Review – Canon A1 Sure Shot Camera


Canon A1 Sureshot Camera

I have taken this camera on a few trips which have included Cape Code in the Fall and when I went to NYC at the end of this winter / early spring. This camera takes 35mm film and I used regular 100 speed Lomography film on the first trip and I used older expired 200 speed film on the second trip.

Canon Sure Shot A1 Waterproof Camera

The white and creamy orange  A1 was first made in the 1994 an was marketed as the world’s smallest and lightest land-based and underwater camera at that time. It is fully automatic, the camera can be used on land where the 3-point Smart Autofocus is effective for distances as close as 1.5 ft. Underwater, focusing is good from 3.3 to 9.8 ft. In the macro mode, you can focus from 1.5 m to 1 3.3 ft. The large Albada viewfinder on the camera has a long eye relief, making it easy to view even with a underwater face mask or ski goggles. The camera comes with a switch on the bottom for normal and panorama modes you can switch between at any time. The 32mm f/3.5 lens has 6 elements in 6 groups.

Canon SureShot A1 CameraThe front of the camera has a control knob which is perfect for diving and easier control. The knob toggles in between 6 different settings. They go from choosing to have no flash, flash, off, auto flash, and the macro setting. The macro setting actually has to be held in place as it will not stay automatically. I assume it’s so you won’t forget in that position if you are underwater, but I am not sure.

Canon Sureshot A-1

Unfortunately I did not test this camera underwater quite yet, but I will have a follow up post once the weather is actually warm and I have a reason to be in water (or had had an actual vacation during the winter months).

I bought my camera at a yard sale place in New Hampshire and it worked great, though as I said before I have yet to test it underwater so I may destroy it once it hits the water.  These can be found pretty easily on Ebay, though they generally run north of $20 with shipping.

Canon Sureshot A1 Camera


Canon Sure Shot A1 Camera


This camera takes a heavy duty battery to help with it’s amazing features. It takes a 3 Volt CR123A lithium battery that can easily be found at your local Radio Shack. If you are intersted in sourcing it online it can also be found at Amazon at this Link Streamlight Lithium Batteries CR123A.  The battery can be replaced at the bottom of the camera, and can be opened with a coin.  The battery door , which similar to the film door, also has an orange gasket that should be kept clean to prevent leaks.

Canon SureShot A1 Camera


The Sure Shot A1 uses 35mm film and can adjust to ISO 25-3200 set automatically. You can buy 35mm film at such places as Walmart, Target and CVS.  You can also buy film online from specialty camera stores, but I generally go for film from Lomography. You can look into their wide range of 35mm stock here.

Film Installation

The Sure Shot has a small latch on the side with an arrow pointing up and the word Open right below it. So pulling it up allows for the camera to open up and reveal it’s contents. Inside you can see the orange seal that keeps the water from seeping into the camera. Before and after the camera is used it is recommended that you clean the along the seal so that no particles can interfere with it and cause a leak.  Film is easily installed with the roll being placed on the right side and you pull the film leader to align at the mark. Once you close the camera back you will hear the camera auto load with the built-in motor. The film advances at about 1 fps.

Canon Sure Shot A1 Camera

Canon Sure Shot A1 Camera

After your roll is finished the camera will automatically sense it and rewinds the film completely. Leaving you to just take it out and have it developed 🙂  This camera does not have a midroll rewind, so you have to take all of your photos carefully.

Picture Taking

As I said before I tested out this camera on two different occasions. One being in late fall in Cape Cod and another in NYC  during late winter/early spring.  I used the camera in both the day and night to see how well the flash worked.  The only thing I am sad about is that I still can’t report on the underwater settings, but hopefully it will be able to soon.

Update: New Blog on Underwater Photos with the Canon A1 Sure Shot

Sure Shot A1 Film Photo

Canon SureShot A1 - Rope

Canon Sureshot A1 Camera

This photo of Mark and I was taken as a selfie on the auto setting of the camera, but I love that we came out perfectly in focus with the blurred background making it a really great photo. I love that field of depth that you can see going on.

Canon Sureshot A1 Camera - Old Boat

Canon Sure Shot A1 Camera - Pier

So all of the above pictures are in Cape Cod in the same location. I think the slight cloudiness made some excellent photos. They were mostly taken on the Auto setting.

Canon Sure Shot A1 Camera

Canon Sure Shot A-1 Camera

canon sure shot A-1 camera Times Square

These photos were taken in NYC and were used in more of a dark night setting with the flash. They were taken from a website that develops my photos so they do not have the greatest resolution.

So besides taken regular 24 x 36 mm photos this camera also has a panarama setting that can capture 13 x 36 mm photos. There is a switch at the bottom of the camera that can toggle between the two settings. Though remember when you switch because you might end up with a roll entirely of panorama pics that you didn’t want.Canon Sure Shot A1 Camera 4_444565010020

So when I first got the photos developed and given to me the panoramas all came out like the photo above. They were all upside down and with the black borders on the top and bottom of the photos.

Cape Cod Panoramic Film Photo


With a little photo editing to rotate it and take out the borders the photos come more to life and you can see the landscape of Cape Cod and the sea.

If you really like this camera and it’s design you can sometimes find in my Etsy Shop. If it’s not in stock you can always drop me a note and I can source it for you for no extra cost and make a reserved listing just for you.

Most times the manual for this camera is no longer with the camera itself, but you can find a copy of it at this link.


  • Type:     Fully automatic, compact waterproof 35mm AF lens/shutter camera with built-in flash.
  • Manufacturer:     Canon
  • Year of release:     1994
  • Films:     35 mm ISO 25-3200 set automatically
  • Lens:     32 mm f/3.5 , 3-point Active Autofocus (on-land)
  • Land focusing:     1.5ft./0.45m to infinity.
  • Underwater focusing:     Normal: 3.3ft. to 9.8ft./1m to 3m; Macro: 1.5ft. to 3.3ft./0.45m to 1m.
  • Macro Mode:     1.1-2.5 ft/0.35-0.75m Underwater
  • Shutter:     (Program-type electromagnetically driven shutter also serves as aperture diaphragm.) 1/250-2 sec
  • Aperture:     Mode Dial/Main Switch, Flash Modes, Underwater Macro
  • Viewfinder:     Albada-type finder, covering 84% of actual picture area. 0.42x magnification, with 33mm eye point.
  • Recylcling Time:     Approx. 4 seconds
  • Flash:     built-in, selectable with aperture switch
  • Flash Operating Range:     1.5-11.2 ft/0.45-3.4m
  • Film advance:     Fully Automatic midroll rewind
  • Self Timer:     Electronically controlled with 10-second delay
  • Battery:     One 3V CR123A lithium battery. (3V)
  • Dimensions (W x H x D):     5.25 x 3.5 x 2.13 in/133.5 x 88.3 x 53.6mm

I hope that you have enjoyed this review. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you think I have left anything out.

*Specifications were taken from Canon Website.

Update: New Blog on Underwater Photos with the Canon A1 Sure Shot


  1. Michael July 4, 2016

    I have this camera for sale if anyone still wants it

  2. Estefanía Peng March 8, 2016

    Hello, may I ask you witch film you used with these photos? I love the tone so bad! Than you very much.

    • Adriana March 14, 2016

      Eeek, I don’t remember the type of film that I used. I really think it might be Fujifilm 400 that I got from CVS.

  3. Naqeeb August 31, 2015

    can anyOne tell me how to see pictures i take frOm thiS camra…plz tell mee

    • Adriana August 31, 2015


      I am not quite sure what you are asking. If you have taken pictures with the camera and taken out the roll, you can take it to your local Walgreens, CVS, Walmart or such places that develop film. You can then ask to have the negative printed out or added to a CD.

  4. Kelly May 4, 2015

    Hi, I checked your etsy site and I think this camera is sold. Can you help source it for me? 🙂

    • Adriana May 4, 2015

      Hi Kelly,

      Yes I can work with you on sourcing a camera on Etsy. Just send me a message on there and we can start talking about it more.


  5. bert April 20, 2015

    What does s mean on the little glass viewer is that end of the film

    • Adriana April 20, 2015


      If you see an S in the frame counter that means that the camera had a roll of film finish and then it automatically rewound it. The S means that the roll is now completely rewound and is ready to be taken out of the camera.



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