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do new AF lenses work with older AF film camera

scottatl
New Contributor

My daughter is in high school photography and they needed a film slr camera.  I picked up an elan 7e body for 35 bucks.  I put on my lens from my newish digital rebel and it fit okay but does not seem to auto focus.  do I need to purchase an older af lens or should this work and either i am doing something wrong or the body is not working right.

 

I have seen many posts about older lenses on newer cameras but not the opposite.  

29 REPLIES 29

RobertTheFat
Honored Contributor

@scottatl wrote:

My daughter is in high school photography and they needed a film slr camera.  I picked up an elan 7e body for 35 bucks.  I put on my lens from my newish digital rebel and it fit okay but does not seem to auto focus.  do I need to purchase an older af lens or should this work and either i am doing something wrong or the body is not working right.

 

I have seen many posts about older lenses on newer cameras but not the opposite.  


Please forgive this off-topic question, but why on earth would anyone bring film technology into a high school photography class? To me that's like teaching math students to use a slide rule. It may be interesting from a historical perspective, but it introduces no skills that are even remotely useful in today's world. What's next? A view camera with glass plates?

 

And before someone tries to argue that if, say, Ansel Adams were alive today, he'd still be using a view camera, I don't buy it for a millisecond. Indeed, I'm convinced that Adams, who spent countless hours perfecting his prints, would be as much a Photoshop enthusiast as Ernie Biggs.

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

I so agree!!!  They have a dark room and everything.   I loved that class when I was in high school but for goodness sakes.   And the kicker is they just built the fancy new darkroom.

 

The class could learn a really useful skill using computer editing, but instead, they are pushing light onto a piece of paper....

 

I wanted to pull her out but she is in all AP and honor class so she wanted one blow off.

wq9nsc
Respected Contributor

I could see a "field trip" to a dark room just for the students to gain perspective on what was involved in producing some of the classic older photos they might be "exposed to" as part of a class like this one but not an entire semester in analog/chemical photography. 

 

I taught my daughter the basics of photography and had her shoot a few rolls through my old EOS 650 film camera before turning her loose with a 1D Mark II so that she would develop an early appreciation for composition and timing rather than relying upon taking unlimited digital images in hopes of getting a good one, a habit too many people who started in digital developed.  Maybe seeing what was involved in developing film and producing prints would add to the understanding of what can be accomplished with current technology but having the students spend weeks doing this instead of learning digital editing isn't a good use of their time.  I am surprised that the school superintendent and board approved the building of a new darkroom facility, both from a use of resources standpoint and also a risk management standpoint given the chemicals involved and the protectiveness of so many parents.

 

I loved doing darkroom work when I took a journalism class as one of my electives in high school and I really liked the Kodak dye sub printer I bought in 2005 because watching it lay down the three colors to create the image in separate passes was much like the fun of watching a print develop in a darkroom. But I am very happy to be in the digital photography world with all of the advantages it provides.

 

My daughter is also in the all AP track but her blow off class is a strength and conditioning class which will prep her for soccer season.  She likes photography but given the choice of learning darkroom techniques versus strength and conditioning with a very knowledgeable football coach I know what her choice would be 🙂

 

Rodger

 

 

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

"I could see a "field trip" to a dark room just for the students to gain perspective on what was involved in producing some of the classic older photos ... "

 

It belongs in the History class, not the photography class. The kids would be far better served with an introduction to Photoshop.  For pete's sake are we preparing the kids for success in a career or not?  I guess we are if they want to teach history!

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

"... the fun of watching a print develop in a darkroom."

 

???? You must have been doing B&W, not color? 

When I was 12 or 13 I got three soup bowls and closed up my grandma's bathroom as best I could and developed B&W film and made contact prints.  Oh, the heavenly smell of stop bath still lingers in my mind. I used my Argus 75 box camera. 620 film makes an impressive print for a 12 year old.  I cut grass for the neighbors to buy more film.

 

141.jpg

 

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

wq9nsc
Respected Contributor

Correct Ernie, color was definitely beyond our high school capabilities but I still loved working in the darkroom.  It probably ran in the family because in the early days of photography my maternal grandmother worked in a darkroom before becoming a schoolteacher.  I didn't exactly love the smell of those darkroom chemicals but I have never forgotten them.

 

One of my sisters was a journalist for a number of years and she set up a darkroom at home when she was in high school.  I don't think my parents cared much for the darkroom aroma and I suspect her old Beseler enlarger is still stored up in the attic.

 

Rodger

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

" I suspect her old Beseler enlarger is still stored up in the attic."

 

Would she like another one?  Smiley Happy

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

amfoto1
Reputable Contributor

The Elan 7e is a wonderful camera and $35 for one is a real steal!

 

I shot with a pair of EOS-3, but also used an Elan 7e at times because it's one of the quietest SLRs... far quieter than the EOS-3!

 

Regarding lens compatibility.... modern EF lenses should work fine on the 7e. Modern EF-S, EF-M and RF lenses won't even fit onto it and won't work..

 

There are a couple possibilities....

 

First be sure the Elan 7e's AF system is set up correctly. It's been many years since I owned or used one, so I forget the details.... but it does have Canon's Eye Controlled AF, which I think was only found on the Elan 7 (two versions), the EOS-3 and the A2e film cameras. This system is designed to track the photographer'seye movement and change focus points accordingly.... in other words, the camera tries to focus where the user is looking. (Not to be confused with modern eye focus in some cameras, which is designed to dedect and focus upon subject's eyes.) It was most successful on the EOS-3 because that camera had 45 AF points... if memory serves the Elan 7e had seven AF points and the A2e only had three.

 

Download the Elan 7e manual from the Canon website. Consult it and turn off Eye Control for the time being. You can experiment with it later, if you wish. It worked well for some people.... not so much for others (I couldn't use it, perhaps because I wear eye glasses). Also be sure you understand  the rest of the setup of the AF system, though aside from Eye Control, it's probably not all the different from your digital rebel.

 

I agree with previous posts, that it may be with that particular lens the AF system is struggling and cannot focus in lower light conditions. AF systems have gotten better and better over the years, including their ability to focus in low light.

 

Get out in bright light and try to focus on good, contrasty subjects that have plenty of detail. The EF 75-300mm III is a "budget" zoom that uses a micro motor AF system that's not particularly fast and responsive. Still, in good light the camera and lens should be able to focus.

 

It also may help if you manually select the center AF point, which on many Canon is more sensitive than the other AF points.

 

I disagree with some of the previous responses about cleaning the lens' electronic contacts. Done right it is safe to do and sometimes it helps. Those contacts provide communication between the camera and lens for AF, aperture control, and Image Stabilization (when the lens has it, the EF 75-300 III doesn't). To safely clean the contacts on the lens....

 

- Don't use DeOxit. It's not necessary. Those electronic contacts on the rear of the lens are gold-plated, specifically to prevent oxidization. Isopropyl alcohol is all that's needed. In fact, plain cheap "rubbing alcohol" works fine.

- Don't use a Q-tip or any other type of common, household cotton swab. Those shed tiny, tough cotton threads that can get inside a camera's mechanisms and jam it. Instead use a clean, lint free rag or an optical swab (such as is used for sensor cleaning... Pecs and similar). 

- Lightly dampen any dry swab or rag with a few drops of alcohol and gently wipe the electonic contacts on the lens. This will remove any oils on them, which are usually the problem. It's probably finger oils. But also could be from other sources. The communication between lens and camera is done using very low voltages, which is pretty easily interrupted or hindered by anything on those electronic contacts, even a thin layer of oils you can't see. 

- Be careful to keep off the optics of the lens and don't get the rag or swab so wet that it might drip inside the lens. Pre-moistened optical/sensor cleaning swabs will work, but are usually way too wet with fluid. Shake off a lot of that and/or let some evaporate before using them for this or amost other purposes.

- Don't use anything abrassive to clean those contacts. That could damage the gold plating.

- Don't use a pencil eraser to clean the contacts. Erasers are made from vegetable oil and are unlikely to remove oils from the surface, might even make matters worse.

- While you are cleaning the contacts on the rear of the lens, also carefully inspect the corresponding pins just inside the lens mount on the camera. Those are spring loaded to ensure a good connection with the lens contacts. Look for any that are "stuck" and not extending as far as the others. You can also test they are free to move by gently pressing on them with a fingernail or something. Of course, be careful of the mirror and other internal mechanisms of the camera and don't drop anything inside the mirror box.

 

It's true, cleaning those contacts may or may not help the lens focus. But it's quick, easy to do-it-yourself and costs very little to try.

 

It is possible that a modern lens wouldn't work on an older camera.... But I'm not aware of any and would think the ones that use more modern AF systems such as STM (stepper motor) or the hybrid Nano USM would be more likely to have backward compatibility issues. 

 

If the EF 75-300 III still doesn't work on the camera, you might try a lens that's more contemporary with that camera. Some examples are the EF 28-135mm IS USM, EF 50mm f/1.8 II or EF 50mm f/1.4, EF 35mm f/2, etc. I used some of those lenses on my Elan 7e.

 

If it doesn't work with other known-good lenses from the same time period, there's probably something wrong with that particular camera. Maybe that's why it only cost $35. I'm sure Canon no longer repairs Elan 7e, but you might find an independent shop that does, if they can get any parts necessary to fix it. 

 

I agree with other responses... It's a little odd that a school is still calling for students to use a film SLR. That's probably just to insure that any camera the student chooses has user controls instead of the heavy "point-n-shoot" styple automation that's found on many digitals... especially the more affordable models. Still, an older DSLR that can be bought for little money... such as the Canon 10D, 20D, 30D.... could give the user very similar learning experience. 

 

Or, maybe they are just insisting on film to force the students to slow down and think about each shot.... to plan instead of just make hundreds of digital shots using the "blind hog gets an acorn" school of thought.

 

Hope this helps!

 

***********


Alan Myers
San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7DII (x2), 7D(x2) some other cameras, various lenses & accessories
FLICKR & ZENFOLIO 

 

 

" Don't use DeOxit. It's not necessary."

" Don't use a Q-tip"

 

And here in lies the problem.  Some people are just stuborn. And some think they just have to, they need to, do something.

Not knowing they can do more harm than any good cleaning might do or help. If done properly a qtip is just fine. Of course if you get too aggressive it can be harmful too. A damaged contact is a far worse problem than a possible dirty one.

 

" It's a little odd that a school is still calling for students to use a film SLR."

 

It teaches them nothing. OK maybe exposure settings but any future career opportunities is not going to be in film.  At least extremely minuscule possibilities. Far, far better to get them into digital and Photoshop.  As far as cheap, film is not cheap. The cameras might be cheap but nothing else is. It belongs in a history class.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!


@amfoto1 wrote:

The Elan 7e is a wonderful camera and $35 for one is a real steal!

 

[deleted]

 

I disagree with some of the previous responses about cleaning the lens' electronic contacts. Done right it is safe to do and sometimes it helps. Those contacts provide communication between the camera and lens for AF, aperture control, and Image Stabilization (when the lens has it, the EF 75-300 III doesn't). To safely clean the contacts on the lens....

 

- Don't use DeOxit. It's not necessary. Those electronic contacts on the rear of the lens are gold-plated, specifically to prevent oxidization. Isopropyl alcohol is all that's needed. In fact, plain cheap "rubbing alcohol" works fine.

- Don't use a Q-tip or any other type of common, household cotton swab. Those shed tiny, tough cotton threads that can get inside a camera's mechanisms and jam it. Instead use a clean, lint free rag or an optical swab (such as is used for sensor cleaning... Pecs and similar). 

- Lightly dampen any dry swab or rag with a few drops of alcohol and gently wipe the electonic contacts on the lens. This will remove any oils on them, which are usually the problem. It's probably finger oils. But also could be from other sources. The communication between lens and camera is done using very low voltages, which is pretty easily interrupted or hindered by anything on those electronic contacts, even a thin layer of oils you can't see. 

- Be careful to keep off the optics of the lens and don't get the rag or swab so wet that it might drip inside the lens. Pre-moistened optical/sensor cleaning swabs will work, but are usually way too wet with fluid. Shake off a lot of that and/or let some evaporate before using them for this or amost other purposes.

- Don't use anything abrassive to clean those contacts. That could damage the gold plating.

- Don't use a pencil eraser to clean the contacts. Erasers are made from vegetable oil and are unlikely to remove oils from the surface, might even make matters worse.

- While you are cleaning the contacts on the rear of the lens, also carefully inspect the corresponding pins just inside the lens mount on the camera. Those are spring loaded to ensure a good connection with the lens contacts. Look for any that are "stuck" and not extending as far as the others. You can also test they are free to move by gently pressing on them with a fingernail or something. Of course, be careful of the mirror and other internal mechanisms of the camera and don't drop anything inside the mirror box.

 

It's true, cleaning those contacts may or may not help the lens focus. But it's quick, easy to do-it-yourself and costs very little to try.

 

[deleted]

 

Hope this helps!

 

***********


Alan Myers
San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7DII (x2), 7D(x2) some other cameras, various lenses & accessories
FLICKR & ZENFOLIO 

 

 


That's a long list of don'ts.  Like I said, it is far easier to do more harm than good. 

 

It you do not see something obvious, it is best to avoid cleaning the contacts.  Friction from changing lenses is more than sufficient to keep the contacts clean.  When I do clean the contacts, I use a micro-fiber lens cloth and alcohol.  The best thing to use is one of those little pre-moistened lens cleaner wipes that come in a sealed package.

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."