Canon EOS Resources
SLR Cameras - Additional information on Canon EOS-5 QD & EOS-A2/A2e

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CANON EOS 5/A2(E) QD (Quartz Date) film-based 135mm (36 x 24mm) format AF-SLR camera,
Approx. Product Cycle: 1992 ~ 2000

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At the Photokina in September of 1992, Canon rocked the entire photographic community with a new EOS SLR that embodied a significant breakthrough in applied technology for AF-SLR cameras. The Canon EOS 5 (or Canon EOS A2(E) as called in North America market) was the first EOS model that uses five autofocus sensors for focus detection. The AF sensors are not just being arranged at dead center but they have two additional outboard at either side horizontally to provide more accurate ad flexible autofocusing. This arrangement permits autofocus to be operated automatically at any of five spots across the image area.

Canon Autofocus EF Lens Resources

Other than the multiple sensors, actually the most amazing feature among the impressive list of features of the EOS-5 is, for the first time in an AF SLR camera, provides a very interesting eye-conrolled autofocus function. Probably the technology was adopt and modified from the similar principle found on some of the high end geometrical surveying equipment, the camera employs combination of two IREDs and infrared sensors that track the eye movements of the photographer and activate one of the five autofocus sensor corresponding to the area where the photographer is looking at for focus tracking. The eye-control feature is user calibrated, up to five different eye calibrations for for five different users and/or for different situations of the same user. In theory, the seemingly perfect solution presents a significant breakthrough as it was a quantum leap for autofocusing technology and further strengthened Canon's position as market leader in the highly competitive market place.

Well, the EOS-5 does not confined to just these two major operational improvements. This amazing camera has also perfected many other technological flaws previously faced by Canon as well as many new innovations being incorporated. Unlike the earlier EOS-10S QD, the EOS-5 offers focusing screen interchangeability even both bodies shares the same in-focus hot spots indicator feature. The Whisper Drive mechanism for film advance and rewinding adopted by earlier EOS bodies such as the EOS-100/Elan QD was also used. IT has a similar PIC modes for easy photographic reference but a new inclusion is a foolproof X-mode for users who often shoots with flash where it limits the camera within synchronization shutter speeds when a flash is used. Another feature is the ABC (automatic Bracketing Control) is built-in now.

The Canon EOS-5 (A2E) was also the third EOS body after the Canon EOS-1 and EOS-100/Elan that has the secondary thumb wheel control at the rear section. The dial controls various functions depending on various selected exposure modes you set. When using the manual mode, this permits user to operate the camera single-handedly, in this case, the thumb wheel dial sets the aperture while the main control wheel sets the shutter speed.

Canon EOS-5 (A2E) has a few different configurations and it can be quite confusing when relates to the various designations. Basically, the EOS-5 is referred as Canon A2E in North America. The US model has a sister model called Canon EOS A2, it is an EOS A2E without a built-in flash feature but the camera does has a built-in dioptre adjustment which is not found on the A2E. Overall, the EOS-5 and Canon A2E are essentially the same EXCEPT the A2E model doesn't has the active digital bar-code display inside the viewfinder to show changes of exposure settings. Instead, it has only a simple + and - indicator. Further, the A2E's built-in flash WILL NOT automatically pops up and charged up when light level drops to situations where the camera's meter calls for artificial illumination and lastly, audible focus confirmation beeper is also being omitted in the A2E model. If that is not enough, the EOS-5/A2E also embedded with 16 custom functions which you can setup up the camera to suit individual shooting preferences.

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The metering system used in the EOS-5 QD is a 16-zone sensor that performs 4 different metering modes: 16 zones Evaluative, with 3.5% Spot, Centre-Weighted average for ambient light readings and the camera also provides an A-TTL OTF flash exposure control.

I am not sure what significant would most of these gadgets affect a photographers in their work. Most of us can accept the fact that Canon wishes to protect their US domestic distributors' interest by classifying many of their EOS cameras by naming a separate model designations. But it is kind of strange to note the so-called "gray market" product in US was so well received among the US users than the "original" US labels. There are many explanations to why Canon "split" the EOS-5 into so many "sub-models". I have read an article published in the Canon Compendium by Bob Shell (published by Hove Books) that explained: The EOS A2 (without the eye-control feature) was an interim product where Canon was unsure that they would be able to license some of the technology needed for eye-controlled autofocus for sale in the USA. Because of delays in this licensing, they produced the USA-only model Canon EOS A2 prior to the resolution of the licensing problems, and later introduced the EOS A2E when these problems were worked out. Next, the author further explained: ...the omission of digital display in the EOS-A2E when operates in manual mode.... the answer lies in international patents and the licensing of them. These features are covered by US patents owned by other manufacturers who refused to license them to Canon for the USA.

The eye-controlled autofocus feature in the EOS-5 is indeed a marvelous innovation. However, as it is the first generation of eye-controlled cameras and as it is a product intended for mass market users who may have varying degree of personal physical limitations, and thus it may also present slight flaws. The infrared sensors may have been perfected with thousand of testing but still could react differently with small number of individuals. Even with a 0.73x magnification with 50mm lens at infinity which can be considered as High-Eye point, some users such as eyeglass/contact lens wearers reported with differing experiences with calibration problems.
Credit: Miss Malaysia (Chinese)2002 who later won herself the World titles (Chinese). My friend, Philip does has an eye for beauty with his eye-contolled sensor locked dead on ... hehe .. just kidding, the image was superimposed on a EOS-5 view frame for broadcasting purposes. Image courtesy of Mr. Philip Chong®. Editor of Advance Images Image(s) copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Another slight drawback with this first generation Eye-Controlled EOS SLR is, the camera sensors only detects eye moment horizontally and when shooting vertical format, it will revert back to the automatic sensor mode. Further, although its is still possible to use diopter eyepiece lenses with the camera, but the compromise is, eye controlled autofocus will not be available (the A2 which comes without the eye controlled autofocus feature has a built-in diopter compensation instead).

Strangely, EOS-5/A2E can be considered as one of the longest serving EOS SLR model introduced thus far. Originally debuted back in November, 1992 and it has survived all the way to February, 2000 before eventually retired from service - it has superseded an entire generation of the professional EOS-1n (1994) to EOS-1v (2000). More amazingly, the camera was still selling steadily in numbers two years after Canon unleashed their second generation eye-contolled model of Canon EOS-3 (November 1998). One seasoned Canon user concluded such unusual "phenomenon" probably was due to its modest retailed price that has contributed to its popularity (it used to be retailed halved that of a comparing Canon EOS-3). Well, make sense, make a lot of sense ... but I would rather like to add a fact where I think its underlying strength was still within its superbly crafted body construction, ergonomic and functional design along with a host of advance features it provides.

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Main Reference Map of Canon EOS-5
Technical Specification of Canon EOS-5

Note: Looking for a Link resource on the Web for Instruction Manual on EOS-5/A2E

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Additional information on other EOS AF-SLR Models:
EOS-650 (1987.2) | EOS-620 (1987.5) | EOS-750QD (1988.10) | EOS-850QD (1988.10) | EOS-630QD (1989.4) | EOS-1 (1989.9) | EOS-RT (1989.10) | EOS-700QD (1990.3) | EOS-10S QD (1990.3) | Canon T-60 | EOS-1000F /RebelS QD (1990.9) | EOS-100 / Elan QD (1991.9) | Canon EF-M (1991.9) | EOS-5/A2E QD (1992.10) | EOS-1000FN /Rebel S II QD (1992.4) | EOS-500 / Rebel XS / KISS (1993.10) | EOS-1n (1994.9) | EOS-888/5000QD (1995.1) | EOS-1n RS (1995.3) | EOS-50/50E / Elan II(E) /EOS 55 (1995.9) | EOS -500N / Rebel G / KISS II (1996.9) | EOS-IX (1996.10) / EOS-IX Lite /IX-7 (1996.3) | EOS-3 (1998.11) | EOS-88/3000 (1999.3) | EOS-300 / Rebel 2000 QD / KISS III (1999.4) | EOS-1v (2000.3) | EOS-30 / EOS-7 / EOS Elan 7E (2000.10) | EOS-3000N /EOS-66 / Rebel XS-N (2002.2) | EOS-300V / Rebel Ti / KISS V (2002.9) | EOS 3000V / Rebel K2 / KISS Lite (2003.9)

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Site concept & design: leofoo® MIR Web Development Team. Copyright 2002. Members of the EOS Site Maintenance Team : Philip Chong, CYLeow, Vincent Thian. images handling on EOS models: EeWyn; Setup, coordination by: Wati. Mirza. *Credit: Mr. Richard Yeow & Mr. Simon Wong from camera division of Canon Marketing, for their continual effort in supporting development of this EOS/EF website. Note:certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets, brochures, sales manuals or publications published by Canon Inc. over the years and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their work for educational purposes. The creator of the site will not be responsible for may discrepancies arise from such dispute except rectifying them after verification."Canon", "EF lenses" & "EOS" are registered trade names of Canon Inc., Japan. Site made with an Apple IMac.