• Jason Garcia

Time for Your First 35mm Camera? Spend $60 on the Canon EOS 500n.

In Tokyo, I walk for hours taking photos of textures, contrasts, architecture, or impeccably-dressed people, you name it. More often than not, I have my Leica M6 up to my face. I purchased this camera almost a year ago because I knew that prices were skyrocketing. I spent hours researching what particular M6 I wanted. Was it the "Panda"? Would the "TTL" model be sufficient for my needs? Is the "Titanium" purely luxury? What part of the world could I buy it the cheapest? What resellers were reputable? The list of questions went on and on. So when I was on vacation in southern Japan, away from Tokyo, I stepped into a small independent camera shop and decided to check out all their vintage gear. On the back wall was a Leica M6 for almost $500 cheaper than in Tokyo. I asked to check it out. I needed to look it over so I could see its quality, etc. It was practically brand new. Dare I say, "NOS"? I also bought a lens that they had on the shelf, one that I had also researched. I was 100% satisfied with my decisions that day. I did, however, spend a lot of money on these two items.

That story takes me to this one. Way before the Leica purchase, I was tired of manual focusing. I was tired of heavy rigs. I wanted a little *less* from a camera and I didn't want to spend Leica dollars. So the research began and I stumbled upon a lightweight and simple rig that could use Canon EF lenses (there are so many!). My goal was to spend under $100 for both a camera and a lens. Boom! The Canon EOS 500n took the cake. I took to Ebay to find a seller in Japan and I wanted a "Top Mint +++++++++++++" item. (The ++s are a thing here). So I found one that was practically unused (no eyecup however) and had a 28–80mm lens with it. $60 for the win. Plastic lens mount. Plastic case. Plastic everything. Decent autofocus. Decent photos. And when film is becoming a little expensive these days, $60 for a highly-capable film camera is something we all should consider and the Canon 500n is what it should be.

Here's what I'm talkin' about. This rig will create what you need when money is a factor when acquiring your first film camera. It has manual settings so you can adjust the speed, aperture, ISO, etc., but if you want the camera to work for you, there are those fun automatic settings that you can use to help you along your way. Here are some examples from a photowalk I took in Nakameguro and Daikanyama, Tokyo. I used Ilford XP2 Super, which you can take to your favorite film lab or even to Walgreens.

CANON EOS 500N - EOS Kiss here in Japan - Paired with EF 28–90mm lens - $40
CANON EOS 500N - EOS Kiss here in Japan - Paired with EF 28–90mm lens - $40

Here's a massive list of Canon lenses you can use with this camera:


Looking for technical specs? See this page:


Looking for more general info on this rig?


Camera snobs may scoff at the notion of using the Canon EOS 500n camera, but take it from a professional, this camera is 100% fun and we all need fun in our lives. When you are ready to acquire your first film camera, you may need to prepare for one that may not have every single bell & whistle that a Canon EOS-1n or 1v has, but those factors don't matter. This camera will let you capture moments in time that will help you see the value in film photography and keep you being creative. And these days, I value creativity more than Titanium luxury.