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Film Camera Review, Canon Autoboy Tele 6 35mm AF Compact Film Camera

Film Camera Review: Canon Autoboy Tele 6
A twin 35/60mm lens 35mm compact autofocus film camera with full and half-frame modes from Canon.

One of the more interesting and rather quirky autofocus 35mm film cameras that I have had the pleasure of using is the Canon Autoboy Tele 6 (Canon Prima Tele, or Sure Shot Multi Tele in the US), a fully automatic autofocus camera offering full-frame (24x36mm) and half-frame (17x24mm) formats as well as a set of two focal length lens.

The model was part of the very successful Sure Shot / AF35M / Autoboy series which Canon first introduced in 1979. The Autoboy Tele 6 was launched in 1988. The camera comes with a built-in self-retracting electric changeover dual focal lens, a spectra-coated 3-elements in 3-groups wide-angle 35mm F3.5 lens, and a similarly coated 6-elements in 6-groups short telephoto 60mm F5.6 lens.

Canon Autoboy Tele 6, Tilt stand

In half-frame format, the lenses are the approximate equivalent of 50mm and 85mm focal length lenses. The functions of these lens options are supported by the viewfinder’s image area and magnification which are adjusted to suit the picture size and focal length used, as well as having the AF frame, parallax correction marks, and an OK-to-Shoot lamp.

Canon Autoboy Tele 6, Front view

Operationally, the Canon Autoboy Tele 6 is a fully automatic autofocus 35mm film camera with automatic film loading, film advance, and rewinding. The camera has an exposure range from 1/60sec at F3.5 to 1/350sec at F11 with the wide lens option, and from 1/60sec at F5.6 to 1/350sec at F19 with the telephoto lens option. A DX-coded sensor will set film speed automatically from ISO 50 to 3200 in one-step increments.

The Autoboy Tele 6 Date comes with a date imprinting feature on the camera back.

Wide or Tele, Full or Half-Frame Modes

The option for the selection of wide-angle or short-telephoto shooting modes and power is a combination 3-position thumb control slider switch just the back of the top panel on the shutter release side of the camera. The positions are, from right to left, Power OFF, Wide Mode, and Tele Mode.

Canon Autoboy Tele 6, Power slider switch

The full or half-frame format is a static option that can only be done per roll of film and is a static option that cannot be changed mid-roll, as the switch is located within the film box. The switch is not accessible once the film back is closed.

Canon Autoboy Tele 6, Half-frame configuration

A tilt stand on the front of the camera allows the camera to be placed on a flat surface with the body and lens angled slightly upward.

Basic Camera Features

Given the setup, with effectively 4 focal lengths lenses, the Tele 6 also comes with auto flash, automatic fill-in mode function, and flash-on capability, and as mentioned, a viewfinder that displays the image magnified to any of the four lens configurations, and (the quirky part) a retractable lens system that automatically pops out and back into the camera body only when a shot is taken.

Canon Autoboy Tele 6, Front

Aside from the rather plain lower front of the camera, with only the bulge of the lens housing and the finger grip, the upper portion is a bevy of functional items that get the camera going. First on the right is the flash head, followed by the first of the pair of autofocus triangulation windows, a very small ('tiny' might be a better word here) viewfinder opening, the exposure measuring window, the second autofocus triangulation window, and self-timer indicator LED.

Canon Autoboy Tele 6, Top

On the top panel, on the left (with the camera facing forward) are the flash-on and bulb buttons, while the film rewind, converter coupling, and 10-second self-timer buttons are grouped to the right of the top plate, just aside from the shutter release button.

Canon Autoboy Tele 6, Back

On the back of the top plane, located slightly off-center to the left, is the ready light and viewfinder window, and on its right, is the power on and lens selection slider switch.

The film load check window and frame counter LCD iarelocated on the film back itself, which is locked by a rather flimsy latch-type lock located on the left edge of the camera back. A Quartz Date version of the Autoboy Tele 6 will have an integrated frame counter and the Day/Date/Time display and the setting buttons are lined across the back.

Canon Autoboy Tele 6, Bottom

The bottom plate carries the tripod socket, the camera tilt stand, and the screw-on battery chamber cover.

Canon Autoboy Tele 6, Film box

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

Viewfinder Readout

Canon Autoboy Tele 6, Viewfinder readout

The viewfinder, though diminutive, is a direct-image type with variable magnification which is coupled to the film frame selection, meaning that image framing is changed or magnified according to the lens selection and film frame choice. Image coverage is 85% both horizontally and vertically.

Frame lines for the autofocus spot and parallax correction lines for close-up shots are etched into the glass. Pre-focusing is by half-pressing the shutter button.

Canon Autoboy Tele 6, Half-Frame Image 01


The Autoboy Tele 6 requires a 2CR5 battery to operate. The Lithium battery has an estimated usage of up to 40 rolls of 224-exposurefilm with flash exposure used 30% of the time. The battery is located in a screwed-down compartment with the chamber cover located on the bottom plate of the camera.

The camera does not come with a battery life indicator. Checking the battery strength means letting off a full flash shot, and while retaining your finger on the flash-on button, wait for a 4-second delay before half-pressing the shutter button. A green-ready light means that you still have a battery with enough juice to power the camera on.

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. This feature can be disabled by pressing the small orange-colored flash-off button on the leftmost side of the camera's top plate.

Bulb Mode

The bulb mode of the Autoboy Tele 6 will permit you to have a 4-second exposure shot. Keep your finger pressed on the bulb mode button while taking the shot.

Macro Photography

In macro mode, the closest subject distance for the Autoboy Tele 6 is 63cm (2.1 feet). Make sure that the subjects are lined up within the parallax correction frame and are completely covered by the autofocus spot, and the green ready lamp is in steady mode.

Half-Frame Photography

Canon Autoboy Tele 6, Half-Frame Image 02
Canon Autoboy Tele 6, Half-Frame Image 03
Canon Autoboy Tele 6, Half-Frame Image 04

In half-frame mode, which is set via a switch located within the film box, you will get twice the number of frames per roll of film and open yourself up to the creative, for example, with normal and close-up diptychs, triptychs, or even half-frame panoramas.

Canon Autoboy Tele 6, Half-Frame Image 05

All the images displayed are in half-frame as that was the setting I set the camera for this roll of film. The scan was post-processed on Olympus Viewer 3 (OV3) and print sharpened on Google NIK Sharpener Pro 3.

Film Rewinding

The Autoboy Tele 6 will rewind the film automatically. The mechanism will start once the end of the roll is reached and stops when the rewind is complete.

Camera Body Weight

The camera weighs 290 grams without batteries.

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