Canon EOS Rebel XS Film Camera

There is a Canon EOS Rebel XS 35mm film SLR and digital DSLR with the same name. This is about the 35mm film camera released in 1993 and known as the EOS 500 in Europe and EOS Kiss in Japan.

The EOS Rebel XS was an entry-level model. It was manufactured until 1996 and was replaced by the Canon EOS Rebel G. (Europe: 500N, Japan: New EOS Kiss)

Unless you’re lucky enough to find a great local deal, you’ll have to look online. A small change in availability can cause a big price increase.

Check several places online to ensure you get the best deal on a Canon EOS Rebel XS.

If you don’t have a Canon EF lens to use with the camera, look for a camera bundled with the 35-80mm zoom lens.

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The only original pricing information I have been able to find came from the Canon Camera Museum.

The original price for the EOS Rebel XS was 89,000 yen paired with the EF 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6II USM, or 59,000 yen for the body only.

CR123A Camera Batteries and Tripod Mount
CR123A Camera Batteries and Tripod Mount

2x CR123A lithium batteries power the Canon Rebel XS. Battery status will be displayed on the lower left of the LCD screen when the Rebel XS is on.

CR123A batteries are easily found in stores. Prices are good when you buy a multi-pack. Keep in mind that you want to carry a spare set of batteries with you.

You can find CR123A batteries

I buy batteries online because I have several cameras that use them. Getting a 10 pack of batteries means they don’t have to be swapped between camera bodies. It also means a spare set can be left in a camera bag.

In normal temperature ranges, the batteries should last for 60 rolls without using flash. Using flash for every image will reduce that to 12 rolls. Colder weather will also decrease the life of the batteries.

Built in Pop Up Flash and Canon 35-80mm Lens
Built in Pop Up Flash and Canon 35-80mm Lens

Almost the entire Canon Rebel XS is made from plastic, even the lens mount. As a consumer-grade camera, it does not have any weather sealing.

The dimensions of the Rebel XS are 145 (w) x 92 (h) x 61.9 (d) mm. It weighs 350g without batteries, film, or a lens. With film, lens, and batteries the camera was 574g (1 lb, 4.2oz).

The ergonomic design of the camera is good. I personally find the grip comfortable and have almost no complaints about the camera.

Rubber Coming off of the Rebel XS  Grip
Rubber Coming off of the Rebel XS Grip

The only problem I’ve encountered is the non-textured rubberized grip breaking down and becoming sticky.

Wiping down with some rubbing alcohol and a paper towel helped. After that, I rubbed all the loose rubber off. About 5 minutes was required to fix the problem.

Clean Camera Grip with Shutter Button and Remote Cable Release
Clean Camera Grip with Shutter Button and Remote Cable Release

The auto focus system uses one TTL (through the lens) phase detection autofocus point. This can make getting action shots more difficult than one of Canon’s later models with more autofocus points.

Focusing speed will also partially be determined by the lens used.

Located near the shutter button is an AF auxiliary light emitter used to help autofocus in low light.

Switching between manual and autofocus is done by using a switch on the lens.

A vertical-travel electronically controlled focal-plane shutter is used. Shutter speeds range from 30 seconds to 1/2000 of a second. Flash sync is 1/90 of a second.

There is a bulb mode. Keep in mind battery power will be used the entire time the shutter is open. If you intend to do exposures that will be more than 10 minutes, use new batteries.

Up to 9 multiple exposures can be taken. The desired number can be set by holding down both the partial metering and exposure compensation buttons and then turning the input dial. The setting will automatically clear after completion of the series of exposures.

A self-timer can be activated by pressing the self-timer button. After pressing the shutter button the camera will count down 10 seconds and take a shot. During the countdown, the camera will beep. The beeps will speed up during the last 2 seconds of the countdown.

During continuous shooting, the camera can maintain a continuous shooting speed of 1 shot per second.

Command Dial, LCD Screen, Hot Shoe, and Function Buttons
Command Dial, LCD Screen, Hot Shoe, and Function Buttons

Using the command dial, a variety of shooting modes can be selected. The red L is the lock mode, which will turn off the camera. Canon has broken the other selections on the dial down into groups.

Exposure compensation has a range of +2 to -2 EV in 1/2 stop increments.

There is also a built in pop up flash. The built in flash as well as any compatible flash used in the hot shoe will have full TTL flash control.

  • P: Program AE
  • Tv: Shutter-Priority AE
  • Av: Aperture-Priority AE
  • M: Manual Exposure
  • A-DEP: Automatic Depth-of-field AE

These are all of the standard zones you would expect to see on a modern camera. The exception would be automatic depth-of-field, which will try to get everything in the images in focus by using a small aperture.

  • Sports
  • Close-up
  • Landscape
  • Portrait
  • Full Automatic

These are automatic modes. Aperture or shutter speed will be weighted more heavily than in automatic mode.

For example, with sports you want a fast shutter speed to freeze action. Taking a landscape, you want everything in focus, which means a smaller aperture and slower shutter speed.

  • Sound Mode
  • Manual ISO Speed
  • Rewind before the end of the roll

If you need film for your Canon Rebel XS, there is an entire page dedicated to the best film for the Canon EOS Rebel XS.

DX-coded film has an ISO range of 25-5000. Non DX-coded film can have the ISO manually set from 6-6400.

If you want to override the ISO of a canister of DX-coded film, cover the DX code with tape. For example, if you wanted to shoot a roll of ISO 400 film at ISO 1600.

The ISO setting will remain until it is changed or a DX-coded film canister is loaded.

Loading 35mm Film into the Canon and the Pins for the Date Back
Loading 35mm Film into the Canon and the Pins for the Date Back

Film is easy to load. There are no sprockets to line up or need to thread a film leader into a slot.

When a roll of film is loaded into the camera, the entire roll is wound onto the take-up spool. After each shot, the film is wound back into the film cartridge.

This system protects images that have already been taken. The exposed film being inside the film cartridge means it is protected from light if the back of the camera was opened.

Camera Viewfinder showing Shutter Speed, Aperture, and Exposure Compensation
Camera Viewfinder showing Shutter Speed, Aperture, and Exposure Compensation

Canon calls the viewfinder a “fixed eye-level roof mirror.” That’s a creative way of saying a cheaper viewfinder than a pentaprism.

With a 50mm lens, the viewfinder has 0.7x magnification and 90% image coverage.

TTL metering is done through 6 zones with 9.5% partial at center averaging. As far as I can tell, that’s just center-weighted averaging.

Spot metering can be used by pressing the partial metering button.

A PDF scan of the Canon Rebel EOS XS Manual can be found at

Canon EOS EF Lens Mount
Canon EOS EF Lens Mount

Any Canon EOS EF lens will work on the camera. EF-S lenses designed for crop sensor DSLRs will not work.

The kit lens that was sold with the camera was the EF 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 II USM. These lenses can often be found still bundled with the camera.

Canon Zoom Lens EF 35-80mm f/4-5.6 III
Canon Zoom Lens EF 35-80mm f/4-5.6 III

Below are some of the best lenses for the Canon Rebel XS. They are more budget oriented to match the cost of the camera. All of the lenses are capable of taking great photos.

The 50mm f/1.8 is a favorite among photographers, not just because it is an excellent budget, but also because of the picture quality.

The 430EZ speedlite has a zoom head, more controls, and a LCD screen. Both the 300EZ and 200E are basic flashes.

This remote release can be attached to the camera to reduce camera shake while on a tripod, or for bulb mode.

No batteries are used in this grip. It is for increasing the size of the grip to make the camera easier to hold in portrait orientation. There is also a small tripod built-in.

The EP-EX15 extends the viewfinder eye-piece 15mm out from the camera body. It also increases the viewfinder magnification by 0.5x.

I would not look to buy a Canon EOS Rebel XS. The Canon Rebel Ti (300V) or Rebel T2 (300X) cost the same, are newer, and have a better build quality.

If you’re a beginner photographer, or just looking to do some film photography, I wouldn’t be in a rush to replace the Rebel XS.

For casual shooting, the Rebel XS works well. Autofocus speed is decent but limited with the single AF point. That won’t be a problem unless you are trying to do action photography.

Controls are well placed. I found the grip comfortable and didn’t have any problems with the ergonomics of the camera.

As long as you’re not looking to put hundreds of rolls through the camera, the shooting experience is great considering the cost of the Rebel XS. If you can find one with a lens for $5-$10, buy it.

If you already have one, I would not recommend selling it for a Rebel Ti or Rebel T2. Instead, look to move up to a mid-range camera like the Elan 7N. (30V in Europe)

Cameras that would be an upgrade would be a Canon Elan 7N (30V), Canon EOS 3 or Canon EOS 1V.

These are the last 2 cameras from the entry-level lineup. They have more features and metal lens mounts. Price ranges are exactly the same for the Rebel XS, so it makes sense to buy them instead.

The Elan 7N was Canon’s mid-range camera model from 2004 until the discontinuation of the line in 2007. It has more features and a better build quality.

Camera bodies can be found for under $100. Do not buy the 7NE (33V) version as it has eye controlled focus point that does not work.