walkaround lens, but that might start to get a little pricey. What would be really fun for a photography class though is a Canon FTbn with an FD 50/1.4 mounted on it. Without going into the whole "learning on a manual camera is better than learning on an AF camera" argument (who gives a crap--a camera is a camera and used properly they all do the same thing), the FTbn (or the "plain" FTb) is simply a lot of fun to use and allows you to experience one of Canon's nicely engineered cameras from almost 40 years ago. Just a thought.
  12. Mark writes, "Levon, why not get an Elan 7N (or 7NE)? It was introduced in 2004, and consequently has many of the latest features of the best EOS film bodies, including a much better AF system than the earlier Elans. And it's almost as cheap as the others."​
    True, I actually owned one and, besides tweaked AF, it was the only EOS film box with E-TTL-II. However it debuted so late in the digital era not many were sold and it is rather hard to come by compared to the plain Elan 7E/7. I must say I loved the ECF feature and had a hard time adjust to the damn joystick thingie for AF point selection...
  13. I say get the 50mm 1.8 nifty fifty. Your professor may require you to shoot at 50mm anyways, plus it is a portrait lens when mounted on a crop dslr.
    Or, you could get an older canon A-1 (or one of the variations, ae-1 and etc.) with a 50mm lens attached for maybe 80-100 bucks, less if you are lucky.
  14. I agree with the Elan 7/7e, but might also suggest the EOS3. As for the lens, the 50 f/1.8 fall within your budget but for versitality the Canon EF 28-105 f/3.5-4.5 USM MkII is a good lens which would work on your current xti, although probably not wide enough for a small sensor digital body.
    You indicate "pro-amateur" and that "you want to learn the inner workings of photography."
    For the budget you talk about . . .Find a totally manual only SLR like the Canon AT-1 and a 50mm FD lens.
    The AT-1 has a very good "match needle" internal metering system. There are no "sports, macro, night, AV or TV priority, program or automatic modes. "Nada . . . Zip!"
    It would certainly teach the inner workings of photography, and put you leaps ahead of the majority of the other "pro-amateur's" I suspect.
  15. Have you thought about an EOS 1N? My film cameras are Nikon F's but I also have in my arsenal an EOS 1N. So far I have found it a very nice and easy to use camera that will work with all my L lenses. Just a thought.
  16. I have the 7n, and it's a nicely featured little SLR -- a bit plasticky, though. I also have the 1n, which is a much more serious camera that can be had very cheaply (under $200) on Ebay. Its biggest weakness, compared to the 7n, is that it doesn't support ETTL flash. It's also MUCH louder than the 7n. If I were serious about 35mm film, I think I'd buy a 3. They're very cheap too.
  17. I sold a mint EOS 3 on the FM B&S last Fall for $300 shipped, so they ain't that cheap. Elans are almost free...
  18. I teach photography and have been using the 7N as my instructional camera. They have held up well considering how much student use they get. I don't think you'd be disappointed with owning one.
  19. Elans are almost free. The one I have I won on ebay for just over $50 in "excellent condition". It really is in excellent condition and was a steal at that price.
  20. Hi, I hope I don't step on anyones toes here being this is in the EOS section but how about a Canon FTb? Or AE1? Or, heaven forbid a Pentax K1000? Manual focus, manual advance, set the shutter speed, set the aperture and learn how they all work together. What better way to learn? The glass in these are glass and usually very good. Most can be had for $50 with a 50 on them. Just a thought.
  21. It seems that almost all film cameras are almost free these days, at least relative to their prices when they were introduced, and, more importantly, to their current use value.
  22. I used to have an Elan 7ne, and I absolutely loved it. I took two photography classes using it until it was unfortunately stolen. I used primarily the 28-135 IS USM, even though it's a dark lens and has a few other problems.
    One of the neat features was the eye-focus (the "e" in 7ne). Basically, after calibration, you look at one of the AF points in the viewfinder and the camera knows where you're looking and focuses there when you half-press the shutter. Hold the shutter halfway down and you can continue to frame your shot while the camera holds focus.
    I found a used Elan 7ne with battery pack on ebay for less than $100. For all I know, it's still there. I only looked it up to see what it's running for nowadays, and honestly I'm considering buying another one.
  23. I picked up an Elan 7 from Goodwill for very little money and am surprised how nice it is. Well made for a consumer slr and the AF is fine using the center AF point on USM lenses. Much better camera than I expected.
  24. The Elan 7 series is dirt cheap, they work pretty well, and they are fairly up to date. They support ETTL flash units, have fairly advanced AF and eye control systems relative to older cameras, and best of all..... they are quiet! I'm not a shy person at all, but I do appreciate the serious difference in operating noise between the Elan 7 series cameras, and previous EOS models. It will work for you just fine, and you can put the money you saved into a nice standard EF zoom lens for your kit.
    I paid about $8 for this one from KEH (no, the lens wasn't part of the deal). It was in EX condition, but offered "as is" because the pop up flash tube does not fire. I never use a pop up flash anyway (honest), so it was all a bonus to me. It's a great camera. Not only does it cost less than one premium cigar today, but it lasts a whole lot longer as well.
  25. The elan 7n and 7ne still use the flash in low light instead of an AF light and that's the main detractor for me in this camera. I don't want to be strobing a flash every time i'm in low light so the camera can focus. Other than that, I'd love to get this camera. I'm considering the Elan II as well (which uses an AF light), any other suggestions on bodies that can be had for under $50? A lot of great suggestions, but most of them are out of my price range. I'm pretty set on the 28-105mm lens as well, seems like a better choice than the 24-85 for me.
  26. Levon:
    The EOS-30 (Elan 7) has a much better low light AF capability than the EOS-50E (Elan II) that I also own. When I 1st got my EOS30, I was quite surprise to find how responsive the AF is as compare to the 50E. The 50E fires the AF assist at a much higher EV level (can't remember what EV, but I guess it's somewhere arond 7-8), so there's always a delay even though eventually the AF nails it. The Elan 7 fires the 'disco light' only at around EV 3 or 5, and honestly, I think the few EV difference for the 2 bodies triggering their respective AF assist mechanism do make a difference. For my shooting, I find the EOS30 a lot more 'responsive' in AF maybe because I do quite a bit of low light photography, but not really 'no light' photography :) Btw, if I'm not wrong, both camera AF sensors are rated to work down to EV0.
    p/s: It's surprising to find a few of you who has some nice thing to say for the 'crappy 35-80'
  27. I can personally vouch for the 28-105 f/3.5-4.5 - it is definitely worth having especially on film. Good range, quiet, fast focus, light weight. A very versatile lens indeed, and at a reasonable price too. that was my very first lens. The 50 f/1.8 came a couple of ears after that. I've had both ever since...
  28. Levon, it's a great camera, go for it. don't concern yourself with af, you don't need it for portraits.
  29. don't concern yourself with af, you don't need it for portraits.​
    I respectfully disagree.

    Happy shooting,
  30. Yakim Peled [​IMG][​IMG], Jun 01, 2010; 07:59 a.m.
    don't concern yourself with af, you don't need it for portraits.
    I respectfully disagree.
    Happy shooting,
    You may disagree, but as many of us use manual focus for portraiture....and have for years....that's proof simple that it is not NEEDED.
  31. I would get the 50mm 1.8 no matter what. I find a fast lens to be a must when shooting film as you cannot just jack up the ISO when things get dim.
    I would also consider an AE-1 Program with a 50mm lens. Very cheap, very fun camera to walk around with.
  32. Levon I did the exact same thing I purchased a film camera for photography class I got the Canon Elan 7NE and 50 1.8 and do not regret it. If you look at the 7E above I am almost certain the white circle next to the shutter button is the autofocus assist light even for that camera. You can always turn AF Assist off in the menus forcing the flash to not fire. Also, like everyone else is saying with a 50 1.8 you won't need autofocus assist in low light because that lens is so fast. More than likely your teacher will recommend you focus manually as most do with a 1.8 or faster lens anyway. Basically, I am suggestion you go with the Canon Elan 7N or 7NE and the 50 1.8. This is a perfect camera setup to learn with and will take some incredible shots. Shoot everything manual both camera and focusing, this is the best way to learn photography. If you where to add a zoom lens I would recommend investing in a Canon 17-40 F4L this lens is the cheapest L and will last you forever. As a low price option I would get the Tamron 28-75 F2.8 DI. Once you learn you probably won't stay with a film camera long However, after shooting with a film camera you may lean towards a Full Frame Digital Camera where your EFS lenses will no longer work. I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II and My Canon 7NE is my backup camera.
  33. awahlster

    awahlster Moderator

    You best find out what kind of camera is required for your choice of film based photography. Many require a manual focus manually controlled exposure camera. So that you will actually learn the basic's of photography instead of the camera doing the work for you.
  34. As others said the 7N or 7NE are the best featured SLRs for the money. They have also an intuitive and relatively new design. I like them better than the older 7 and 7e but any of the four models will do fantastically.
  35. Use a 50mm 1.4 lens on it as staple.
  36. I sort of did the same thing recently--I signed my daughter and myself up for a B&W film photography course at the local art center. I agree with the people above who said find out from the instructor if you need a manual focus camera or merely use the camera you choose on manual focus. I will be using a Minolta SRT102 when it comes back from service.
    However, in the mean time, I decided to buy an Elan IIe from KEH for $45 in excellent condition (including an owner's manual). I looked at the 7e and the 7ne and ruled them out because of things like the af assist and the fact that they do not work well with adapted manual focus lenses. I also thought the 7's were too expensive relative to the IIe. So, I recommend the Elan IIe.
  37. If you want good IQ then maybe looking for a decent lens first would be a better idea (you can always use it on your DSLR). A poor lens on a good body will likely disappoint more than a good lens on a lesser body. Many have suggested the EF 28-105 f/3.5-4.5 which would be a good starting point.
    I have a number of EOS film bodies - I have been given some and have bought some including a 3, a couple of 7NE's (30V) and more recently a 300X (the only EOS film camera that together with the Elan 7N series that does ETTL-II). They all have the same sensor. I have an EOS 500N (Rebel G) which takes fine photos when coupled with good lenses. No, its not as quick to use as the EOS 3 but is a good starting point. The 500N was my first EOS film body and it still works fine.
    My advice? Get a good lens, such as those suggested, and then look for a suitable body that fits within your total budget. Try to get a body that does ETTL flash (rather than just TTL). See the site for info on the various EOS bodies. Not that long ago I picked up a good working 500N (Rebel G) body for $15 on that auction site. Less than a large pizza. Whatever you do, don't buy a crap lens.
    Cheers, Bob
  38. You may disagree, but as many of us use manual focus for portraiture....and have for years....that's proof simple that it is not NEEDED.​
    My portraits are not staged or planned. Thus, the subject is almost always moving, either a little or a lot. In these cases I find AF invaluable. If your portraits are in similar conditions and you still manage to do them in MF mode and manage nearly 100% hits in the right spot than I admire you.

    Happy shooting,
  39. I wouldn't discount the usefulness of AF. Granted, I often shoot portraits with lenses and cameras that do not offer AF, and when I have the option to do so, I tend to set up my cameras for back button AF, so I can carefully choose my focus point with AF, and then shoot either from camera position, or with a remote, and trip the shutter without any delay, and without disturbing my focus point.
    I like using AF to lock focus exactly where I want it, but I know people who either do not use AF cameras that offer back button AF control, or never messed with it, and they do most all of their studio portraits with the lens in MF mode so minor changes in composition do not disturb focus from shot to shot. To each their own, and that's the great thing about having choices.
    What I wanted to mention here is that as soon as you mount a Canon strobe on an Elan 7, it disables the AF assist light-show function of the built in camera flash, and uses the much more powerful, low key red light unit built into the Speedlite. When I mentioned that I never use the built in flash on my (D)SLR's, I didn't mean to suggest that I don't use flash. I use plenty of flash, I just don't care for built in flash units, and I'm a fervent advocate of lens hoods, which means an instant shadow with a pop up flash (unless you hold the camera upside down).
    So, as others have pointed out, the Elan 7 series does focus in pretty dim light, but if you need serious range for quick AF from that point down to total darkness, use a strobe. Even if you don't want the strobe to fire, on some models, you can shut off the flash tube from the menu on the strobe itself.
    Here is the kit with a 580EXII mounted, and the blurry second pic is the screen on the back of the strobe indicating that it is in ETTL mode on the Elan 7e, and auto-senses the lens focal length to set the zoom head on the strobe (just in case there was a question about when ETTL was supported in the series).
  40. Hey Levon,
    I also "as many others here" recommend the Elan 7n or E
    with the 50mm f/1.8.
    I owned the 24-85mm, I thought is was a little to soft for me (my opinion.)
    Good Luck to you!

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