The Canon Autoboy 2: An In-depth Look at a Timeless Classic

by Janne Moren

For those of you delving into the realm of vintage cameras, Canon’s Sure Shot series is one you might have come across. Often, in the world of photography, it’s not just the advanced specs that lure us in, but also the craftsmanship and design stories behind the devices. In this article, we’ll be looking at the Canon (New) Sure Shot, also known as AF35M II in Europe and Autoboy 2 in Japan.

Design and Features

Launched in 1983, the Canon (New) Sure Shot, or AF35M II, stands as a perfect blend of functionality and aesthetic appeal. Its body, characterized by clean lines and a minimalist approach, captures an era where gadgets were about both appearance and usability. The sloped edge near the shutter release button offers an ergonomic touch, allowing users to comfortably capture their moments.

Equipped with a 38mm f/2.8 lens, composed of 4 elements in 4 groups, the camera promises sharp imagery suitable for varied scenes. Canon’s commitment to versatility led to the release of auxiliary lenses for the AF35M II, broadening the range of possible shots from telephoto to close-ups.

One of the standout features of this model is its triangulation system autofocus with a pre-focus lock, ensuring subjects remain sharp and in focus. Paired with this is an integral flash powerful enough for most settings, ensuring clarity even in dim scenarios. The reversed Galilean viewfinder, embedded with projected frames, parallax correction marks, and LED warnings, allows for accuracy while keeping the user informed.

A special nod to the Autoboy 2 QD variant: Apart from the primary features, it includes a date imprinting mechanism. In an era without digital timestamps, this feature was a thoughtful addition for those keen on chronologically cataloging their memories.

Batteries and Power Management

The Canon (New) Sure Shot/AF35M II/Autoboy 2 camera derives its energy from two 1.5V AA batteries. These batteries are not only readily available but also highly popular due to their versatility in powering various devices. For optimal performance and to make full use of the camera’s features like the integral flash and automatic film winding, it’s essential to equip the device with a fresh set of AA batteries.

Film and Film Format

The Canon (New) Sure Shot/AF35M II/Autoboy 2 embraces the classic 35mm film format, revered by many for its ability to capture detailed and vivid imagery. This model is a fully automatic 35mm Lens-Shutter autofocus camera, making it user-friendly while ensuring photographic precision.

The camera produces negatives with a picture size of 24 x 36 mm. This standard size is perfect for capturing a good amount of detail, allowing for sizeable prints without sacrificing image clarity. As for film speed settings, the AF35M II provides a comprehensive ISO range. It supports the slower ISO 25-400, ideal for capturing shots in bright conditions with minimal grain. For those venturing into more varied lighting conditions, the ISO 50-1000 range offers greater flexibility.

Here are some 35mm film recommendations that pair beautifully with this camera:

  • Kodak Portra 400: Renowned for its natural color rendition and fine grain, this is an excellent choice for portraits and everyday photography. Its versatility in varying lighting conditions makes it a favorite among many photographers.
  • Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400: For those who prefer a slightly saturated look with vivid colors, this film is an outstanding option. It’s particularly great for outdoor shoots and capturing lively moments.
  • Ilford HP5 Plus 400: If black and white photography is what you’re after, the Ilford HP5 provides rich contrast with a classic grain structure. It’s particularly well-suited for street and documentary photography.

Exposure Control and Light Metering:

The Canon (New) Sure Shot/AF35M II/Autoboy 2 boasts a finely-tuned electromagnetic programmed shutter, which ensures optimal exposure in varied lighting conditions. Its EV range, spanning from 6 (f/2.8 at 1/8s) to 17 (f/16 at 1/500s), provides photographers with a wide spectrum of choices, catering to both dim and brightly lit environments.

When discussing Electronic Exposure (EE), this model employs an SPC (Silicon Photo Cell) for its full-auto program EE. This guarantees that the camera selects the most suitable exposure settings depending on the lighting condition and the chosen film speed. The metering range of the camera is commendably broad, with an EV range of 6 – 17 (at ISO 100). Plus, with a film speed range of ISO 25 – 400, the camera provides versatility in various lighting conditions.

A handy feature for group shots or timed portraits is the built-in electronic self-timer, allowing photographers a few moments to get into the frame themselves.

Size, Weight, and Ergonomics:

Measuring at dimensions of 125×76×46 mm and weighing in at a manageable 300g, the camera’s design is compact, making it a convenient companion for everyday photography or travel.

Ergonomically, the Canon AF35M II is tailored for ease of use and comfort. The sloped edge near the shutter release button, for instance, ensures that users can click photos with ease, reducing finger strain over prolonged use. Additionally, the camera back is designed intuitively for hassle-free film loading; just align the film leader at the mark, and with a press of the shutter button, the camera advances to the first frame automatically. This ergonomic consideration simplifies the film loading process, ensuring even beginners can get started without a hitch.

User Base: Beginners or Advanced Photographers?

Considering the design and features of the Canon (New) Sure Shot/AF35M II/Autoboy 2, it seems to strike a balance between simplicity and sophistication. Its user-friendly functionalities like the intuitive film loading process, automatic film advance, and electromagnetic programmed shutter indicate it’s suitable for beginners. However, the broad EV range and the versatile ISO settings also mean that advanced photographers looking for a reliable and compact 35mm camera can make the most out of it.

Technical Specifications

Lens38mm f/2.8 (4 elements in 4 groups)
AutofocusTriangulation system with near-infrared beam; Prefocus enabled
ViewfinderReversed Galilean with projected frames; 0.45x magnification
FlashGuide No. 12 (at ISO 100 in meters); Automatic pop-up & charging
Film Loading & AdvanceAuto-loading with shutter button; Automatic film advance
Film RewindAutomatic rewind with lock release button and switch


The Canon (New) Sure Shot/AF35M II/Autoboy 2 is an embodiment of Canon’s commitment to merging functionality with style. With a lens that ensures sharp imagery, an autofocus system that takes the guesswork out of achieving clarity, and a viewfinder that provides a clear preview, this camera stands out in its category. The built-in flash, with its respectable guide number, ensures that low-light situations are handled adeptly.

In the grand scheme of Canon’s extensive camera lineup, this model finds its position as a bridge between entry-level point-and-shoots and more advanced 35mm cameras. Whether you’re a beginner looking to delve into the world of film photography or an experienced shooter in search of a reliable companion for on-the-go shots, the Canon AF35M II promises to be a worthy choice.