A professional camera, but equally suited to enthusiasts. Incorporates the world's first area AF system, with 45 focusing points, higher-speed eye-control, and improved high-speed focus tracking. Other features include fast, quiet film drive (up to 7fps with Power Drive Booster PB-E2), 18 Custom Functions, 21-zone metering sensor, and shutter speeds to 1/8000 second.
EOS magazine, September 1998, page 6
Type and major components
Type: 35mm AF/AE single-lens reflex with focal-plane shutter and built-in motor drive
Picture size: 24 x 36 mm
Lens mount: Canon EF mount
Viewfinder: Eye-level pentaprism
Picture coverage: 97 percent vertically and horizontally
Magnification: 0.72x (with 50mm lens at infinity)
Standard dioptre: -1 dioptre (20mm eye relief)
Focusing screen: Interchangeable (9 types)
Standard focusing screen: Ec-N
Mirror: Quick-return half mirror (transmission: reflection ratio of 37:63); no vignetting with EF 1200mm f5.6 lens or shorter lens.
Depth-of-field preview: Enabled with depth-of-field preview button
Exposure metering: TTL maximum aperture metering with a 21-zone silicon photocell. There are six metering modes:
• Evaluative metering (linkable to any zone)
• Partial metering (approx. 8.5% of viewfinder at centre)
• Centre spot metering (approx. 2.4% of viewfinder at centre) • Spot metering (linked to focusing point; approx. 2.4% of viewfinder)
• Multi-spot metering (maximum 8 multi-spot metering readings)
• Centre-weighted averaging metering
During continuous shooting with Centre spot and Spot metering modes, the first shot is metered in real time and the meter reading is locked (AE Lock) for subsequent shots in the same burst)
• Program AE (shiftable)
• Shutter speed-priority AE (in 1/3, 1/2 or full stops, safety shift enabled with Custom Function)
• Aperture-priority AE (in 1/3, 1/2 or full stops, safety shift enabled with Custom Function)
• Depth-of-field AE
• E-TTL program flash AE (high-speed synchronisation, FE Lock, and wireless control enabled with Speedlite 550EX)
• A-TTL program flash AE
• TTL program flash AE
Metering Range: EV 0-20 (at 20°C/68°F with 50mm f1.4 lens, ISO 100)
ISO film speed range: ISO 6-6400 (set automatically with DX-coded film at ISO 25-5000)
• Autoexposure bracketing (AEB): ±3 stops in 1/3-stop increments. Standard exposure, underexposure, and overexposure sequence. Repeated bracketing enabled according to current film advance mode. With self-timer, all three bracketed shots are taken in the continuous shooting mode regardless of the film advance mode
• Manual exposure compensation: ±3 stops in 1/3-stop increments set with the Quick Control Dial or exposure compensation button and Main Dial
• AEB and manual exposure compensation can be set together
• Auto AE lock: operates in One-Shot AF mode with evaluative metering when focus is achieved
• Manual AE lock: AE lock button activates AE lock in all metering modes
Multiple exposures: Maximum 9 multiple exposures. Cancels automatically after all multiple exposures are taken. (Cancellable and resettable at any time.)
Autofocus: TTL-AREA-SIR with a CMOS sensor. Area AF with 45 focusing points (CF No.13 can limit this to 11)
AF working range: EV 0-18 (at ISO 100)
• One-Shot AF: autofocus stops when focus is achieved; AF lock enabled; shutter releases only when focus is achieved
• Predictive AF with AI Servo AF: tracks subject movement up to the start of exposure; the shutter can be released at any time regardless of focus (Predictive AF control takes effect during continuous shooting); no in-focus indicator (blinks at 8Hz only if AF fails)
• Manual focusing: enabled with the focusing ring when the lens focus mode switch is set to MF (or M)
• Full-time manual focusing: enabled with the electronic focusing ring during continuous shooting (except during film exposure)
In-focus indicator: lights in viewfinder and beeps (beeper can be disabled)
Focusing point selection:
• Automatic selection: focusing point camera-selected;
• Manual selection: focusing point manually selected;
• Eye Controlled Focus: focusing point eye selected
AF focusing point indicator: Superimposed focusing point in viewfinder
AF-assist beam: emitted automatically by the attached EOS Speedlite when necessary
Shutter: Vertical-travel, focal-plane shutter with all speeds electronically-controlled
Shutter speeds: 30 seconds to 1/8000 second in 1/3-stops; X-sync at 1/200 second
Shutter release: soft-touch electromagnetic release
Self-timer: electronically-controlled with 10 second or 2 second delay; lamp blinks (at 2Hz, then at 8Hz for the final two seconds); self-timer countdown on LCD panel; self-timer cancellable by turning the main switch to L
Film loading: automatic loading with a sprocketless system; after film is loaded and the back is closed, it advances to frame 1 automatically, taking about 1 second
Film advance system: automatic film advance with built-in motor:
• EOS 3: single and continuous shooting
• with Power Drive Booster PB-E2: single, low continuous and high continuous
Film rewind system: At the end of the roll, automatic film rewind with a built-in motor; midroll rewind possible.
Film rewind time: approx. 4.5 seconds for 24-exposure film; approx. 6.5 seconds for 36-exposure film
Rewind noise: 59 dB (high-speed rewind), 49 dB (silent rewind)
• hot-shoe: X-synchronisation direct contacts
• below camera back latch: JIS B-type socket (threaded).
Flash units connected to (1) and (2) can be used and fired simultaneously.
External Flash Unit Compatibility: E-TTL autoflash; A-TTL autoflash; TTL autoflash
Custom Functions: 18 user-settable Custom Functions:
• Focusing screen compensation
• High-speed or silent film rewind
• Film leader position after rewind
• Film speed setting (auto or manual)
• AF activation method
• Manual Tv/Av setting method
• 1/3, 1/2 or whole stop increments
• Manual focusing with focusing ring
• Frame counter sequence (up or down)
• AEB sequence and auto cancellation
• Focus point (on, brighter, off)
• Focus point selection method.
• Mirror lock up (enabled.disabled)
• Spot metering linkage to focus point
• Fill-flash output control
• 1st or 2nd curtain flash synchronisation
• Safety shift (enabled/disabled)
• Manual focus point selection range
LCD panel: displays shooting, metering, AF, and film advance modes; shutter speed, aperture, frame counter, and battery level. Illumination provided
Remote control: Quick-lock, three-pin remote control connector provided
• One 2CR5 lithium battery housed in the camera grip;
• with Power Drive Booster PB-E2, 8 size-AA alkaline, Ni-Cd, or lithium batteries or Ni-MH Pack NPE2 (camera grip removed)
• with Battery Pack BP-ET, one 2CR5 lithium battery and 4 size-AA alkaline or Ni-Cd batteries (camera grip removed)
Battery check: With battery check button pressed, battery level displayed in four levels on LCD panel.
Camera back: Interchangeable with Date Back DB-E2 (sold separately)
Dimensions: 161 (W) x 119.2 (H) x 70.8 (D) mm
Weight: 780g (excluding lithium battery)
The new professional
It is eleven years since the first EOS camera appeared in 1987. Anyone using the original EOS 650 will recognise the EOS 3 as a family member, but will need to spend some time with the 145-page instruction booklet to take full advantage of the many additional features now available. There have been significant advances in the flash system, too, since the original Speedlite 420EZ. The new Speedlite 550EX offers a host of innovative features, including wireless control of multiple units.
We can do no more than introduce some of the major features of the camera and Speedlite over the next four pages. The detailed specification on page 19 will give a good overview to readers familiar with the technical terms. Future issues of EOS magazine will, of course, incorporate the EOS 3 into the EOS Technique section, and there will be articles on some of the special features of the new camera and the Speedlite 550EX.
45-point area AF
The first EOS autofocus camera used a single focusing sensor in the centre of the frame. Then came cameras with 3 or 5 sensors. The EOS 3 uses 45 sensors. This is by far the largest autofocusing area in any current camera. The wider AF coverage reduces the need for AF Lock and recomposing off-centre subjects, making it easier to capture the decisive moment in sharp focus.
Focusing point selection can be automatic, Eye-controlled or manual. The selected point is illuminated in red in the viewfinder.
In the One-Shot AF mode, the camera selects the optimum focusing point. In the AI Servo mode, the camera tracks a moving subject very accurately with the densely-packed focusing points ? the active focusing point shifts to follow the subject.
Eye-controlled focus enables you to select a focusing point, just by looking at it. This innovative feature was introduced with the EOS 5 over five years ago, and is still unique to Canon cameras. The EOS 3 system is faster than ever, and operates in both horizontal and vertical formats.
To select any one of the 45 focusing points manually, you simply press the focusing point selector button and turn the Main Dial and/or the Quick Control Dial until the point you require illuminates in red.
Several Custom Functions are provided to tailor the 45-point Area AF to your requirements. You can limit the selectable focusing points to 11. This makes manual selection faster by skipping some of the points. When a point is selected manually, you can also activate the surrounding points to create a larger focusing area.
Top AF performance
Despite the increased number of focusing points, the AF speed is equal to or better than that of the top-of-the-line EOS 1N. The 32-bit microcomputer inside the EOS 3 executes high-speed processing, which is passed on to the ultrasonic motor (USM) lenses. According to Canon's standard tests, the EOS 3 with a single selected focusing point offers the fastest AF speed currently available in any camera.
All 45 focusing points are sensitive to horizontal or diagonal lines with f5.6 or faster lenses. Six of the seven central points are high-precision cross-type sensors with f2.8 or faster lenses.
The centre point is the most functional of all, providing high-precision cross-type performance with f4 and faster lenses, and maintaining standard autofocus with maximum apertures as small as f8. This is the first EOS camera to focus with apertures smaller than f5.6, and means that lenses such as the EF 500mm f4.5L USM with Extender EF 1.4x will now autofocus.
Fast film drive
The built-in motor drive of the EOS 3 is fast. In the One-shot AF or manual focus modes the maximum speed is 4.3fps (frames per second). Full-aperture metering is executed for each successive frame.
In the AI Servo AF mode, you can shoot at up to 3.3fps.
Faster speeds are possible with the new Power Drive Booster PB-E2 attachment. This activates a 3-motor drive system which achieves a maximum shooting speed of up to 7fps in both One-shot and AI Servo AF modes (using nickel-hydride batteries).
The PB-E2 is compatible with the EOS 1 and EOS 1N, and the Battery Pack BP-E1 introduced for these cameras will operate with the EOS 3.
Film rewind is also fast ? just 6.5 seconds for a 36-exposure length in the High-speed rewind mode. However, if the noise of this rewind is a problem in quiet situations, you can switch to a Silent Rewind mode which takes 18 seconds.
Auto exposure control
Canon's exclusive AIM (Advanced Integrated Multi-point control) system integrates Area AF with all six metering modes available on the EOS 3. Focus on a subject in the Area AF ellipse and the camera will meter from that area to give the optimum result.
Since the EOS 3 has so many focusing points, the number of metering zones has been increased to give precise readings. There are 21 zones, and an evaluative reading is weighted to the active focusing point. At the same time, secondary weighting is given to the metering zones surrounding the primary zone, and the remaining zones also contribute to produce a balanced exposure reading.
Partial metering uses five metering zones at the centre, while spot metering uses just the central zone. Spot metering can also be linked to any one of eleven focusing points through the Area AF ellipse, or you can take up to eight separate spot metering readings which are averaged for the final exposure (the first time multi-spot metering has been available on a Canon camera since the T90).
Auto Exposure Bracketing, exposure compensation and flash exposure compensation are all available.
For flash exposures, the viewfinder has a new flash exposure indicator which shows the current flash exposure level.
The EOS 1 was the first to feature the Quick Control Dial, which supplements the Main Input dial and makes camera operation easier and faster. The EOS 1N inherited the feature, which also appears on the EOS 100, EOS 5, and now the EOS 3.
Easier handling is also provided by the vertical grip controls on the Power Booster PB-E2. In addition to the shutter button and AE Lock button, the vertical grip also offers a Main Dial, focusing point selector and FE Lock button, making vertical shooting as convenient as horizontal shooting.
The EOS 3 has the same level of protection against dust and the elements as the EOS 1N. The Main Dial's rotating shaft is sealed to prevent water seepage and the camera buttons have rubber gaskets. All the body seams have reinforced sealing. This dust and weather resistant design was based on actual on-site shooting tests.
The electrical system is also protected, with all the important electrical contacts being bipolar and gold-plated. Even if dust or grit causes problems for one electrical contact, the camera can still continue to operate normally.
A newly-developed Rotary Magnet Shutter offers improved reliability and durability. It also saves on battery power, since it does not need to be tensioned between exposures like conventional shutters, and power is not required to keep the second curtain open (so bulb exposures use very little battery power, even with exposures of several minutes, or even hours).
These are only some of the highlights of the EOS 3. There are many more features, including eight shooting modes, 18 Custom Functions, an interchangeable back and interchangeable focusing screens.
With the EOS 3, Canon has produced a camera which will appeal to everyone serious about their photography.
14 September 1998
Canon extends camera technology with EOS 3
Ten years after launching the world’s most successful range of SLR cameras, Canon has advanced camera technology a step further with the launch of the EOS 3 – a camera that further improves the speed and performance for which the EOS range is renowned.
The EOS 3 incorporates the world’s first area AF system, a high precision focusing system, faster eye-control and improved high-speed focus tracking. Such technology combined with many of the features of the EOS 1N and, of course compatibility with the extensive range of over 50 EF lenses and accessories, make the EOS 3 the perfect choice for advanced amateurs and professionals alike.
The EOS 3 design is based on that of the EOS 1N – sturdy with easily accessible controls for quick and easy execution of camera operations.
A range of accessories developed specifically for the EOS 3, including a new Speedlite flash, will be launched at the same time.
World’s First Wide Area AF
The world’s first area AF measuring 8x15mm – 23% of the EOS 3 viewfinder – which uses 45 focusing points for more accurate subject capture. This is done using a new Canon-developed CMOS area sensor and a new AF optical system. Of the 45 focusing points, seven at the centre are high precision cross type sensors for f/2.8 lenses (or faster), while the other 38 are sensitive to horizontal lines at f/5.6. The result is greatly enhanced prospects of capturing the desired subject.
Even with an f/4 or faster lens the centre focusing point works as a cross-type focusing sensor, enabling AF shooting with EF 300mm f/4L USM and 2x Extender.
Anyone of the 45 focusing points can be selected using a button-and-dial operation with the selected point superimposed in red in the viewfinder for easy recognition.
Outstanding high-speed focus tracking is achieved using a 32 bit microcomputer and high speed predictive algorithm. Seven frames per second (fps) shooting with predictive AF and AI Servo AF is possible with the new Power Drive Booster (PB-E2) and a nickel metal hydride rechargeable battery pack, the NP-E2.
Using the built-in motor drive, 4.3 fps can be achieved with the same low noise level as the EOS 1N.
The same 32-bit microcomputer used to improve the high-speed focus also gives faster and more precise eye-control operation – about twice the speed previously possible, alongside improved accuracy.
By combining the area AF and eye-control, focus is achieved at the point selected by the user’s eye. An eye control indicator and high-speed sync indicator have been added to the bottom of the viewfinder display.
The EOS 3 incorporates seven metering methods compatible with the area AF system: 21-zone evaluative metering linked to the focusing points, partial metering at the centre (8.5% of viewfinder screen), spot metering at centre (2.4% of viewfinder screen), spot metering linked to the focusing point, centre-weighted and average metering, pre-flash metering and off-the-film TTL. Multi spot metering is possible for up to 8 points.
A newly developed rotary magnet-controlled ultra-fast shutter electronically regulates shutter speeds for maximum accuracy. Shutter speed range is 30 sec to 1/8000 sec, maximum sync speed is 1/200 sec and shutter durability an estimated 100,000 cycles.
However, the flash can be synced up to 1/8000 of a second, using the FP flash mode on the new 550EX and 380EX Speedlites.
An LCD panel on the top of the camera displays the camera settings at a glance, including, for the first time on an EOS, a remaining-frame counter. For low light conditions a built-in illumination system enhances the display.
Basic operation is very similar to the EOS 1N – most operations can be performed without taking your eye off the viewfinder or your finger off the shutter button. The same camera control layout presents no familiarity problems for EOS 1N users, while up to 18 custom functions can be preset for enhanced flexibility.
To complement the EOS 3, a range of new accessories have been launched.
The new Speedlite 550EX incorporates an AF-assist beam that is linked to the area AF, as well as EFB, an E-TTL wireless multi-flash control system and slave unit control. Flash coverage is set automatically from 24mm to 105mm, and a wide angle panel extends the coverage to 17mm.
For E-TTL wireless (multi-flash) autoflash shots, the ST-E2 Speedlite Transmitter mounted on the camera’s hot shoe controls the Speedlite 550EX. The transmitter also has a built-in AF assist beam linked to the area AF.
A new Power Drive Booster PB-E2, which can also be attached to the EOS 1 and EOS 1N, has its own shutter button, AE lock button, FE lock/multi-spot metering button, Mail Dial, focusing point selector and ON/OFF switch for the Power Drive Booster buttons.
A 12v 1350mAh nickel metal hydride Battery Pack, NP-E2, is dedicated for use with the EOS 3 and PB-E2 Power Drive Booster and can be used to increase maximum continuous shooting speed to 7fps. The new NC-E2 charger/discharger dedicated to the NP-E2 battery pack will charge the battery pack in about 100 minutes.
Other new accessories are the DB-E2 Dateback, a standard interchangeable camera back with Quick Control Dial and date imprinting function; the Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3, with four built-in control functions: self-timer, interval timer, long-exposure timer and frame quantity setting.
Also launched are a Remote Switch RS-80N3, the Extension cord ET-1000N3, Wireless Controller LC-4 and the Remote Switch Adapter RA-N3.