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Film Camera Review, Canon Autoboy Prisma Date 35mm AF Compact Film Camera

Canon Autoboy Prisma Date 35mm AF Film Camera

A compact autofocus 35mm film camera with a built-in waist-level finder and remote control shutter.

Developed along with the same award-winning concept and ergonomic design of the Canon Autoboy 3 (Canon Sure Shot Supreme, Canon Top Shot, European Camera of the Year 1986), the Canon Autoboy Prisma Date (Canon Prima Shot, Canon Sure Shot Ace) autofocus point-and-shoot, might be considered as a lesser of the sibling as it comes with only a Canon 35mm F3.5 lens as opposed to the 38mm F2.8 lens as found on the Autoboy 3.

Over and above the uniqueness of the Autoboy 3, however, the Autoboy Prisma Date (introduced in 1988, two years after the Autoboy 3) was enhanced with a pair of unique features in the form of an additional Prisma finder fitted to the top plate of the camera, and a detachable infrared remote shutter release.

Canon Autoboy Prisma, View

The addition of the Prisma finder enables the camera to be used just like a waist-level finder, shooting from the hip, or for low-level image composition, while the infrared shutter release does make the camera, when placed on a flat surface and tilted slightly upward with its built-in tilt knob, ideal for selfies, or group portraits, without the need to lug a tripod everywhere you go.

Technically the Autoboy Prisma is a fully automatic autofocus 35mm compact film camera with a 3-elements in 3-groups 35mm F3.5 lens with a twin viewfinder feature, motorized film loading, and rewind, but with no mid-roll rewind function, automatic exposure coupling from 1/40 second @ F3.5 to 1/125 second @ F32, autoflash, and accepts DX-coded film with ISO speed from 50 to 1600. Non-DX-coded film rolls are rated at ISO 100.

Basic Camera Features

Although the Autoboy Prisma may look visually smaller when compared casually to the Autoboy 3, it is in fact longer by 5mm in length and thicker by 5mm in depth and comes with a matt-black finish (at least my review unit is) with no red-line trim, and a deeper red shutter button assembly.

Canon Autoboy Prisma, Front

The front plane of the Autoboy Prisma is an array of openings and functional bits which include, aside from the shuttered lens cover, the lens cover switch, exposure measuring window, autofocus triangulation windows, the eye-level and Prisma viewfinder windows, flash head, battery check/self-timer LED, and the slant of the shutter button assembly.  The snap-in remote infrared shutter release assembly is fitted to the right shoulder of the camera front.

On the top plane, the Prisma viewfinder window is located slightly off-center to the left, and in sequence to the right, the film frame counter, self-timer switch, and shutter button.

Canon Autoboy Prisma, Back

On the backplane of the camera, the viewfinder eyepiece and a Green LED for focus confirmation, the film back with QD setting and film window, and the film back latch to the left of the backplane.

Canon Autoboy Prisma, Bottom

The battery chamber cover, tripod socket, tilt knob, and remote shutter button release latch are all located on the bottom plane.

Canon Autoboy Prisma, Film box

The film box is a straightforward arrangement, from left to right, of the film canister chamber, film plane window, sprocket gear, and the autoload take-up spool with film tab end location indicator. The QD battery chamber, located inside the film back, is one of the easiest to access among cameras with QD functions that I have reviewed.

Film Loading and Rewind

Canon Autoboy Prisma, Film loading

Autoloading and auto-rewinding film on the Autoboy Prisma is easy and simple. All you have to do is load the film canister into the canister chamber, pull the film tab across the film frame window to the redline indicator, and close the back. The camera will automatically forward the film to frame 1 and you are ready to go.

The film roll will self-rewind once you reach the end of the roll. Just a quick reminder, though, that the Autoboy Prisma does not have the capability of mid-roll rewind, meaning that you will have to use up all the frames available on the film roll before it is wound back automatically.

Viewfinder Readouts

Canon Autoboy Prisma, Using the prism finder

The eye-level viewfinder is a simple Albada-type reverse Galilean with both frame-line and autofocus spot etch, while the Prisma waist-level finder comes with an autofocus spot. The minimum recommended viewing distance of the waist-level finder is 250mm away from the eye.

Aside from the ways shown in the image on how you can make full use of the Prisma finder for overhead, waist-level, or low-level shots, one can also use the camera for right-angled spy shots. Do this by holding the camera vertically on its side with the top facing you, that is with the lens facing to the left or right, and take the shot.

Remote Control Shooting

Canon Autoboy Prisma, Remote control shooting

Another advantage you have with the Autoboy Prisma is the ability to operate the shutter button remotely, from a maximum distance of 5 meters. Set the camera up on a flat surface (or on a tripod), compose the image, unlatch the remote controller from the camera body, move to where you want your image to be captured, and use the remote to activate the camera shutter.

While the setting is active, the battery check/self-timer LED will intermittently flash continuously until it times out after eight minutes. To reactivate the setting, place the controller back in its place and repeat the sequence.

Battery and Camera Body Weight

The electronics of the camera require the installation of a 6V 2CR5 Lithium battery pack, which should last for about 35 rolls of 36-exposure film with 30% flash use. Units fitted with Date Back require the use of a CR2025 battery cell to power the date function.

Canon Autoboy Prisma, View

The body weight of the Autoboy Prisma with Date Back and battery installed is 335 grams.

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