Canon EOS 3

35mm AF film SLR camera


Production details
Announced:November 1998
System: Canon EOS (1987)
Imaging plane
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Mount and Flange focal distance:Canon EF [44mm]
Imaging plane:36 × 24mm film
Model:Electronically controlled
Speeds:30 - 1/8000 + B
Exposure metering:Through-the-lens (TTL)
Exposure modes:Programmed Auto
Aperture-priority Auto
Shutter-priority Auto
Physical characteristics

Manufacturer description #1

September 10, 1998

Canon Expands 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 (separate release available).

World's First Wide Area AF

The world's first area AF measuring 8mm x 15mm - 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 EF300mm f4L USM and 2x extender. Any one 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.

Faster AF

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.

Eye Control

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.

Metering System

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, preflash metering and off-the-film TTL. Multispot 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 30sec to 1/8000sec, maximum sync speed is 1/200sec 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.

New accessories

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 FEB, an E-TTL wireless multiflash 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 continuos shooting speed to 7 fps. 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.

The EOS 3 will be available from November 1998 at a RRP of £999.99.

Manufacturer description #2

To continue the EOS story, Canon introduces the EOS 3. This camera further improves speed and performance for which the EOS range is renowned. The EOS 3's AF system, uses 45 focusing points for more accurate subject capture. This feature when combined with a high precision focusing system, faster eye control and improved high speed focus as well as compatibility with over 50 EF lenses and accessories means that the EOS3 is the ultimate camera for advanced amatuers and professionals alike.

World's First Wide Area Auto Focus

Using a new Canon developed CMOS area sensor combined with a new AF optical focus system the EOS 3 has a wide area Auto Focus area of 8mm x 15mm containing 45 focusing points for more accurate subject capture. Of the 45 focusing points, seven at the centre are high precision cross type sensors for f2.8 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 EF300mm f2.8L USM and 1.4x extender. Any one of the 45 focusing points can be easy selected using a button and dial operation with the selected point superimposed in red in the viewfinder for easy recognition.

Faster Auto Focus

High speed focus tracking is achieved using a 32 bit microcomputer and high speed predictive algorithum. The Power Drive Booster (PB-E2) makes it possible for shhoting at seven frame per second with both predictive AF and Al Servo AF. The EOS 3 built in motor drive allows shooting at up to 4.3fps with the same low noise level as the EOS 1N.

Eye Control

A combination of the area AF and eye control allows focus to be achieved at the point the eye chooses. Using the 32 bit microcomputer employed for faster Auto Focus commands, the EOS 3 is able to give the user faster and more precise eye control operation through improved accuracy in pupil edge detection. The viewfinder has been further enhanced through the addition of an eye controlled indicator and high speed sync indicator allowing the user maximum control.

Metering System

The EOS 3 has seven metering methods compatible with the area AF system:

  1. 21 zone evaluative metering linked to the focusing points
  2. Partial metering at centre (8.5% of viewfinder screen)
  3. Spot metering at centre (2.4% of viewfinder screen)
  4. Spot metering linked to focusing point
  5. Centreweighted and average metering
  6. Preflash metering and off the film TTL
  7. Multi spot metering is possible for up to 8 points

Shutter Speed

The EOS 3 features a newly developed rotary magnet controlled ultra fast shutter which electronically regulates shutter speeds for maximum accuracy. The EOS 3 has a shutter speed range of 30sec to 1/8000 sec, maximum sync speed of 1/200 sec and shutter durability of 100,000 cycles.

Easy Operation

With similar operation to that of the EOS 1N, the EOS 3 contains an illuminated LCD panel, displaying camera settings at a glance including a remaining frame counter. Up to 18 preset functions can be preset for enhanced flexibility.

Manufacturer description #3

A high-end SLR camera for professionals and advanced amateurs. This camera has many innovative features such as 45-point Area AF, high-speed and precision Eye Controlled Focus, and 7 fps high-speed predictive AF continuous shooting mode. The EOS3 is a camera which can fully respond to the photographer’s intention. It retains many of the features and operability of EOS-1N while also incorporating various recommendations and requests submitted by EOS-1N and EOS 5 users. It also reflects a variety of recent trends and developments in the SLR industry. This model has 45-point Area AF by Canon’s originally developed CMOS sensor and new focusing optical system. This AF system offers high subject-capturing and unrestricted framing capability. Eye Controlled Focus, refined to make it almost twice as fast and more precise than before together with 45-point Area AF system bring EOS3’s high-performance AF system another step closer to the human eye. The 21-zone evaluative metering linked to the focusing points, multi-spot metering with up to eight readings per exposure and eight metering system, including E-TTL autoflash with 550Ex are applied to this camera as well. The superb operability is achieved by dual electronic dials, 18 custom functions and firm grip holding, using the same material and design as EOS-1N. The same level of protection against moisture and dust as EOS-1N and silent film rewind are also provided. The high-performance 1/8000sec. shutter unit passed Canon’s standard endurance test of 100,000 times shutter cycle. System accessories launched at the same time as the camera include Power Drive Booster PB-E2, Ni-MH Pack NP-E2, Speedlite 550EX, Remote Switches with better clip-on operability and an anti-fog eyepiece. The nine Ec- series focusing screens for EOS-1N are compatible.

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35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm
  • Area: 864mm2

Travellers' choice


Among autofocus lenses designed for 35mm full-frame mirrorless cameras only. Speed of standard and telephoto lenses is taken into account.

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Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.


Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),


CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.


A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance can also be different.

The flange focal distance (FFD) is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.


The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Electronic manual focus override is performed in the following way: half-press the shutter button, wait until the camera has finished the autofocusing and then focus manually without releasing the shutter button using the focusing ring.

Electromagnetic diaphragm control system

Provides highly accurate diaphragm control and stable auto exposure performance during continuous shooting.

Manual diaphragm

The diaphragm must be stopped down manually by rotating the detent aperture ring.

Preset diaphragm

The lens has two rings, one is for pre-setting, while the other is for normal diaphragm adjustment. The first ring must be set at the desired aperture, the second ring then should be fully opened for focusing, and turned back for stop down to the pre-set value.

Semi-automatic diaphragm

The lens features spring mechanism in the diaphragm, triggered by the shutter release, which stops down the diaphragm to the pre-set value. The spring needs to be reset manually after each exposure to re-open diaphragm to its maximum value.

Automatic diaphragm

The camera automatically closes the diaphragm down during the shutter operation. On completion of the exposure, the diaphragm re-opens to its maximum value.

Fixed diaphragm

The aperture setting is fixed at F/ on this lens, and cannot be adjusted.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.


Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.


Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.


Teleconverters increase the effective focal length of lenses. They also usually maintain the closest focusing distance of lenses, thus increasing the magnification significantly. A lens combined with a teleconverter is normally smaller, lighter and cheaper than a "direct" telephoto lens of the same focal length and speed.

Teleconverters are a convenient way of enhancing telephoto capability, but it comes at a cost − reduced maximum aperture. Also, since teleconverters magnify every detail in the image, they logically also magnify residual aberrations of the lens.

Lens caps

Scratched lens surfaces can spoil the definition and contrast of even the finest lenses. Lens covers are the best and most inexpensive protection available against dust, moisture and abrasion. Safeguard lens elements - both front and rear - whenever the lens is not in use.