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Around Town with the Canon Autoboy D5

Last time, I gave you a hands-on review of the Canon Autoboy D5 as a travel camera—testing it under and over water, rain or shine—during my beach trip to Boracay. Here's how it performs as an all-around camera, going from home to studio and work to play. Just like before, it produced great shots all day, every day!

Canon Autoboy D5. Photo via Canon Japan

(This article is a follow-up to “The Panoramic and Subaquatic Canon Autoboy D5”)

In my previous camera review, I went on to talk about why I liked the Canon Autoboy D5 so much as a travel camera, especially since my photos turned out swimmingly, considering I wasn’t able to test or research on the model before using it on my beach vacation.

Photo by denisesanjose

Since then, I’ve learned about its features, worked around its quirks, and found several helpful resources on it.

I was—and am—completely satisfied by it as a travel camera, especially because of its excellent lens and rugged yet compact body. But I also wondered how it would fare as an everyday camera so I made it my go-to camera for a week and here’s what I found out.

I don’t think I got to try Flash mode in Boracay so, for the beginning of the test roll, I decided to try shooting in the dark. All the lights were off in my room when I was shooting these random girly things, yet the focus and flash worked quite nicely. The objects are sharp and well-lit so I made a mental note to bring the Autoboy with me to the next party.

The following day was booked for bonding with my best friend visiting from Canada so off I went with the Autoboy to have lunch at Xocolat. The first thing I noticed is that, while it’s great slung around my shoulder when touring, the camera is actually quite big for my daily purse. Compared to my other film point-and-shoots, it takes up a lot of room and is quite heavy to lug around everywhere.

But back to the quaint cafe, it’s known for its lovely ambiance and very delectable and photographable menu choices (such as the This & That red velvet/chocolate cake and chocolate chicken pasta!) so a nice camera was simply a must. Again, I tried the Macro focus mode only to realize that not using it works better.

Next, we were off to Cubao X for the afternoon. I was able to snap this trompe l’oeil No Jaywalking sign from my car as traffic slowly moved along (welcome to Manila) so it’s good that the camera turns on fast and is ready to shoot ASAP. Another strength is shooting landscapes or wide shots. With a 32mm f/3.5 aperture lens, the D5 delivers crisp images with no blurring, vignetting, or distortion around the edges.

That’s not to say it doesn’t work for portraits. We were actually getting ready for a “Best Friends Forever” studio shoot and decided to take some photos outside while waiting for the other set to finish. It was a pretty cloudy day but I think the greenery of the vines overhead diffused some of the light and the medium/wide portraits turned out nice.

Then the fashion shoot was over and it was our turn to ham it up in front of the camera. Luckily, photographer Joseph Pascual is a friend so I get to sneak into his shoots and take advantage of his services! ;-) The natural light in the studio was nice but Joseph had his equipment out so I thought I’d try taking some film photos and see how they turn out vis-a-vis digital shots.

Of course, the pro shots by Joseph are excellent but I also love how perfect the film photos came out! Above are two of my favourite shots from the BFF shoot, taken with the Autoboy loaded with Kodak ProImage 100 film, shot on Flash mode with the studio lights going off as well (not sure about Joe’s light settings though). The colors are rendered accurately, the lighting and vignetting are beautiful, and definitely gives digital cameras a run for its money.

I said it before and I’ll say it again: this Autoboy D5 is like an SLR!

For the next roll, I put in some expired Fujicolor 100 and brought it with me to work. Cementing what I already know about the Autoboy, close-up shots worked better without Macro focus mode on. About the Flash, some photos look a little washed out but that could be because of the film’s expiration and area’s lighting condition.

After work was Laboratory Thursday at Today x Future (where I sometimes DJ) and we took some photos around the area for the test roll. The flash definitely works better for subjects at a closer distance (say, an arm’s length away), especially on expired film. Farther than a few feet away and it’ll be slightly overcast.

A neat discovery about the Autoboy was a little gray button beside the red shutter: self-timer! We set it on shelves and stairways, framed and focused, pressed the shutter delay button, counted 10 blinking lights, and click! I can’t believe I completely ignored that function during my beach trip but this feature just made the camera so much more likable!

Overall, it’s a great camera and is pretty fool-proof, although it does struggle a bit with expired film. Low-light shots tend to be blurry, some flash shots are washed out, and focusing may be a bit off. As long as you put in the right fresh film, this camera will blow you away with its consistent performance and remarkable results!

The only thing is, for a daily camera, this one’s quite bulky. It does have a rugged body that makes it ready for rain and more, but it’s not pocketable. The Canon Autoboy D5 has amazing optics and the recently discovered self-timer mode is a plus, but for living around the city, I’d use my smaller, sleeker, and equally capable Olympus mju II Zoom 70 Deluxe (more on this later).

The verdict is I wouldn’t hesitate to pack the Autoboy D5 during my next adventure because this camera is the ultimate travel buddy for the great outdoors, but it’s worth considering for urban adventures as well!

See more photos by this camera in the albums Paradise Is Very Nice, M in Manila, and Shit Girls Like.

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Sources include Lomography and Canon Japan.

written by denisesanjose


  1. vicuna


    Totally agree (once again) with you... I used it for one of a trip to New Zealand and it was perfect, very resistant and reliable in travel conditions. The 32mm lens is really sharp and wide enough (like the LC-A and the 32mm Minitar lens), slight vignetting in strong light and a very good autofocus. For the macro mode, it's in fact only intended underwater, as the autofocus infrared measure doesn't work underwater and takes the shot automatically in "infinite" distance setting.

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  2. denisesanjose


    @vicuna Ahhh that's good to know. Gotta explore that setting more then. Thanks for the tip!

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  3. okabobb


    Isthis just another name for the A1 (what I have) aka the WP1?

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  4. denisesanjose


    @okabobb Yep! It was released under different names in different regions. Canon Sure Shot A-1 / Prima AS-1 / Autoboy D5 / Sure Shot WP-1 !

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  5. okabobb


    @denisesanjose Yeah it's a great camera to take were most cameras cant go

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