The Rebel XS was the smallest lightest SLR from Canon when it was introduced in September of 1993. Weight was eliminated by the use of plastic throughout and a mirror prism constructed with mirrors and not glass. This is mine, Ser. No. 4400159, in excellent condition except for a dented hot shoe.
Canon EOS Rebel XS
In Japan and Asian known as the EOS Kiss and in Europe as the EOS 500
Several years ago I found an EOS REBEL XS at a camera show in the State of Washington for which I paid $5.00. It was in good condition except for the hot shoe which had been damaged at some point. But, to my surprise when I got home, it was fully functional including the light meter.
Now, I have always been dismissive of light plastic entry level cameras. I have been
The Rebel XS design shows that the standard Canon SLR design of today was established with its film EOS cameras.
The top deck has the Command Dial on the left and an LCD screen on the right to display basic information.
spoiled by the solid and weighty feel of the Canon rangefinders or the digital cameras such as the 60D or the 5D. But this XS began me rethinking my attitudes.
When introduced in September of 1993 the SX was the lightest and smallest SLR Canon had brought to market to that date. Aimed at entry level users the camera made extensive use of plastics. To further reduce weight the usual optical glass prism was replaced with an “mirror prism” which used reflecting mirrors in the viewfinder. Such a substitute for a prism did not transmit light as well but it was inexpensive to make and lighter. and the reduced light level was not terribly significant.
Although this is an entry level camera it has a complete range of controls that allows it to capture fine images. Of course image quality depends on the lens and being an EOS camera all of Canon’s EOS lenses can be used including the latest of the L series. So even if it is an entry level camera, being one of the EOS line, it benefits greatly.
It has a full auto mode as well as 4 programmed image modes. Shutter and f/stop can be set individually if desired. Shutter speeds from 30 seconds to 1/2000th are available. Three focus points are selected automatically or the center one may be specifically selected.
The camera will sense the ASA speed of the film using DX codes on the film cannister or the ASA can be set manually from 6 to 6400.
Operating details for the Rebel XS may be found in the User Instructions here.
The XS had a pop up flash above the Mirror Prism. There was also a version of this camera, the Rebel X, that had no pop up flash.
On the left in the film cassette chamber can be seen the contacts to read the DX code on the film. Notice the shutter is a vertical travelling metal one. On the right of the body are three metal contacts that contact to nothing on the back cover. I believe that the body is the same body as the QD version except it lacks the QD Back which has contact pins to connect with these contacts.
On loading the film is pulled completely from the cassette and then is wound in as the pictures are taken. The LCD counts down displaying the number of exposure left on the film.
Getting back to my earlier comments about this camera changing my opinion of light plastic cameras, I have been shooting film with my XS. And I like it. It is small and because it is so light you don’t feel it on your shoulder. And yet it is easily available and has a reasonable suite of features. Focusing is not great in low light, it is always slow and the view finder is not the brightest. But it is easy to use and can use the best lenses on my shelf. As a film shooter it is fantastic. It can take a great picture.
Canon Rebel XS QD
The Rebel XS was also sold with a Data Back. There are holes in the film pressure plate near the edge of the film through which the back could project date and time onto the film. The back got its power and shutter information through the three contacts visible in the photo below of the open Kiss camera. When the back is closed three pins come down on the contacts on the body making electrical contact between back and camera body.
Canon EOS Kiss
The Rebel XS was the North american name of this camera. The European name was the EOS 500 and in the Asian and Japanese market it was known as the EOS Kiss.
The Kiss has three variations that I can find so far. There is a standard black version with the name “Kiss” on a black plaque on the left side of the front of the body. Then there is the Panorama version with a device to create a narrow wide image on the film. Finally, there is a two tone model, silver and black, which again has the name on a plaque on the left front. All three had a Date Back
In the Collection I have the Kiss Panorama model which is shown in the accompanying pictures.
The front and top of the EOS Kiss are indistinguishable from the Rebel XS except for the name. However, the back is another matter: it is what Canon calls a Quartz Data Back. Refering to a watch as a “quartz” watch has fallen out of fashion but it simply means that the clock is controlled by a vibrating quartz crystal. On the back are controls for setting the Date or the Time and a small LCD to show you your selections. In the center of the back at the bottom is also the switch for the “Panorama” feature.
The EOS Kiss is a Rebel XS with a Data Back. The Data Back makes electrical contact with the body through three contacts that make contact when the back closes (see photo on the right). The back also has a self contained 3 volt CR 2025 button battery to power the clock. Frequently these backs are non-functional when found and it is simply a dead battery. Battery life in normal use is about three years. I remove these batteries for storage and only put them in to use the camera. However, this small battery has no effect on the operation of the camera; it only powers the clock in the back.
The Data Back allows for the printing of the date or the time on the edge of the image. One must choose between date and time: you cannot have both. The calendar available only extends to 2019 so you had better stick with the time. Instructions for using the Data Back are found on page 40 of the Instruction Manual below for the EOS 500 QD.
The “Panorama” feature on my EOS Kiss is one of those features you should just forget about. It does nothing but obstruct the film area on the top and bottom of the frame to give an elongated shape to the negative. It does this by cutting off information from the top and bottom of the picture. Why? It does nothing to improve the image whatsoever. It just limits the image you capture.
The viewfinder has two fine lines across the image indication the part of the image that will not be captured. The lines are permanent regardless of the setting of the Panorama Switch.
In the film compartment you can see the DX Code contacts for reading the film speed from the film can. On the right you can see the three electrical contacts in the body and the three pins on the Data Back that make contact with them when the door is cloed. And in the center is the shutter. However, extending in front of the shutter is the Panorama blind for creating a Panorama image.
The EOS 500 is the European name for the EOS Rebel XS. It is identical in every respect so we won’t go into the details of operation. Of course, the Instruction Manual above will give you the operating details for these cameras.
For years I have dismissed these light weight plastic cameras and it was not till I began looking into them that I came to appreciate them. It is a tribute to them that all these years later all of my examples are still fully functional. And, especially appealling is the fact that they accept the full range of Canon EOS lenses which means they can take the finest of images.
EOS Rebel X
The Rebel XS name denotes a camera with a flash. The “S” in the name is the key. In Europe the flash model is denoted with an “F”. Anyway, I digress. The Rebel was introduced in November of 1993 in a model without a flash, the Rebel X, in the North American Market. Identical in operation, except for the lack of a flash.
To my eye this is a more attractive camera. And I don’t like the pop up flash. It’s an emergency back up I try to avoid. The housing over the prism is more streamlined.
Near the top of the page is the Manual for the Rebel XS and the Rebel X combined into one booklet. You will find all of the operating details within.