James's Camera Collection: Canon AF35M Sure Shot

Canon AF35M Sure Shot Japan Other Canon Cameras 35mm cameras

Canon AF35M Sure Shot
Camera type: Autofocus non-SLR
Battery: two AA
Approx. dates of manufacture: 1979
Approx. original price: $150
Approx. street value: $1.50

The first of the Sure Shot line. This was the real successor to the rangefinder Canonets. This is their first to offer auto-focus, and at the time that was a big thing. Up to that point, autofocus was showing up mostly on Polaroids and the like; low-end cameras were fixed focus (i.e. no focus adjust at all) or zone focused (three settings: near, middle and far). A true auto-focus, where the optics really did focus on something the camera thought was your subject, was a huge thing. Along with auto-exposure, it gave people 35mm quality with point-n-shoot convenience. Even in the 1970s, it was difficult to get both at the same time.

click for larger adPlus, in many respects this camera was the future: it had an integrated winder and rewinder, but without all the bulk. So you just dropped the film and and that was it. A small convenience, but very much appreciated.

But the price you paid was also in the lens: this had an ƒ/2.8 and that was it, so gone were the days of the fast Canonets, the ƒ/1.7 and ƒ/1.9. And it wouldn't get any better over time.

I finally relented and pick one up after years of passing them by: they sold huge at the time but now they can had by the pound. It fills a hole in my collection and compared to some of the plastic junkers I've acquired recently, it almost looks like a Leica by comparison.

For more information: Canon Camera Museum

Modern Photography Test: November 1980

Camera manual: Orphan Cameras.com

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