Canon EOS-3


The Canon EOS-3 is a 35mm professional, autofocus camera. It boasts a 45-point area autofocus and can shoot as fast as 7 frames per second. The camera supports all AF and EF lenses accept for the new EF-S lenses made specifically for digital cameras with sensors smaller than 36mm x 24mm. Fifteen custom functions can be set to individualize the camera to truly fit your needs. It even reads the DX coding on the film to properly set the ISO value. Yet, despite all the bells and whistles it is an easy camera to own and operate. All the major dials are in easy reach.

image from here

The EOS-3 was first released by Canon in November 1998 and only recently came to its production end. EOS, the godess of dawn, is a perfect name for an art based usually on natural lighting. I bought the camera in 2005 (used) to shoot a series of dog shows for a portfolio I was working on. I knew I couldn’t use a flash because I risked startling the dogs in the show ring. My manual focus Canon A-1 (a review coming soon), although a great camera, would not perform the way I needed. I definitely knew I did not want to shoot digital! I wound up shooting some dozen rolls of Kodak TMAX 3200 to ensure a fairly fast shutter speed. What came out of the 12 rolls were grainy, gritty, beautiful BW images which I printed myself in a darkroom to a 13 × 19 inch size. But enough about me!

The EOS-3 offers four film advance modes: single frame, high-speed continuous, low-speed continuous, and a self-timer at either 2 seconds or 10 seconds. There are four shooting modes: manual, shutter priority, aperture priority, and program AE. (If I include the depth of field setting it would be five modes.) Four seems to be the magic number because there are four metering modes too: evaluative, partial, spot, and center-weighted average. I mostly use spot metering. The AF mode (autofocus) can be set for one shot for still subjects or ai servo for moving subjects. This ai mode continuously focuses the lens on subjects moving towards or away from the camera! It absolutely blew me away when I used it. You can also set your own focusing point so that the lens will focus on an object off-centered if you choose. Of course, lomographers know that the subject does NOT need to be in the center! Probably the most impressive feature is eye-calibration where you can set the camera up so that when you look through the viewfinder the foucsing will actually follow your eye’s movement. If your eye darts to the corner of the picture the focusing will be on that corner. OMG! ’Nuff said.

For those interested in far more technical information, the metering range is EV 0-20, and exposure compensation can be set 3 stops plus or minus in 1/3 stop increments. Film ISO from 6-6400 can be used (Where the heck do you get film with an ISO of 6???), although the DX coding will only read from ISO 25-5000. There is no built in flash but of course there is a working hotshoe using EX flashes such as the 430 EX. There is autoexposure with the flash unit by E-TTL. The film rewinds when it reaches the “legal” end of the roll be it 12, 24, 27 or 36 exposures. There’s no cheating and getting extra shots on the roll. For those that process their own film one of the custom functions allows the film to rewind leaving the leader of the roll exposed—you don’t need to use a can opener to pry off the top. The EOS-3 also allows up to 9 multiple exposures, but you can also trick the camera to let you take more than nine should the occasion arise. Shutter speeds range from 30 seconds to 1/8000, and bulb. Lastly it is a hefty camera weighing 780 grams without a lens attached, and without the power drive booster. The power drive booster is a great accessory allowing the use of two lithium batteries and a reserve power of eight AA batteries. If you did not stop reading hours ago, thank you. It’s a lot of camera and can be pricey. I paid about $300US for the camera BP-E1 battery pack. There is one album from the camera on my lomohome and I will add one from the dog shows soon.

written by altprocess on 2009-02-24 in #reviews #35mm #autofocus #canon-eos-3 #professional #serious-amateur


  1. mattcharnock
    mattcharnock ·

    its a canon so it has to be awesome! i love the idea of the eye collaboration, thats genius! great review and now i have GAS!

  2. eyecon
    eyecon ·

    Newschool Baby :)

  3. rater
    rater ·

    Great camera! I received one last december as a gift :D , I have some photos in my beta home... and the eye focusing, magic!

  4. stouf
    stouf ·

    Impressive review !

  5. smclemon
    smclemon ·

    Surely a Canon EOS is kind of taking the piss a bit? Why not chuck in a 5D Mk II review? Nice photographs, but it seems strange to be reviewing a recent Canon autofocus camera here. Maybe it's me that's strange, though...

  6. cinzinc
    cinzinc ·

    the first photo kinda freaked me out.haha

  7. vandal
    vandal ·

    i just got an eos 3 :D don't have lens yet :((

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