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Notes on the Canon EOS Elan. (EOS 100) DonationsCopyright © 2000 NK Guy

Here’s some extensive commentary on the original Canon EOS Elan (or EOS 100) camera. Hopefully someone out there might find it interesting or useful. When I was doing my own research for a used camera I found very little information on this particular camera for some reason. So here are my thoughts and observations.

If you want to read up on how to use this camera I’ve put together an unofficial manual.

Basic information.

The EOS Elan, aimed at “advanced amateurs,” is the North American version of the EOS 100. It was introduced in 1991 and officially discontinued in 1996. In the early 90s Canon’s EOS product lineup looked like this, from most expensive to cheapest:

  EOS 1 > 10/10s > 100/Elan > 1000/Rebel

(at least, it looked like this after the very first Canon EOS cameras had been discontinued - the 620, 650, 750, etc.) By the mid 90s the lineup had changed to:

  EOS 1n > 5/A2 > 50/Elan II> 500 > 5000/888

and it is now essentially:

  EOS 1v > 3 > 30/Elan 7*> 300/Rebel 2000 > 3000/88

The Elan is basically the same as the 100, only it was given a name and not a number in North America, purely for marketing reasons. There are some minor differences in functionality, however, between the 100 and the Elan. For example, the flash doesn’t pop up automatically on the Elan the way it does on the 100, allegedly because Canon didn’t want to pay the American owner of the popup flash patent. Another small difference is that the EOS 100 can beep when autofocus is achieved if the beeper is enabled; the EOS Elan has no autofocus beep at all.

* Yes, I know that the equivalent of the EOS 30 is actually the Elan 7E (or EOS 7 in Japan); the EOS 33 being the actual equivalent of the Elan 7. Close enough.


I think the Elan/100 is a pretty decent camera. It does most of what the typical amateur needs, and used ones can be bought relatively inexpensively. The only things that the newer models have going for them, really, are better flash control (E-TTL, FEL and FP), more focus points and less easily fooled metering owing to more metering segments. The Elan/100 is pretty feature-packed for such an old camera. It’s really a shame it can’t use high-speed infrared film without fogging it, and it’s also too bad that Canon won’t acknowledge the design flaw of the easily-broken command dial.

Finding out more about the Elan/EOS 100.

You first stop should be my online Elan/100 mini-manual. It’s an unofficial free manual thoroughly documenting how to use this camera.

Bob Atkins’ site has a useful list comparing the original Elan with the Elan II. There’s another page which compares the Elan with the 10S and the EOS 630. And this is the original news release trumpeting the Elan, from Canon USA. If you can read Spanish, here’s a copy of part of the EOS 100 operating manual in Spanish that someone’s scanned and put online.

Unfortunately Canon don’t make copies of their old manuals available online as downloadable documents, though apparently you can order reprints from them. There was also a third party Magic Lantern Guide book published on the Elan/100 (ISBN 1-883403-21-9) which you might be able to find in camera shops, though I understand it may now be out of print. This book, by Steve Pollock, covers the operation of the camera at greater length than the manual, but is aimed at novice users.

Stuff I like about the Elan/100.

Stuff I don’t like about the Elan/100.

Generally, I’m pretty satisfied with the Elan/100. There are issues I have with it, but most of the camera’s design limitations are quite reasonable given price/performance tradeoffs. There are only a handful of aggravating “why did they do it that way when the better way surely couldn’t have cost more?” problems. And of course some of its limitations weren’t limitations at all at the time of its release - it was reasonably advanced for its time.


- NK Guy,

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