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The Canon EOS 650

Chunky, clunky, but really quite funky. I have lots to thank Lomography for - but letting me rediscover my analogue soul is top of the list. Through Dianas and other toy cameras, I reconnected with the joy of film photography once more.

But where does the non-digital photographer progress after toy cameras?

Once I realized that 35mm film rather than 120 film or medium format was my thing, I dabbled with many models. I had great fun using Lomo-friendly cameras like the Olympus Trip and the Smena Symbol, but I also got loads of unusable photos too from the limits of using point and shoots. Every pack of processed snaps from a 36 exposure film I got back would maybe have 10 usable shots – other pics had nearly everything going for them – composition, colour, exposure – but fuzziness caused by the lack of accurate focusing prevented some ok photos from becoming truly great ones – they were like stillborn children! If I was an eccentric millionaire, I wouldn’t care, but the budget-conscious Lomographer has to be wary of such things!

So I knew I needed a good quality analogue SLR. I originally learned my photographic chops at art school many years back on an Olympus OM10 from the early 80s. I took some truly fine photos on this cheap 2nd hand camera, but wanted something else this time around. Maybe there was a later model from that decade that would give me more options and better pictures? I ADORE street photography, so a zoom lens was also compulsory for getting closer to my subjects…

Then on Ebay, I chanced across the Canon EOS 650.

Not knowing much about this range , I thought “Hmm… Canon – classic make. Manufactured in 1987 – much later after my OM10 – bound to be a better camera!” At exactly the same time I discovered a Flickr site devoted to this model showing some wonderful photographs taken on it. It’s very low sale price and the fact it came with a tasty 35-80 zoom lens made buying it a no-brainer purchase for me. So then I looked into it‘s history.. The 650 from 1987 was the very first model in the EOS range that’s with us today due to Canon’s current range of digital cameras still sharing the brand name

But I had no idea how heavy it would be! All those cranky old motors in it’s body that were once hi-tech made it really heavy to handle – I always thought Zenit cameras were heavy to hold, but they feel like cradling a new-born kitten in comparison ! And forget about casually hanging this baby around your neck by the camera strap – unless you don’t mind walking around bent over double like Quasimodo. (But when did the keen Lomographer worry about something like a camera’s weight?)

I tried out every kind of film on this camera – expired color film, black and white, cross-processed slide negative, and it never let me down. Look at my photos – in 20 years of photography, these are by far some of the best I’ve ever taken.

(P.S. The auto-focus is a pain in the ass. Unless your subject is right in the center of your shot, it can be tricky focusing correctly quickly for street shots, so I nearly always switch to manual instead.)

So if you want a cheap quality 35mm SLR, you could do a lot worse than buying any of the EOS range. I was so impressed with my 650 I upgraded and bought the advanced later EOS 1000n model from 1993. It’s so much lighter and has cool additional features like multi-exposure and has now become my main camera- but that’s a story for another review.

written by droogieboy

12 comments

  1. pim_g

    pim_g

    Nice photos!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  2. superlighter

    superlighter

    cool review and very very nice photos!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  3. anarollemberg

    anarollemberg

    Great photos!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  4. life_on_mars

    life_on_mars

    great street photo !

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  5. vicuna

    vicuna

    great pictures!!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  6. nicolas_noir

    nicolas_noir

    Great photos! What lens are you using? The EF 50mm f1.8? Lovely depth of field in some of them!

    I'm borrowing my mother in law's Eos 1000FN and it has a soft focus mode, where it takes a double exposure with one of the photos slightly out of focus. However the metering is completely shot :-(

    Also I think I've got a shot of that D as well, is it near Spitafields Market?

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  7. j_rad

    j_rad

    Great images!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  8. droogieboy

    droogieboy

    thank you lovely people for your kind comments!

    @ nicolas-noir
    Hey nicolas. The lens on this camera is a Sigma 35-80mm zoom that I got in a cheap Ebay deal. I was a bit disappointed when this camera didn't come with an original Canon lens, but the Sigma surprised me with it's reasonable sharpness. By the way - you're correct. That Big D sign is by Old Street Station, and quite near Clerkenwell and Shoreditch

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  9. sfarjoud

    sfarjoud

    yei! cool article! i have the CANNON EOS 3000N.. i should try it more often! thanks for the tip ;)

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  10. wesfraser

    I totally agree, the 650 is excellent! Heavy, chunky and not the fanciest of beasts admittedly, but it does a damn good job! Nice shots.
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  11. fash_on

    fash_on

    I used to have this one but the lens it came with (as pictured) was not great, your sigma photos look much better :))

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  12. droogieboy

    droogieboy

    thanks guys! :)

    over 3 years ago · report as spam