& TTL Flash
of the A-TTL/TTL flash system is generally very
good. Most of the time you merely point 'n shoot
and get well exposed flash pictures.
Fortunately, it's pitfalls are predictable:
predominately dark subjects are overexposed,
predominately light subjects are underexposed
and off-center subjects are either under- or
overexposed depending on the
systems have problems with predominately light
or dark subjects. The cure is to subtract 1 to 2
stops of flash compensation for dark subjects
and add 1 to 2 stops of flash compensation for
light subjects. For off-center subjects at
night, the dark background causes the flash to
overexpose about a stop, so you need -1 stop of
flash compensation to counteract the
overexposure. A bright background--the setting
sun or a mirror--will cause the flash to
underexpose, so you'll need to add flash
compensation. The correct exposure of off-center
subjects is an area where the E-TTL flash of the
Elan 7E is clearly superior to the Elan. Of
course, if you know when to override the flash,
you'll get equally good results with A-TTL or
The best flash
for the EOS Elan is the 540EZ, the last full
featured A-TTL Speedlite available (the smaller
200E is still around). If you have an eye for
the future, you may wish to consider the 550EX
as it has most of the 540EZ's advanced TTL
features plus E-TTL circuits compatible with
newer EOS bodies.
If you use the
programmed pic modes (Basic Zone), you may like
the barcode system. It lets you replace the
programmed pic modes with modes of your
choosing, e.g., sunset portrait with
catchlights. Up to five programs may be input if
you don't mind overwriting the PIC modes
(portrait, sports, etc.). You scan the desired
program in a booklet and transmit to the Elan
via an IR input. The Barcode Reader E also works
with the EOS 10S. A program for printing your
own custom barcodes is here.
Reader E Ready and able to scan in
P21, Stained Glass in Church.
booklet, EOS Photo Files (Canon, 1990),
contains 23 barcode programs, each with a sample
photograph, and suggested equipment, e.g., lens,
tripod, film, etc. If you wish to go hogwild,
Barcodes 101 (Canon, 1991) boasts 101
barcode programs for your scanning enjoyment.
Each program tailors the exposure, flash, meter
pattern, AF mode, etc., for the image/situation
depicted in the booklet. For example, P23,
Bright Exceptions, depicts a white cat in front
of a white wall. Camera meters expect a medium
tonality and thus underexpose in this situation.
P23 adds 1.5 stops of exposure compensation to
keep whites from going gray. P01, Portrait With
Catchlights, pops up the flash and uses -2.0
stops flash compensation to gently fill the face
and add a little sparkle to the eyes.
My wife liked
"Portrait with Sunset" and "Portrait With
Catchlights" and left them on her dial for
years. I found the Barcode Reader E fairly
useless as I prefer to control most camera
functions. But, hey, the Barcode Reader E is a
cool gadget to play with. I'd rather have one on
my belt than a dad burn Palm Pilot or cell
The GR-70 Grip
Extension is an oversized handle for dudes or
gals with monster mitts but lacks a tripod
mount, vertical release and battery pack.
However, it is extremely comfortable--more
comfortable than the BP-300 and VG-10--and the
increased grip area makes the Elan easy to hang
on to. You may attach both a hand strap and neck
strap to it. I had a custom tripod thread
installed to allow use of quick release mounts
(my father made it). The GR-70 also fits several
Rebel models and is still available at B&H
A remote release
is used to avoid vibration during high
magnification photography or slow shutter
speeds. A wireless remote release allows all of
the above plus you can get in the picture. The
RC-1 infrared remote will trip the shutter from
15 feet in front of the camera or slightly
behind the camera. It will also fire the shutter
from a few feet above, below or to the side of
the camera so it makes a fine cable release. For
bulb exposures, fire the RC-1 once to open the
shutter and again to close it. You have a choice
of immediate release or 2 second delay. The RC-1
also works with the EOS 10S, Elan II, Elan 7,
EOS IX and all Canon point 'n shoot cameras with
an infrared remote sensor (e.g., Elf Z3).
If you have less
than perfect eyesight, the viewfinder, set to -1
diopter (objects appears to be 1 meter away),
will look blurry. Of course, you can wear
glasses or contacts and get a clear view, but
this is not a viable solution for everyone.
Unlike the Elan 7 or A2, the Elan lacks built-in
dioptric adjustment. Fortunately, there is a
full range of dioptric adjustment lenses
available from +3 to -4. These are the same
lenses used for the EOS 1, 1N, 620, 630, 650 and
10S, so they're easy to find. I need a -2.5 for
my right eye but can make due with -2.0 or -3.0
(my left eye has 20/20).
The Elan is an
easy to use camera with most of the features
found on later cameras such as the Elan 7 or A2.
Although the marketing clowns would have you
believe otherwise, in reality, an Elan II or 7
will not be easier to operate nor improve most
folk's pictures. Plus, the Elan is a small and
light camera (575 g, same as the Elan 7E),
perfect when you need a professionally capable
camera but must travel light.
the Elan--like all cameras--has a few gotchas.
The vintage electronics aren't as efficient as
newer models and, thus, eat more batteries. I
only get ten or twelve 36-exposure rolls through
this rig before it cries for fresh juice (I use
fill flash often). In contrast, my batteries are
good for about 50 rolls in the Elan 7E (EOS 30).
exposure mode doesn't reach 3 fps as claimed by
Canon (maybe 2 or 2.5 fps?). Continuous exposure
combined with AI Servo also is on the slow side.
So, this ain't a great camera for sports
shooters, but that's why they make the EOS
There is no
provision for a cable release, but the RC-1
remote makes this a moot point for most folks.
And, yes--despite internet myths to the
contrary--bulb exposure works with the RC-1 (see
bummer is that onboard flash compensation
controls don't work on external Speedlites.
Thus, cheaper Speedlites like the 200E, 220EX,
300EZ, 380EX or 420EX can operate in automatic
mode only. You'll need a 430EZ, 540EZ or 550EX
if you need flash exposure compensation or
second curtain sync.
A used Elan may
be bought for a song and, thus, makes a fine
backup camera or entry into EOS photography. If
you're looking at an Elan or EOS 100, check the
shutter curtain for oil. The rubber shutter bumper sometimes
deteriorates and jams the shutter. The fix is a
replacement shutter for $150 or a careful cleaning (free if you do it) with
lighter fluid or alcohol. Finally, the command
dial should lock into the click stops smoothly.
If it is hard to turn or turns freely--no click
stops--reject it. A new command dial is
you find an Elan in excellent or
better condition, it is a wonderful general
purpose camera that holds its own against newer
taken with the Canon Elan (click to
Elan Instructions (CY8-6121-002). Canon
2002-2012 by Peter Kun Frary All Rights