Canon’s Solar Pioneer: The Sure Shot Del Sol Review

by John Nuttall

In the photography universe, the brand ‘Canon’ has consistently been at the forefront of blending innovative design with top-notch functionality. One of their groundbreaking creations from 1995, the Canon Sure Shot Del Sol, was no exception. A pioneer, it was the world’s first camera to harness solar energy exclusively for its power needs. Here’s a deep dive into what makes this camera so special.

Design and Features

The Canon Sure Shot Del Sol, known as the Prima Sol in Europe and Autoboy SE in Japan, revolutionized the camera scene with its distinctive solar panel front. This panel charges an internal lithium-ion battery, making battery replacements unnecessary. While its solar-powered attribute stands out, its functionality remains in line with Canon’s Sure Shot M model, which is equipped with a wide-angle prime lens.

Key Insight: The solar panel front is not just a feature, it’s a statement. A testament to Canon’s forward-thinking approach towards eco-friendliness and sustainable technology.

Film and Film Format

Designed as an automatic 35mm camera, the Del Sol is user-friendly and versatile. The autoloading, DX decoding, advancing, and rewinding mechanisms make handling 35mm films a breeze.

Film Recommendations:

  • Kodak Portra: Best for those who desire rich colors and smooth tones.
  • Ilford HP5 Plus: Perfect for black and white enthusiasts, known for its fine grain and wide exposure latitude.
  • Fujifilm Superia: Ideal for everyday shots, it offers sharpness and vivid color reproduction.

Power Source and Battery

The Del Sol’s groundbreaking power system is a combo of its amorphous solar battery (primary power source) and an internal lithium-ion battery (secondary source). Everything, from the autofocus system to the built-in flash, is powered by the sun. A truly green innovation! Buy the 3V CR-123A lithium battery on Amazon.

Exposure Control and Light Metering

The camera’s auto-exposure mechanism, paired with shutter speeds ranging from 2s-1/250s, ensures optimal light capture. Coupled with the metering range of EV 3 – 17, the Del Sol is designed to adapt to varying lighting conditions seamlessly.

Size, Weight and Ergonomics

The camera’s measurements stand at 124x67x46 mm, and it weighs 260g. Its compact nature and ergonomic design make it a handy companion for photographers on the move.

Technical Specifications

TypeFully automatic 35mm Lens-Shutter autofocus camera
Picture Size24×36 mm and panorama (13×36 mm) – Japanese version
AF System3-point Smart Autofocus (0.45 m – infinity)
Lens32mm f/3.5 (3 elements in 3 groups)
ShutterElectromagnetic programmed shutter and aperture
ViewfinderDirect viewfinder, 0.32x magnification, 84% coverage
EEa-Si cell for program EE; ISO 25 – 3200 (with DX code)
Built-in FlashFixed flash; Guide No. 6.8 (at ISO 100 in meters)
Power SourceTandem amorphous solar cell & lithium ion battery
Dimensions & Weight124 x 67 x 46 mm, 260 g (with battery)


The Canon Sure Shot Del Sol stands as a beacon of Canon’s relentless pursuit of innovation. Its unique blend of design and eco-friendly technology, coupled with user-friendly features, make it a noteworthy camera in the annals of photography history. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned photographer, the Del Sol promises not only functionality but also a slice of history.