The EOS series has been the mainstay of my camera equipment for the fifteen years that I’ve been taking pictures with any seriousness. It’s a great range of camera, lenses and even the odd accessory.
I started out with the EOS 500 for the simple reason that the local camera shop had a good deal with the camera and two lenses in a nice case. It’s bigger and more complicated than a compact but by no means a pro camera. it’s very easy to use although for a while I was confused my manual mode and had to waste a lot of film before I got the hang of setting apertures and shutter speeds.
So I graduated to the EOS 5, even though the 500 was still in working order. I got it second hand and marveled at how much bigger and heavier it was. There was now a thumb wheel and the eye piece was much, much bigger. I could actually see through it properly. The metering meant that the pictures were better exposed and the shutter speeds went down to an 8000th of a second. Some of my recent sports photography wouldn’t have been so steady without that range.
The camera had many operational modes available, selected by the dial on the left-hand side of the camera. This dial also doubled as an on/off switch. I’ve read criticise of the dial which sticks at the locked position. Some snappers think it has made them break the dial by turning it too hard but I like the feature because you can check if the camera is turned off by feeling it in the bag instead of having to unzip and unbuckle.The built in zoom flash was not as good as a flash gun but pretty good for a pop up and you could vary the power with noticable differences. I was also introduced to the power of the thumb wheel. We were very happy together.
The 5 was sold from November 1992 to 1998 before being replaced by the EOS 3 so mine could be up to 20 years old. It’s not still going strong. Part of the eye piece came off but it was still in working order until one day I was carrying it in my back pack when the shoulder strap snapped and it fell to the floor with the camera taking the brunt of the impact. The dial was broken, I managed to get it back in alignment and jam it permanently in manual mode but you can’t switch it off so you either drain the battery quickly or take it out when not in use – problem is it takes a fair few seconds to set the camera up now and that means you miss things. I decided it was time to retire the 5 and move on.
The EOS 1. I call it the twentieth anniversary edition becaues its probably about two decades old – another second hand purchase. First impressions, the mode dial seems to have gone and the thing is permanently in manual – not a problem ‘cos I never use things like portrait, landscape, night mode, early morning snow mode, but a bit disorientating. The thing is very big and heavy, no built in flash, two types of battery instead of one. Whereas the change from 500 to 5 felt like an upgrade, 5 to 1 feels like an upgarde and a brand new system. I am pleased I got an instruction manual with it because this time I really need it. One thing I don’t like it the exposure meter running vertically on the right hand side of the view finder instead of horizontally along the bottom. This feels odd and I have to look through the eye piece a little sideways to view it. Is this really odd or will I get used to it? Time will tell.
The 5 is retired but will be used for hazardous situations like taking your camera into the sea. The 500 is the back up because its lighter and without a lens it fits nicely in my camera bag. The important thing is that no one cares what kind of camera you have. Digital, film, pro, prosumer, pro-celebrity, it doesn’t matter. If you want to impress people with your pictures, start by putting something good in front of the camera.