Canon Sure Shot Max: A Compact Classic

Since the dawn of photography, Canon has been a name synonymous with quality and innovation. In 1991, they introduced the Canon Sure Shot Max, also known as the Prima Zoom Mini in Europe and Autoboy Mini in Japan. Let’s take a deep dive into this classic which is part of the Canon Sure Shot Series, examining its features, design, and where it fits in the world of 35mm photography.

Design and Features

The Canon Sure Shot Max boasts a design aesthetic that was ahead of its time. The lens retracts completely into the camera when turned off, giving it a sleek, flat profile—a real boon for those of us who appreciate compactness without compromising on functionality. This is complemented by an integral autofocus, making it versatile for various photographic scenarios. Additionally, the camera offers an autodate function, a feature useful for those who love organizing and timestamping their memories.

Film and Film Format

This camera employs the 35mm film format, which has long been the gold standard for analog photography. The resulting picture size is 24 x 36 mm. For those unfamiliar, the 35mm film is widely available, and there are numerous brands offering varying levels of color saturation, grain, and contrast. A few recommendations include:

The Canon Sure Shot Max further simplifies the film process with its auto-load, wind, and rewind feature for DX-coded films. This means fewer chances for film wastage, and an overall streamlined experience, even for beginners.

Power Source and Battery Life

The camera operates on a 3V CR123A lithium battery. Known for their long-lasting power, these batteries ensure you won’t find yourself out of charge during those crucial photographic moments. Here’s a link to purchase the 3V CR123A lithium battery on Amazon.

Exposure Control and Light Metering

The Canon Sure Shot Max offers auto-exposure with a range of shutter speeds from 1/8-1/250s. Its electromagnetic programmed shutter and aperture ensure consistent exposure across varied lighting conditions. The built-in electronic self-timer adds to its flexibility. With a metering range of EV 7 – 17 and a film speed range of ISO 25 – 3200 (with DX code), it provides ample room for both novice and experienced photographers to experiment.

Size, Weight, and Ergonomics

Measuring 125 x 68 x 43 mm and weighing in at 245g (with battery), this camera is the epitome of compact. Its ergonomic design ensures it sits comfortably in hand, and its lightweight build means you can carry it around without any hassle.

Technical Specifications

TypeFully automatic 35mm Lens-Shutter fixed-focus camera with single focal length lens
Picture Size24 x 36 mm
AF System3-point Smart Autofocus with near-infrared beam. Prefocus enabled.
Lens38mm f/3.5 (3 elements in 3 groups)
ShutterElectromagnetic programmed shutter and aperture.
ViewfinderAlbada reversed Galilean viewfinder. 0.37x magnification and 85% coverage.
Built-in FlashFixed, built-in flash. Guide No. 9 (at ISO 100 in meters).
Power SourceOne 3 V CR123A lithium battery
Film Loading & AdvanceAutomatic with built-in motor. Film advance speed: 1 fps.
Frame CounterCounts up during film advance. Counts down during rewind.
Film RewindAutomatic rewind with built-in motor.
Dimensions & Weight125 x 68 x 43 mm, 245 g (with battery)


The Canon Sure Shot Max, with its blend of user-friendly features and advanced capabilities, occupies a unique place in the realm of 35mm cameras. Whether you’re an enthusiast just starting out or a veteran photographer seeking a reliable companion, this camera doesn’t disappoint. Simple, straightforward, and efficient—it’s a compact classic.