Flying the Canon Flag with the Canon EOS-1N


Who do you think deserves the crown for the best 35 mm SLR camera? Canon and Nikon will always be in a two-horse race to the top spot in the consumer to prosumer SLR/DSLR market, having developed reputations as two of the biggest go-to brands. Representing the Canon corner, I can safely say the Canon EOS-1N is by far the best SLR I have ever used.

Canon EOS-1N © Michael Banks, Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Introduced in 1994, the Canon EOS-1N was launched as the brand's latest flagship camera, practically dominating the market with its mind-blowing features. It was a huge yet subtle development from its predecessor, the Canon EOS1, introducing a wider range of focus points, faster FPS (frames per second), better button layout, and an improved tracking focusing system. This wasn't the final 35mm film model flagship model Canon produced, but it was at the well-deserved position of # 1 for a long time. The EOS-1V was launched six years later with even more advanced features.

Technical Specifications

Format: 35 mm
Viewfinder: 100%
Focus points: 5
Metering system: 16 zone (evaluative)
ISO range: 6-6400, including auto-DX code reader with manual override
Shutter: 30 seconds-1/8000, with Bulb function
X-Flash sync: 1/250
Total weight (including optional grip): 1 lb, 14.5 oz

So let's kick off with the overview of the camera. It's a sturdy, well-built, high-end-looking SLR. It still maintained the same design as the EOS-1, which was adapted from the original Canon T90. However, the EOS-1N was finished with a matte gripping, giving it a more sturdy feel and less reflective areas (beneficial to inconspicuous wildlife shooting). It's heavy enough to know you got it hanging around your neck, but not too much that 20 years down the line you'd have developed a hunched back.

Credits: chilledvondub

The images this camera produces are second to none! The metering is always spot on and you always have full control with the spot, center-weighted, and evaluative metering modes with selective and autofocusing points. The camera has all the same modes you will see on a modern DSLR — manual, aperture priority, shutter priority, program mode, bulb, and depth of field mode — and it all works exactly how you would want it to. The focusing speed is exceptional even by today's standards, comparable to a 5D MkII or 6D. The focus is snappy with little hunt or back focus, making you nail the shot every time. Like all cameras in the EOS range, this camera will shine when paired with a decent glass lens. With a fast glass lens, fast focusing, and the five frames per second burst shutter rate, you'll never miss that shot!

Credits: chilledvondub

11 Reasons Why You Should Buy This Camera

No.1. It's built like a tank. Whether you throw it about, take it out in Arctic conditions, or leave it out in the hot midday sun, it'll survive a bashing.

No. 2. With fresh batteries, you can easily shoot 50 rolls of film without needing replacements. With the optional vertical battery grip, it takes AA batteries which are widely available.

No. 3.^ Canon has a huge range of EF lenses from ultra-wide 8 mm up to 1200 mm super telephoto. This camera is also compatible with all EF lenses even those by third-party brands such as Sigma, Tokina, Samyang, Rokinon, and Tamron.

No. 4. It has all the features you expect to find in a professional camera including bracketing, flash exposure compensation, and the option of setting up custom functions so you can create your own go-to quick modes for whatever you shoot.

No. 5. The auto-motor driven film advance sound has the classic nostalgic paparazzi sound that you first associate with a professional camera.

No. 6. It feels great and everything is where it should be.

No. 7. Although not a significant point, the viewfinder shutter (that Canon later dropped in their newer and digital cameras) installed to ensure that absolutely no unwanted light gets into your camera while shooting long exposures is definitely a nice touch.

No. 8. The camera is still serviceable so if ever you do have any issues, it can still be corrected.

No. 9. Owning a flagship camera makes you feel like a champion!

No. 10. Unlike most motor-driven cameras with auto wind advance and rewind functions, the camera has no IR sensors so you can easily use Aerochrome and B&W IR film without any fogging.

No. 11. The camera has an exceptional multiple exposure function which allows you to set it to take between 1-10 exposures per frame, and it'll bracket and meter accordingly so you will never blow out an exposure. A godsend to Lomographers! Below is a sample photo was taken with Fomapan 100 ASA:

Credits: chilledvondub

In conclusion, the Canon EOS-1N is a fantastic camera. From the sample photos that I have shared, you can see that it's incredibly versatile. It can operate as a fully professional photographers' workhorse and just as nicely in the hands of a Lomographer or experimental photographer. It'll never let you down, and once you start shooting with it, you will not want to put it down. The camera is widely available on online auctions and secondhand camera shops. You can get it for as low as £90, which is almost £1,500 cheaper than its original recommended retail price.

I crown this camera the King of 35 mm SLRs as I feel that it outperforms my current DSLRs. As far as I'm concerned, it ticks every box. Being a Canon shooter, I'm pretty much oblivious to the Nikon equivalent. But I'm sure that even if you're Team Nikon, you won't be disappointed when you use this camera.

Credits: chilledvondub

This is a review submitted by Community Member chilledvondub.

written by chilledvondub on 2014-08-26 #gear #people #35mm #review #slr #canon #canon-eos-series #canon-eos-1-n


  1. stouf
    stouf ·

    Great review!

  2. chilledvondub
    chilledvondub ·

    @stouf thanks a lot :)

  3. lorenzo1910
    lorenzo1910 ·

    "The images this camera produces are second to none! " The camera itself can't produce any image.
    The camera AND a lens do it. And the image quality is due by the lens quality. If you mount a crappy lens on that fantastic camera the resulting image will be crappy (although the metering and the built quality etc.)

  4. chilledvondub
    chilledvondub ·

    @lorenzo1910 I agree, glass is more important for the final render of the image, sharpness, clarity & contrast etc. However you can drill a hole into a body cap and compose an image so yes you can produce an image without a lens. And regarding mounting a crappy lens, The Zenit Helios which you can pick up for as little as £1 will provide exceptional sharp isolated images providing you use it in the right environment with the correct metering. Example:…

    As much as I value your opinion and I do agree with you, suggesting you won't get anything but a crappy image with a crappy lens is poison. In essence you're effectively saying every single camera Lomography, Zenit, Holga and all the toy camera brands produce nothing but crappy images. So I'd revise that one ;) cheers for reading though

  5. robotmonkey1996
    robotmonkey1996 ·

    @lorenzo1910 The lens isn't entirely responsible for image quality. The sharpest lens will give a soft image if the AF system is off, the backfocus is incorrect, or the film plane isn't perfectly flat.

  6. iantimothy
    iantimothy ·

    Could not agree more I have two! I'm now using a 40mm STM with this camera and the results are superb - It is not the only film camera I use but it is one of my favourites

  7. jmphotofe
    jmphotofe ·

    Capolavoro assoluto

  8. gravis82
    gravis82 ·

    Did you confirm that tamrons VC will work on this older camera? I am not so sure that is true

  9. rockyrutherford
    rockyrutherford ·

    I have recently bought a EOS 1N and agree. It is class.

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