The Canon EOS 650 is not that different from the EOS 630 I shot earlier this year. But it’s the first-ever Canon EOS camera, from 1987, making it historically significant. And I got the body for a trifle: a buck! (Plus $12 shipping.)
I bought that EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens separately, though, for $45 used. Even though it’s least expensive prime Canon sells for its EOS cameras, it’s widely considered to be a great lens. I feel like I get to know a camera best when I shoot it with a 50mm prime. And I wasn’t very impressed with the 35-80mm lens that came with my 630.
It’s weird to me that the 650, which preceded the 630 by two years, has a higher model number but fewer features. The 650 lacks some of the 630’s modes, and its motor drive is a little slower (3 fps vs. 5 fps). Also, the 650 doesn’t automatically rewind the film after the last frame as the 630 does. You have to flip down that little panel below the film door, and press the rewind button. I learned that the hard way — after shooting the roll, I opened the camera and ruined a bunch of photographs. Drat.
I dropped some Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400 into the 650 and took it along on a trip to St. Charles, Illinois. The Fox River flows through town. You’ll find fox statues all over town. These twin foxes guard the bridge that carries St. Charles’s main street over the river.
Fast film and a fast lens let me get these night shots of the art-moderne St. Charles Municipal Building. The dome changes color.
The downside of using a 50mm lens was that I would have had to back up all the way into the river to get the entire building in the photo.
Here’s a near-sunset shot of the main drag through St. Charles, also known as State Route 64.
And here’s a daylight shot of a footbridge over the Fox, south of downtown. As you can see, the 650 and this lens handles a bunch of lighting conditions with ease. But I’ll bet that if I’d brought one of my Pentax SLRs with a 50mm Pentax prime attached, I’d’ve gotten warmer, livelier color tones on the same film. These colors just don’t jazz me.
Fast film and fast lens let me shoot indoors with available light, too. The in-focus patch was mighty thin, however.
The 650’s autofocus worked fine for the most part. It’s a little slow, but for what I was shooting it didn’t matter. Once in a while I was puzzled by its focusing choices, as in this shot. But this is my favorite photo from my test roll anyway. I like the light play and the rough surface of the desk my Kodak 35 was sitting on.
To see more photos from my test roll, check out my Canon EOS 650 gallery.
I shot everything in straight program mode and let the camera focus for me. The EOS 650 handled just like the EOS 630, which is to say fine, which is also to say uninspiringly. Frame, press the button, zip-zap-click. I just don’t have as much fun with auto-everything SLRs. But as you can see, this one performed competently.
Do you like old cameras? Then check out all of my vintage gear reviews!