Canon Sure Shot Zoom 85: A 1998 Classic Revisited

by Jacek Halicki

The Canon Sure Shot Zoom 85 Date, known as Prima Zoom 85 Date in Europe and Autoboy Luna 85 in Japan, is a reminder of the era when compact 35mm film cameras ruled the scene. Released in September 1998, it’s a testament to Canon’s commitment to design, functionality, and innovation. This detailed review will walk you through its key features, recommend some films, and even give you a closer look at its technical specifications.

Design and Features

Canon’s Sure Shot Zoom 85 Date boasts a stylish thin, flat-body design, which makes it stand out. It is not just an aesthetic marvel but is packed with features that were innovative for its time.

The camera falls into Canon’s well-regarded Sure Shot range, which was known for compactness combined with advanced features. This particular model is no different. The Autodate function, although optional, is an intriguing addition, allowing users to imprint date-related information directly on the film.

Film and Film Format

This camera employs the 35mm film format, which was and remains popular due to its versatility and image quality. With the Sure Shot 85, you get both standard and panorama picture formats. It’s worth noting that the panorama feature is exclusive to the Japanese version, allowing users to switch between formats even on the same roll of film.

When it comes to film recommendations, the versatility of the camera matches well with:

Power Source and Battery Life

The Sure Shot 85 operates on a single lithium battery, specifically the CR123A. It’s robust enough for extended use, and there’s a built-in battery-check feature to keep surprises at bay. If you ever need to stock up, Amazon has the CR123A ready for order.

Exposure Control and Light Metering

Canon equipped this model with a program-type electromagnetic shutter/aperture. The variation in modes ensures flexibility for both novice and experienced photographers. The camera’s EE (Electro-Electronic) system with program measurement and the SPC light receptor element enhances the camera’s accuracy in different lighting scenarios. It supports an ISO Film Speed Range from 25 to 3200 (DX code), which further ensures adaptability in diverse shooting conditions.

Size, Weight, and Ergonomics

Compactness is key here. The Date model measures 123 x 64 x 46mm and weighs 225g without the battery. The Non-Date model is slightly lighter and smaller. Its ergonomic design ensures it fits well in hand, making it suitable for extended shooting sessions.

Technical Specifications

TypeFully automatic 35mm autofocus Lens Shutter camera with built-in zoom lens and flash
Picture Size24 x 36mm; Panorama (13 x 36mm, Japanese version only)
AF System3-point measurement Smart Autofocus System; Pre-focus possible; Close-range warning
Lens38-85mm f/4.2-8.7; 6 elements in 6 groups (1 aspherical lens)
ShutterProgram-type electromagnetic shutter/aperture with various modes
Viewfinder0.45-0.99x Real-image type; approx. 84% image coverage; Various LED indicators
EEProgram type; AE lock after AF; Using SPC light receptor; Metering Range: EV3.1 to EV 19.2; ISO 25 to 3200 (DX code)
Built-in FlashBuilt-in unit with auto-fire in low-light; Guide No. 13.4 (ISO 100.m); Red-eye Reduction
Autodate Feature“Date” models only; Various imprint selections; Date imprint for panorama (Japanese version only)
Power SourceOne lithium battery (CR123A) with battery-check feature
Film Loading & AdvanceAutomatic loading; Single frame advance with built-in motor
Frame Counter2-digit, 7-segment indicator on LCD
Film RewindAutomatic with built-in motor; Mid-roll rewind possible
Dimensions & Weight (Date)123 x 64 x 46mm; 225 g (without battery)
Dimensions & Weight (Non-Date)1


The Canon Sure Shot Zoom 85 Date showcases the charm of late 90s photography, offering a blend of simplicity and versatility. Its unique features like the panorama format and Autodate function make it a compelling choice even today. While it may not compete with today’s digital behemoths in terms of technology, it offers an authentic and nostalgic photography experience that is hard to replicate.