Friday, July 19, 2013

Another Elan




My New Year's resolution was not to buy any ore cameras this year. Well, since nobody keeps resolutions anyway, as we all know, I've got another $20 wonder. This time, it is a Canon EOS Elan-7. Last year I had reported the purchase of an Elan 55 (Japanese spec) which was quite exciting, but I don't think I mentioned what happened after I did a roll of film through it - nothing turned out - just very faint barely recognizable pictures. Was it expired film? Or was the shutter not operating? Anyway, I sold that one on Ebay, with full disclosure, and got more for it than what I paid, thanks to it having all the features - Date Back, Eye Controlled Focus and the Japan only feature of a Panorama Shooting Frame.

The EOS Elan-7 is a later model, built for the North American market, and so has no desirability whatsoever. That's why I got it for $20, complete with a good battery and a low-end EF 28-90 f4.0-5.6 Zoom lens.

There are many wonderful cameras out there near where you live for $20 - that is as long as you don't mind shooting film! I am now almost fully addicted to film, so spending $20 on a high spec camera like this is a no-brainer. You have to realize that cameras such as this work almost the same way as any modern EOS Digital - the Elan-7 is a lot like an EOS 40D, or even more like a 5D Mk-1 because it's "full frame", with a wonderful large and bright viewfinder. The control layout is the same - actually superior because the Auto-Focus and Drive Modes have their own dedicated switches on the top plate. There are also the two command dials (better than any EOS-D Rebel Series digital), and the ability to set up 13 different Custom Functions, using the very familiar C.Fn-xx scheme found on all Canon SLR's ever made, Digital or Film. Construction is mostly aluminium, and of course it will use all of the Full frame EF lenses Canon has ever made, and will make in the future.

If you're yearning to go "full frame", the least expensive body-only Digital options are the EOS 6D ($2000.00), the Nikon D800 ($2900.00) or the Sony A99 ($2800.00). Or you can get stuff like I'm getting for $20 a pop. My film costs are about $11 per roll with processing included, so by shooting 200 rolls of film, I'm into the Canon EOS 6D territory. It would take me 5 or 6 years to shoot that many rolls of film. If you're a digital person, perhaps you could put away $11 every 2 weeks, and combined with the fact that in five years, there will be a lot more full frame digital cameras, and they'll be a lot cheaper, you'll probably win at the cost equation in the end.

But with film, you can have Full Frame right now, for the price of one good dinner! And with what you save on the camera, you can spend it where it really counts - on the lenses. You can get the best Canon Lens ever made for $1500, and use it with an Elan-7 camera. I've seen this lens second hand for half that price.

Ahh - you say, but what about all the advantages of the Digital Workflow? You can't get that with film!

Well, hear me out on a few points about that:


  1. Walmart processes my film for $5.00 - no prints, no photo CD - just the developed negative.
  2. I bought an Epson V500 Scanner brand new for $130.00, so that starts your digital workflow with the scanning of negatives. 
  3. I'm not going to get into a film vs. digital - which is better discussion here, but what I will say is that "digital is not better than film"... you're not going to lose anything by using a film camera
  4. What about processing a digital RAW file in Photoshop? Well, in fact, a scanner puts out a Tiff File, and all that an Adobe RAW (DNG) file consists of is a Tiff file in a DNG wrapper. This means that a Tiff file can be imported into Photoshop and worked on in exactly the same way as a RAW file, except that you'll find that a film scan will need less work than a digital camera RAW file to make it look good.


So, is it starting to add up? It works for me. There are really only two down-sides in shooting Full Frame with film -


  • Film cameras that use Lithium Batteries can be a problem because those batteries, like the 2CR5 and the CR123 are getting rare and expensive. A possible solution is that many of these film SLR's can be equipped with a battery grip that takes standard "AA" batteries. I've already ordered one for my Elan. Also, a lot of film cameras don't use, or need, batteries at all.
  • I now have 7 film cameras, and it's sometimes difficult to know which one to use!


I recently added a lot more pics to my Print catalogue. Please have a look, and email me at average_saxon@hotmail.com if you'd like some details about any of these.

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