Canon AF35ML / Autoboy Super / Super Sure Shot

The Canon AF35ML is an early auto focus point and shoot camera - released as a more impressive cousin to the AF35M (original Sure Shot) - the AF35ML featured a fast 40mm f1.9 lens! I believe that it's the same lens featured in the Canonet QL19 rangefinder camera. That's some wicked nice glass on a point and shoot. I have shot my first test roll, and while I did get a few very sharp and well exposed images, I also had many blunders. As you can tell if you look around this site, I'm a fan of these early boxy auto focus cameras, but this one does have some problems. Read on for my likes and dislikes.

Canon AF35ML, aka Super Sure Shot

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LIKES: That lens! When the cameras other issues didn't get in my way, it gave me very good results. Beyond the lens, I'd say I liked the solid feel, but honestly, not much else jumps out at me on this one.

DISLIKES: Focusing system - I've read a bit here and there online that Canon used a rather different and unusual focusing method for this camera and then abandoned the method later. I read that it just doesn't work as well in all situations, and I now fully agree with this assessment. The battery cover seems to be a weakness on this camera too. These go so cheap on ebay that I bid on and won 4 of them, figuring I'd get at least 1 or 2 gems out of the batch. I got one only, and all the others suffer from serious problems keeping power and it seems it's the battery door. If I jiggle it and press it in, power returns, and when I let go, the power studders and/or fails. It can't be a coincidence that 3 out of 4 old AF35ML's have the same problem. I'm thinking poor design. So shame on Canon for putting a beautiful 1.9 lens on this and then cheaping out on the battery door. And then there's the noise. Again, I read it's a noisy camera and I do agree. The only slack I'll cut it is that all these early auto focus point and shoots that feature motor drives are equally noisy. But having collected a bunch already, I can tell you that other camera companies chose to at least release a version of their auto focus models without the motor drive. I really like that approach. Examples include the Minolta Hi-Matic AF2 and the Yashica Auto Focus S, both of which feature manual film advance and rewind and both of which have a sibling with the motor drive. Too bad Canon didn't choose to offer an AF35ML minus the 'M' (I'm assuming the M stands for Motor, but I'm not sure about the L).

Irving Station in Yarmouth, Maine, photo taken with a Canon AF35ML

Above: Irving station along Main Street in Yarmouth, Maine. Photo taken with a Canon AF35ML. This one shows off just how good that lens can be, but as I say above, only when the camera's issues didn't get in the way.

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View gallery: Canon AF35ML Sample Images

Download the Manual (PDF, 2.4MB)