Canon's EOS ELAN 7NE
A New 35mm Film SLR

All Photos © 2004, Stan Trzoniec, All Rights Reserved

According to a recent survey, there are still over 140 million film cameras in use within the boundaries of the US. No doubt that digital has taken the world by storm, but is there still a sizable market out there for the dedicated film shooter? Looking at the recent introduction of an improved version of the Canon EOS ELAN and advancements of films like Fuji's Provia and Velvia 100F as well as Kodak's Ultra Color, obviously there is.

Complete with a Canon EF 28-105mm f/4-5.6 zoom lens and optional BP-300 battery pack, this camera is made to follow the action both indoors and out.

Hard-core film folks love the full frame capability of their cameras so when they use a wide angle lens, it's a wide angle lens on the film plane! They like to look at the smooth colors of transparencies on the light table, and to some this offers a faster workflow. Don't like a particular image? Deep six it and all without going through reams of images on a computer screen. While the debate can go on forever, regardless of the medium you enjoy, the point is that major manufacturers are still producing film cameras and to any potential customer this Canon EOS ELAN 7NE is certainly one way of getting into this exciting hobby without the expense of a computer and printer. At "kit" prices estimated at $539 with an EF zoom lens, the EOS ELAN 7NE is unquestionably worth a second look.

For those folks and others who might just like to upgrade, the Canon EOS ELAN 7NE has been made to sustain the riggers of the outdoors. With a lightweight and reinforced aluminum alloy body topped off with a metal cover around the top of the camera and the lens mount, it places the balance point perfectly between both hands. Out of the box, the camera has the footprint of a 4x6" photographic print but to add a little more mass with just a hint of additional weight I requested Canon send me their handy BP-300 battery pack. While the camera uses the traditional CR123A batteries, the pack holds four double AA batteries, which to me is a much better alternative, especially when your batteries go south and you have to replace them somewhere out in East Overshoe, Nebraska.

Holding the EOS ELAN 7NE with the battery pack is sheer pleasure especially for folks with larger hands. The battery pack adds more to the heel of the grip portion of the camera and when shooting verticals you can cradle the camera in a more comfortable position while still using the shutter release located on the BP-300 itself. On the body, just about all of the controls are mounted on top with the exception of the quick-control dial and switch, function, metering mode, and mid-roll rewind buttons. Important buttons to be sure, but considering the amount of time you'll be using them (as opposed to the dials on top) they are in a good, safe place and away from inquiring fingers.

The EOS ELAN 7NE also has the capability of bracketing your exposures. This particular photograph was picked from a frame that was -0.5 of a stop to add some additional detail to the yellow stripe.

Topside is where all the action is, so let's start there. On the right side, your finger rests comfortably on the shutter release thanks to a well designed angle to this assembly and directly behind is the main dial which controls such operations as your shutter speed or f/stop if you place the camera in Shutter (Tv) or Aperture (Av) Priority. Slightly to the rear and to the right is the button that turns on the LCD panel illumination. Rearward of this is the LCD panel, which shows the current status of the camera at the time of operation.

On the LCD itself you'll find over 40 different read-outs that range from autofocus point mark to self-timer and everything in between. Along the right-hand side there are symbols that coincide by pressing the function button and include ISO, beeper, multiple exposures, and bracketed exposures, just to name a few. Behind all of this and right under your thumb are the autoexposure lock and autofocus point buttons, which allow you to move the exposure from one spot to another and to select the point of focus in a more manual mode, if desired.

With 35 points to measure the light values of any photograph, scenes like this that have both strong highlights and shade are a challenge to the camera, but the EOS ELAN 7NE pulled it off without a hitch.