I can’t go without reviewing this – the first SLR camera I ever purchased in 1999. The Canon EOS Rebel 2000, or for the Japanese audience, the Canon EOS Kiss III. The attraction was the feel. Ergonomically the most comfortable of all my cameras (thankfully this design trait has carried on to their modern digital bodies), it felt just right. Unlike the Nikons available at the time which were lacking in features in my price range (think college student tax refund) and the modern Pentax bodies which felt okay but did not have any good deals available at the time, this camera seemed to fit just right in terms of usability. It included a remarkably good 28-80mm zoom lens that holds up well even by today’s standard of inexpensive lenses.
The most impressive thing about this camera is by far the film loading. Literally it is a matter of pulling out the film leader far enough to line up with the orange line and closing it. Nothing to turn, no sprockets to make sure it’s catching on, no slot to make sure it’s firmly in. Put it in and close it. With the built in motorized film advance, it will automatically unwind the entire roll, and then wind it back into the film cassette after each exposure. The advantage here is if something happens and the camera is opened accidentally, all that is lost is the unused film. The stuff wound back into the film cassette can still be salvaged and developed. The downside of this is that the camera is extremely noisy. The electro-magnetic shutter isn’t so bad – but the film advance is loud enough to be a real distraction. The built in retractable flash (another trait that has carried on to the modern digital SLR cameras of all brands) is all of useless. In general I find flashes have little use. Very, very few pictures I have shot have looked like anything when a flash is used. In comparison I have many shots where I took advantage of adjustable shutter speeds, apertures, high film ISO sensitivities, and in the case of digital freakishly high ISO settings. It runs on two CR2 sized batteries widely available everywhere, and despite having motorized power everywhere, they seem to last quite a long time.
For those that own the modern Canon digital cameras, the controls here do not look any different. There are enough automatic modes to make you dizzy. The only ones that I ever used on this, or even on my newer digital SL1, are the “P” mode for automatic exposure or “Av” mode to do things in aperture priority. It is possible to do everything manually in “M” mode and for giggles, sometimes I do. This camera, unlike many of its counterparts in this price range, also has the coveted (though in my opinion not really useful) depth-of-field preview button. It closes up the aperture so you can see how much depth you’re get in your picture, which I suppose is good. Unfortunately, because the viewfinder is dimmed so much, you really can’t make heads or tails of what you’re looking at unless it’s really, really bright outside.
While I considered the Nikon N60 at that time as well as the Pentax ZX-M, just for the virtue of following in the footsteps of two previous generations of photo nerds, I wanted to be different when diving in to SLR photography. Back then this camera offered a lot of value for your dollar. On today’s used market, it’s still pretty tough to go wrong.
Get out there and take some pictures. And by the way – shoot photos, not each other.