Canon EOS 300x & 40mm f/2.8 STM Review – My Compact Camera – by Mauro Pastore

Huh… look what a beautiful frame! Let’s take the camera from the bag and… Damn, too late! How many times this happened? Sure, this is not the end of the world, but a bit bitter remains.

A few years ago I decided to look for a compact camera to always carry with me. After trying a couple of rangefinder, a plastic point-and-shot and a couple of Minox, none of which mattered to me. I had almost changed my mind.

Sometime later, surfing the net, I do not remember how and where, I read something about the latest SLR produced by Canon in September 2004. Curiosity made me begin to look for information about what was apparently a small SLR with many features of more modern DSLRs.

My Compact Camera

Tiny Goliath
EOS 300x against EOS 50D

The Canon EOS 300x

I was particularly impressed by the compactness of the body and the small weight. Some stats:

  • 354gr.
  • 130 x 90 x 64mm
  • 7 focus points
  • E-TTL II
  • Shutter speed from 30 “to 1/4000”
  • 35 zones exposure measurement
  • Program, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual and more …
  • ISO DX: 25-5000, Manual: 6-6400
  • Bracketing +/- 3stop
  • Multiple exposures
  • AE lock
  • 1.5 frames per second in sequence

I also had the idea of ​​mounting an EF40mm STM on it – this would also keep the size an weight down. It was not easy to find, but I was determined to have one. After a few months of searching and waiting I found the camera in good condition for €29.

EOS 300x with EF40mm
Canon EOS 300x with EF40mm f/2.8 STM

With the 40mm STM the autofocus works instantaneously and accurately. The viewfinder shows the necessary information without having to look at the back display. The focus point can be easily selected without taking the eye off the viewfinder. The compactness of the machine body allows you to reach all controls with the right thumb while the index acts on the timing and diaphragm selection dial and the shutter release button.

Switching to manual focus is immediate, as for modern digital cameras this can be achieved just holding the shutter button down and working on the focus ring of the lens.

The 300x is among other things the favourite camera of my nine year old son!

In conjunction with the 40mm STM the system is perfectly balanced, you can secure the camera with your hand for a whole day without fatigue problems. With the 50mm STM and standard zoom such as 28-80mm or 22-55mm USM the situation does not change, while with more “demanding” lenses, the greater weight leads to an unbalancing of the system.

“Fiat lux”

My wife Juliana chatting with my mother at the train station in Bray – ILFORD FP4 plus
Walking at East Wall
Walking at East Wall – AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200
My Little Brat – ILFORD FP4 plus
The Food Market
The Guys of the Food Market – HP5 plus mistakenly exposed @3200 ISO
Dew – Early morning by the Royal Canal – AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200
East Wall fences
East Wall fences – AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200
My Boy with my mother at the train station of Bray – ILFORD FP4 plus
Icarus – AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200
The Fountain
My boy at his first experience with public fountain in Milan – AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200

Now I almost always walk out with my “compact” and a couple of spare films, always ready to get into the action.

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21 thoughts on “Canon EOS 300x & 40mm f/2.8 STM Review – My Compact Camera – by Mauro Pastore”

  1. Christos Theofilogiannakos

    My favorite carry-everywhere, all-purpose combo. 40mm is the perfect length and the modern optics of the STM lens combined with the accurate metering of the 300X ensure perfect results everytime. It would be great if the lens had a max aperture of f1.8 (the AR Hexanon 1.8/40 comes to mind) but I doubt they would able to keep it as small.

    1. Can’t complain about the aperture, the lens is quite sharp open wide as well. After all a 40mm can be easily handled with 1/25~1/15s.
      Thanks Christos! ????

  2. I carry my T5i with a 24mm pancake on it everywhere and always thought that a film body with the 40mm would be a perfect film combo. Stoked to see someone going that route and now thats just more fuel for me to get that setup

  3. I’ve used the 300X as a main 35mm camera for a few years. It took over from my Pentax MZ-6 when I switched from Pentax to Canon. The 40mm combo has been a favourite of mine too – the heavier consumer-grade primes (50mm 1.4/ 85.1.8 etc) do unbalance the camera. With a grip I’ve found the 28-105 3.5-4.5 a nice workable walk around set up. Good to see the 22-55 get a mention too – that’s one of Canon’s lenses that no-one talks about but actually has a lot of personality and is super light.

    1. I agree with you Tom, the 28-105mm USM is a remarkable lens and very versatile also without grip and the 22-55mm USM is lightweight and fast focusing. However, by mounting those lenses I can’t carry the camera in my pocket, moreover I really love prime lenses because force you to move around leading you to discover different POV.

  4. As I commented on the link to this article on Hamish’s Instagram, I actually bought this camera (which is the Rebel Ti in the US) so I could get a 40mm pancake lens for it too! This article makes me even more anxious to get the 40mm lens for mine!

  5. Nice story.
    I have the same lens, usually mounted on a Canon EOS5 – nicknamed the Plastic Fantastic.
    Having modern features but shooting analogue is an easy way to get through a lot of film!

  6. Hmmm, just took a quick look on eBay, and the 40mm lens sells for 3 to 5 times as much as the Rebel body.
    Not really surprising, I guess, but interesting.

    1. That’s wright, I have payed about 30 euros for the camera and about 90 for the lens. All together cost much less than a good compact rangefinder such as Yashica Electro 35 or Minolta Hi-Matic in mint condition.
      The fact is that now the little Canon and the 40mm are together with me at every step I do.

  7. Pingback: My Nikon F75 Project - Part 1 - Going off on a tangent from my usual direction of travel - 35mmc

  8. Hi John,
    What are other lenses you can mount on this camera? I got some modern Canon lenses but can only shot wide open on this one.

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