How to Use the Canon EOS Rebel K2

By Andrew Aarons

It may come as a surprise to some that the world's largest camera manufacturers still make film SLR cameras. The digital age has its roots in film cameras like the Canon EOS Rebel K2, a professional SLR released in 2003. The success of Canon's entry-level DSLRs---the Rebel family---translates back to film with the K2, an SLR that features full manual settings, of course, but with easy modes for beginners trying to get the hang of film.

Setting Up the Camera

Turn the camera upside down and slide the release lever on the battery cover to open it. Insert two CR2 lithium batteries (included with the camera or available for purchase from most camera stores). Be sure to follow the indicated positive and negative signs. Canon doesn't recommend mixing new and old batteries.

Attach a lens. The Rebel K2 was typically sold with a 28-80mm Canon EF kit lens, but all Canon EF-type lenses are compatible, as well as third-party lenses designed for the Canon EF lens mount (though Canon recommends using Canon-brand lenses for best results). Remove the body sensor cover and the rear lens cap. Insert the lens, aligning the dot on the lens with the dot on the camera body, and then twist clockwise to lock it in place. Be sure to set the lens for auto focus (if applicable).

Turn the camera's mode dial to any setting except off. Press down on the cover release latch on the rear of the camera to open the back panel. Insert the film, tilting it slightly outward at the top so that the spool can catch on the bottom first. Align the film's leader with the triangle mark along the bottom edge. Close the back cover. The Rebel K2 will automatically wind and load the film, during which time the frame count will appear as a target icon. The shutter fires once when the film is loaded, and the camera detects the ISO speed automatically (you should use DX-coded film).

Taking Photos

Spin the mode selection dial on top of the camera to the green square icon to turn on full automatic mode. The Rebel K2 will set everything for you: aperture, shutter speed and exposure values. Aim the camera at your subject by looking through the viewfinder, and then tap the shutter button half way to auto-focus the shot. Press the button the rest of the way down to complete the shot.

Turn the mode selector dial to one of the basic settings to shoot in automatic modes specific to the light. You can choose from "Portrait," "Landscape," "Macro," "Action," "Night Portrait" and "No Flash" modes. Be mindful of film speeds for the "Action," "Night Portrait" and "No Flash" modes or use a tripod with these modes. Unlike a digital camera, which adjusts the ISO automatically in these modes to compensate for light values, the Rebel K2 is limited by the film loaded. ISO 100 and 200 films are too slow for most low-light photography, so try ISO 800, 1000 or higher for the latter modes.

Spin the main selector dial into the other modes (Av, Tv, M, P or A-Dep) to enter the camera's half-automatic and full manual modes. "Av" allows you to adjust the aperture setting while the camera compensates the shutter speeds, and "Tv" allows you to adjust the shutter speed while the aperture is automatically adjusted. The "M" modes is for full manual, which takes a bit of practice to master.