Most vintage cameras are all-mechanical marvels of metal construction with lots of interesting knobs and gizmos. The Canon AF35M II SureShot Autoboy 2 is different. It’s a compact plastic camera with electronics and automation. This Canon 35mm film camera is about 30% larger than my modern Kodak Z950 digital camera. But, this circa 1983 camera has spirit. When you open the lens shield, this classic camera whirs to life. The Autoboy 2 is ready to shoot when you press the shutter release button. There is no hesitation. You point, you shoot, and you usually score a pretty good photograph for your effort.
Perhaps this old Canon camera has the soul of a sports car? It definitely provides instant feedback when you fire off a shot. With each press of the shutter release, a bar slides across the bottom of the viewfinder, illuminates the focusing distance (portrait, group, or landscape), and slides back for the next shot. The film advances with a whirr and the camera is ready again. There is no shutter lag. Plus, all the activity makes your typical digital point and shoot seem rather pedestrian.
The Canon AF35M II SureShot Autoboy 2 has a 38mm f/2.8 lens with four elements in four groups. Any subject from three feet to infinity is fair game for this film camera. The brain in this camera automatically determines the proper aperture and shutter speed. The vintage camera can also handle film speeds of 100 to 400. The film speed is manually set by turning a ring around the camera lens. Powered by two AA batteries, this classic camera can shoot up to 50 rolls of 36-exposure film without flash or seven rolls with flash. The flash can be used by pressing a release on the back of the camera which will allow it to pop up. A self-timer lever is conveniently placed near the bottom of the lens.
As a point and shoot camera, the Canon AF35M II Sureshot Autoboy 2 has autofocus, but no zoom capability. To compose a photo with the subject somewhere other than the center of the photo, you simply aim the camera at the subject, pull down the self timer lever, push the shutter release button so the camera will remember the focusing distance, recompose the picture, and press the shutter release button again to actually take the picture.
I was very pleased by the picture taking capabilities of my Canon Autoboy 2. I took a test roll of pictures and had them put on CD by my neighborhood drugstore. When I picked them up I was excited to see that the images on my preview print looked great and my picture CD was equally rewarding when I got home. This camera is definitely a keeper. I can’t wait to see how the roll of black and white film currently in the camera turns out.
Overall, I enjoyed taking pictures with this nearly thirty year old 35mm film camera. It was easy and fun to use the camera and it was an interesting challenge to compose my shots through the viewfinder. Most of all it was fun to use such a lively little camera. It was definitely worth $7 at my local thrift store.
“Canon AF35M II Autoboy 2 (New Sure Shot)”, Canon Museum
Canon Manual “Canon AF35M II Sure Shot Autoboy 2” Canon, Inc., 1982
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Six Reasons to Try a Film Camera – Again
Vintage Camera Review: Kodak Retinette 1A 35mm Film Camera
Vintage Camera Review: Minolta SRT-201 35mm Film SLR Camera