Canon Autoboy 3 35mm AF Camera

Canon Autoboy 3 35mm AF Film Camera

Film Camera Review:

Canon Autoboy 3 35mm AF Camera

'A quick look review at the Canon Autoboy 3, an award-winning 35mm AF camera with a 38mm F2.8 lens'

Introduction and Overview

The Canon Autoboy 3 (in Japan) or the Canon Top Shot (in Europe), launched in 1986, a 35mm autofocus AE film camera with advanced features packed into a very ergonomic package, won the Good Design Award from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry and was also selected as the European Camera of the Year in 1986.

Canon Autoboy 3. Front view

The camera is designed with a slanted handgrip that helps to keep the body flush with the eye as your fingers and thumbs are not in the way. Comfortable for shooting with either one or both hands, the Autoboy 3 is also fitted with an additional feature, a tilting foot on the bottom of the camera, which allows you to place the camera on the floor while shooting upwards at an angle.

The camera comes fitted with a 4-elements in 4-groups Canon 38mm F2.8 lens with spectra coating. Exposure is through a programmed electromagnetic shutter, with an exposure range from 1/8sec. at F2.8 to 1/500sec. at F16. A DX-coded sensor will set film speed to ISO 50, 100, 200, 400, 800 or 1600. Active autofocusing is by a triangulation system with a near-infrared beam.

Canon Sureshot Supreme AKA Top Shot AKA Autoboy 3 35mm Film Vintage Retro Camera

Canon Sureshot Supreme AKA Top Shot AKA Autoboy 3 35mm Film Vintage Retro Camera Video by Damian Brown Photography This channel can be supported through Patreon https://www.patreon.com/damianbrown (Recorded with Canon Vixia HF R600) // A 1986 model from Canon's phenomenally successful Sure Shot range, this compact 35mm film camera - known as the Top Shot in continental Europe and Autoboy 3 in Japan - was voted European Camera of the Year for putting some very advanced features into an ergonomic package at a reasonable price.

The Canon Autoboy 3, however, does have a couple of annoyances. First is the screwed-down battery compartment which requires the use of a mini-screwdriver replace the 2CR5 battery pack it uses. The other is the tiny rubber flash disable button located on the bottom of the camera that must be held down for use, a quite difficult function to do quickly.

Canon Autoboy 3. Tilt stand

The automatic film loading, film advance, rewind, and autoexposure with autofocus and autoflash capability camera weighs 318 grams without batteries, and date imprinting feature on the camera back that comes with the QD version.

Basic Camera Features

The Autoboy 3 is complete within its own encapsulated body, with no loose pieces lying around to be misplaced. The lens cover opens with a button switch and closes with a slide switch, both of which are located one above the other on the left of the front panel where the finger grip is.

Canon Autoboy 3. Front

Located below the lens cover panel is a smallish exposure metering Window, next to which is one of the two autofocus triangulation windows. On the top of the front panel, located right to left, are the flash head, viewfinder window, the other autofocus triangulation window, and a small self-timer indicator.

Canon Autoboy 3. Top

The shutter release and 10-second self-timer buttons are on the top panel of the camera.

Canon Autoboy 3. Back

On the top plane of the back panel is the viewfinder, and the frame counter which is integrated with the battery life indicator. The film back has the film load check window, and on the edge, the back cover latch. A Quartz Date version of the Autoboy 3 will have the Day/Date/Time display and setting buttons.

Canon Autoboy 3. Bottom

The bottom plate carries the tripod socket, the camera tilt knob, film mid-roll rewind button, and the flash off button.

Canon Autoboy 3. Film box

The film box is a collection of mechanical components including the DX code contacts in the film chamber, film guide tips, the take-up spool, quick-load mechanism, and film tip position line.

Viewfinder Readout

Canon Autoboy 3. Viewfinder readout
The reverse Galilean Mark finder is etched with frame lines indicating the autofocus spot, picture frame line with parallax correction, green LED at the base of the display for in-focus or too close warning indicator, and a red flash LED, located on the left side of the frame line, for charge complete or underexposure warning.

Prefocusing is, of course, the technique you will want to use if your main subject is off-center, or is away from the autofocus spot in the final composition. Do this by first centering your main subject in the autofocus spot, half-press the shutter to get the correct exposure and distance reading, reframe the composition with your finger still on the half-pressed shutter button before releasing the shutter by pressing the button all the way down.

Battery

Canon Autoboy 3. Battery chamber location
The Canon Autoboy 3 requires a 2CR5 battery to operate. The Lithium battery has an estimated life of about 5 years or 50 rolls of 24 exposure film and is located in a no-fuss screwed down compartment on the right side of the camera (the panel where the strap hook is located).

Battery life check is indicated by a 4-segment LCD display located on the back of the camera's top plate.

A battery change, which should be years and years away, is recommended when the power indicator is down to one segment.

Auto Flash

The auto flash feature of the camera will be automatic when the ambient lighting is insufficient for proper exposure, and the flash setting will go into fill-in mode when backlighting is detected. The auto flash feature can be disabled by pressing the small flash-off button on the bottom plate of the camera simultaneously as you release the shutter.

On the other hand, if you want to use the flash in all lighting conditions, you need to block the camera from reading the ambient light level. Do this by blocking the exposure metering window, located below the lens housing opening, with the rubber flash cap which should be together with the camera strap. If this bit is missing from your camera strap, like mine is, try devising your own method.

Close Focus Photography

When doing close focus photography, where the close-up subject is within 0.55 to 1.8 meters, make sure that the subjects are within the parallax correction frame and is completely covered by the autofocus spot. If the subject cannot be covered by the autofocus spot, use the prefocussing technique instead.

Film Rewinding

The Autoboy 3 will rewind the film automatically. The mechanism will start once the end of the roll is reached and stops when rewind is complete.

Early Images

Canon Autoboy 3, Sample image 01
Canon Autoboy 3, Sample image 02
Canon Autoboy 3, Sample image 03

Using The Camera

While the camera was easy to carry around hanging from your shoulder, its curvy and bulbous shape is probably a better bet for the big pocket of your outerwear jacket, or handbag, rather than your pants pocket. I carry mine in a small camera bag together with the other two compacts I normally carry around.

The only constraint I put myself to with the Autoboy 3 is to stick to bright daylight shots as I was not able to disable the auto flash which pops off as soon as the ambient light is low. This may be due to my own ignorance about the camera's operation.

Being an autofocus camera, the Autoboy 3 is a pure point-and-shoot and is a delight to use, aside from setting the auto flash off when you want it to.

Canon Autoboy 3, Sample image 04
Canon Autoboy 3, Sample image 05
Canon Autoboy 3, Sample image 06

Images were scanned and post-processed and cropped to 16:9 image aspect ratio on Olympus Viewer 3 (OV3). Print sharpening was done on Google NIK Sharpener Pro3.


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