Point & Shoot

The Canon Sure Shot Max – Eat your liver Yaschia T4! – By Mike Caputo

I was recently on the lookout for a point-n-shoot film camera. Actually, I always am. I love point-n-shoot 35mm cameras yet I’ve come to hate the price. It seems just yesterday I sold my Yashica T4 on eBay for $250. That was over a year ago and they are listed at $400 now. Nuts to that! I balk and scoff every time I go on eBay these days. Of course I want a Contax T3, maybe a Nikon 35Ti, the Minolta Tc-1 or a Fuji Klasse S/W, but those prices….forget it. I’ve got a wife and kids, a mortgage, car payments, utility bills, and food of course.

For the hobby there’s film, chemicals, photographic paper, darkroom supplies; I certainly can’t drop 400 bucks on a pocket camera. With the price of coveted compacts getting higher by the day, I decided I had enough. No more! I’m done with that racket. The days of lusting after a mint Ricoh GR21 are over. So what’s a fella to do after scouring all the garage sales, thrift stores, and neighborhood attics for fancy cameras?

Go cheap, my friends, go real cheap. The Canon Sure Shot Max. That unsung Sure Shot. I don’t want to say it’s a “hero”, cause what’s a hero? The Canon cost me $4 on eBay; if I drop it or lose it at the bar I’m not gonna be heartbroken. I can be as careless as I please handling the Sure Shot which is comforting as I tend to treat cameras pretty rough. 

Fujifilm Velvia 50

Kodak 400TX

Kodak 400TX

Kodak 400TX

Kodak 400TX

Kodak 400TX

Canon Sure Shot Max

Kodak 400TX

I’m after the junk drawer of point-shoots now and I’ll tell you why; as long as there is a prime lens on the camera, there’s hardly any difference in the final product I produce which is the darkroom print. I usually print 35mm snaps on 5×7 paper, it’s an enjoyable size for family photos shot with a compact camera. If I wanted to print larger or more thoughtful photos I’d use my Nikon F3 or Yashicamat 124g.

With all that in mind I put a few rolls of Kodak 400TX in the Canon Sure Shot Max, developed it in some D76, and printed on Ilford Pearl 5×7 paper. The results were great for me. Not a bit of difference between the prints from cameras that cost 400 times as much as the Sure Shot. Eat your liver Yaschia T4! You and me are quits.

Here’s a few prints I made in Ye Olde Darktoilet, that’s what I call my darkroom. I know I used the Canon Sure Shot and Yashica T4 for most of them but I can’t remember what’s from what. A quick shot with the iPhone; I did’t feel like scanning the prints (they look much better in hand).

Aw shoosh, here I am rambling, let me sum it up: The Canon Sure Shot Max is the perfect camera not to care about. It’s terrific for its unremarkable existence. It’s delightful for glancing past while looking at more ascetically pleasing cameras. As far as functionality goes though, it’s dynamite. It takes a picture when you push the button. It reads up to 3200 ASA. There are apertures and f-stops, shutter speeds and switches, and you can even turn the flash off with a thingamabob. It ain’t bad! There’s a doo-hickey on the side for a strap. Who could ask for more?

Okay, enough of that. There’s plenty of cameras I’d rather have. Hell, there’s plenty of other cameras I do have that are far superior, but there’s none I care so little about. That’s unique. No other camera of mine holds that distinction. There’s not a camera I’d rather be carrying if I drank a bottle of Jameson and fell into a swimming pool (purely hypothetical). I’d be delighted I had my Canon Sure Shot Max and not one of those high end compacts.

Kodak 400 TX

Kodak 400TX

Kodak 400TX

Kodak 400TX

Kodak 400 TX

Then again, maybe it’s me. Maybe my artsy-fartsy eye isn’t the greatest. Maybe I didn’t use a magnifying glass or a computer to try and see the differences. But really, who would bother with all that for a snap of the chums? Just let me hold it in my hand and have a look. Yes sir, that’s good enough for me. I’m a big fan of the Nikon L35AF and the Olympus XA. I consider these my high end point-n-shoots since they cost almost $100 nowadays. Soon they will jump out of my price range. So it goes.

Kodak 400TX

Kodak 400TX

Kodak 400TX

Kodak 400TX

Kodak 400TX

Kodak 400TX

Kodak 400TX

Welp, that about does her. Wraps her all up as the feller says. And it was pretty good story too. Parts anyways. A decent little point-n-shoot overall. Worth the $4 if you don’t feel like spending $400 for the same result on paper in the darkroom. Just my opinion, but I’m known to have a few.

TMAX3200 Kodak D76

TMAX3200 Kodak D76

TMAX3200 Kodak D76

I organize my Flickr albums by camera, if you’d like to see more hop over to the Flickr or say howdy on Instagram. And if you want to trade your Contax T3 for my Sure Shot let me know. I’ll take that deal. I sold all my expensive point-n-shoots on eBay…couldn’t resist the loot.

The Dude Abides,

Mike

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40 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Mario Pellicciotta
    December 7, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    Listen me Mike, if you go on E-bay or other similar on-line sites, you looking for a Konica MT11, its like a small brick but, little money & big lens. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mario_pellicciotta/albums/72157673968274078

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Chris Funk
    December 7, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I too sold my valuable P&S cameras when the prices went bonkers. I then started shooting the cheapies and noticed they didn’t seem much inferior. Tri-x in d76 is perfect combo for the inaccuracies of the P&S. Sometimes I go to a party and just pass out P&S to friends or guests and collect them later. Do that with your Nikon 35ti, I think not. Darkroom prints 5×7 are a perfect output for such shots, although the pixel peepers don’t know how to cope. Shoot on my friend!

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Mike Caputo
      December 8, 2018 at 4:33 am

      Thank you, Chris! You and I are had the same thought process.

      I almost switched and bought hc110 to give it a try, but 400tx with D76 is so terrific I can’t bring myself to stop haha.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Anil Mistry
    December 7, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    Great piece. We all need to level our heads at times and get of the camera porn train. I have a Contax T5 but can I really tell the difference day to day between that and a £5 point and shoot? NO. The shots are what count.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Mike Caputo
      December 8, 2018 at 4:28 am

      Hello, Anil. I agree. Let’s trade! Haha

      How do you like that T5?

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Jim Wolf
    December 7, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    There’s also something about Canon lenses from the rangefinder era through EOS that likes black and white film. It may be a cheap camera, but the results are anything but. Thanks for sharing.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Mike Caputo
      December 8, 2018 at 4:26 am

      Thank you, Jim! I was pretty surprised with the results. I wasn’t expecting anything near as crisp and punchy. Kodak 400tx is such a great film. It’s really all I use for BW. I had to give the new TMAX a try, but I’m sticking with tri-x.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Peggy
    December 7, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    I totally agree…though I have only shot with one high end p+s…but I agree. It is the photographers eye over lens most of the time.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Mike Caputo
      December 8, 2018 at 4:23 am

      You’re absolutely right, Peggy! Some are far better to handle and use than others though. I think I’m still an Olympus XA guy through and through.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Jess Lantz
    December 7, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    Don’t know if there is one, but someone should start a “5 dollar/5 pound camera” Facebook group, where only images from thrift store camera purchases can post.

    These are fantastic shots!

    I Just picked up an Olympus Stylus Epic zoom 170 at the local Deseret thrift store for 5 dollars and can’t wait to try it out.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Mike Caputo
      December 8, 2018 at 4:21 am

      Hi Jess, that sounds fun! Sign me up in the group. And thank you. Good luck with the Epic:)

  • Avatar
    Reply
    nams82
    December 7, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    The price of this camera just went through the roof!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Mike Ricciuti
    December 7, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    I like your style, Mike.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Mike Caputo
      December 8, 2018 at 3:52 am

      Yes! Somebody got all my Lebowski references. Haha, I dig your style too, man.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Eric Rose
    December 7, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    Fantastic article! I too love P&S cameras. I will have to get out with some of mine especially one I just picked up. It’s one of the first Minolta AF P&S’s. The very same model of camera I took on my first honeymoon.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Mike Caputo
      December 8, 2018 at 4:15 am

      Thanks, Eric! Those early Minolta models are great. Enjoy!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Malcolm Myers
    December 7, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    Thanks Mike, an entertaining review and some lovely shots too! Oh to have a darkroom, or even a darktoilet. On a similar note I bought an Olympus Mju II at a jumble sale and I don’t think it’s that special. Certainly glad I didn’t pay the 150 GBP that they go for on eBay.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Mike Caputo
      December 8, 2018 at 4:19 am

      Howdy, Malcolm! I appreciate that. I try to add a touch of humor to everything. And I hope you get Ye Olde Darktoilet soon.
      Nice score on the Mju ii! I wouldn’t mind one again. I’ll trade you my Sure Shot haha.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    B
    December 7, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    As of this article they are now $50-100 on the bay lol

  • Avatar
    Reply
    rifki syahputra
    December 8, 2018 at 3:12 am

    woah woah…some amazing shot!!! really enjoy it

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Edward
    December 8, 2018 at 3:21 am

    This camera will get more and more expensive from now on. Well, hope not. It is nice to still find great p&s cameras at reasonable prices.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Mike Caputo
      December 8, 2018 at 3:56 am

      Then I’ll have to get some bang around Nikon 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Murray Kriner
    December 8, 2018 at 3:22 am

    Thanks for the rarified roundabout where the beauty is ever in the eye of the beholder. Where names of models, and revered photo togs from the past sway the hearts to the tune of a weeks salary, we may all be handing over our costly clickers for a box of Crayola Crayons very soon. Really enjoyed the prose, and the gifted snaps of your daily dotings on the moments capture. Have a very Happy Holidays, one and All!
    Murray Kriner
    Utica, Ohio
    USA

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Mike Caputo
      December 8, 2018 at 3:54 am

      Thank you very much, Murray, that’s nice to hear. Have a great weekend!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Poida
    December 8, 2018 at 11:52 am

    The trick is, dude, to get said coveted cameras before they explode to used car prices. Or something. Seems that ship has sailed, but then again, maybe the fad will run its course & people will be left with expensive bricks which will soon or eventually die, as not that many people can fix said doorstop ornaments anymore or the parts no longer exists. Even our friend from p_p_p repairs on the IG no longer fixes Mju II’s for this reason. How some people will cry and gnash teeth in the near future after shelling out the crazy Benjamins for the high end & hyped up stuff. This site is not guilt free of such accusations either. So maybe you were right all along dude. Maybe it’s time to sell up my coveted collection of premium p&s’s and fund my early retirement…hehehe

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Mike Caputo
      December 8, 2018 at 2:59 pm

      That’s the trick alright! I still wouldn’t mind having the nice ones, but I’d rather spend the money on film and chemistry and paper.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Charles Higham
    December 8, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    Thanks Mike for an excellent and enjoyable article, and a reminder that cheap cameras can produce great shots.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Mike Caputo
      December 8, 2018 at 2:56 pm

      Hi Charles, thanks for reading! I had fun writing it and taking the pictures.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Sergio
    December 10, 2018 at 11:08 pm

    This is perfect timing as I just settled on this camera’s sister, the Canon Sure Shot Max Tele for a bit extra versatility. Cost was $25 LNIB. I hate power zooms, but was also intrigued by the notion of a dual focal length point and shoot. From what I can tell it’s the same camera, just with an extra 3 elements that hop in for the extra 70mm f6 focal length. A little more pocket bulge if you will. Might pick up the regular max for grins. Thanks for the article!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Carlo Nocolucci
    December 15, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    My first 35mm camera (in 1994) after 110 one.
    I’ve shoot several slides with it for 6 years until a trip in Florence. A friend of mine bring a T4 and his photos on the same place was way better than mine (same 100asa film). When come back home I wanted to buy a T4 or T5 but at the same price (more or less 150€) I’ve bought a Weber/cosina fx3 type camera with CY mount an a quite good 50mm 1.7
    I still have the canon (prima 5 for Italian market).

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Gorpalm
    December 19, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    If you’re ever searching for high IQ, low $$$$, and leaving the bragging rights behind, have you ever picked up a Samsung or three? Didn’t even know they made them at the time, but Samsung were prolific with film point & shoots, made a butt load for folks like Nikon amongst others, and owned Rollei outright in the 90s (there’s a whole slew of Rollei/Samsung models from that period that are almost identical). Point is, they’re totally like the unsung heroes of the film P&S market – unloved, unhipster, a little geeky. Nearly all the Rollei/Samsung models have sharp to brilliant lenses – My favourites are the AF Slim (shirt pocket sized, breathtaking lens) and the Vega 77i (tiny 2x zoom, beautifully rich, contrasty, sharp lens).

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Mike Caputo
      January 26, 2019 at 7:29 am

      I have heard of that Samsung Slim! I was thinking about picking one up but I’m more into Large Format these days. When I get back on the 35mm compact hunt I’ll have to look for one for sure. Thanks!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Dean
    December 21, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    Nice review. It is very easy to get G.A.S when in reality lots of incredible shots have been taken with ‘compromised’ cameras. Having a reliable but non-important camera at hand is very liberating.

  • Reply
    Thinking about spending a stack of cash on a film camera? Read this first! - 35mmc
    January 22, 2019 at 11:20 am

    […] famously used by Terry Richardson, the value of them also went through the roof. Yet as Mike proves here, the photos it produces are really no different from a Canon with near identical, if not slightly […]

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Alan Yahnke
    January 24, 2019 at 12:06 am

    That Sure Shot Max takes great photos. The Sure Shot 120 Classic is a dream to shoot as is the Z135/115. It’s a zoom but if you’re shooting 400iso the apertures shouldn’t bother you. You are welcome to drop me a line at my email Mike.

  • Reply
    Nikon EM - The "SLR Camera for Women" - By Mike Caputo - 35mmc
    March 1, 2019 at 11:01 am

    […] perhaps the photos…whatever. I did get some flack for comparing a $400 Yashica T4 to the $4 Canon Sure Shot Max – I imagine it was somebody who paid the $400 for a T4 and got mad at me. They said I had no […]

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