A Guide to the Best Films for the Canon Sure Shot (AF35M)

by Luis Cozeto

The Canon Sure Shot, known as the AF35M in Europe and Autoboy in Japan, made waves in 1979 as a game-changer in the 35mm compact camera world. Why? Canon labeled it as the “world’s first lens-shutter 35mm autofocus camera.” There was an earlier camera, the Konica C35 AF, that had an autofocus. But it was passive. Canon’s Sure Shot stepped it up with an active autofocus system, named CAFS (Canon Auto Focus System). This tech-savvy feature, which uses things like a near-infrared emitting diode and a photo diode receiver, was a big deal and led to the creation of the much-loved Sure Shot/Prima/Autoboy series.

The Canon Sure Shot (AF35M) wasn’t just about fancy tech. It was user-friendly, had a quick autofocus lens, simple controls, and was built to last.

Using the 35mm film format means the Sure Shot has a lot of film options. And that can be confusing. That’s where this guide comes in. We’ll break down the different film types, give you pointers for picking the best film for your Sure Shot, suggest top films and budget options, and answer some common questions. By the end, you’ll know just which film to grab for your Canon Sure Shot (AF35M) and be ready to shoot.

Film Sizes and Which One the Canon Sure Shot Uses

Film sizes are essential because they define the dimensions of the film we use, especially the width and length. There are several film sizes available, such as 35mm, 120 (medium format), and large format. Each type has its own set of pros and cons, influencing things like how detailed the photo will be, how big you can print it, and the overall look of the image.

35mm Film: This is a favorite for many photographers because it strikes a balance in terms of cost, availability, and quality. It’s great for everyday shots, capturing spontaneous moments on the streets, or whenever you want more shots in a single roll. The downside is its smaller negative size, which might not capture as much detail as larger films.

120 Film (Medium Format): This one has a bigger negative, which means it can catch more details and gives better results when you enlarge the photos. It’s preferred by professionals who focus on portrait shots, landscapes, or artistic photos. But the cameras for 120 film are usually bigger, more expensive, and each photo costs a bit more than 35mm.

Large Format Film: This is for those who want the best detail and quality. Films like 4×5 or 8×10 inches offer amazing clarity and depth. But the cameras for these are quite big and expensive, making it less common for everyday photographers.

Now, when we talk about the Canon Sure Shot, it uses the 35mm film. It fits the camera’s design aim perfectly: to be compact, affordable, and still click sharp photos. Whether you’re traveling or just capturing the hustle and bustle of city life, the Canon Sure Shot is up for the task. And given the wide variety of 35mm films available – be it color, black & white, or slide films – those using the Canon Sure Shot have plenty of options to express their creativity.

Different Types of Film Stocks for the Canon Sure Shot

Black and White Film

Black and white photos evoke feelings of nostalgia. This film emphasizes light contrasts, patterns, and showcases a spectrum from pure white to deep black. Some films offer smooth gradients of gray, while others are more contrasting.

The Canon Sure Shot, with its precision lens, excels when using black and white film. It captures details crisply. If you’re considering this film type, Ilford HP5 Plus is a great pick due to its adaptability to different light settings. Another excellent choice is Kodak Tri-X, which is known for its contrasting shades. Best part? Black and white film is widely available and budget-friendly.

Color Negative Film

For those who want to capture life’s colorful moments, color negative film is the go-to. It’s beginner-friendly as it’s lenient with small exposure mistakes. When developed, it provides a ‘negative’ which can be used for prints or digitization.

With the Canon Sure Shot, this film type truly shines, producing bright and clear images. Kodak Portra is a top choice for its realistic hues and fine details. For those mindful of cost, Fujifilm Superia delivers vibrant images. With more people returning to film photography, color negative film is readily accessible and caters to various budgets.

Slide Film

Slide film, often the choice of enthusiasts, produces positive images directly on the film. Renowned for its vivid colors and sharp contrasts, it does demand accurate exposure as it’s less forgiving.

For Canon Sure Shot users keen on trying slide film, it might take some practice. But the results, once mastered, are breathtaking. Fujifilm Velvia stands out for its intense colors and contrasts, while Kodak Ektachrome offers a more subdued, natural look. Though slide film delivers unmatched results, it tends to be costlier and might be slightly harder to locate. However, for many, the distinctive results justify the effort and cost.

Considerations when Choosing a Film for your Canon Sure Shot

Film Speed

Film sensitivity to light is vital when deciding on film and is represented as ISO. Lower ISO films, such as 100 or 200, require more light to achieve the right exposure, making them a better fit for bright settings. On the other hand, films with higher ISOs like 400, are designed for dimmer conditions or capturing fast-moving subjects.

The Canon Sure Shot features an automatic exposure system, with shutter speeds ranging from 1/8 to 1/500s. It’s also compatible with DX-coded films from ISO 25 to 400. Thus, when selecting a film for the Canon Sure Shot, consider the lighting conditions you anticipate. Sunny conditions pair best with ISO 100 or 200 films, while ISO 400 films are apt for varied or dimmer settings.

Aesthetic Qualities of the Film Stock

Each film type presents its distinct visual qualities, such as color range, contrast levels, grain texture, and the overall mood of the photos. While some films display bold, rich colors, others provide milder tones. Black and white films also range from offering strong contrasts to subtle grain variations. The Canon Sure Shot, armed with a 4-element 38mm f/2.8 lens, proficiently captures these nuances in film characteristics. Ensure that the film you choose complements the style and vision you’re aiming for.

Developing and Scanning Film

Post-shooting, you’ll need to develop and scan the film. While some photographers enjoy the process of DIY development at home, many prefer the expertise and consistency of specialized labs. DIY development requires a bit of learning, equipment, and patience, but can be more cost-effective. Labs, although more expensive, offer convenience and consistent quality.

In terms of scanning, the choice boils down to using a personal film scanner or availing professional lab services. While labs ensure top-tier results, they might come at a higher cost. Scanning at home gives you more control but depends on your scanner’s quality.

For Canon Sure Shot users, decisions around development and scanning are influenced by factors like budget, dedication to the craft, and desired output quality. Given the camera’s compatibility with 35mm films, both color (C-41) and black and white processes can cater to its outputs, ensuring they’re easily handled by most labs and scanning setups.

Top Film Recommendations for the Canon Sure Shot

Color Films

Three standout color films align seamlessly with the Canon Sure Shot’s capabilities:

Kodak Portra 400

Kodak Portra Sample Image

Often regarded as a top-tier color film, Kodak Portra 400 boasts an ISO of 400, making it versatile for various lighting situations, from bright sun to cloudy days. It’s especially revered for its lifelike color rendering, particularly with skin hues, making it a go-to for portrait shots. Beyond portraits, it also performs admirably in landscapes, city scenes, and spontaneous captures. Its fine grain and expansive exposure range ensure photos pop, capturing intricate nuances from light to dark areas. This film consistently delivers appealing outcomes, whether you’re in well-lit open spaces or shadowy spots. Check current prices.

Kodak Ektar 100

Ektar 100 Sample Image

Famous for its super-fine grain and lively colors, Kodak Ektar 100 is a favorite for both hobbyists and pros. With its ISO set at 100, it’s best suited for bright settings where it can showcase its striking color saturation and clarity. Though Ektar can produce eye-catching portraits with its unique color style, it’s especially effective for nature and landscape shots, rendering the environment in a brilliantly vivid manner. Its status as one of the sharpest and most colorful 35mm films ensures its staple position in many photography kits. Check current prices.

Superia Xtra 400

Superia Sample Image

From the house of Fujifilm, Superia Xtra 400 is a beloved choice for its adaptability and unique flavor. It couples the speed advantage of its ISO 400 rating with a lively color profile that grants pictures a special, memorable flair. Ideal for daily snaps, travel chronicles, or impromptu sessions, Superia Xtra 400 features a balanced color spectrum with a slight warm touch, making images feel vibrant yet reminiscent. While its grain is somewhat more noticeable compared to others, it lends a delightful texture that many find attractive. This film adeptly balances pro-quality outcomes with user-friendliness. Check current prices.

Black and White Films

The allure of black and white imagery is timeless, allowing photographers to focus on pure emotions, textures, and stories in each frame. Here are three top black and white films that resonate perfectly with the Canon Sure Shot’s capabilities:

Ilford HP5 Plus

Ilford HP5 Plus Sample Image

A staple in the black and white film world, Ilford HP5 Plus offers an ISO 400 speed, catering to diverse lighting conditions. It excels in showcasing contrasts, adeptly capturing shadowy nuances and bright highlights alike. The film is renowned for generating detailed images, suitable for diverse scenarios, be it bustling city streets or candid instances among peers. The Canon Sure Shot’s autofocus and exposure prowess harmonize splendidly with this film, promising crisp, well-exposed snapshots on every click. Check current prices.

Fomapan 400

Fomapan 400

For enthusiasts yearning for a vintage touch in their captures, Fomapan 400 serves up a grainy finish reminiscent of yesteryear’s snaps. The ISO 400 film strikes a fine balance between clarity and pronounced grain, offering a singular charm to photos. Adaptable across varying lighting scenarios, from cloudy moods to sun-drenched days, its compatibility with the Canon Sure Shot provides an economical yet potent combo, perfect for budding film photographers or for those keen on exploration without burning a hole in their pocket. Check current prices.

For more Foma 400 images, check out my Fomapan 400 Flickr album. We’ve captured our firsthand experiences with Fomapan 400 in this YouTube video, covering everything from shooting to self-developing the film. Take a look for a comprehensive look.

Kodak Tri-X 400

Kodak Tri-X Sample

A darling among film aficionados, Kodak Tri-X is celebrated for its distinctive grainy profile, lending texture and dimension to images, enabling photographers to craft shots with a certain character. With its ISO 400 range, it’s versatile enough for myriad settings, from dimly lit rooms to radiant exteriors. Be it urban captures, intimate portraits, or simple daily chronicles, Tri-X ensures a blend of dependability and artistry. In tandem with the Canon Sure Shot, they form a potent duo, designed to produce striking monochromatic photos. Check current prices.

Slide Film

For those looking to dive into the world of slide films with their Canon Sure Shot, here are two notable films that promise vibrant and detailed results:

Fujifilm Velvia 50

Velvia 50 Sample

Widely regarded as a titan among slide films, Fujifilm Velvia 50 garners acclaim for its rich saturation and pronounced contrast. What can photographers expect? Photos that radiate with bold colors, juxtaposed with deep, captivating shadows. With an ISO 50 rating, Velvia 50 truly shines in bright conditions, making it an excellent choice for outdoor photography, from sweeping landscapes to detailed close-ups of nature’s marvels. When used with the Canon Sure Shot, which boasts reliable autofocus and a dependable exposure system, Velvia 50 is primed to yield stunning, vivid images. However, a word to the wise: due to its tight exposure latitude, it’s essential to be meticulous with lighting conditions, ensuring neither over nor underexposure. Check current prices here.

Kodak Ektachrome E100

Ektachrome 100 Sample

Kodak’s Ektachrome E100 is a slide film that stands tall among its peers, cherished for its balanced color palette and refined grain. Moving away from the intense saturation often attributed to slide films, Ektachrome E100 provides a more natural and lifelike color representation, combined with sharp detailing and a commendable play between highlights and shadows. An ISO 100 film, it’s best suited for well-lit scenarios, be it under the open sky or in luminous indoor settings. When paired with the Canon Sure Shot’s precise focusing and exposure capabilities, photographers can anticipate images that are not only sharp and well-balanced but also deeply engaging. Given its superior quality, it remains a top pick for both seasoned professionals and enthusiastic hobbyists alike. Check current prices here.

Cost-Effective Film Choices for the Canon Sure Shot

For photographers who prioritize value without compromising on quality, here are two wallet-friendly film selections that harmonize beautifully with the Canon Sure Shot:

Kodak Gold 200

Among the pantheon of budget-friendly color negative films, Kodak Gold 200 has consistently been a crowd-pleaser. Its prowess lies in its beautifully balanced color spectrum, effortlessly oscillating between lively vibrancy and genuine tones. Whether the subject is a portrait or an expansive landscape, this film has a propensity to envelop images with a touch of warmth, reminiscent of yesteryears. Boasting an ISO 200 rating, it stands ready for most daylight scenarios, flourishing outdoors or under generously lit interiors. When paired with the capabilities of the Canon Sure Shot, Kodak Gold 200 stands to deliver images that resonate both in detail and emotion. Considering its attractive price point and broad accessibility, it’s no wonder this film remains a cherished choice for newcomers to the film realm or for those in pursuit of a trusted everyday film. Check current prices here.

Ilford Kentmere 400

For those eager to delve into the monochromatic world without denting their wallets, Ilford Kentmere 400 is an impeccable candidate. This film bestows an admirable level of sharpness and contrast, all while being a more budget-friendly option compared to some of its more illustrious counterparts. With an ISO 400 rating, it offers a generous level of flexibility, adapting seamlessly across diverse lighting environments. When threaded with the Canon Sure Shot, Kentmere 400 unfurls images showcasing a delightful range of greys, exuding depth and presenting a balanced contrast of light and shadow. It’s the go-to choice for students, film photography novices, or anyone with an inclination towards black and white photography that doesn’t carry a hefty price tag. Check current prices here.

Frequently Asked Questions about Using Film in Canon Sure Shot

by Coleccionando Camaras

What Type of Battery Does the Canon Sure Shot AF35M Use and How Long Does It Last?

The Canon Sure Shot AF35M typically uses two AA batteries. The longevity of these batteries can be influenced by numerous variables: the frequency with which you use the camera, the battery’s age, and the environmental conditions during operation.

What is the best type of film for Canon Sure Shot AF35M for outdoor photography?

When it comes to outdoor photography, often awash with bright and dynamic subjects, films with a lower ISO, like Fujicolor 100, can be ideal, given their clarity and subtle grain. Yet, always let your unique artistic vision dictate your film choice, ensuring it aligns with the mood and nuances you aim to capture.

Can I use slide film in Canon Sure Shot AF35M?

Certainly. The Canon Sure Shot AF35M is compatible with slide films, which are known for their sharpness and vibrant color portrayal. Yet, a word to the wise: slide films usually have a more stringent exposure latitude compared to color negatives, so precise exposure is crucial.

How does ISO influence images taken by the Canon Sure Shot AF35M?

ISO signifies a film’s light sensitivity. Higher ISO films, like 400, are more responsive to light, making them apt for darker conditions, but they might introduce more grain into your images. Conversely, a film with a lower ISO rating, such as 100, promises finer grain quality, making it more suitable for luminous settings.

Where can I get films shot on my Canon Sure Shot AF35M developed?

Options abound when it comes to film development. Local film labs, present in most urban centers, are equipped to process your films. If convenience is key, there are mail-order labs offering similar services. And for those with a penchant for hands-on experiences, home development with the right tools and chemicals is always an option.

What are some cost-effective film alternatives for the Canon Sure Shot AF35M?

When budget constraints loom, the Canon Sure Shot AF35M pairs seamlessly with films like Kodak Gold 200 for color shots and Ilford Kentmere 400 for monochromatic captures. These films beautifully balance affordability with quality, proving ideal for daily captures or those just setting foot in the enchanting realm of film.