700si "Which is better: the Minolta 700si or the Canon 50e/Elan II?" EOS50/Elan
A personal comparison, by Ken. K.

"I am buying a new camera hand have narrowed the choice down to either the 700si or the Canon 50e.
I see you have both cameras. Which do you prefer?"

Yes, I have both cameras and often get asked these questions. The difficulty is that both cameras have their pros and cons, so this not an easy question to answer.

I'll compare the two cameras and point out those differences that I find important. I shall refer to the Minolta as the 700si and the Canon ElanIIe/50e (USA name and European name) simply as the 50e.


This is a matter of taste of course, but my impressions are:



Vertical grips:

Both vgrips take the original 2CR5 battery or 4 AA cells.




The two cameras have different flash systems.

Custom functions:

Most functions are similar. Important functions in the 50e that the 700si does not have are:

Special functions:
Assuming you use your SLR a lot for point and shoot;

Eye controlled functions.

I think it's as well to warn of the quality problems the 50e seems to have.

The first 50e I got would jam with the mirror locked up. This was a random fault, so of course it never happened when the technicians tried it, and I had to return it 5 times (with a 5-week wait each time) before the service centre took the problem seriously and exchanged the camera.

The camera they then gave me as a replacement would simply stop whilst rewinding the film, again randomly. I opened the back once during a concert with a half-rewound film and exposed several frames because of this.

My third replacement camera now works without any problems. But it took 8 months and much grief before I finally had a working camera in my hands.

My colleague at work also has a 50e. His problem is that it is dead with certain batteries. Apparently, the reset switch inside the battery compartment is just a little bit too short, so that slight variations in battery dimensions mean that some batteries just don't work.

All three problems are frequent topics on the EOS web site, and I have seen them discussed in magazines, too, so these were not isolated incidents. My advice is, should you choose the 50e (it's a wonderful camera when it's working) and one of these faults occur, tape up all knobs and switches (to stop sales staff from playing with it and resetting it), and demand that only a Canon technician remove the tape. Otherwise, you'll have the same "we cannot reproduce the fault" story I had every time.

Hope some of this helps you decide.

Ken K. (email: kenk@datanetworks.ch ), 26/8/98
HTML: Chris Valentine

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