I’ve genuinely enjoyed using Canon’s EOS 650, & I don’t regret the purchase, but I couldn’t enthusiastically recommend it for the majority of today’s film shooters. The 650 is a perfectly fine camera for those who want to lớn dip a toe in 35mm photography and are on a tight budget, shoot in an automatic mode, & already have a collection of EF lenses. If, however, you love shooting fully manual & want a more “authentic” old-school film experience, look elsewhere. That said, camera collectors of all types may want to lớn pick up a 650 simply because of its interesting historical value: it’s the first Canon camera with an EF mount.

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Spec Summary

Format: 35mm.

Dates: Manufactured from March 1987 lớn February 1989. So any 650 you buy today will be older than Nirvana’s Nevermind. And smell like anything but teen spirit.

Current cost and availability: I got mine seven years ago for 69 bucks from a proper camera cửa hàng that (in theory) checked it out và graded it in nearly new shape. On eBay, you can readily find them anywhere from $10 khổng lồ $90 (but buyer beware on the camera’s actual condition). B&H, Adorama, & KEH sometimes have them in their used stock too.

Autofocus: Yes. Và this is the camera that really started it all off for Canon. It features a single, centered autofocus point that for the time was considered quite mighty.

Lens mount: EF. Lenses are thus super easy to lớn find in every price range used and new. There are literally millions of EF lenses out in the wild.

Battery: The camera takes a single 2CR5. You can get them from Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, và so on, but they don’t seem to lớn be quite as available or cheap as they used to lớn be. They are rated khổng lồ last about 40 rolls, which feels right though I haven’t actually counted. They also can be stored in the camera for a long while without dying. I had my 650 packed away for about a year, & the battery fired up just fine.

Weight & construction: 660 grams or 1.45 pounds or a little over two of Canon’s 50mm f/1.4 lenses. It’s made of the usual engineering plastic (like a contemporary Rebel), so the weight is very manageable. But you don’t want khổng lồ have fumbly fingers over concrete.

Light meter: Yep, it has one, & if you’ve used a current Canon digital camera, you will feel right at trang chủ with the metering as long as you are shooting shutter or aperture priority. Shutter speed & aperture can be adjusted only in half stops though. I dig that, but if you rely on third stops from your digital camera, it might be annoying.

Max shutter speed: 1/2000. Fast enough for most daylight uses. Depending on your lens’s maximum aperture and the film speed you are using, you might not be able khổng lồ shoot wide xuất hiện on sunny, bright days.

Flash sync speed: 1/125. Not that far from many modern digital cameras and fine for studio/indoor work.

Film advance & rewind: It’s all automatic and painless và pretty quick.

User manual: I know, I know. Photographers don’t ever read instructions, but you’ll likely need a manual for these older cameras, especially if you don’t have much experience with film gear. There is just too much weird stuff lớn figure out. Luckily, Canon hosts a comprehensive Camera Museum where you can tải về a pristine PDF of the EOS 650 guide.

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History of the EOS 650

Up until 1987, Canon was second place in the SLR pro market lớn Nikon. Autofocus at that time was in its infancy, so pros wouldn’t go anywhere near it. Canon realized that its then-current FD mount, which it had invested a lot of time và money in, wouldn’t be up khổng lồ the challenge of providing the best autofocus experience, so the conservative company did the most forward-looking thing in its history: it ditched the FD mount & came out with what we all know as the EOS EF. The mount is special because the focusing motors are in each lens itself, not the camera’s body. It’s super quick even now, but back then it was a revelation. Canon pros at the time were furious because they had also invested so much time & money into the FD mount, but they and a whole bunch of Nikon users were eventually won over. Canon to this day dominates in the pro sports market.

In March 1987, the mild-mannered EOS 650 was introduced as the first Canon camera with this new mount. It’s at best an enthusiast camera that would be surpassed by the EOS 620 a couple of months later, but all of us Canon shooters owe a hat tip khổng lồ this first comer that was “designed for the future.” kiểm tra out the subtle ‘80s marketing material.


Me & My EOS 650

But I didn’t know about any of that history stuff when I purchased my 650 seven years ago. I was simply looking for a more modern 35mm film camera than the one I had, a manual-focusing, busted-up Minolta XG-1. At the time, I was also really interested in having printed images that were produced on 35mm film; the actual process of making them—the tactile experience of manually advancing & rewinding film, of selecting shutter tốc độ on a dial or aperture on the lens—was something I already had with the Minolta. Instead, I wanted something faster, something more akin to the experience of shooting on digital but with the over result of an image printed from film. Because I was already shooting with a 7D và had a handful of EF lenses that I really liked, the 650 seemed like a good fit for the gear in my bag và the money in my wallet.

And in truth the camera was. On music gigs, I’d throw it in the bag with a cheap 50mm f/1.8II attached và loaded with Ilford 3200. After digitally getting all the shots I needed for the job, I could grab the 650 và just have fun. If the pics sucked (and they frequently did…my fault, not the camera’s), it was no biggie because I knew it was playtime.

If that sounds lượt thích the camera is merely a toy….you are not totally wrong. For me, the 650 is at best an incredibly capable and quite fun toy camera because of its quirky và ultimately useless manual exposure mode. If you can’t put & use a camera in manual, it just ain’t…a serious camera. For my needs anyway. You can judge for yourself after we dive into the 650’s quirks.

Battery Access


Turning the Camera On

The main switch has four positions, three of which might not be clear if you are coming from a modern digital camera.

The L position means the camera is off. Some users have said the letter “L” here stands for “Lock.” Makes sense I suppose. When it is in this position, you can’t take a photo.The A position means the camera is on và can be used khổng lồ take a photo. It will not beep for focus confirmation though.The third position looks a bit lượt thích a Wifi symbol. When you select this, the camera is on, và it will make a short beep when focus is confirmed và a long beep if the shutter is too slow khổng lồ eliminate camera shake.Finally, there is the green square position, which is still commonly used today for full Auto. If you select this, the camera will make all the decisions for you, including shutter, aperture, & one-shot mode.

Loading Film và Checking the Shutter

Loading film is a quick process with the 650. Pop mở cửa the back cover, stick in the canister (with the tapered kết thúc down), & stretch the film until the lead reaches the orange mark. Make sure one of the sprocket holes has a sprocket tooth in it, và close the cover. The film will automatically advance for your first shot, and the ISO will be automatically set if your film has a DX code (most today do). The back cover also has a handy little window that shows what type of film you have loaded.


While you have the back cover open, check your shutter blades. According to forum chat, aged 650s appear to be pretty plagued with sticky shutters because the shutter bumper can melt và deposit goo on the blades. They can apparently be cleaned by using Q-tips with alcohol or lighter fluid, but I can’t vouch for that because I’ve luckily never had to vày it. My shutter blades are looking a little worn though.


Painfully lame, yes? lớn make it even worse, there isn’t any indication of how under or over you might be. To make it even doubly worse, you need lớn press & hold the aperture button for the camera to lớn show a meter reading. Because metering isn’t constant, you can’t adjust shutter or aperture on the fly & see the results of your adjustments.

Canon, in short, (mis?)designed this camera to be shot exclusively in an automatic mode, and the only way you can possibly get on with the 650 is to embrace its intrinsic auto-natured-ness. Mine lives & will eventually die in aperture priority. Once I accepted that, shooting the 650 became a fun experience.

Mode Button Kudos


Most current digital SLRs have a big dial on the đứng top of the camera for switching among the AV/TV/Program/Manual modes. The 650 instead uses a simple và space-saving button inherited from Canon’s final flagship FD-mount camera, the T90. It’s the same simple thiết lập that the later pro-level 1 series cameras, both film và digital khổng lồ this day, would inherit as well. I totally dig it. I’ve never understood wasting all that physical space for something that isn’t really changed that often. & even if a shooter does like to toggle between modes quite a bit, using a button and the shutter dial is just as quick.

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Should You Buy a Canon EOS 650?

Knowing what I vày now, I wouldn’t buy one again, but it might be the right camera for you if you fall into one (or both) of these two specific cases:

You don’t have a ton of cash & you already shoot with a Canon digital camera và a collection of EF lenses. You really want to lớn give 35mm film a go, and you want the experience of using a film camera to be pretty painless, so it needs lớn have autofocus, modern(ish) metering, & automatic film advance and rewind. Most important, you live in aperture or shutter priority, & truly love living there. A 650 is absolutely not the right camera if you shoot in manual and/or want the “authentic” film shooter experience of manually focusing và manually advancing/rewinding film.You are a camera collector or a Canon completist. The 650 is historically important and interesting enough lớn own, và it’s cheap enough khổng lồ inoffensively bởi nothing but shelf duty in a dusty collection.

That said, an autofocusing, fast-loading 35mm camera is still definitely a viable option in your gig bag if you want to shoot and produce film. Instead of the 650, the better Canon alternatives are the pro-level EOS-1 or EOS-1N (or ideally the 1V if you can swing the big cash premium). My lightly scratched 1N cost $175 three years ago; the extra hundred bucks over the 650’s price was totally worth it khổng lồ me, & I suspect it shall be to you too once you shoot with one.