5 frames with...

5 frames with a Canon Sure Shot Classic 120 – by Matt Evans

May 21, 2019

I was recently kindly gifted the Canon Sure Shot Classic 120 by someone who was no longer shooting film. It was in great condition and even came with a carry pouch, but after being stored in a cupboard for a while all the black rubber had decided to do that thing where it tries to turn itself back into its base elements and becomes the stickiest thing known to man. After a good 10mins of scrubbing with isopropyl the rubber was just like new again. I have to admit I like the styling on this camera it’s definitely better than a lot of those horrible champagne coloured 90s point and shoots. It feels quite robust too, and doesn’t feel too heavy. I was able to leave this in my bag or jacket pocket and not be constantly reminded it was there.

The Sureshot 120 accepts DX coded film with a pretty decent range from ISO 25 to 3200, although I’m unlikely to be shooting anything above 400 with this its still nice to see its not one of those crippled DX coded cameras that defaults to ISO400 for anything 400 and above. The lens is 38-120mm f/4.5 – f/10.9 and focus range is 3ft to infinity with a 3 point hybrid AI-AF. It features 7 shooting modes to choose from using a dial on the back: auto, spot, action, night scene, close-up, portrait and personal. If you have the dial in the OFF position turning it one way selects auto mode and turning it the other way selects the personal mode, I found this to be super handy if you want to quickly switch between the auto and personal modes.

The personal mode is probably the best features of this camera. When in this mode you can customise the settings and it saves them even when the camera is powered off. I set my custom settings to be +1.5 exposure compensation, spot metering and flash off. Speaking of the flash, I really wish there was a way to prevent it from popping out every time you turn on the camera, its ugly and super annoying.

Overall first impressions of this camera are its a great compact for most situations. It’s lightweight, compact enough to thrown in a bag and very simple to use. It performed great at wider focal lengths but the longer focal lengths were a bit hit and miss producing a few blurry images and a noticeable drop in sharpness. On reflection this could be down to the camera needing to use a slower shutter speed to compensate for the f/10.9 aperture, a faster film probably would have help alleviate this. I actually shot this camera in a bit of a head to head with another compact zoom donated to me (a Samsung Maxima zoom 140S) and this definitely was my favourite of the two. I may do a follow up 5 frames article with the Samsung so keep your eyes peeled!

Follow me on Instagram: mattevansphoto

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  • Reply
    May 22, 2019 at 1:45 am

    Very nice – total 80s/90s vibe in the best way. What sort of film are you using there?

    • Reply
      Matt Evans
      May 22, 2019 at 4:58 am

      Hi Brian,

      the film was Kodak Gold 200.

  • Reply
    May 22, 2019 at 4:19 am

    Lovely images, thank you for sharing them.

    • Reply
      Matt Evans
      May 22, 2019 at 4:59 am

      Thanks Clare!

  • Reply
    Alan Yahnke
    May 23, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    Definitely one of my favorite point and shoot zooms. Always produces good point and shoot photos for me when I use it.

  • Reply
    Leo Tam
    May 28, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    It’s the most responsive film p+s I’ve used – press the AF and it AFs like a digital point and shoot – no pressing the shutter, waiting for it to focus, fire the shutter, and wind! Wish Canon had a prime lens version of it

  • Reply
    June 14, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    Curious, did you use the flash or hold it in while taking your shots? I just picked one of these up for $2 but the flash stays out and the only way it I can avoid using the flash is to physically hold it in while I shoot!

    • Reply
      Matt Evans
      June 15, 2019 at 5:06 am

      Nah I didn’t use the flash at all, I disabled it in the settings.

  • Reply
    Rico Ramirez
    July 15, 2019 at 10:33 am

    I bought this new when it came out for my sister. The plastic hinge that holds the back snapped off-a common issue with the camera. And yes, the hybrid AF with real time release is faster than the EOS-1v. Another cool trick is the exposure compensation. I don’t think the exposure comp resets when turned off. You can shoot tri-x at iso “1250” and develop the roll in diafine.

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