Canon AF35M / Sure Shot / AF35M (Autoboy)

The Canon AF35M was first marketed by Canon in November, 1979. According to the Canon Camera Museum site, it was the world's first lens-shutter 35mm autofocus camera. The AF35M featured a fixed focal length 38mm F2.8 lens (4 elements in 3 groups), which in my experience is very sharp. In July 1981, Canon introduced the AF35ML, which had a faster (f1.9) lens and was not intended to replace the AF35M. It was the AF35M II, or (New) Sure Shot, that would ultimately replace the original AF35M in April 1983.

Canon AF35M, aka Sure Shot or Auto Boy

LIKES: Nice sharp contrasty lens; 38mm focal length is perfect for street shooting; reasonably fast maximum aperture of f/2.8; flash activation is fully manual and left up to the photographer; accepts 48mm screw on filters, and the CdS light meter sensor is inside any filter you use (meaning the exposure will be accurate regardless of filter used); takes standard AA batteries; full size body (similar in size to a full size rangefinder body); motor winder noise can be delayed after taking a shot by keeping the shutter depressed (nice trick for stealth shooting)

DISLIKES: Noisy motor drive (although honestly, most or all similar cameras from this era were similar); no true pre-focus (such as found on the Nikon L35AF and others), so once your focus distance is chosen, you have no choice but to follow through with a shot at that focus setting (with the Nikon L35AF you press the shutter button half way to choose focus and can let go and try again if you aren't happy with where it focused)

Icy Park Bench in Village Green Park; Yarmouth, Maine; photo taken with a Canon AF35M

Above: "Icy Park Bench"; Village Green Park in Yarmouth, Maine; Fujicolor Superia Xtra 400 color print film, scanned on Epson V700.


Type of Camera
35mm auto focus point and shoot film camera
Picture Format
24mm x 36mm (standard 35mm film)
38mm f/2.8, 4 elements in 3 groups; accepts 48mm screw on filters
Electronically-controlled programmed shutter/aperture. EV 6 (f/2.8 at 1/8 sec.) - 17 (f/16 at 1/500 sec.).
Reversed Galilean viewfinder (with projected frames). 0.5x magnification and 85% coverage.
Viewfinder Information
AF frame, zone focusing marks for near, medium, and far distances, parallax correction marks, battery check and camera-shake warning
Auto Focus System
Triangulation system with near-infrared beam. Prefocus enabled (D2 Gallery note: I disagree!)
Exposure Metering
CdS cell for full-auto program EE. Meter range of EV 6 - 17 at ISO 100
Film Speed Range
ASA/ISO 25 to 400
Film Loading & Advance
Film advances automatically with built-in motor when the shutter button is pressed and then released (D2 Gallery note: if stealth is required, keep shutter button depressed until you turn away - film advance motor doesn't activate until released)
Film Rewinding
Motorized film rewind when rewind switch has been manually activated
Frame Counter
Additive type; automatically resents when camera back is opened
Electronic self-timer built-in
Built-In Flash
Guide #14 (at ISO 100, in meters). Manual pop-up. Fill-flash option.
Power Source
Two 1.5V AA batteries (used for both camera and built-in flash)
132mm x 77mm x 54mm
405 grams

View gallery: Canon AF35M Sample Images