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Canon EOS Elan IIe

I remembered the first time I held my father's full-manual SLR in my hands when I was a child. I aimed it at the airplane flying overhead and clicked the shutter release, just moments before my father snatched it from my hands. Back then, my father was a reporter and editor for the most famous newspaper in Taiwan; his camera was very important to him.

Since then, camera has always intrigued me. As soon as I broke my Nikon point-n-shoot camera, I purchased a Canon Rebel G. It was a very simple SLR with tons of wonderful features. I fell in love with it as soon as I had it in my hands. I carried it with me everywhere, and shot everything that I found interesting for the past two years. After seeing my passion for photography, my father decided to re-enter the field. So I given my beloved Rebel G to my father and started using my secondary body, the Canon IX.

Over the past several weeks, I researched for a replacement 35mm camera body. My first choice is the Canon 1N RS. It has three features that I needed the most: 1) 100% view-finder; 2) spot-metering; and 3) styling that fits my preference. Unfortunately an used version costs $1219 from KEH.

Instead, I decided to purchase a new Canon Elan IIe camera body, a BP-50 battery pack, a Bogen tripod, and a Bogen ball-head for around $650. And I still have money to spare for a good flash and many other goodies.

I chose Elan IIe over the Rebel 2000, simply because of the control Elan IIe provided: 1) metering modes; 2) auto-focus mode; and 3) wire-less remote. However, I was quite unhappy with some of Elan IIe's characteristic.

The worst characteristic is the focus-point display, or the lack-of. Unlike the Rebel G, which display the sharp focus-point(s) in the LCD of the view-finder, the Elan IIe simply blinks the point(s) in focus for a second. If you miss it, you'll have to re-focus it again. In bright sun-light, the blinking is extremely hard to see.

The second characteristic that I am unhappy with is the exposure compensation. On the Rebel G, I can set the exposure compensation, then focus and shoot. On the Elan IIe, I cannot adjust the compensation until the shutter release has been pressed half-way. Now, I have to activate the exposure reading, set the exposure compensation, and then focus and shoot. It seems to be an extra step for me.

The third characteristic that I am unsatisified with is the fact that the camera felt humongous compared to the Rebel G. It is also a lot heavier. The grip felt over-sized in my hand. The Elan IIe is less ergonomic than my Rebel G, probably due to the fact that it was released before the Rebel G.

Despite all the hinderance, the Elan IIe has many good features. For one, the built-in flash seems to be quite sturdy and strong compared to the Rebel G's built-in flash. I also love the rear command dial on the back of the camera. It allows me to set aperture and shutter speed with two separate dials independantly. And the BP-50 optional battery pack is exceptional. Not only can I use four regular double-A alkaline batteries with the camera, but it also includes a vertical shutter release. With the vertical shutter release, I realized I take far more vertical pictures than horizontal pictures. The whisper drive is so quiet, I feel no discomfort in activating it at the most peaceful environment. At the press of a button, the whisper drive doubles in speed, but increases its noise level only slightly.

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Some photos made with this camera

Bottle in the Pond
- Canon Elan IIe, Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX HSM, Kodak Royal Gold 100.

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