Which cheap Canon for student?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by stuart_pratt, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. I have a friend who’s daughter will be starting a two year photography class soon and needs a Canon film body, less than £100, to fit existing EOS lenses that she has for her EOS 600 D. I’m not familiar with Canon kit, so could anyone offer advice on something suitable in this price range, that might last the test. Preferably something that is easy to get to grips with the basics on.
    Many thanks
  2. Any EOS body that she can get for less then 100 pounds will meet the requirements for the class. The problem isn't suggesting a body. The problem is knowing what's available at what price in your area.
  3. I agree with @ed_farmer above. One caveat: The 600D is a crop body taking EF-S lenses too. -Those don't provide enough image circle for a film body like EF (no "-S") lenses would. - So check out if she has the 35-80mm range covered with some EF lens and if not try to get an old kit zoom too, without blowing your budged.
    EOS 500 should be available for little money - 30 Euro? EOS 50 might be nicer to have (I was pondering one back in the day) but really: They all take pictures and almost anything should get her through her class.
  4. (Disclaimer that it's a while since I shot Canon...)

    Just to say, there are some exceptions to that guidance if you don't know what you're looking for.
    • You're unlikely to find one, but avoid anything with "IX" in the name - those are for APS film, which is pretty much unavailable. And of course there are (older) Canon bodies that aren't "Eos" - avoid those, or the lenses won't fit.
    • If this is for a photography course, you'll want some degree of manual control. There are a few Eos bodies (the Eos 750/850 and Eos 5000 at least) which don't offer full control and automate everything; I believe anything with a vertical wheel immediately behind the shutter should be okay.
    • I'd check that the course really needs a film camera - some do historically, but frankly it's much easier to learn on a dSLR, and some courses should have updated by now (unless you really want to learn how to process film).
    I got given an Eos 500 and can vouch for it being cheap, incredibly light, and functional. A friend has a 50, which is a very nice and moderately premium body. Pretty much anything short of an Eos 1V or Eos 3 (not trivially cheap) is going to seem primitive compared to the 600D, but that's progress.

    Mifsuds (other retailers are available, but I check them for cheap old stuff and they ensure it works) has several Eos film bodies going cheap. An Eos 300V (Kiss 5 in the US) seems, from the specs (7 AF points!), to be one of the more capable options at £39 - although at least one review describes the interface as "odd", so others may like to express an opinion as to whether an Eos 500N ("New Eos Kiss") would be a better choice for someone already versed in Canon. I'd steer clear of the 6x0 series except as a curio - they were very early bodies, and 1987 is a long time in technology.

    If you're prepared to go up to £49, that'll get you an Eos 5 (QD, which I believe is the date back which can stamp date and time on images - that might be useful for a course, and you don't have to use it), which, other than only having 5 AF points, is a higher-end body. (In Canon land, smaller numbers are better.) And it has eye-control autofocus, which is an amusing party trick that you shouldn't get too excited about...

    The Canon camera museum will tell you about each item (bear in mind the names are different in the US, in Japan, and everywhere else, because it would be too easy if they matched), although that may not help you much if you don't know cameras.

    I'll let the Canon experts weigh in on the merits of these bodies, since I've only shot with the 500 and 620.
    stuart_pratt likes this.
  5. The mainline Canon EOS film cameras are available at very low prices. In general, I'd think they are better buys than the XXX ('Rebel' in the USA) bodies.
    The camera museum site given above is very handy.
    stuart_pratt likes this.
  6. I'd steer clear of the early bodies like the 600, 650. 10 and 100. They often suffer from a problem with the shutter. Otherwise go for the best body you can afford, they are so cheap now. Also the EF-S lenses won't mount on film bodies.
    stuart_pratt likes this.
  7. Thanks everybody for the comprehensive advice, which is just what I needed, and which I will condense and pass on.
  8. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Noted that Jochen has mentioned this point and also you acknowledged it- but it is worthwhile emphasizing the importance of this point to your friend's daughter.

    It is likely that when she bought her EOS600D, that she got one or two "Kit" Lenses with it. Those "Kit" Lenses would be EF-S Lenses. More to the point that Jochen made about EF-S Lenses not covering the Image Circle of any EOS FILM camera: EF-S Lenses will NOT MOUNT on any Film EOS Body.

    So, if she presently only has EF-S Lenses, then she does need to buy other lens(es) to fit her Film Body.

    A Standard Zoom Lens would be my best advice. The more recent models (second hand) Canon EF Lenses in that class might be a bit pricey, but a second hand Tamron, or other make, might be suitable and less expensive. Something like a 28 to 75mm Zoom.

    (assuming that she has no existing lenses that will fit a film body), I think the most elegant solution would be for her to buy a body and lens together: i.e. someone selling their old film kit. Three years ago I picked up an EOS 500N with a Sigma 28/2.8 and an EF 35 to 135 F/4~5.6 USM, for less than AUS$100. The sigma lens is useless, other than used at full aperture, but, although quite old, the 35 to 135 works fine and it is a reasonable to good optic, especially when used a little stopped down; and it provides a good Focal Length range for most Photography requirements.


    Oh - I just noted that John also mentioned that EF-S Lenses will not mount on EOS Film Bodies
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
  9. A quick note on the EOS 5's eye control (friends bought one) For me it sadly did not work in portrait orientation; landscape only. So I wouldn't give too much on it. I think the EOS 50's three spots should do well enough? - Anyhow: I believe you need way(!) more spots to become happy to have many and avoid focus & recompose.
  10. Oh yes; I consider eye-control to be a party trick (especially since my eyes are weird). It's an amusing piece of tech to have, but in terms of how much it helps photography... well, there's a reason it's not on any dSLR and didn't make the 1 series. I've no idea how well it works on an Eos 3, which actually has a decent number of AF points. Still, if you're getting a film body, there's something to be said for being able to hand it to people and say "have you seen this?"

    On the lens front... I can't vouch for Canon zooms (I had a 28-300mm Sigma, which was pretty awful at moderate distance and truly awful by 300mm, as you'd expect from an older budget superzoom - but remember that on film you may not see some softness to the same extent), but the 50mm f/1.8 "nifty fifty" (either the current STM or one of the previous EF versions) is a cheap and decent lens to have both on film and digital, unless you have a better alternative already. It'd give some depth of field control because of the relatively fast aperture, which might be useful in a photography course.
  11. IME it works outstandingly on my Elan 7e... even 20yrs after manufacture. I can't comment on the 5's ECF system, but it is significantly older than the latest film bodies so equipped - I would suggest that there were significant improvements - if my Elan 7e is any indication. At a time when Digital was clearly producing better imagery than film, the lack of an ECF feature on ALL Canon EOS Digital cameras was a major reason why I waited as long as I did to make the switch.

    I practically had to relearn 'focus and recompose' after getting used to not even having to bother - it was so fast, and so intuitive (for me)...

    It's like using your eyeball to select AF points... which is an amazing improvement to the ergonomics of the camera... I miss it, and would happily drop all my bodies and buy new ones if that feature was available on modern DSLRs.
  12. It does sound as though the Elan 7e (Eos 30 in UK speak) got an eye control upgrade - and being able to combine it with a dioptre adjustment for vision correction would have helped me (if I'm right in saying some earlier bodies lacked the mix). I'm not sure what, if anything, the Elan 7NE (Eos 30V) adds.

    They both seem to be a little pricier than the other models we've discussed, looking on an auction site, but not much. That said, I've not usually found manual AF point selection to be a chore - though I might with the number and interface of the Eos 3 or 1V.
  13. ...especially with modern DSLRs... I mean my 5D3 has what? 5803 AF points? ;) something like that... regardless of how many it has, in a dynamic shooting environment it's far too many to select by hand...

    ... here in the US, an Elan 7e can be obtained for under $100 (heck, KEH has them for $109), but I hadn't taken into account the market in the UK... Here, an A2e body can be had for $60 or less, with a zoom like a 28-80, or even a 28-135 IS, can be combined for ~$100.... but sometimes I forget how good we have it ;)
  14. They're not that expensive (and Mifsuds has an Eos 3 with power booster for £349...) The Eos 30 and 30V are on the obvious auction site at prices between £50 and £125 today. Still, they're more than the basic models mentioned, and you arguably have a little more recourse if there's a problem should you buy from an established store who service their items. It seems like a decent body - worth it if you actually want to do a fair bit of film shooting. Bought just for a course? Maybe (especially a two-year one), but I'm still not sure whether the course wouldn't be perfectly happy with a dSLR.
  15. She has been specifically asked to obtain a film camera.
  16. Fair enough - just checking. Unless there's a plan to work with dark room chemicals (arguably fun, if not exactly an in-demand skill) I'm not sure what benefit a film camera has (in this context), and a dSLR generally gives you the benefit of immediate feedback, which is useful when learning. But I'm not teaching the course!

    I hope some of these suggestions work out and your friend's daughter enjoys it, anyway. They're all very capable cameras. :)
    stuart_pratt likes this.
  17. I agree, digital would definitely be the way to go for fast learning. I’m not sure why they have been asked to source a film camera, but she does have a dSLR as well, so I assume they will use both. Personally, I’d take film over digital any day, but that is because I enjoy the process, not because I think it is superior. Digital knocked film into a cocked hat on most levels at least a decade ago.
    Andrew Garrard likes this.
  18. EOS 200D and 40/2.8 STM for digital

    A1 for film.
  19. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I don't know why either, but I can offer a suggestion:

    There are high school age and adult age courses here (AUS) where film is taught as part of the whole course for a variety of reasons - one reason is to learn wet/darkroom techniques:

    A primary pedagogical rational for that is to pre-teach basic Digital POST PRODUCTION by understanding the methodology of (for example) negative development and photographic printing techniques.

    A systemic issue which is an impairment to the learning of Photographic Technique, in modern courses is the Student being (so) computer savvy that they tend to process 'backwards' and emphasize and concentrate on the Post Production and many remain "Photo Taking" Technique-poor.

    It is probably needless to state that I am an advocate for this approach – and in my experience it works well, having taught it in High School through 2004~2010. And the kids overall loved it, it can be great fun. The intention is not that they continue to use film exclusively, but I know of some who did – and they produce some ripper works: I think that ‘retro’ is in vogue and these now 20 year olds love everything and anything retro.


    Note that a Canon A1 has an "FD Lens Mount".

    Those FD Lenses will NOT mount on an EOS 600D, which accepts both EF-S and EF Mounts.

  20. Bearing in mind she already has a perfectly capable 600D, I wouldn't worry about that.

    What William said - the A1 doesn't meet the "lenses compatible with the 600D" requirement.

    Personally, coming from a computer graphics background, I find the darkroom focus on post-processing terminology to be annoying. I understand how this happened historically, but I've never processed or printed a negative myself (I've shot film, but sent it off), and some of my frustration with Photoshop comes from knowing exactly what mathematical operation I want to perform to an image, but then struggling to work out what they called it in order to be "friendly to photographers". I have to learn a new skill, at least in theory, in order to apply the skill I've already got (such as it is) - and I have few enough brain cells already. I understand wanting to get it right in the camera, but it's not like Ansel didn't rely heavily on the zone system and dodge-and-burn. You can show softness and noise increasing with digital image processing easily enough! I'm happy for hobbyists to enjoy film, but I do think it's a diversion from useful practical education - but then so was my computer science course starting out with functional programming languages, I guess. Still, I can't deny the approach is tried and tested.

    I'd also say there's nothing wrong with exposing with a view to processing later. Something I wish Nikon would understand, and offer a proper E-TTR mode. :)

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