Review – Canon Sure Shot Camera

Canon Sure Shot


This camera is soooo cute and is small enough for me to put in my purse when I am on the go. I mainly used it to shoot around the neighborhood and I took it on a trip to Lake Tahoe earlier in the year. These cameras can be found pretty easily on Ebay or Etsy, and can be found pretty cheap at an average of about $15.

Canon Sure Shot Camera

This mainly black with red accent cameras was first manufactured by Canon in November 1979. It was the world’s first Lens-Shutter 35mm autofocus camera at the time. It uses a triangulation system with a near-infrared emitting diode (IRED).  The near-infrared beam also enables focusing under low-light conditions, which made the camera a hit product during its time.The lens has a 3.8 mm focal length and a maximum aperture of f/2.8.

Canon Sure Shot


canon sure shot


canon sure shot


This camera luckily takes very common two AA 1.5V batteries that you can find at most stores. The battery door can be found on the bottom of the camera and can be opened by pressing down on it and sliding it in the direction of the arrow away from the camera. Place the batteries in the slots according to the correct postie and negative order that is indicated on the side. Slide the battery cover back on once the batteries are installed. The manual claims that the batteries will last about seven rolls of film if you use the flash for every exposure.

Battery for Canon Sure Shot


The Sure Shot uses 35mm film which you can buy at such places as Walmart, Target and CVS.  You can also buy film online from specialty camera stores if you want something special such as Lomochrome Purple film which I have reviewed here. This camera can take ISO films from 50-1000. Once you know the film speed that you are going use you will have to set it on the camera. There is a film speed ring  around the lens of the camera. Turn the ring until the correct number is aligned with the white film speed index.

Update: I have also added a post on using the Canon AF35M (which is the European version of the camera) with Lomography X-PRO Slide Film so check it out RIGHT HERE.

speed ring

Film Installation

The Sure Shot has a small latch on the side with the word Open right below it. Pulling it up allows for the camera to open up and reveal it’s contents.  Film is easily installed with the roll being placed on the left side and pulling the film leader tip to align at the orange mark. Place the film within the film guides. Once you close the camera back you will hear the camera auto load with the built-in motor. Press the shutter button repeatedly until the frame window come up to 1.




As mentioned before this camera comes with an autofocusing feature. Which makes picture taking great if you always have the object that you want to photograph in the center of the picture.  The problem is if you want to take a picture of an object that is off to the side and you have a landscape in the back but you want to focus on the object that is closer then you will not be able to. This is where the Prefocusing / Self-timer latch that is at the bottom of the camera lens comes into play. If you want to focus on your side object you need to pull down the latch all the way. You then focus on your object in the center of your frame and press the shutter button. This causes the camera to memorize the distance that you want it to focus on. You then reframe you picture how you originally wanted it and press the shutter button again to actually take your picture. This works the same way with shooting photos though glass. Subjects will more than likely come out blurry if they are on the other side of the glass. You need to either have the camera right up to the glass or shoot at a 20 degree angle or more.

The Prefocusing / Self-timer switch also has the function of being a self-timer. You can frame your shot in the view finder and then pull the latch all the way down. Once it is all the way down you have about 10 seconds before a picture is taken.

The Sure Shot also comes with a built in flash that can easily be used. The flash will pop out once you push the flash switch that is located on the top right on the back of the camera. The flash works on color negative film between the distances of 90cm and 4.5m.

Once your roll is done your shutter button will no longer be able to be pressed. You can then rewind the film by simultaneously press the unlock button and slide the film rewind switch in the direction of the arrow.

Picture Taking

The first set of pictures are from  walking around the neighborhood on a nice sunny day. I took a few pics inside, but I really liked the one with my telescope and how it made a nice contrast with the bright window. The photo of the gate and then set of stares was a cause of not using the prefocusing latch so the photo only focused on the background instead of the foreground.

The last set of photos were taken at sunset on Lake Tahoe. We were losing light, but I think I was still able to capture some nice landscape photos with this little camera.

Canon Sure Shot Camera

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 I was able to link a copy and you can find it at the below link:

Canon Sure Shot Manual


  1. Type: 35mm Lens-Shutter autofocus camera with program EE and built-in flashPicture
  2. Size: 24 x 36 mm
  3. AF System: Triangulation system with near-infrared beam. Prefocus enabled.
  4. Lens: 38mm f/2.8 (4 elements in 3 groups)
  5. Shutter: Electronically-controlled programmed shutter and aperture. EV 6 (f/2.8 at 1/8 sec.) – 17 (f/16 at 1/500 sec.). Built-in electronic self-timer.
  6. Viewfinder: Reversed Galilean viewfinder with projected frames. Within the image area are the AF frame, zone focusing marks for near, medium, and far distances, parallax correction marks, and battery check and camera-shake warning. 0.5x magnification, 85% coverage.
  7. EE: CdS cell for full-auto program EE. Metering range of EV 6 – 17 (at ISO 100). Film speed range of ISO 25 – 400.
  8. Built-in Flash: Guide No. 14 (at ISO 100 in meters). Manual pop-up. Fill-flash enabled.
  9. Power Source: Two 1.5 V size-AA batteries for camera and built-in flash.
  10. Film Loading & Advance: Slotted take-up spool. Advances automatically with built-in motor when the shutter button is pressed.
  11. Frame Counter: Counts up. Resets automatically when camera back is opened.
  12. Film Rewind: Power rewind with rewind switch.
  13. Dimensions & Weight: 132 x 77 x 54 mm, 405 g

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.


  1. Tola January 26, 2018

    Hey Adriana

    This is a great post! I was wondering if you can still source this camera, I’ve been looking but can only seem to find the Autoboy 2

    Thank you.


  2. Rochelle Yunghoi November 25, 2017

    Hello! Great review. What ISO did you set the camera to when using flash to take photos?

  3. Katherine May 26, 2017

    I recently found this camera in my moms storage and I was wondering how can you tell if the camera is functioning properly? I put in the batteries and I can hear the motor working but I’m not sure if the rewind bottom is still functioning. Is there something that I’m able to do to fix it or to be able to see if it still works?

    • Adriana May 30, 2017

      Hi, I think that you can test to see if the rewind button even if there is no film in it. Rewind the film by simultaneously pressing the unlock button and slide the film rewind switch in the direction of the arrow. You should hear it whirling. Hope this helps. Adriana

  4. hfanti April 10, 2017

    Hey Adriana. Nice review! I got two of these in Brazil, it was the camera I used during my whole childhood/teenagehood before the digitals came in. I’m getting them back this month, since now I live in Australia. I just wanted to ask, any idea of minimum focal distance for this? I like taking close up portraits, not sure how close I can get with this 38mm.


    • Adriana May 3, 2017

      Hi Henri,

      According to the specs of the camera in the manual, it seems that the camera works best from 0.9m (3ft) to infinity. Hope this helps.


  5. Oscar March 14, 2017

    This might be a really dumb question, but how do you obtain digital copies of your film? Is this something the people developing the photos can do for me? Thanks! I just the camera today. 🙂 found it for $6.

    • Adriana March 15, 2017


      Yes you can actually have many film processing labs scan your photos on to a CD or thumb drive for an extra cost.

  6. Sohini Kumar October 22, 2016

    Hello, great review there- I have been looking for this camera for a while now but no luck thus far. Any leads would be very much appreciated, thanks!

  7. Jenny September 2, 2016

    Hi! I know this post is old, but I just recently got this camera and got my first roll of test film back today. The exposures range from photo to photo. 🙁 Did you have the same problem? I also used my prefocus quite often, so i’m not sure if that contributes to the problem. And i’m not sure if my camera is compensating for extremely bright photos by completely underexposing them? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  8. Margo August 29, 2016

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! I was having trouble finding helpful information on the model I had especially on loading the film, I didn’t even know the camera required batteries so I thought it was just broken and when I read this my heart was so happy to know it was just missing some batteries. Very helpful!

  9. Katrina Barron June 28, 2016

    Hi there! Excellent post. I was wondering if you use any additional editing programs for your photos and if so, which ones? Thanks!

    • Adriana June 28, 2016

      Thank you for your comment 🙂 For the actual film photos I do not do any additional editing. Photos of the cameras themselves I use the phone app VSCO for the main photos and a very simple free desktop program called PhotoScape for clearing up the plain photos of the camera.

  10. parisheartblog May 7, 2016

    Hello! I know this is an older post but I was wondering what film you used in those pictures? I just bought the Sure Shot today at a garage sale for 6 bucks! And after reading this I am SUPER EXCITED to try it out!

    • Adriana May 7, 2016


      I can’t quite remember what film it was, but it was nothing super special. It was either the Lomography Color Negative Film 100 ISO or Fujifilm Color X-tra 400. Hope this helps.

  11. Martha May 3, 2016

    I have one of these 1979 cameras, exactly like the picture, in a case, looks brand new, was dad’s. Looks like he never used it. Is it considered vintage yet? What could I realistically sell it for. Thanks for any info you can provide

    • Adriana May 3, 2016

      Hi Martha,

      I don’t think it is considered to be very vintage quite yet. If you sold it on Ebay or Etsy I think it could fetch maybe $30 or so since it looks new.

  12. Claudio Muñoz March 26, 2016

    Tengo esta cámara hace unos meses y aún no le doy su debido uso. ¿que película usas habitualmente para sacar fotos? which usually use film to take pictures ? Grettings from Chile. My english sucks haajaja

    • Adriana March 29, 2016

      Realmente no use película especial en esta revisión. Es Fujifilm X-tra Seperia creo. Puedes encontrar diferentes película para experimentar en
      En este momento estoy usando uno que se llama LomoChrome Turquoise.

  13. Pat March 1, 2016

    I got this camera about 2 years ago abd I totally love it. This is the first time I read that it has pre focus, so Im totally going to experiment more with it! Your article helped me a lot to understand the camera. I have some takes at my instagram @patricioroldan, would love to keep in touch. Hugs!

    • Adriana March 1, 2016

      Glad you liked my review! I love your Instagram 🙂

  14. Bobbie December 12, 2015

    Would like to order this camera ASAP. I loved the one I hD until I lost it.
    Please -advise as to best way to try and get it for Christmas . NEW baby on the way,,,,,,,

    • Adriana December 16, 2015

      Hi Bobbie,

      I’m sorry I just saw you message now. I don’t have any Canon Sure Shots in stock, so I would have to source one. I don’t think it would get there in time for Christmas as I would have to find one, test it and get the film developed all before then. Maybe I can try for afterwards.

  15. Ignat Solovey November 8, 2015

    This is not 1979 Sure Shot, but 1983 New Sure Shot.

    • Adriana November 9, 2015

      Thank you for the comment! I was pretty sure that this camera was the first one as the 1983 model added more features, but I am not completely sure. I also found this pic taken from the Canon twitter feed which looks to be the same camera.



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