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Using the Canon EOS Rebel/1000* cameras - an unofficial manual. DonationsCopyright © 2001 NK Guy

The information here, an unofficial user manual, applies to 14 different Canon EOS camera models that are basically variants of the same design.

These models are the EOS 1000, EOS 1000F, EOS 1000F QD, EOS Rebel, EOS Rebel S, EOS Rebel S Quartz Date, EOS 1000 QD, EOS 1000N, EOS 1000FN, EOS 1000FN QD, EOS Rebel II, EOS Rebel S II, EOS 1000S QD and EOS 1000S QDP.

Since it’s pretty cumbersome to list all these different models over and over I’ll just refer to them as the Rebel/1000* series of cameras. However, this information does not apply to any of the later Canon low-end cameras, such as the EOS Rebel X, Rebel XS, Kiss, New Kiss, Kiss III, Kiss III L, Rebel 2000, Rebel G, EOS 500, EOS 3000, EOS 3000N and so on. There are many similiarities between these models, but many of the specifics are different.

Table of Contents:

    About the EOS Rebel/1000* cameras
    Differences between the various models
    Total Beginner Guide to the EOS Rebel/1000*

    Shutter release button
    Loading and unloading film
    Installing/removing a lens
    Manual focussing
    Main dial
    Command (mode) dial
    Lock mode (L)
    “Image zone” (PIC) modes

      Full auto.
      Portrait mode.
      Landscape mode.
      Close-up mode.
      Sports mode.

    Winding, focussing and metering modes

      Single-frame wind
      Continuous wind
      One-shot AF (autofocus)
      AI (“artificial intelligence”) servo mode
      Evaluative metering
      Partial metering
      Centre-weighted average metering

    “Creative zone” modes

      Program AE (auto-exposure) mode
      Adjusting program AE (program shift, exposure compensation)
      Shutter priority AE mode (Tv)
      Aperture priority AE mode (Av)
      Metered Manual mode (M)
      Depth of field AE mode (DEP)

    Self-timer tunes
    Tripod socket
    Main dial shift

    Partial metering button
    Multiple exposure
    Mid-roll rewind
    Film prewind
    Date back
    The EOS Rebel/1000* and high-speed infrared film
    Attaching manual-focus lenses or telescopes (stop-down metering)
    Some limitations of the EOS Rebel/1000* cameras
    Accessories and whatnot

About the EOS Rebel/1000* cameras.

These cameras were a line of very popular low-end consumer SLR cameras sold by Canon in the early 1990s. They were marketed under the manly, tough and virile tradename “Rebel” in the US and Canada, and under the series name “EOS 1000” in the rest of the world.

They all featured extremely lightweight curved black all-plastic body construction, fully computerized automation and a reduced feature set aimed at beginners. They were the low-end of Canon’s SLR lineup and were also the last consumer EOS cameras to use pentaprisms - the next generation used cheaper, lighter and dimmer hollow mirrors instead.

These are Canon’s official Canon Museum pages on the cameras:

Differences between the various models.

Although this document was written originally for the Rebel S II camera most of the information here also applies to the other models as well. Here are the differences between them.

EOS 1000
Introduced in 1990 and the first of the new low-cost line. This was the worldwide name, used everywhere except North America and Japan. No built-in flash.

EOS 1000F
The EOS 1000 with a built-in flash.

EOS 1000F QD
The EOS 1000 with both a flash and a quartz date-printing back.

EOS Rebel
The version of the EOS 1000 sold in Canada and the USA. No built-in flash.

EOS Rebel S
The EOS Rebel with a built-in flash. (presumably Canon USA used the “S” designation to mean “equipped with a built-in strobe” instead of the more logical “F” for “flash”)

EOS Rebel S Quartz Date
The EOS Rebel with both a flash and a quartz date-printing back.

EOS 1000 QD
The EOS 1000 sold in Japan, which featured both built-in flash and a quartz date-printing back.

EOS 1000N
A largely improved version of the EOS 1000, introduced in 1992. This was the worldwide name, used everywhere except North America and Japan. No built-in flash.
It was basically identical to the original EOS 1000 except that it featured a slightly higher top shutter speed (1/2000 sec versus 1/1000), faster autofocus, a soft focus function, tune-playing during self-timer mode, the ability to turn off the in-focus beep and supposedly a slightly quieter film transport mechanism.
There was one area in which the earlier model was superior, however. The Rebel/1000 featured a digital match-needle for metered manual mode, whereas the later Rebel II/1000N cameras featured simplistic +/- metering symbols.

EOS 1000FN
The EOS 1000N with a built-in flash. In addition to the added features of the 1000N, the 1000FN also had a red-eye reduction lamp and an improved guide number - 14 versus 12 for the 1000F.

The EOS 1000N with both flash and a quartz date-printing back.

EOS Rebel II
The version of the EOS 1000 sold in Canada and the USA. No built-in flash.

EOS Rebel S II
The Rebel II with a built-in flash, and the version I owned - hence the name of this document. I don’t know if a quartz date version was ever sold in North America. Like the 1000FN, the Rebel S II had red-eye reduction and a guide number of 14 compared to 12 for the Rebel S.

EOS 1000S QD
The EOS 1000N with built-in flash and quartz date-printing back, sold only in Japan.

The EOS 1000N with built-in flash, quartz date-printing back and user-settable panorama mask, and sold only in Japan. (a mode that fakes a panorama view by masking out the top and bottom of the negative)

Total Beginner Guide to the EOS Rebel/1000*.

To start, here’s a total beginner’s guide to the cameras.

  1. Turn the camera off, if it was on, by turning the left-hand dial (looking from the back of the camera) to the red square marked L for “lock.”

  2. Make sure the camera has a working battery installed. The battery cover is on the bottom, and the battery goes into the camera terminal-end (metal contacts) first.

  3. Open the camera back. The release catch to the camera back is on the left side of the camera when viewed from the back.

  4. Take a fresh roll of 35mm film and slot it into the space on the left. The exposed bit of film should protrude out to the right and the plastic cylindrical end should be at the bottom.

  5. Pull the film tongue out as far as the orange mark on the right side of the camera. Be extremely careful not to poke the fragile shutter with your finger. (the shutter is the black rectangle with the sort of Venetian-blind panels in the middle of the camera)

  6. Close the camera back. The camera will whir and wind for a half minute or so.

  7. (film icon)When the camera has finished prewinding, the film icon and the total number of shots available on the film will be displayed on the top screen, meaning everything’s ready to go. If the flashing circle icon appears on the panel on the top then the film did not load correctly and you’ll probably have to open the camera back and line up the film with the orange mark.

  8. (full auto icon)Turn the left-hand dial to the green rectangle. This is the beginner mode.

  9. Make sure the AF/MF switch on the lens is set to AF, for autofocus. Remove the lens cap if necessary.

  10. Look in the viewfinder and push the shutter release button halfway down. Whatever is in the very centre of the viewfinder should snap into focus.

  11. If a green dot in the viewfinder blinks it means your subject is not in focus. Try refocusing again. You may need to find an object with a vertical line to focus on.

  12. If the lightning bolt icon blinks in the viewfinder it means there isn’t enough light, so lift up the flash at the top of the camera (if your camera comes with built-in flash) to turn it on.

  13. Push the shutter all the way to take the picture.

  14. Have fun!

More in-depth information.

The rest of this page contains more detailed information on how to use this camera. Note that this document is not meant to be a general-purpose photography manual. I’m going to assume you know the basics of how cameras work and what standard terms (aperture priority, etc.) mean.

If you want to learn more about this sort of beginner information please consult my Canon EOS Beginner FAQ, which is full of frequently asked questions that photography novices actually ask. And don’t forget that I have a complete online photographic dictionary available as well which can provide you with definitions of most of if not all the common technical terms you’ll find in this document.

Loading and unloading film.

The camera uses standard 35mm film (sometimes referred to as 135 film). Any 35mm film canister will work in this camera. Colour, black and white, slide, print, 24 shots per roll, 36 shots per roll... whatever you like. The only limitation involves certain types of infrared film.

Naturally other film formats, such as APS, 110, Polaroid instant, medium format, etc., cannot be used with this camera, just as you can’t play an LP in a CD player.

Loading film.

Unloading film.

Shutter release button.

The button under your right index finger when you hold the camera is, of course, the shutter release. Pushing it halfway will turn metering on, will lock AE and also start autofocus if your lens isn’t set to M or MF mode. The round in-focus dot lights up in the viewfinder when automatic focus is achieved or, in manual focus mode, when the camera thinks you’re focussed correctly. (note: the in-focus dot will not illuminate if you’re using a lens that doesn’t contain EOS-compatible electronics, such as an old M42 screwmount lens with an EOS adapter)

Pushing the button all the way will take the photo. (unless the subject isn’t in focus and the lens is set to AF, in which case the camera will refuse) The best way to do this is to hold the camera firmly, put your forefinger lightly on the button and then squeeze down. Don’t jab your finger onto the button as doing so tends to result in camera shake, which can cause blurry pictures.

Installing/removing a lens.

All EOS cameras support interchangeable lenses of the Canon EF (“electro-focus”) lens mount type. Any Canon EF lens can be used with any EOS camera - there are almost no incompatibility issues, and those that exist are minor ones that don’t affect newer cameras like the Rebel 2000.

Most third party (ie: not built by Canon) lenses that are designed to support the EF lens mount system will also work, though occasional electronic incompatibilities can arise. Such third-party lenses are usually marked “Canon EOS compatible” or “Canon autofocus compatible.” Lenses designed for other camera systems, such as Nikon, Pentax, Minolta, etc., are not compatible with EOS cameras, though older manual-focus lenses can sometimes be adapted to EOS cameras through the use of special metal rings - see the section on manual lenses below. Old Canon manual-focus FD lenses are also incompatible with EOS cameras.

EF lens mounts are of the bayonet style. That is, you insert the lens into the camera mount and rotate it just a partial turn to lock it in place.

Installing EF mount lenses.

Find the red dot on the lens barrel. Align it to the red dot on the top of the camera body lens mount. Insert the lens squarely into the camera’s lens mount and then rotate the lens to the right (clockwise) until it clicks into place. Once the lens is properly mounted you will not be able to turn it again, though a tiny bit of play (wiggle room) is normal.

Removing EF mount lenses.

When you look at the camera from the front you will notice a large pushbutton to the right side of the lens mount. Press this button and rotate the lens to the left (counter-clockwise) while keeping the button held down. When the lens has rotated as far as it can go and the red dot on the lens barrel is aligned with the top of the camera you can pull the lens off the camera body.

Store the lens carefully. You should have both a front lens cap and a rear lens cap - such caps ship with all new lenses. Be careful not to scratch or fingerprint either the glass of the lens or the gold-coloured metal contacts on the bottom of the lens. Placing the lens contacts-down is thus not recommended. The camera should also have shipped with a plastic body cap to protect the camera when the lens is not in place. If you bought the camera and/or lens used you can buy both lens caps and body caps from any camera dealer.

Manual focussing.

There is usually a switch on the lens barrel marked AF/MF - or AF/M on older lenses. Turn this switch to MF or M and the camera will be in manual focus mode. Then you turn the focussing ring on the lens to focus manually. Note that if your lens is a Canon EOS lens with full-time manual focussing (FTM) then you can adjust focus manually at any time that the autofocus motor isn’t actually working.

A handful of very old inexpensive EOS lenses lack this switch since they don’t support manual focussing. If that’s the case (such lenses are usually marked with the letter A, such as the EF 35-70mm f 3.5-4.5 A) you’re out of luck and can only use autofocus, I’m afraid. And a small number of specialized and expensive Canon EOS lenses (the MP-E 65mm macro and the three tilt-shift lenses) support manual-focus only and do not contain autofocus motors.

Main dial.

The small dial on the grip, under your right index finger and next to the shutter release button, is the main input dial. It’s used for adjusting various camera settings.

Command (mode) dial.

The primary control knob on the camera, located on the left side of the top deck, (looking from the back) and marked with a variety of letters and icons.

It doesn’t have a locking mechanism, so it’s possible to power up the camera accidentally by bumping the dial. But at the same time this camera isn’t vulnerable to the breaking-command-dial problem experienced by the poorly designed A2/5/Elan/100/10s command dials.

Lock mode (L).

The red L mode means “off” in Canon parlance. In this position there’s no risk of taking a photo accidentally.

“Image zone” (PIC) modes.

Clockwise from the centre lock position are the five PIC (image zone or PIC - programmed image control) modes, each identified by a small icon. These are various beginner modes that have different shooting assumptions built-in. Later EOS cameras refer to them as “basic” modes.

Note that the PIC modes aren’t designed to work properly with external flash units. The only common PIC mode missing from this camera is “night” mode, which you can approximate by shooting in Av mode with flash turned on.

Winding, focussing and metering modes.

The camera has a number of winding, focussing and metering modes mentioned above. Here’s what they mean. Note that you can’t arbitrarily specify which of these modes you want to use as you can on midrange and pro EOS cameras - you can only use these modes insofar as they’re built into each of the basic modes.

“Creative zone” modes.

Counter-clockwise from the centre lock position are the five “creative zone” modes - P, Tv, Av, M and DEP. These modes afford varying degrees of control over your camera’s settings, unlike the PIC (icon) modes, which are meant for rank beginners. Actually, I suppose the SF and timer modes are also kind of in the creative zone.

Program AE (auto-exposure) mode (P).

Turn the command dial to P. The camera will automatically select shutter and aperture settings according to its built-in basic program. Program AE mode uses continuous wind and also evaluative metering unless you push the partial metering button.

Unlike the green mode you can program shift by turning the main dial and adjust the exposure compensation by turning shift-main dial. (see below)

If the camera’s maximum shutter speed (1/1000 sec for the Rebel/EOS 1000/1000 QD and 1/2000 sec for the Rebel II/S II/EOS 1000N/1000FN/1000S-QD/1000S-QDP) and the value of the minimum aperture of the lens flash in the viewfinder then there’s too much light. Either use slower film or put a neutral-density filter in front of the lens. If a shutter speed of 30 seconds and the value of the maximum aperture of the lens flash in the viewfinder then there isn’t enough. Use faster film, flash or bulb mode.

Adjusting program AE (program shift, exposure compensation).

The camera lets you adjust certain metering options in program mode.

Program shifting means you can alter the shutter speed and aperture value together whilst retaining the same exposure value. You can do this in Program AE and DEP modes by turning the main dial. For example, 1/90 second at f 4.0 is the same exposure value as 1/30 second at f 6.7, since both settings let the same amount of light hit the film. However the settings result in different photos being taken because of the differences in shutter speed and aperture (depth of field). You cannot program-shift if flash (internal or shoe-mounted Speedlite) is enabled. You can, however, program shift in DEP mode.

Exposure compensation means you can set the exposure setting to be more or less than what the camera thinks you need. For example, if you’re shooting a snow scene you might want to apply a +1 stop exposure compensation setting. To do this in AE Program mode you shift-rotate the main dial. The top-deck LCD and viewfinder scales will indicate the amount of compensation that you’re applying by shifting the black rectangle on the scale.

Shutter priority AE mode (Tv).

In this AE mode you set the shutter speed (time) and the camera automatically sets an appropriate lens aperture for you, based on the selected metering mode - evaluative (default) or partial.

Turn the command dial to Tv, which stands for “Time value”. (Nikon more sensibly refer to shutter priority as S mode.) Turn the main dial to adjust the shutter speed setting and shift-main dial to adjust exposure compensation. The camera flashes the aperture value if you’re out of range. (ie: if you haven’t got enough light it’ll flash the maximum aperture of the lens, and if you’ve got too much it’ll flash the minimum aperture of the lens.)

You can’t go into bulb mode here - the maximum time value is 30 seconds. For bulb you need manual mode. The shutter values are expressed as fractions of a second unless the " symbol appears, in which case the value is expressed as a second. Thus 125 means the shutter speed is 1/125 of a second whereas 1"5 means the shutter speed is 1.5 seconds.

Aperture priority AE mode (Av).

In this AE mode you set the lens aperture and the camera automatically sets an appropriate shutter speed for you, based on the selected metering mode - evaluative (default) or partial.

Turn the command dial to Av (for Aperture value). Turn the main dial to adjust the aperture setting and shift-main dial to adjust exposure compensation. The camera flashes the shutter speed value if you’re out of range. (ie: if you haven’t got enough light it’ll flash 30" and if you’ve got too much light it’ll flash 1000 or 2000, whichever is the maximum shutter speed for your particular model)

You can choose any aperture value that falls within the aperture range of the lens you happen to have installed. The wide-open aperture varies a lot from lens to lens - f/1.4, 1.8 and 2.8 are typical values for fast lens and 3.5, 4.5 and 5.6 are typical for slower zoom or telephoto lenses. The largest aperture value is usually printed on the lens itself, and is sometimes an aperture range on zoom lenses which do not have constant apertures - eg: f/3.5-5.6. The smallest aperture value on a 35mm lens is usually f/22.

Metered Manual mode (M).

In this mode you set both the lens aperture and the shutter speed manually. The camera will assist you by telling you whether it thinks you have the correct metering based on the selected metering mode - centre-weighted averaging (default) or partial.

Turning the command dial to M lets you shoot in metered manual. How the camera behaves in this mode depends on which camera you have.

The older 1000/Rebel viewfinders display a simulated needle match mode. This sort of animated graphic tells you if your picture is likely to be underexposed, overexposed or exposed correctly. (correct exposure is obviously when the moving rectangle appears in the middle of the scale)

However, the Rebel II/S II cameras the camera will display little + and - arrows telling you whether your picture is correctly exposed, overexposed or underexposed. Minus means that the image is underexposed and that the camera needs more light; plus means that the image is overexposed and the camera means less light. Both plus and minus means that the camera thinks the exposure is correct. This is not as useful, since the arrows don’t tell you how far you’re under or over. This step backwards in functionality between the version numbers was apparently done for patent licensing reasons.

Either way, use the main dial to change the shutter speed and shift-main dial to change the aperture. You can also go into bulb (long time exposure) mode - it’s the “buLb” setting that’s one step past 30 seconds. However, since the camera lacks any provision for remote shutter release it isn’t a very useful feature unless you rig up a homemade mechanical lever to keep the button pressed during long exposures. Bulb mode means the shutter stays open for as long as you keep the shutter release button pressed. Apparently the name comes from the olden days of mechanical shutter releases, when you’d have a rubber ball-shaped bulb that you’d squeeze to trigger and hold the shutter.

I understand the camera switches to centre-weighted averaging metering mode when you go into manual mode, which is annoying, since you can’t specify evaluative if you happen to prefer that. You can always go into partial by pressing and holding the awkward partial metering button.

Depth of field AE mode (DEP).

DEP is short for “depth of field AE mode.” Not to be confused with depth of field preview (which these cameras lack), DEP is a function that help you set the correct depth of focus field for your photos. Basically it tries to keep everything between two user-selected points in focus.

Select DEP mode using the mode dial. Then autofocus on a foreground item you want within your desired depth of field by selecting the subject and pressing the shutter halfway. “dEP 1” will appear in the viewfinder. Then recompose the image and autofocus on a background item by selecting the subject and pressing the shutter halfway. “dEP 2” will appear in the viewfinder. Finally, compose the final image in the viewfinder and press the shutter release halfway again. The camera will then calculate the necessary aperture setting and shutter speed to keep both items, and everything in between, in focus. Press the shutter release all the way to take the photo.

Of course, this all works only if the lighting conditions are OK for your selected depth of field. If there isn’t enough light then the slowest shutter speed (30 seconds) and the maximum aperture value of the lens will flash. If there’s too much light then the fastest shutter speed (1/1000 sec or 1/2000 sec, depending on your camera model) and the smallest aperture value of the lens will flash. And if the aperture value flashes then you can’t set the desired depth of field and need to move further away from the subject or set a wider setting on a zoom lens.

DEP mode is program shiftable (main dial) and uses single-frame wind. To cancel DEP mode just turn the command dial to something else. Note that you mustn’t adjust zoom settings on zoom lenses between setting dEP 1 and dEP 2, as you’ll throw everything out of whack. Likewise you can’t use flash in DEP mode - if you do the camera will revert to basic program AE mode.

For more information about DEP mode have a look at Vadim Makarov’s page on the subject. Or, if you’re interested in learning more about the complex math that underlies this camera mode, check out section 9.27 of the old EOS FAQ - “What is ‘depth of field’ and how does the ‘Depth-of-Field’ mode work?”

ISO (film speed).

Film speed refers to the light sensitivity of a given roll of film. “Slow” film reacts slowly to light and so photographs taken with slow film require either lots of light or slow shutter speeds. “Fast” films, on the other hand, tend to be grainier and of slightly lower quality, but are capable of working in lower light conditions or with faster shutter speeds.

Film speeds are assigned numeric ratings determined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO, not IOS, oddly enough). ISO 100 film, for example, is slow film that’s suitable for outdoor photography in sunshine. IS 400 or 800 film, on the other hand, is faster film which is more suitable for indoor photography.

Most film cartridges these days have their film speed printed on them in a form that cameras can decode automatically. There should be a pattern of squares (exposed metal or black paint) printed on the side of the film canister. This is the DX code, read electrically by a row of metal contacts within the camera. If you use such film then there is no need to specify the ISO film speed yourself.

However, there are times when manual film speed setting is important. Perhaps you’re using an unusual type of film (handloaded film, for instance) which lacks DX coding. Or perhaps you want to shoot a roll of film at a slightly different film speed from what the manufacturer suggests in order to achieve some effect or other. Or perhaps you want to simulate flash exposure compensation. In these cases manual film speed override is a very useful feature.

This command dial setting lets you override the automatic DX ISO film speed settings and set your own. Turn the dial to ISO and use the main dial to adjust the film speed manually, from 6 to 6400 ISO.


This command dial setting, which looks like a clock, is the self-timer mode. Turn the dial to this setting and press the shutter release. The camera will start beeping or playing a tune (see below) and will take a photo about 10 seconds later. You can cancel the timer by switching the camera to another mode (or turning it off) before the picture is shot.

Note that the timer mode is the same as P mode with the 10 second timer. There’s no way to operate the camera in, say, Av mode with a timer - something of a limitation. There’s also no way to change the time value.

Self-timer mode is commonly used for two things. First, it lets you take self-portraits - or group shots including you - if you put the camera onto a tripod. And second, it’s useful for slow shutter speed shots where camera blur might be a problem - you can put the camera onto a tripod and take the photo without risking camera shake caused by your finger pressing the shutter release. In either case it’s best to focus on the subject first and then switch the lens to manual focus mode once you’re satisfied. This avoids the problem of the camera autofocussing on the wrong thing when it takes a photo unattended.

Note one detail. Normally when you take a photo you’re looking through the viewfinder and your face is therefore covering it. However, in self-timer mode the viewfinder is left uncovered and stray light can enter the camera, possibly throwing off the internal light meter. So when using the timer it’s wise to cover the viewfinder with something. Some camera straps include a plastic cover on one end that can be used to cover the viewfinder. Or you could put a grey or black plastic film canister cap over it if you have one around - they fit nicely. The one time this isn’t necessary is M mode since you’re setting both aperture and shutter speed manually.

Self-timer tunes.

One of the amazingly useful features of the 1000N/Rebel II is the ability to play charming little melodies, out of tune, during self-timer operation. It was such a useful selling point, in fact, that Canon never continued the feature to any other EOS camera. Note that the original Rebel/Rebel S/EOS 1000/1000 QD lacks the ability to play self-timer tunes; a terrible tragedy.

To set the self-timer tunes turn the command dial to the speaker/musical note setting. Then rotate the (index finger) main dial until the number in the top deck LCD changes. (you may need to try moving either direction) 1 is a plain beep and settings 2 through 4 are various tunes by Vivaldi (Four Seasons - Spring), Bach (Minuet) and Beethoven (Turkish March).

As far as I could tell the Rebel II does not have the ability to disable beeps or tunes altogether, though apparently the 1000N and 1000FN have a 0 setting which does just that. In addition, the 1000N/1000FN have the optional ability to beep when focus is achieved, whereas the Rebel II does not. The 0 setting also disables focus beeps.

Tripod socket.

Using tripods is quite simple. The camera has a standard tripod socket on its base which accepts pretty well any standard tripod with a 1/4-20 thread. They nearly all do - the only ones that don’t tend to be large heavy tripods meant for professional photographers who use big cameras. You can buy tripods in all kinds of sizes and price ranges, from tiny tabletop pocket-sized tripods for convenient snapshot travel photography to sturdy midweight portable tripods to heavy studio tripods. Tripods can have simple pan and tilt heads, three-way tilting heads and ball head mounts.

Tripods, while cumbersome, make a big difference in terms of reducing blur caused by camera shake. They’re pretty well a requirement for nature and landscape photography. So don’t think of them solely as devices for holding the camera off the ground for self-timer group photos - they can definitely improve the quality of your photographs as well. A tripod-mounted camera will always take sharper pictures than a handheld camera, particularly at lower shutter speeds.

It’s a general rule of thumb in photography that if the shutter speed you’re using is slower than the reciprocal of the focal length then you must use a tripod to avoid camera shake. For example, if you’re using a 50mm lens then you shouldn’t use any shutter speed slower than 1/50 sec, which gets rounded to 1/60 sec. If you’re using a 300mm lens then you shouldn’t handheld a camera at shutter speeds slower than 1/300 sec. This rule also makes it pretty clear that the longer the lens the more a tripod is useful. To minimize the risk of camera shake still further put the camera into self-timer mode or hold the camera very firmly and squeeze the button gently so you don’t bump the camera accidentally when you take the photo.

If you’re in a situation where tripods are too awkward you could also consider a monopod. These are simply metal poles with tripod mounts on the end. They’re obviously not freestanding, but they can help steady a camera better than nothing at all. In fact, when you use a monopod it’s like using a tripod with your two legs filling in.

Soft focus.

The SF mode is for “soft focus.” The original Rebel/Rebel S/EOS 1000/1000 QD lacks this feature - only the Rebel II and EOS 1000N/etc cameras have it.

In this mode the camera takes two photos on the same frame, one a split second after the other. It defocuses the lens for the second shot, thereby rendering a softish blurry look to the photo. Obviously you have to have the lens in AF (autofocus) mode for this feature to work. The defocussing distance depends on the focussing distance. As with the self-timer the SF mode is the same as Program AE mode when it comes to metering. And like the self-timer tunes, this SF feature was only ever included with this camera, I believe.

Soft focus actually has two settings - 1 and 2, adjustable by the main dial.1 is blurry (“weak”) and 2 is very blurry (“strong”).

Main dial shift.

The unmarked left-hand rear button (oval) is a shift function for the main dial. In P, Av, Tv and DEP modes, this oval button allows for control of exposure compensation. In M mode, turning the dial alone controls shutter speed, and turning the dial with the oval button pressed controls aperture.

Thus this button combined with the main dial emulates the rear control dial found on more advanced EOS cameras, albeit at the cost of strain to your right thumb, since the button requires a moderate amount of pressure and is awkwardly positioned.

Partial metering button.

The unmarked round rear button on the right engages partial metering. You have to press and hold this button, and a * symbol will appear in the finder. You can’t use partial metering in the green full auto mode or any of the PIC (icon) modes. (except the closeup PIC mode, which always uses partial metering and doesn’t give you a choice.)

If you don’t hold the button down the camera defaults back to three-zone evaluative metering mode. The one exception is metered manual mode - see above.


If your camera has a built-in flash (F and S models) then you can activate it by simply lifting it up. None of these cameras has a motorized popup flash housing - if the camera thinks you need flash it’ll flash a lightning-bolt flash icon at you. The flash does not charge up until you lift it up, saving batteries.

Internal flash details.

The internal flash uses TTL flash metering only, though the camera supports both TTL and A-TTL with external shoe-mounted Speedlite flash units. Flash sync (X-sync) is 1/90 sec, and fill flash is possible in Av, Tv and M modes. The flash does not zoom and covers the field of view of a 35mm lens. To close the flash just push it down manually. You can’t use the built-in flash when an external flash (or anything else for that matter) is mounted in the flash hot shoe.

Note that EOS cameras meter ambient light differently when flash is used in full auto (green rectangle) and P modes compared to Av, Tv and M modes. Please consult my flash photography document for more information on this issue.

The flash-equipped cameras have a patterned red autofocus assist light in the flash housing. (a feature sadly missing from the newer Rebel 2000/EOS 300 and Elan 7/EOS 30/EOS 7 cameras) This LED illuminates to help AF work in low light.

Unfortunately the camera does not have flash exposure compensation (FEC) controls. This means there is no way of adjusting flash output to be above or below the level that the camera wants to use. If you have an external Speedlite shoe-mount flash unit with FEC controls (such as the 430EZ, 540EZ or 550EX) then you can use those, but the camera itself has no such facilities. This is a shame, particularly since the onboard flash tends to be a bit aggressive in its use of fill flash sometimes, and there’s no way to dial it back. The only other way around this is to fiddle with ISO settings.

Redeye Reduction.

Since the flash is mounted on top of the camera in-line with the lens axis it suffers from two problems. First, it’s not high enough to clear a lot of lens hoods and large lenses (resulting in a dark semi-circular flash shadow at the bottom of the picture) and you can get serious redeye in people pictures, caused by the light from the flash striking the retina of the subjects’ eyes and reflecting straight back to the lens.

To deal with redeye the 1000FN and the Rebel S II have a bright white red-eye reduction lamp inside the housing next to the flashbulb. (the original 1000F and Rebel S cameras lack a redeye reduction lamp, apparently) I’ve heard from some users that the redeye reduction lamp illuminates only when their camera is in green (full auto) mode, however. The flash output on these cameras is also a bit higher than the other models - GN 14 versus GN 12.

The redeye reduction lamp illuminates when you’re in full auto (green box), self-timer or portrait mode for as long as you hold down the shutter release button halfway. So instead of pictures of evil satanic red-eyed friends and relatives you can take photos of them looking dazed and blank after staring at a blinding white light for a few seconds. You can’t activate the redeye reduction lamp in any other mode, but if you want to use it you can always start in full auto mode, engage the redeye lamp, and then immediately switch to the mode you really want to use and take a photo right away.

More information.

Understanding how EOS cameras use flash photography is pretty confusing. It’d take a whole other document to explain. And so that is, in fact, what I’ve done. Please consult my Canon EOS Flash Photography article for more information.

Multiple exposure.

Pushing the two rear buttons together simultaneously sets the multiple exposure count (1 to 9). This allows you to take multiple photos without winding to the next frame, thereby creating very ugly pictures. Or for taking a photo of someone superimposed over another background, like a Victorian ghost picture. You can’t shoot multiple exposures in the green full auto mode, the soft focus mode or any of the PIC (icon) modes. And if you want to take particularly ugly pictures you can shoot more than 9 exposures if you insist - just reset the counter when it reaches 2 each time.

It’s usually necessary to decrease the exposure value of each exposure when shooting multiple exposures. The manual suggests -1 stop compensation when shooting 2 exposures, -1.5 for 3 and -2 for 4, as a general rule of thumb.

Mid-roll rewind.

Mid roll rewind is a bit of a chore since the camera lacks a mid-roll rewind button.

1) Turn the command dial to ISO mode.
2) Remove the lens (or at least unlock it on the EF bayonet).
3) Push the rear buttons together simultaneously. The camera will rewind.
4) Replace or relock the lens.

Film prewind.

Like most of Canon’s low-end consumer cameras these models prewind the film; a feature sometimes called “safety prewind” in Canon literature. In other words, rather than shooting from from 1 to 24 or 36 and then rewinding they unspool the whole roll of film, then shoot in reverse.

This is actually a clever feature, since it means if you open the camera back accidentally you’ll only ruin a couple frames of exposed film plus the unexposed film - the bulk of the exposed frames will already have been wound back safely into the film canister. However, if you want to use this camera as a backup body for a higher-level EOS camera you might find this difference problematic. Particularly if you want to transfer a partially-used roll of film from one body to the other.

If you do accidentally open the camera back when the film cartridge isn’t fully wound back in you apparently need to remove the cartridge from the camera, close it up again and press the shutter release. If you don’t do this I’m told that the camera will remain in a confused state and will try to rewind subsequent rolls of film.


These cameras use one 2CR5 lithium battery, and they display the battery level on the top-deck LCD whenever the camera is turned on. The battery indicator has three settings - full, nearly dead (despite showing a partly used symbol) and empty. If the battery indicator flashes then either the battery is exhausted or the camera has experienced a malfunction.

The camera contains a small amount of non-volatile memory which it uses to store the current frame count and user settings. So don’t worry about losing this information when you change batteries - all that data is retained even if the batteries are dead or not installed.

Most Canon EOS film cameras used 2CR5s, though some of the later consumer models annoyingly used two CR123As or two CR2s instead, which can be a hassle if you have two bodies and you’re out in the field and thus need to carry two types of batteries.

However, there is one way in which CR123As and CR2s are definitely superior - they’re safer. 2CR5 batteries have both contacts at the same end, whereas with CR123As the contacts are at opposite ends. I once had a 2CR5 in my coat pocket, and the end happened to touch the foil wrapper of a roll of mints. The battery shorted out and got hot. Very, very hot. Luckily I noticed it before my coat caught on fire, but it was still an unpleasant experience. So. Note to the wise - keep all 2CR5 batteries wrapped up so they can’t short out. Lithium batteries have a very high energy density, and the risk of fire is quite real.

Finally, and this probably goes without saying, don’t forget that the camera cannot function without batteries. All EOS cameras are automated and motorized and power-dependent. It’s a good idea to sling some spare batteries into your camera bag and have them around at all times.

Date back.

Some of these cameras (QD and DATE models) were sold with a quartz date back. However, I’ve never seen or used one and so can’t provide definitive information on how they work. Judging by other EOS date backs they probably have a MODE button to cycle between date and time formats, a SELECT button to select a number value within a format to change and a SET button to set a changed value. If the date display shows only a row of hyphens then date printing is disabled. The date printing facility superimposes its printed information over a corner of the photo - it does not support between-frame printing. Since these cameras do not have removable backs it isn’t possible to turn a non-date version into a date version of vice-versa.

All of these cameras have the same cutout in the pressure plate required by the date back system, whether they have a date back or not. This has some consequences if you want to shoot Kodak HIE infrared film. (see below)

The EOS Rebel/1000* and high-speed infrared film.

These cameras use a sprocket drive mechanism and do not, in fact, fog Kodak HIE infrared film. I’ve tried it in the Rebel S II. However, the cameras have cutout notches in their pressure plates, which can lead to some shadowing on the final photo - a different problem from fogging.

There is considerable incorrect information about this on the Web - every list I’ve seen online of which cameras fog infrared film wrongly states that the 1000N/Rebel II will fog high-speed IR film. For more information have a look at my EOS and IR Web page.

Attaching manual-focus lenses or telescopes (stop-down metering).

I’ve written an extensive article on how to do this. Note that the EOS 1000*/Rebel use the old method for stop-down metering.

Some limitations of the EOS Rebel/1000*.

Before I begin this section I should reiterate that these cameras were designed and marketed as beginners’ cameras. They weren’t meant to be advanced amateur or professional cameras. So I don’t have any real quibbles with Canon’s decisions to omit features in this regard. If you want a fancier camera then you have to go and buy a fancier and more expensive camera.

However, I offer this list of limitations - which may be of interest if you plan on using one of these cameras as a backup to a more advanced system, or if you find yourself doing more advanced photography.

Accessories and whatnot.

Naturally the Rebel/1000* cameras can use all the various add-on components of the EOS system in general - flashes and lenses. Here are few extra accessories you could buy for it.

Eyecup Eb. This one shipped with the camera originally but is still available as an accessory. I find it doesn’t work very well with glasses.

Grip extension GR-70. This is a lumpy wedge-shaped piece of rubber with a wrist strap that also fits the Elan/100. It fastens to the bottom of the camera via the tripod mount, and a small pin fits in the hole in the bottom of the baseplate to prevent rotation. It makes the camera grip bigger for people with meatier hands, but is otherwise useless. It blocks the tripod mount, it does not contain batteries, it lacks secondary shutter releases or other controls, it does not contain a built-in mini tripod and it prevents you from attaching a flash bracket.

Dioptric adjustment lens E. The cameras lack a built-in dioptric adjustment feature to accommodate people who require glasses but don’t like wearing glasses when they look through viewfinders. The solution is either to grit your teeth and wear glasses when you use the camera or attach a diopter to the camera - basically a rectangular magnifying glass that fits around the viewfinder bracket. Canon sell 10 different types of diopters and each requires the Rubber Frame Eb to fit.

Angle finder C. Expensive, but allows you to look through the viewfinder from above. Handy for macro shots or shooting close to the ground.

Canon Professional Strap 1. This is actually made by Domke and co-branded with Canon. I list it here because I’ve found it’s a pretty darn good deal for the price - it’s got the Domke Gripper anti-slip material on the strap, it doesn’t have CANON EOS printed on it in gigantic letters like the amateur straps usually do, it has metal swivels on the end and so doesn’t get tangled up. It’s available in green and black, though oddly B&H sell the green one at a far lower price. The one thing it lacks is a viewfinder cover for timer exposures.


- NK Guy,

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Thanks also to Julian Loke, who mentioned some of these hidden features to me a little while ago in an email and who offered a number of corrections and useful additions.