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Last week I bought from KEH a second-hand Canon EOS 650. It cost me the grand sum of $16 plus shipping. Now, why would I buy an ancient Canon camera from 1987 when I have, and greatly enjoy using, a modern EOS 5D Mark III?

Simplicity.

The 650 is a film camera, naturally enough, but a very solidly built and capable one. It autofocuses, autoexposes and allows partial or total manual control over all these functions. In that, it is just as capable as the 5D III. What it does not have is a rear screen menu and display, a top LCD screen packed with information, a lot of buttons and wheels, and more functions and capabilities than I have ever used, or, indeed, know how to use.

All it has is a single autofocus point, an in-viewfinder display that shows only aperture and shutter speed plus a focus lock indicator, and an extremely uncluttered top LCD display that shows frame number, battery level, ISO, shutter speed aperture, program mode and mode of focus.

Add to that a simple on-off wheel with an option for beep or not and an option to go straight into automatic mode. There’s a depth of field toggle on the lens mount, and a second button on the mount for changing aperture when in manual mode. A couple of buttons hidden under a flap change focus mode and single, continuous or timed shooting, a shutter button and a wheel to change setting values and that is pretty much all there is.

Easily the most simple Canon camera I have used. I’d have to go back to the FD mount and manual focus to strip things down any further. But if I did, I’d need a whole new set of lenses, and the EOS 650 works perfectly with Canon lenses released now, just as it did with vintage 1987 EOS lenses.

So yesterday afternoon I took the EOS 650, an EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II and a roll of Fomapan 100 film out to Columbia Bottom Conservation Area and ended up, after developing, with the picture you see above.

I will be using my EOS 650 a lot in weeks to come. The best value camera I have ever bought.

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