Vintage Camera Review: Canon EOS Elan 7

If you’re a Canon EOS photographer then you’ve probably considered getting a Canon film body to use with your lenses at one point or another–and the Canon EOS Elan 7 was bound to come up in your choices of available cameras. For years, I’ve been using my Elan 7 as a backup body to my 5D Mk II and my 6D. Crazily enough, I’m also not alone–I know a number of photographers that do the same thing. These photographers shoot film at times and photograph subject matter ranging from portraits to campaigns on the American political trail.

If you’re a Canon EOS Lens mount owner, the Elan 7 will make a lot of sense to you.

Pros and Cons

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon EOS Elan 7 product images (11 of 12)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 2.8

Pros

  • Reliable
  • Pretty simple to use
  • Affordable
  • Works with most flash systems (the exception being Phottix’s radios)

Cons

  • Considering that this camera can be had at such a fantastic, low price there is nothing to complain about.

Gear Used

The Canon EOS Elan 7 has been used over time with Sigma lenses, Adorama flashes, and various types of film.

Tech Specs

CNET has a solid, long list of specs from way back in the day; and if you’re really curious you can check that out.

GENERAL

  • Camera Type
    SLR camera
  • Manufacturer
    Canon

CAMERA FLASH

  • Type
    pop-up flash
  • Guide Number (m / ISO 100)
    13
  • Lens Coverage
    28mm
  • Color Temperature
    daylight
  • Zoom
    automatic
  • Red Eye Reduction
    Yes
  • Features
    AF illuminator, flash +/- compensation, flash exposure bracketing
  • Shooting Range
    3.3 ft – 17 ft : ISO 100
  • Power Consumption
    Recycling time – 2 sec
  • Flash Modes
    auto mode, backlight mode, fill-in mode, flash OFF mode, night mode, red-eye reduction

CARRYING CASE

  • Type
    none

LENS SYSTEM

  • Focal Length
    28 mm – 90 mm
  • Optical Zoom
    3.2 x
  • Lens Aperture
    f/4.0-5.6
  • Min Focal Length
    28 mm
  • Max Focal Length
    90 mm
  • Form Factor
    detachable
  • Min Focus Distance
    15 in
  • Focus Adjustment
    automatic, manual
  • Max View Angle
    75 degrees
  • Group Qty
    8
  • Element Qty
    10
  • Filter Size
    58 mm
  • Features
    Ultrasonic Motor (USM), aspherical lens

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Included Camera Accessories
    body cap, lens cap, strap

POWER

  • Batteries Included
    2

VIEWFINDER

  • Viewfinder Information
    AE lock, AF-in-focus, aperture, exposure compensation, flash charge completion, red-eye reduction , shutter speed
  • Focusing Screen
    Laser matte
  • Field Coverage
    90 x 92%
  • Viewfinder Frames
    Autofocus frame
  • Type
    Fixed eye-level pentaprism

CAMERA

  • Exposure Range
    1/4000 sec – 30 sec
  • Exposure Range Details
    EV 1-20 ( ISO 100 )
  • Type
    SLR camera
  • Camera Format
    35mm
  • Min Exposure
    1/4000 sec
  • Max Exposure
    30 sec
  • Exposure Modes
    A-TTL program flash, E-TTL program flash, TTL program flash, aperture-priority, automatic, bulb, depth-of-field, manual, program, shutter-priority
  • Shutter Control
    electronic
  • Timer Functions
    self timer
  • Self Timer Delay
    10 sec
  • Shooting Modes
    close-up, full auto, landscape, night, portrait, sports
  • Exposure Metering
    center-weighted, evaluative, partial (10%)
  • Exposure Metering Zones
    35
  • Exposure Compensation
    ±2 EV range, in 1/2 EV steps
  • Auto Exposure Bracketing
    3 steps in 1/2 EV step
  • Multi-Exposure
    9 exposures per frame
  • Auto Focus
    TTL phase detection
  • Auto Focus Modes
    automatic, continuous, single-shot
  • Auto Focus Points (Zones)
    7
  • Auto Focus Working Range
    EV 1-18
  • X-sync Speed
    1/125 sec
  • Remote Control
    Optional
  • Film Speed Range
    ISO 6 – 6400
  • Film Advance
    automatic
  • Continuous Shooting Speed
    4 frames per second
  • Status LCD Display Information
    aperture, autofocus mode, self-timer mode, shutter speed, battery condition, exposure compensation, film speed, flash mode, frame counter, metering mode, program, red-eye reduction
  • Flash Terminal
    hot shoe
  • Features
    2-speed rewind, autoexposure lock, autofocus lock, bulb, depth-of-field preview button, mirror lock
  • Lens Mounting
    Canon EF

BATTERY

  • Required Qty
    2
  • Form Factor
    CR123A
  • Technology
    lithium

HEADER

  • Brand
    Canon
  • Product Line
    Canon EOS
  • Model
    ELAN 7
  • Packaged Quantity
    1

CE SYSTEM

  • Remote Control
    optional

LENS SYSTEM MOUNTING

  • Mounting Type
    Canon EF

EXPOSURE RANGE

  • Light Metering Range
    EV 1-20
  • Sensitivity
    ISO 100

CAMERA FLASH DETAILS

  • Recycling Time
    2 sec

OPTICAL VIEWFINDER

  • Type
    fixed eye-level pentaprism
  • Field Coverage
    90 x 92%
  • Magnification
    0.70x
  • Dioptric Correction Range
    -2.5 to +0.5
  • Viewfinder Frames
    autofocus frame
  • Focusing Screen
    laser matte

TRIPOD

  • Type
    none

FLASH RANGE DETAILS

  • Min Shooting Distance
    3.3 ft
  • Max Shooting Distance
    17 ft
  • Sensitivity
    ISO 100

GENERAL

  • Manufacturer
    Canon

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon EOS Elan 7 product images (5 of 12)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 4.0

When you look at the Canon EOS Elan 7 SLR, you’ll obviously see just how much simpler it is in design than the company’s digital bodies. The front of the camera has very few controls: depth of field preview and lens release truly being the most of it.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon EOS Elan 7 product images (6 of 12)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 4.0

When you look at the top of the camera, what you’ll find are loads of other cool things: a mode dial that also controls whether or not the camera is on (one of two), dive dial, LCD screen, exposure dial, hot shoe, and shutter button. You’ll spend lots of time looking at this area.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon EOS Elan 7 product images (7 of 12)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 4.0

Move to the back, and you obviously don’t see an LCD screen. Instead, you’ll find buttons like function, another on/off dial and the directional pad inside the aperture wheel. The back on/off switch activates the Aperture dial.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon EOS Elan 7 product images (10 of 12)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 4.0

This camera isn’t the 1V at all, so don’t expect any sort of weather sealing. Instead, think of this as being comparable to something above the Rebel series but below the 00D lineup of cameras. At the same time though, give it all the functionalities that a pro photographer could really want: seven autofocus points (great for portraits) and all the barebones essentials that a camera needs for you to take a picture. Then throw away all those other bells and whistles.

Canon should really make another camera like this. The higher Rebel cameras sort of remind me of the Elan 7, but this camera takes 35mm film. A full frame Rebel would be a beautiful thing.

Ease of Use

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon EOS Elan 7 product images (8 of 12)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 4.0

When you’re shooting as you normally would, what you’ll find on the LCD screen is all sorts of information; but nothing majorly overwhelming.

Remember: this is film. You can’t change the white balance of daylight or tungsten film. Instead you’ll need to use filters and gels.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon EOS Elan 7 product images (9 of 12)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 4.0

Pressing the function button on the back of the camera gives you a whole new set of variables that help you control the camera better. You can manipulate these variables using the dials.

Autofocus

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon EOS Elan 7 product images (3 of 12)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 4.0

The Canon EOS Elan 7 has seven autofocus points. My version of the camera has them not being so bright overall–so you’ll really need to look for them when you select one or the other. Generally speaking, I’ve never had a problem with the center focusing point. Using the others gave me some pause though.

This is really tough when it comes to portraits as I often need to decide if I’m going to focus and recompose or just shoot with the focusing point. It often comes down to how much light is in the scene and just how contasty the area I want to focus on is.

Image Samples

Agfa APX 400

Chris Gampat La Noir Image MacPhun Tonality review sample Agfa APX400 (1 of 1)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 1.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Agfa APX 400 film scans (42 of 44)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Agfa APX 400 film scans (38 of 44)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Agfa APX 400 film scans (36 of 44)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Agfa APX 400 film scans (37 of 44)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Agfa APX 400 film scans (33 of 44)

Kono 400 film

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Kono Kolorit 400 Tungsten Film 35mm sample photo sample again (1 of 1)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Kono 400T film photo samples (10 of 18)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Kono 400T film photo samples (11 of 18)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Kono 400T film photo samples (6 of 18)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Kono 400T film photo samples (4 of 18)

Natura 1600

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm Natura 1600 film (7 of 28)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm Natura 1600 film (8 of 28)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm Natura 1600 film (1 of 28)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm Natura 1600 film (6 of 28)

CineStill 800T

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Cinestill 800T sample photos (29 of 31)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Cinestill 800T sample photos (10 of 31)

Model: Melissa Perry

Model: Melissa Perry

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Cinestill 800T sample photos (12 of 31)

Conclusions

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon EOS Elan 7 product images (1 of 12)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 4.0

The Canon EOS Elan 7 is a pretty awesome camera overall. I wouldn’t call it a workhorse, but it’s what I’ve been using for a few years now. You can do so much with it, and most of all you can really just sit there and focus on the picture taking process.

It’s an incredible camera, and I strongly recommend that you check out Amazon for one. Please do note that this one doesn’t have eye focus control.