The Canon Sureshot A1 – This is the perfect camera to ride the retro wave, and make a splash at the beach or pool during the summer. It’s a fully automatic 35mm camera – fixed 32mm f/3.5 Lens – Auto ISO, Auto Exposure, Auto Focus It has an active 3-point AiAF system (fixed focus under water), with a focusing range: 0.45m to infinity on land; 1m to 3m (macro: 0.45 to 1m) under water. It has an easy-to-see, real-image ‘Big’ Viewfinder, and is water resistant to a depth of 5m.
It has built-in flash, which can be run in full Auto mode, or always ON, or disabled – and the camera runs off of a single 3V lithium battery (CR 123 A/DL 123A).
The rear of the Canon Sureshot A1 features a ‘big’ easy to use viewfinder, which has bright line frames and adjusted frame-lines for close focus/parallax correction, and a simple film canister window, so you can see what film is currently loaded.
All of the controls are big and easy to use – I guess so that you can operate them easy while wet or under water – with the top plate having a large red shutter release, and a smaller reassessed self-timer button.
You also get a simple frame counter – which will also indicate when the film has finished, and been automatically rewound back into the film canister (a nice feature).
The battery compartment is accessed from below – and is sealed with a marine rubber gasket to keep the water at bay.
You also get a tripod thread (which seems to be plastic, so may not take much abuse).
Film loading is very easy, you crack open the sealed camera body with a big red locking release tab – and insert the film into the right hand slot. Pull the leader to the left up to the indicated line, and close the back – the camera does the rest, with a fully automated wind-on.
While the camera is open – check the red rubber marine seals to make sure they are clean and undamaged – you can apply a little silicon seal lube to keep the supple – and you must ensure they stay free of grit or hairs, as one grain of sand could cause a fatal flooding of the camera!
My A1 came from EBAY for $20 – and appeared to be as new – with minimal use – the seals were in great looking shape, but it was still a nerve-wracking moment when the camera was immersed for the first time!.
Operation is very simple – there is a big dial on the front that you switch to AUTO, and away you go.
You get a solid green LED in the viewfinder when the camera locks AF and is ready to shoot – no LED and you may be too close for the AF – flashing LED may indicate you need flash as the shutter speed is too low.
Given the simple operation of the Canon Sureshot A1 – I threw in some XP2, and handed the camera to the ‘kids’ in the pool for July 4th – while I retreated to a safe distance with a G&T 😀
The Canon Sureshot A1 passed it’s test with flying colors (or at least mono-tones) – it was water-tight, actually floated (even without the float lanyard I had found on EBAY) – and got some great shots.
The parallax error did catch people out – but then again, I didn’t explain what the lines in the viewfinder were for! [doh]
Of course, the Canon Sureshot A1 works just like a normal point and shoot out of water – and is ideally suited for the British summer, or a ride on a splash/soak ride at the theme park, or a kayaking holiday etc etc.
No worries about heading to the beach or walking about in torrential rain – Canon Sureshot A1 just laughs at the elements.
It takes a decent picture as well – just remember to clean the glass in front of the lens before you start shooting out of water. Water droplets make for blurry images (as me how I know 😮 )
It’s a barrel of fun to use – simple and easy to get a decent photo from, and cheap as chips compared to the modern digital waterproof cameras on the market.
You do have to use print film (not slide film) if you plan any underwater photography – but other than that it’s about as point and shoot as you can get.
It will be getting further abuse during the summer I’m sure 🙂