Canon Sure Shot 85 Overview: An Affortable 35mm Camera

Last Updated on January 2, 2024

The Canon Sure Shot 85 Zoom represents an interesting chapter in the evolution of photography, particularly in the realm of 35mm point-and-shoot cameras. Introduced in 1998, this camera is a reminder of the era when film photography was transitioning into the digital age.

Though no longer in production, its legacy continues in the hands of photography enthusiasts and collectors.

Canon Sure Shot 85 Zoom Overview

Canon Sure Shot 85 Specs

Canon AE-1 35mm Film
The iconic 35mm camera stays as relevant as ever, boasting its AE (Automatic Exposure) system and focal plane shutter.
Year of Launch1998
Available ColorsBlack and platinum
FeaturesFlash, light meter, viewfinder
Shooting ModesOff, red-eye auto, real-time (RT), timer, standard auto, flash on, flash off
LCD ScreenDisplays shot count and battery level
ViewfinderGreen and red indicator lights
Film ReadingUses DX coding
BatteryRequires CR123A 3-volt battery
Rewind FunctionFeatures a rewind function with a knob on the strap
Image QualityProduces sharp images with good focus and exposure
Zoom Levels35, 50, 70, 85mm
ISO SettingsDX coding

Features and Camera Details

Originally available in black or platinum colorways, the Sure Shot 85 Zoom had an initial price range of $200 to $300 USD back in the 90s. Today, it can be found in the used market for about $30 to $50 USD, making it an affordable option for those looking to explore film photography or add to their collection.

One of the key features of this camera is its zoom lens, which offers a range of 38 to 75mm. This range is versatile for various types of photography, from portraits to landscapes. The inclusion of zoom buttons facilitates easy adjustment of the focal length, enhancing the user experience. The camera’s design also includes a flash, light meter, and viewfinder, which are essential components for capturing well-exposed photographs.

However, the camera isn’t without its quirks. The top dial, for instance, can be challenging to use, especially for those with large or moist hands. This might be a minor inconvenience for some, but it’s an important consideration for ease of use.

The Canon Sure Shot 85 Zoom offers multiple shooting modes, including off, red-eye auto, real-time (RT), timer, standard auto, flash on, and flash off. This range of modes provides photographers with the flexibility to adapt to different lighting conditions and subjects. The LCD screen is a handy feature, displaying vital information like shot count and battery level. In the viewfinder, green and red indicator lights assist in ensuring the correct focus and exposure.

Loading film into the camera is straightforward, thanks to its simple film loading mechanism and automatic rewinding feature. The film compartment opens via a side button, and the camera uses DX coding for film reading. This automatic system sets the ISO based on the film used, though it means ISO settings are not customizable.

The Sure Shot 85 Zoom requires a CR123A 3-volt battery to operate and includes a standard tripod mount, enhancing its versatility. A unique feature is the rewind function, which includes a knob on the strap, making film rewinding convenient and user-friendly.

In terms of performance, this camera is known for producing sharp images with good focus and exposure. It’s light and portable, making it easy to handle, an essential feature for those who prefer to shoot on the go. The camera offers four distinct zoom levels (35, 50, 70, 85mm), providing sufficient versatility for various shooting scenarios.

Kodak Portra 400
Professional 35mm film: captures natural and smooth tones with precision.

Despite its many features, the Sure Shot 85 Zoom has some limitations. Its operation can be notably loud, which might be a concern in certain shooting environments. Additionally, the non-customizable ISO due to DX coding can be a limitation for photographers who prefer more control over their exposures.

The Canon SureShot line enjoys a popularity similar to Olympus Stylus zoom cameras, although for fans of point-and-shoot cameras, these cameras often lack the necessary light for taking faster photos in tighter light conditions. That’s why some prefer the Canon Sure Shot Supreme over this one.


  • It is available on the secondhand market at prices ranging from approximately $30 to $50 USD

Canon Sure Shot 85 Zoom Photos

Final Words

The Canon Sure Shot 85 Zoom is ideal for beginners due to its straightforward operation. It’s also suitable for professionals seeking simplicity in a film camera. Overall, it’s recommended for easy, straightforward shooting, capturing the essence of point-and-shoot photography in a compact and affordable package.

Author: Jorge Ferrufino

Written by Jorge Ferrufino

I am a fashion photographer and an analog photography enthusiast since the beginning of my career (15 years ago). I have had the opportunity and honor of showcasing my work in various galleries and publications around the world.

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