Canon EOS: The Dawn Of A New Era In Photography

Use the term “EOS” in the presence of any photography enthusiast, and they wouldn’t blink an eyelid. The suffix is so common in photography that few will remember it didn’t even exist before 1987!

Canon, one of the foremost global names in camera and lens production, coined the abbreviation for an Electro-Optical System. It first introduced the “Canon EOS” series to the world over 30 years ago. Some people believe that the optical engineers who invented this technology named the series after a Greek goddess. Eos, the goddess of dawn, ushered in new beginnings-and so did this generation of cameras! Before this time, cameras were generally of the Single Lens Reflex (SLR) variety. An SLR camera uses a single lens for both purposes-viewing as well as capturing the image.

The EOS brought with it two significant changes-one; it initiated the trend of auto-focus features in that generation of cameras. Secondly, an EOS camera could be used for both film and SLRs. Every EOS camera thus automatically became an SLR but the inverse didn’t hold true. Subsequently, the film single-lens reflex camera series started getting phased out in favour of its digital version. At present, Canon manufactures only digital SLR cameras although a couple of other companies continue to have some film models.

Let’s have a look at the Canon EOS in detail.

The very first Canon EOS model was called the EOS-1. Unsurprisingly, the number denoted top-of-the-line quality, kind of “first among equals” status among other cameras of its generation. Over the ensuing decades, the EOS series kept delivering upon its promise of uncompromising quality. There were constant innovations and the introduction of newer features. Each model brought in further ease of use, image focus, and clarity like never before.

For the first decade after its introduction, all the models in the Canon EOS series had a 35 mm film. Thereafter, there came a short period of time when the APS film was introduced. However, it didn’t find much favour and was soon pushed aside by the introduction of revolutionary technology-digital. Two decades ago, Canon brought to the market its first digital version of the SLR. This marked the genesis of the high-quality DSLR series as we know today.

It’s important to note that the EOS line remains at the core of Canon’s entire present-day DSLR range. For the past 15 years or so, Canon EOS models have only been using digital image sensors.2012 was the year when the company showcased its mirrorless, interchangeable-lens camera system through the Canon EOS M series. This came to be called the MILC system. Just a couple of years ago, the MILC received a further upgrade in the form of the EOS R camera. This was Canon’s first full-frame MILC model.

The Canon EOS series boasts of superior technological prowess owing to some features. Needless to say, they have been getting constant upgrades since the time of genesis. But they were actually revolutionary, to begin with. Let’s have a look at some of the most notable ones:

The Flash System

The first EOS model was equipped with a flash system originally developed for the earlier versions. T90, the final model of the premium FD-mounted manual-focus camera had this flash system. It also had TTL flash metering. This system took a measurement of the units of ambient light being returned to the image sensor through the lens.

The Advanced TTL technique was also subsequently introduced to enhance the flash exposure. It did so with the help of infrared pre-flash beams which helped gauge the distance of the subject accurately.

The next-generation flash was then equipped with Evaluative TTL, or E-TTL as it is now commonly known. E-TTL uses a highly advanced autofocus system that is able to evaluate subject distance with a huge degree of clarity. Further improvements to the E-TTL system have continued to take place since then, but the foundation remains the same.

Quick-Control Dial

Any photographer, whether they’re in the midst of a casual shoot or a serious assignment, requires control features. Certain parameters in a camera require a specific level of adjustment. The Canon EOS quick-control dial takes care of this in a rather efficient manner. It enables the photographer to make accurate and quick adjustments of the dial simply by using their thumb.

The quick control dial, or QCD as it’s often referred to, proves a handy mechanism. It opens up easy access to a menu of functions including the ISO or Compensation button. Had it not been for the introduction of this feature, the camera model would have required separate buttons.

Technology dictates that functions that are used often should be available at one’s fingertips.

The QCD in the Canon EOS range sure took care of this aspect with efficiency. In fact, photographers attest to its ease of use with just one hand. Training their eyes on the viewfinder, forefinger on the main dial, and thumb on the QCD, they’re good to go. The QCD enables the following multiple functions in one go:

  • Scrolling of the menu and in digital EOS models.
  • Aperture adjustment when the camera is in manual exposure mode.
  • Compensation of exposure to brighten or darken the shoot per the need of the subject and theme

The Multi-Point Autofocus System

All modern-day cameras have an autofocus system, which by default picks the nearest object in the photographer’s field of vision. However, that is obviously not always desirable for the photographer’s assignment at hand.

That’s why the most high-end, premium Canon EOS models have between 61 to 65 autofocus points. They enable the photographer to choose and utilise the most desirable control. This feature allows for image accuracy that was previously unheard of.

Ever since the Canon EOS series took the photography world by storm, it has introduced over 70 models. The innovation and feature enhancement each model brings in reveals another element of delight and often surprise. 

No wonder most professional photographers considered it the dawn of a new era!

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