I completely missed out on Canon’s camera and lens innovations in the mid to late 1980s. I was not involved at all in photography then and I was not until the late 1990s that I re-engaged with photography and then it was with Nikon. In 2006 I bought a Canon 5D and have more or less stuck with the brand ever since. In the last two years, I have become increasingly involved in 35mm film photography, having kept hold of my Nikon LS-4000 scanner that I bought in 2001.
Although my digital gear is Canon, my film kit is anything but Canon. Contax, Yashica and Pentax mainly. I still have the first 35mm SLR that I bought in January 1979 – a Yashica FX-1 and its immediate successor – a Pentax ME. Recently, out of curiosity; I began to get interested in Canon’s EOS film cameras. I was attracted to the idea of matching my 21st century IS L zoom lenses to 20th century film bodies – which have very impressive specifications.
My impression of Canon EOS film SLRs could be summed-up as; Cheap, Plastic, Noisy, Disposable. All of the examples I saw on Ebay were old, worn-out, dirty and shiny. They did not look at all appealing (I recently bought an EOS 30 which was home to lice in the mirror box).
Last week I paid a visit to the web site of the retailer; FFordes in Scotland. They had a number of old EOS cameras, which they were describing as New Old Stock. I though that this worth a try. So I bought a “New” Canon EOS 620 for £59. This was the second of the new EOS models released in May 1987.
It arrived last Saturday morning. The listing didn’t mention a box – but what arrived was straight from a time machine. It was in its box, with all the original packaging, the strap was in its unopened, plastic bag; the camera itself was nicely wrapped in its own bag. Quite literally new and unused and unopened – untouched for the last twenty-nine years. It even smells like new!
Thing is, if it had been worn and old and shiny I would probably have dismissed it. But because it is “new”, I feel like investing some effort in discovering what the camera can offer. I’ve put my 24-70 f/4 IS on it and it works perfectly – a great combo. Sure, it makes a noise that is very much 1980s but it is not obtrusive. The AF, even though there is only one point – is seriously fast – as fast as my 1DS II.
Yes, it feels a bit plasticky compared to my Contax RX and Pentax MX. But then, this is a thirty-year-old camera that perfectly complements my modern Canon lenses. I wonder if Canon imagined that scenario back in 1987?