Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The User’s Review: Canon EOS 55 SLR Camera, Release in 1995

Technically, Canon EOS 55 is one of the AF cameras that I like most because of the three reasons: 'eye control' of AF and DOF, panorama format and many associates (remote, grip, D-size battery pack...) from Canon.  The DOF eye control makes 55 and its siblings, Elan IIe and 50e, to be different from all other AF SLRs and DSLRs.

In North America, EOS 55 is rare in the second-hand market and has never existed in the new item market because of EOS 55's ‘JDM’ status. If you have no idea about ‘JDM’, google it.

There are two color versions of EOS 55: all back and black/silver. In mid June of 2011, a black/silver was listed for USD 50 including shipping with ‘Buy It Now’ on ebay, I bid my black vision at USD x (Wu Shi Si dian WU WU) plus 8.5 shipping on June 4. Added second black body (at si shi + 8.5) to my collection on March 13, 2013.

In USA, we see a lot of Canon Elan II and IIe, optionally with date back. Their prices range between USD 15 – 40. Generally, EOS 55 is identical to its sibling model, IIe, except in only black/silver color and no panorama function.

Viewfinder of Canon EOS 55. The four orange-color arrows indicate that the panorama is in action.

In terms of ‘Eye Control’ function, EOS 55 is unprecedented and, so far, unrepeated in all SLR and DSLR cameras. It has both eye-picked focus point (one out of three) and eye-controlled DOF (the upper-left diamond sign) in its viewfinder. Although the later Canon EOS models, Elan 7e and 7ne, inherit the eye-picked focus point (among 7 points), but loss the eye-controlled DOF.

EOS 55 left vs. Elan IIe right

Once the panorama switch is on, two panels block the upper and lower portions of the film window behind the shutter. More interestingly, there are no panels to cover the correspondent areas in the viewfinder, as seen in Minolta STsi and XTsi.  In EOS 55, instead, there are two horizontal lines marked the panorama area on the focus screen, four orange-color arrows on both sides of the lines will light up by half-way press of the shutter release and indicate the panorama format.

Finally, more words on ‘JDM’. Usually, JDMs are of higher quality and more functions. A well-known example is the fender mirrors on cars in Japan. However, you wouldn’t see any Japanese-brand vehicles with fender mirrors in North America. It is understandable (at least for me) that people need to be more precise in driving in Japan due to the limited space there. But why no panorama in these Elan cameras sold in N. America? I guess, people here might have no interest to enjoy the view of wide open lands. Right?

The two images above are of my chrome/black EOS 55.  In Jan. 18 of 2012, I won it at USD 8.5 with 14 shipping on ebay. The chrome parts are made of aluminium instead of brass.Therefore, this body will never be brassing, but may be aluminiuming with aging?


  1. Hello, thank you for this review.
    I'm looking for a eos 55 but read here http://canon-eos.bplaced.net/ that it does not have aux light for focusing help.
    Can you please tell me if it does have or not?
    Thank you for your attention.

    1. The dark red light between the shutter button and lens mount is the 'AF-assist beam emitter' called by Canon in the manual.

    2. I know that the red light is the AF assistant, but I can't imagine why the URL above, stated that the 55 does not have this function.
      Due that you have this particular camera now I am sure that it is working and not a dummy plastic cover.
      Thank you again from Italy :-)

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. I think, there is a mistake about the AF light at http://canon-eos.bplaced.net/


  2. I have the same exact Canon EOS 55 SLR camera, which I purchased in Okinawa Japan in 2002. I'm currently selling it, so if you're interested email me at: albertcarranz@gmail.com.

  3. Thanks for review. I have the same one, but a have some problems with it, so probably you know where I can buy some parts. Of course not so expensive))

  4. Thanks. Can you use any parts from Elan II or IIe? These models are easier to find. Good luck!