Canon Multi tele
Point & Shoot

Canon Sureshot Multi Tele Review – Adventures in Half Frame Part 2 – by Anil Mistry

September 3, 2017

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!

Canon Multi tele

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.

Canon Multi tele

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.

Kodak Ektar 100 looks great out of this camera

With 72 shots to play with you can try and grab those “seagull taking off” shots you usually avoid

Surprisingly impressive results

Morning mist perfectly captured

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

Get close, put the flash on and shoot for great results

Revel in the joy of having 72 shots to play with

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.

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  • Reply
    Dan James
    September 6, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Anil, I had one of these for a while, after going the same route as you via an Olympus Pen. I like that the SureShot has the option of two lenses, and half or full frame, and these can be combined in any combination. It makes it very versatile. A lot of people will appreciate AutoFocus and AutoExposure too of course too.

    The trouble I had was it doesn’t really appeal much otherwise.

    If you want a full frame compact there are a number of other SureShots that are more interesting and fun to use, and will give better results. That’s before you look at other brands like Olympus and Pentax for example who made a number of great compacts that will also give better results.

    If you want to shoot just half frame, the PENs have far more charm and appeal and feel (and are) a genuine vintage classic camera. Whereas the MultiTele is just a quite clever but rather anonymous lump of plastic. Kudos to Canon though for making such a beast and the huge range of other SureShots they developed – their SureShot Tele is probably my favourite Canon compact I’ve had, and despite its chunkiness has great handling and a very capable lens.

    • Reply
      Anil Mistry
      September 6, 2017 at 1:06 pm

      Hi Dan- thanks for your thoughts- The two cameras have very different functions for me- I love the Pen EE for its basic simplicity and lack of battery- easy to pick up and go with, with results commensurate with the form factor of a zone focusing camera.
      I LOVE the sureshot prima tele because it’s an autofocus half frame point and shoot- perfect for street shots where I just want to play without thinking. I also have a number of different Sureshot full frame cameras (including one with a tasty f2.8 lens that is very sharp) but I’m talking about autofocus half frame point and shoot here. Yes the pens are lovely but I don’t want to buy into another system- I just want to play and enjoy the fun of shooting without thinking- in fact, I’ve just had more shots processed from it and it’s blowing me away- with forced flash and Ektar 100 I’m getting lovely shots from it. It’s not a panacea- it’s just a fun thing to pick up and play with, with surprisingly better results than I ever expected from it. One man’s lump of plastic is another man’s miracle!

      • Reply
        Dan James
        September 14, 2017 at 12:35 pm

        Absolutely, and I love hearing about when people find such a camera that suits them so well and exceeds their expectations. All part of the charm of film photography and old cameras. The Canon must be very unusual, if not unique, in all it offers. Hope you enjoy many more rolls with it in the future!

  • Reply
    I am Anil Mistry and this is why I shoot film | EMULSIVE
    May 23, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    […] I had my Canon Sureshot Multi Tele half-frame camera in my pocket for just an occasion, and POW! There it was. An everyday mundane object […]

  • Reply
    EMULSIVE interview 180: I am Anil Mistry and this is why I shoot film « EMULSIVE
    September 1, 2018 at 10:22 am

    […] I had my Canon Sureshot Multi Tele half-frame camera in my pocket for just an occasion, and POW! There it was. An everyday mundane object […]

  • Reply
    June 16, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    Hello,do you know what is the converter coupling button used for?Thank you.

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