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When looking for a camera, I inevitably crept up the price scale as I desired better and better quality. Now I'm glad that I did! I bought the EOS 30 with a 28-105 USM II lense, a "kit" which I recommend. I would say that this camera is aimed at the advanced hobbyist, and has a comfortable balance of what Canon call "basic mode" and "Creative zone" functions. The basic modes include a fully automiatic point and shoot setting (which you couldn't override even if you wanted to), and various pre-set modes for taking landscapes, portriats, close-ups etc. For the beginner these are simple to use and surprisingly effective. They take away a lot of the worry of trying to decide how to use many of the settings listed below. The creative modes allow you more control, from one mode where the camera basically suggests and you can tinker with it, via modes where you set either the aperture or exposure and it sets the other one, to a fully manual mode. In terms of feel this camera is more chunky and heavy than, say, the EOS300 - but I prefer the feeling of solidity. It is very quiet to operate (you can even choose whether you want the film rewind to be quiet and slow - good for safari - or noisy and quick - good for that film premier). Buttons are reasonably well laid out, but there are an awful lot of them given the extent of the features on the camera. I'm a "left eye" user with a big hooter, so use of the dial and selection buttons on the back right of the camera does conflict somewhat with my nasal passages. Auto-focusing is very good. It is quick and in the full auto mode the camera guesses very well what to focus on from the 7 focusing points it has. One of the "gimmicks" on the camera is eye focusing, where you can effectively calibrate the camera to recognise how your particular eye works (and if you repeat this process in different lighting conditions etc, the camera refine
s its calibration). Once calibrated - and you can store calibration settings for up to 5 people - you simply look at one of the 7 squares within the viewfinder to tell the camera which bit of the scene to focus on. Personally, I like this and think that one day all cameras will work this way. Of course though, if you don't like it you can turn it off and use more traditional focusing in the centre. The autofocus mechanism is both quiet and quick (but the mechanism is in the lens so will vary according to your lense choice). I would criticise its operation in dark conditions; here it attempts to use bursts of the inbuilt flash to illuminate the scene and help it focus, but often it roams around somewhat before giving up. Auto focus can be set to either dynamically re-focus as the subjects move around (or you move the camera), or to focus once and stick with that setting (better for stationary scenes) Exposure metering works well, and there are something like 35 zones it monitors and the clever "brain" interprets it all. You can lock the exposure settings at the time you get the focus, or separately by pressing a different button. I'm afraid I'm not very knowledgable on this side of the camera, but judging by the results, it all works fine! The inbuilt flash is OK, though naturally photography using flash is much harder. It pops up automatically, and in most modes you can choose to not use it or use it as you see fit. This is done by manually popping it up or putting it away. I'd say it really is only a backstop flash and not overly powerful. Serious users would want to use a "proper" flashgun. The camera has depth of field preview and a special depth of field focussing mode where you focus the thing twice at the front and back of the bits you want to be sharp, and it works the rest out. Particularly coupled with the zoom some good effects can be achieved here. Picture quality is outstanding - de
pending on film, development and skill/eye of the photogropher of course. Irrespective of the camera's features and ease of use, it will only ever be as good as the pictures it takes, and I've certainly not been disappointed with the results. Finally, film loading, winding and rewind is simple silent and quick. It can in continuous shooting mode take about 4 pics a second, and with the "AI Servo" dynamic focusing feature can help you feel like a true paparazzi (though the inbuilt flash won't keep pace) In summary this is a solid and capable camera which will be too much for the "point and shoot" party-going brigade. However for people with higher aspirations this will support you all the way from the initial "I'll let the camera tell me what to do" through to fully user controlled snapping. In its class, I'd say it is hard to beat. Clearly a lot of the results are down to the lense, so my recommendation (and price) implicitly includes the Canon EF28-105 USM II.
Canon released this new model late summer 2000 as a timely sucessor to the EOS50e. It has built on this camera, and now offers faster focusing, faster film transport and is quieter in operation, so quiet you wonder if it's actually taken the picture.. Although this is a semi-pro SLR even a beginner will be able to pick it up and use it. My 14 year old son got to grips with using it within minutes. Yet the camera has many advanced features that you will use once you gain experience and confidence in using it. Very comfortable to use, even for left eye users like myself. The eye control focusing works a treat and means you can control alot of the functions on the camera without taking it away from your eye. This allows you to capture perfect pictures and moments you might otherwise miss. I bought mine with the Canon 28-105EF II lens, which gives and excellent focal range for most pictures. The quality of the photographs I have taken with this new camera have been far beyond my expectations.