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.
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.
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.
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.
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,