Hurrah! Annoyingly noisyo SLRs have been given But there's more!
Once, only the faint clickity-chirp of nearsilent shutters and the whoosh of rapidreturn mirrors filled our ears when a photograph was made. But then came progress: autoload, autowind, autorewind, autofocus. And with this progress came the most dreadful cacophony of zips, whirs, and whines. Even presidential press conferences are not spared the an noying sounds of modern SLRs grinding away to their motors' content.
I had retired thoughts of enjoying the quiet photo delights of yesteryear (save returning by way of my right thumb and
a rapid wind lever, my left thumb and forefinger grasping a manual fo cusing ring, followed by right fingers twirling a rapid rewind crank). But I hadn't counted on Canon as a silent part ner. Put quite simply, the new Canon EOS Elan (to be the EOS 100 in con tinental Europe and the 100 QD in Japan) purrs instead of whirs. Canon claims it produces ap proximately one fourth
the operational noise of other autofocus, auto-everything SLRs; a quick test in our own lab revealed a difference of 4 dBA (against a Canon EOS lOS) or just a bit more than the one-quarter noise claimed. How has Canon put the kibosh on noise?
Primarily by substituting fiber-rein forced, rubber-toothed urethane belts for the gearing commonly found on such SLRs. The wind belt is housed beneath the quiet coreless wind motor, while the rewind belt runs almost the entire length of the camera bottom, taking the place of many tooth-grinding gears (see photos below, left). Besides belts and the coreless motor. other internal silencers (according to Canon, which furnished all particulars to us for the preproduction Elan we exam ined) are the rubberlike bushings used to isolate the internal mechanisms from the body shell, thus cutting sound reson ation; a worm speed-reduction gear rather than the usual flat one, plus a sprocketless film drive to elimi nate the noise of the film going across the teeth of a sprocket wheel.
And there is a brand-new ultrasilent, ul trasonic, autofocusing 28-80mm f/3 .55.6 lens focusing to three feet, which will be a standard lens for the camera. While I'd be surprised if many other SLR makers didn't quickly take a quiet leaf out of the Elan construction book for
their own cameras, there is far more to the Elan than mere quiet.
Priced between the EOS Rebel S and the EOS 10S (around the price of a Nikon N6006, I'll bet), the Elan has liberally borrowed many of the most desirable features from the EOS-1, EOS 10S, and Rebel (although we think it’s closer to the 10S than the other models). It feels and handles like an EOS-1 or IOS; has an incredibly light fiberglass-reinforced polycarbonate body (only about five ounces
heavier than the Rebel S) with stainlesssteel lensmount like the IOS; and employs a rear Quick Control Dial, which was one of the hits of the pro EOS-1 camera. Like the IOS, it has a command dial that allows you to select all shooting modes (including portrait, landscape, close-up, and sports programs), an instantly shiftable Intelligent Program, Canon’s green rectangle auto-everything tyro program.
MOST EXCITING NEW CANON EOS ELAN FEATURES
• Ultraquiet operation. About 25 percent of noise made by other AF SLRs.
• First AF SLR with zoom pop-up flash covering 28mm-lens focal length.
• Flash has red-eye reduction, user-controlled flash compensation, second-curtain synch capability.
• Built-in wireless remote release to 16 feet via tiny (optional) accessory control unit.
• Over 140 bar-code subject programs can be inserted into the camera, with five stored at one time.
• Has almost all EOS 10S exposure capabilities, but sixinstead of eight-segment evaluative metering. Centerweighted and limited-area metering also available.
• Single cross-type autofocus sensor is sensitive to both horizontal-and vertical-line subjects. Built-in autofocus aid light.
• Instantly shiftable Intelligent Program plus green rectangle “tyro” program that provides automatic switching from single to continuous predictive focus if subject moves.
• User can change seven custom camera functions to his needs.
• Depth-of-field preview and mirror lock.
• Fiberglass-reinforced polycarbonate body with stainless-steel lensmount.
• Quick rear control dial similar to that of pro Canon EOS-1 camera.
shutter-priority and aperture-priority autoexposure, metered-manual exposure, and automatic depth-of-field program.
In all program modes, a camera-shake warning lights on the viewfinder LCD panel when you are using a shutter speed that may cause blur or when you are not holding the camera steady.
The command dial also allows you to set three-frame exposure bracketing ( ± 2 EV in half stops, even in manual exposure), up to nine multiple exposures, manual ISO film speeds from 6 to 6400 (auto DX film speeds are from 25 to 5000), bar-code setting for additional continued on page 32
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pro~ rams, and seven customized camera functions (see customized function chart at right). The EOS Elan, which Canon says is the first of a new line of EOS cameras, not surprisingly breaks new ground besides borrowing the best features from this and that Canon model. The built-in manual pop-up, through-the-lens flash, which
covers the angle of a 28mm focal length lens and recycles in about two seconds, is the first such zoom unit available on any autofocus SLR. The flash changes its an gle of coverage at 50mm and 80mm focal lengths, thereby providing more efficient flash coverage at longer focal lengths where today's zoom lenses generally have smaller maximum apertures and can use increased flash concentration for greater distance coverage. With the new 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 ul trasonic zoom and ISO 100 film, the flash range is from 3¼ to over 15 feet, whether the lens is set to 28mm or 80mm. You can vary the flash fill-in capability ± 2 EV in half stops, and second-curtain flash synch is available. Top flash synch speed is 1/125 sec. The total range of speeds from the vertical travel shutter is 30 to 1/4000 sec, same as the 105. For com
parison. the Reb el's top speed is 1/1000 Sec with synch at 1/90 sec. The flash does have optional redeye reduction ca pability. When you press the shutter release partway with red-
eye reduction turned on, a bright white flashlight-like beam is emitted from the flash head to reduce the size of the sub jects' pupils until 1 ½ seconds before the picture is actually taken. The red-eye re duction beam will light for two seconds prior to exposure, when the camera is set off by the 10-second electronic self-timer. Other fully dedicated Canon flash units can be slipped into the Elan's hot shoe, but you can't operate both built-in and ac cessory flash together. The autofocus system is similar to that of the EOS lOS, but only a central auto focus sensor is used instead of the lOS's three. However, like the lOS, the Elan's central cross-shaped sensor can detect either horizontal and/or vertical lines in the subject. Autofocus sensitivity is EV 0 to 18 with ISO 100 film. But the Elan also has an autofocus aid light built into
the front of its body. Using the 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens, the camera can au tofocus from infinity to the closest focus ing distance in about one-third second. Lenses can also be manually focused, of course. When autofocus is achieved, a beeper (which can be turned off) sounds and a green dot lights in the viewfinder. The beeper also signals when the self timer is operating. In the green rectangle tyro mode, the camera automatically switches from sin gle autofocus lock to continuous predic tive autofocus when the subject is mov
ing. In other exposure modes you have the option of selecting single or continu ous autofocusing. Autoexposure lock and ± 2 EV exposure compensation in one half stops are provided. You can set the film advance for single shot or continuous up to 3 fps. Rewind of a 36-exposure roll takes about 12 seconds, but you can rewind in midroll if you wish.
Canon claims that the 6-volt 2CR5 lith ium battery will power the camera through 30 rolls of 24-exposure film at normal temperatures with the flash in use 50 per cent of the time. When the temperature drops to -4° F, the number of rolls is reduced to 13. There are three metering modes: cen terweighted averaging, 6.5 percent lim ited-area metering, and evaluative. The evaluative, not surprisingly, is similar to that of the EOS lOS, but the silicon pho tocell has six zones rather than the lOS's eight. (The Rebel has only three zones.) The metering range is from - I to 20 EV with ISO 100 film and a 50mm f/I .4 lens (the standard way most SLR makers give such figures even if the camera doesn't normally come with such a lens). While the Elan doesn't have a PC flash terminal for nondedicated flash (but can be fitted with a shoe-mounted accessory
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one), the camera does incorporate two valuable features often missing from otherbrand SLRs, thanks to the camera's builtin, controllable custom functions. These are depth-of-field preview and mirror lockup (the latter in the self-timer mode
and by infrared remote control). However. in cutting down the lOS's more difficult to set I4 custom functions to the Elan’s 7. designers have eliminated one favorite function—the ability to leave the film leader in or out following rewinding.
The bar-code reader, allowing the user to add more exposure programs into the camera from bar-code program booklets, has been made far more usable on the Elan than it is on the IOS. The IOS can only load one additional bar-code program at a time, but the Elan can load five—and even substitute any of these for the sports, close-up, landscape, portrait PIC, or bar-code programs on the command dial.
Another accessory feature carried over from the 10S is the ability to use the infrared, wireless, remote-control shutter release, which operates with no or a twosecond delay up to a 16-foot distance.
With its simplified controls (only three dials to turn), improvements in features over the Canon IOS, and its incredibly quiet operation, the EOS Elan obviously represents Canon's thinking for now and the future. It will have a major impact on the competition and future EOS cameras as well. We think it will be a winner and a good challenge to the Nikon N6006.
And who knows, perhaps the day will come when the President ol the United States isn’t drowned out in a sea of noisy photojournalistic SLRs. O