Thursday, July 4, 2024

Spotlight: Canon EOS-1


The Canon EOS-1 is the very first professional grade EOS camera, and was released in 1989. I grabbed mine at a camera show last year for about $150. 

The EOS-1 looks similar to an EOS 650 (the very first Canon EOS camera from two years earlier), but is bulked up to fit the demands of an enthusiast or professional photographer. The build is much more substantial on the EOS-1, and it sports autofocus that, according to Canon, is four times more sensitive than the 650 model. The EOS-1 winds film at a rate of 2.5 fps, which can be upgraded to 5fps with an optional accessory. It has all the exposure modes you could ever need, including program, aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual. The shutter can fire at up to 1/8000 of a second. Woah! Focus modes include single and continuous, which both rely on a single central focus point. Multiple exposures are possible. Cool! 

As the top-of-the-line autofocus camera in Canon's lineup, the main competition for the EOS-1 was the Nikon F4, which I have owned for nearly ten years. While I personally prefer the F4 mainly because of its traditional tactile knobs and dials, as well as its interchangeable viewfinders, I will concede that the autofocus on the EOS-1 is much more reliable.   

Like the F4, the EOS-1 is no lightweight. This boy is beefy. It's not the sort of camera you want to carry around all day while exploring a new city or walking through a rural countryside. While it normally takes a single 2CR5 battery, mine came with an attachment grip that allows for the use of more common AA batteries, which is convenient, but adds on to the bulk. Though large and heavy, its rounded design makes it very comfortable in the hands. 

I took my EOS-1 with me on a trip to Michigan, and was very pleased with the performance of the camera. The autofocus worked wonderfully, even when I was chasing down chipmunks in deep shade with a big ol' 70-300mm lens. Only a few times did it miss focus, and never by very much. Yep, besides the weight, I have no qualms about the EOS-1. I will always be a bit of a Nikon fanboy, but sometimes it's nice to see what life's like like on the other side! Take a look at some photos I made with the camera, all shot on Ilford HP5+.