Vintage Camera Review: Canon EOS 33 (Canon EF Mount)

If you were to look at any of the best Canon EOS film cameras made, you probably wouldn’t think immediately about the Canon EOS 33. But indeed, it and the Canon Elan 7 are surely some of the best. These cameras incorporate features that make a whole lot of sense for most modern film shooters and don’t cater to the film shooting sports photographer–if even such a thing exists. One of the best things about the Canon EOS 33 is not only its price point but also just how reliable it is.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Pretty solid build quality, though doesn’t have weather sealing
  • Simple to use if you’re a Canon DSLR user
  • A fair amount of simple configuration options
  • Works with a load of Canon, Sigma and other autofocus lenses
  • Works just fine with Canon’s E-TTL flash system and third party options

Cons

  • Doesn’t seem to automatically detect the ISO of the film that you’re using that well. That’s not biggie, you can set it yourself
  • Focusing points can be difficult to see even for folks with good vision

Gear Used

We tested the Canon EOS 33 with the Sigma 35mm f1.4, Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 VC G2, Adorama’s Xplor600 light, Lomography 100 Negative, Lomography 400 negative, and Lomography LomoChrome Purple films.

Tech Specs

These specs are courtesy of the CNet listing.

GENERAL

  • Depth
    2.7 in
  • Camera Type
    SLR camera
  • Manufacturer
    Canon

CAMERA FLASH

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

CARRYING CASE

  • Type
    none

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Included Camera Accessories
    body cap, strap

VIEWFINDER

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

CAMERA

  • 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
  • Lens System Presence
    optional (body only)
  • 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
  • Type
    Camera battery – CR123A

HEADER

  • Brand
    Canon
  • Product Line
    Canon EOS
  • Model
    33
  • 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

DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT

  • Width
    5.8 in
  • Height
    4.1 in
  • Weight
    20.28 oz

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

GENERAL

  • Manufacturer
    Canon

Ergonomics

When you look at the Canon EOS 33 what you’ll find iS OMG WHY ISN’T THE LENS CAP ON THAT CAMERA THE SENSOR IS GOING TO GET ALL OF THE DUST CHRIS WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU UGH IM NEVER READING PHOBLOGRAPHER AGAIN!!!!

Relax, this is film and there was no film loaded into the camera while I was shooting these photos.

As I was going to say, the front of the camera is very minimal. Canon has always adhered to this philosophy.

The top of the Canon EOS 33 has some other familiar options. You can shooe the focusing mode here, you’ve got the mode dial, the drive switch, control buttons, an exposure dial and the LCD screen.

If you turn around to the back of the Canon EOS 33 what you’ll find are a number of familiar settings. Obviously you’ve got the back control wheel that Canon is famous for. Then there is a directional pad in place of the joystick, a rewind button, and a function button that lets you go through the camera’s many functions.

This is the data back by the way. Most folks don’t need this. Heck, I don’t need it.

Build Quality

In the hand, the Canon EOS 33 feels just as solid as pretty much any full frame DSLR with the exception of the new 5D series and 1D series of cameras. It conforms well to the hand and it is lightweight. I have no issues toting it around all day. In fact, I’m confident enough to use it as a backup body for my Canon 6D.

Ease of Use

The dials and buttons are easy enough to figure out. But what you’ll want to watch out for is the overly sensitive drive mode switch on the top left. But in addition to that, look at the LCD screen. The Canon EOS 33 lets you change parameters using the function button. You can change the ISO that way and a number of other things.

Considering that this isn’t a digital camera, there’s not a whole lot to worry about either.

Metering

The metering of the Canon EOS 33 is based on film. So Sunny 16 will work fine. In general, you’ll also not have much of an issue with exposures unless you totally mess things up mistakenly.

When you’re loading up new film though, be sure to change whatever the ISO setting is.

Autofocus

In most cases, I found the Canon EOS 33 to have pretty good autofocus. It’s typically accurate but my problem has to do with the fact that the autofocus points themselves are difficult to see. It can be a major downer when using the camera.

Image Quality with the Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art Lens

Lomography Color Negative 400

Lomography LomoChrome Purple 100-400

Conclusions

I really like the Canon EOS 33, but a part of me wants to reach for the Canon Elan 7 a bit more. They’re almost the same camera. And if you’re just looking for a good, reliable, and affordable Canon EOS film camera body to use your Canon EF mount lenses with, then this is the current flavor of the month. Hurry up and grab one before the prices go up.