I really liked the Olympus Pen EE-2 I talked about in part 1 of my half frame adventure… But I also like the automation and flash in a point and shoot, so I started to wonder if there was such a thing as an autofocus half frame camera. Surprise surprise, there’s a bunch of them out there- but the one that piqued my interest was the Canon Sureshot Multi Tele…
I started to check them out on eBay, but I umm-ed and ahh-ed… Was it a necessary purchase? (silly question) – could I afford it? (again, silly question) – and then I prayed to the camera gods to see if they could help me find a bargain.
Well guess what? I was wandering around charity shops on a visit to Leicester and there it was- in pristine condition, along with instruction booklet- for the princely sum of £2.99. My Canon Surest Multi Tele. I snapped it up and couldn’t wait to put a roll through it!
The Canon Sureshot Multi Tele looks like a couple of point and shoots already in my collection (Canon made endless Sureshots), but it has the ability to shoot half frame as well as full frame via a switch inside that pulls a couple of plastic curtains across to change the area of exposure.
It also has 2 focal lengths you can choose from – 35mm (f3.5) and 60mm (f5.6), via a switch at the rear of the camera. There’s a force flash button on the left as well as a bulb (4 sec exposure button) next to it. Timer and rewind are there too.
It also has a close-up mode which is hilarious! The lens cover slides back, and a comical plastic tube pops out to take a closer photo, and then pops back in again. It looks ridiculous, but it works. So shut up.
One of the first thing I discovered when I used it was that it’s quite noisy. Every time you shoot, a little lens protecting cover slides open, the shot is taken and the cover slides shut again. People stop and look – it’s not quiet, but I gave up expecting 80’s cameras to do anything quietly a long time ago. NOTHING was quiet in the 80’s.
There’s also a good flash on the camera, and I found myself forcing it on by holding down the flash button when shooting to see what sort of results I could get. This approach has become the main way I use this camera-it just makes shots more defined and interesting, providing a point of difference to those from the Olympus Pen EE2
Multi Tele Conclusions
I was blown away by the pictures from the Canon Multi Tele! Using a roll of Ektar, my half frame shots were vibrant and punchy – the forced flash effect really made the shots pop out – and they are sharp too. Sharper than I’d expect from a cheap P&S
I’ve found myself using this crazy camera a lot. Is it cheaper to shoot with? A bit. The lab still charges for the fact that there’s double the amount of shots to scan, but it saves me the cost of a second roll of 36 and if I have a big order, they do my second set of scans as a freebie – so that’s good.
Putting the F- word back into photography
What I loved most about these two half frame camera is that they’ve been FUN. That word we film photographers forget about sometimes, because we get so precious over the composition – and cost – of each frame.
So if you fancy smiling again, try and find a half frame camera and see what it does to your approach. The portrait format coupled with the liberation of extra shots per roll takes the pressure off and makes half frame a joy to try out. I can recommend the Olympus Pen EE-2, and HIGHLY recommend the Canon Sureshot Multi Tele. They are creeping up in price on eBay but can be found in charity shops if you keep an eye out. Get praying to the camera gods – it worked for me.
Since finding my original bargain version, I found another at a car boot sale for £1 which I gave away to my mate after a few whiskies – something which I now regret, as I believe in having a spare of any camera that you really like. So if you read this Jim Bob – and you fancy trading the camera back, I’ll swap you an Olympus mju-I for it..!
…Damn you, third double Jameson on the rocks.