The Canon EOS 650, introduced in March 1987, marked a pivotal moment in the history of Canon cameras and the broader photography world. It was the first camera in Canon’s new EOS (Electro-Optical System) series, which brought together an array of groundbreaking technological advancements and set the foundation for Canon’s future SLR cameras.

Development and Design: In the 1980s, camera manufacturers were engaged in fierce competition to develop autofocus (AF) systems and incorporate new electronic technologies into their cameras. Canon recognized the need to overhaul its existing FD mount system, which had been in use since 1971, to accommodate the new autofocus technology and stay competitive in the market.

The development of the EOS 650 began in the early 1980s, with Canon focusing on creating a completely new camera system that was not only advanced in terms of technology but also user-friendly and customizable. The result was the EOS system, which introduced the EF (Electro-Focus) lens mount, a fully electronic mount system that enabled faster and more accurate autofocus, as well as enhanced communication between the camera body and lenses.

Key Features:

  1. EF Lens Mount: The Canon EOS 650’s most significant innovation was the introduction of the EF lens mount, which replaced the previous FD mount. The EF mount featured electrical contacts for faster communication and better performance, as well as a wider diameter to accommodate larger aperture lenses. This new mount allowed for the development of a range of autofocus lenses and improved compatibility with future camera models.
  2. Autofocus System: The EOS 650 featured a TTL (through-the-lens) phase-detection autofocus system with a single central autofocus point. This system used a dedicated microprocessor to analyze data from the AF sensor, resulting in faster and more accurate focus.
  3. Metering and Exposure: The camera offered a versatile and accurate 6-zone evaluative metering system, which calculated exposure based on light readings from different areas of the frame. The EOS 650 also provided manual, aperture-priority, and shutter-priority exposure modes, as well as a programmed mode that automatically set the aperture and shutter speed.
  4. User Interface: Canon designed the EOS 650 with simplicity and ease of use in mind. The camera featured an LCD panel on the top plate, which displayed essential information such as shutter speed, aperture, and exposure compensation. The camera also included a straightforward control layout, with buttons and dials for quick access to settings and functions.

Reception and Legacy: The Canon EOS 650 received positive reviews upon its release, marking the beginning of the EOS era for Canon, which would continue to expand and improve upon the EOS system in subsequent models.

The EOS 650 was eventually replaced by the EOS 620 in May 1987, which boasted faster autofocus and an improved user interface.