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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Photography Note: Canon Elan IIe Quick Review

Canon Elan IIe
By JC Leahy

The Elan IIe is compatible with any Canon EOS lens. This gives you a massive range of image stabilized, ultrasonic focusing, ultra-high-quality lenses to choose and use. The camera's focusing system can track a moving subject, continuously refocusing on it and simultaneously taking 2.5 pictures per second. Or you can choose to focus manually, or pick a focusing mode in between these two extremes. The camera can even switch focusing modes if it detects movement of your subject! The camera's light metering system features an elegant six-zone intelligent evaluative metering  that yields dead-on results in an AMAZING variety of lighting situations! Or you can choose to control lighting manually. Or you can choose "partial metering," which is like spot metering but the spot is larger and movable. Movable? Yes, you can move the spot by moving your eye looking through the viewfinder!!! (Try THAT with your digital SLR!!) You can also choose the auto focus point and stop down the lens for depth of field preview just by moving your eye!! For basic shooting modes, you can choose full-manual or choose from several pre-programmed intelligent modes: general full-auto, sports, macro, landscape, or portrait. Or you can choose what Canon calls "Creative Zone" shooting modes: Program AE, shutter priority, aperture priority, traditional bulb mode, or a special depth-of-field control mode. You can also customize the way the camera operates with 11 custom functions. And, by the way, auto focusing is instantaneous! Even better, it has an integrated photo assist light that allows the camera to autofocus in complete darkness!!  Plus, the pop-up flash is surprisingly good and very-handy as a fill-flash. The flash hot shoe is compatible with current-production Canon flashes, which are amazing instruments in their own right. (By the way, you might also find this camera labeled as a EOS 50E -- it's exactly the same camera.) Canon sold many, many of these cameras because they were (and still are) amazing. Now that the average guy in the street thinks that  film is "out," there's a glut of very nice Elan IIe's that you can pick up on the internet for a song! 

The Elan IIe's weak points are very few.  The film door latch is made of plastic and is subject to breakage if the camera is physically abused, as in being dropped.  (A replacement latch can be purchased on the internet for around $10 and is easy to install.) Also, eye-controlled depth-of-field-preview is very cool, but I would have preferred a dedicated manual button, too.

All in all, the weak points are inconsequential in the face of the Elan IIe's near perfection.  Whether you're doing wedding photography or can DEFINITELY use a Canon Elan IIe in applications from easy point-and-shoot to professional.

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