The Canon Sure Shot is notorious in the film community, with multiple different models being made from 1979 to 1988. The one I had is the Sure Shot 2, which was produced in 1983 until 1986 when the 3 came out. Design and features changed drastically over the 9 years of production, and each model had their own little niche target groups.
The Sure Shot/Autoboy series are the only point and shoot cameras by Canon that featured a 38mm f/2.8 lens. They used an older type of infrared beam to achieve correct autofocus, and from the many rolls I shot, it seems to work very well.
I’ll drop a couple facts about this camera before diving into the pros and cons of the camera in use:
Model: Sure Shot/Autoboy 2
Lens: 38mm f/2.8 (4 elements in 4 groups)
Features: Pre-focus, self-timer (no idea how to use the self-timer), and a FLASH!
It’s a simple camera, hence the type, point and shoot. I found mine at an estate sale for $10, and quickly nabbed it up. Besides some corroded battery terminals, the camera was in great condition for being 36 years old. The viewfinder is nice and clear, though the frame lines do blend into the scene on very bright days. It also features a focus scale on the bottom portion showing you where it is focused, either before the shot (with pre-focus) or after taking the shot. It just shows a person’s head, and a mountain, so not very helpful.
The grip is substantial enough for the weight of the camera, though I’m a fan of deeper grips on my cameras so carrying for a long time is easier to do. The grip itself is made of a good material that your hand can easily hold, and I don’t see it deteriorating any time soon. The camera does fit easily in a pants pocket, though it is very much the shape of a brick and can be a tad awkward.
Besides being an odd shape, the camera functions pretty well! The autofocus pretty damn accurate, though it is very loud. There isn’t a single thing on this camera that doesn’t produce a noise. This camera would not be good for street photography, as everyone within a 20 foot radius would be aware of it. Focusing? Winding noise. Shot taken? Loud click. Frame advance? Grinding noise. End of the roll rewind? Probably the worst noise I’ve ever heard come out of a camera; grinding and winding, it sounds like it’s breaking.
BUT, it does have a pretty great feature that does make it slightly more conspicuous if needed. As you’re taking a shot, if you hold down the shutter button, it will refrain from winding on to the next frame until you release it. This cuts down on half the noise, though pre-focusing beforehand would cut down even more.
If street photography isn’t your thing, I would highly suggest this camera. The lens is fantastically sharp, and it has the strangest and coolest flare I have ever seen. Depending on the angle of the sun, it will produce either a blue blob (below), or a curved blue wave of light (above).
If the shutter speed is going to be lower than 1/60th of a second like the photo above, a little red light will flash inside the viewfinder to serve as a warning. It will let you shoot still, but since it doesn’t tell you the shutter speed, you’ll have to guess if the shot is worth it or not.
The only manual feature of this camera is the ISO, which is found underneath the lens with the window on top. I believe the range is from 50 to 800, but someone please correct me if I’m wrong. I typically shoot ISO 400 films at 320 or 200, to allow for slightly more details in the shadows. I did shoot a roll of E100 through it recently, but have yet to get it developed, so I’ll find out eventually how accurate the meter in the camera truly is.
Overall, this is a great little camera. It’s easy to take with you anywhere, and it’s very sharp for being a point and shoot. I certainly wouldn’t have bought it for the prices it goes for now, but to each their own. I would highly recommend it for someone looking to get into film photography, because it’s not too expensive compared to other cameras, and the results are fantastic.
If it was a little quieter, I would have kept it. For now, I’ll continue playing with my Canonet QL17iii.
And now, more photos!