Canon Sureshot A1 Underwater


A great point and shoot camera for winter sports, underwater and low light shots, with some excellent thoughtful features. Viewfinder is directly above lens (less parallax), 2 shutter buttons – the 2nd one has a 10 sec delay, self-timer), Flash can be manually On, Off, Auto/red eye, and Macro (closest 2ft on land, 1.5ft underwater).

Not sure how or why I came across this on eBay, I think I was looking for underwater cameras or universal underwater bags suggested by someone here. Anyway I got this for about $30 plus $20 shipping; I’m told they were about $300 when new, I was attracted to it’s good looks, it looks well designed and interesting. It takes pretty good pics with a slight blur on the edges, and has Auto Focus (smart) and Auto Exposure. Film speeds can be 25 to 3200 iso DX coded (yes! 3200, hard to believe but true).

The On/Off dial is probably the best feature, it rotates thru Off, ON with auto red eye flash, Flash ON, Flash OFF and Macro (always flash on), so it’s very simple to choose how you want to shoot. With flash OFF, the shutter speed can go down to 2secs at F3.5, great for low light/night shots, especially with the self timer. The Macro setting has to be held down while you fire the shutter, so it’s not really practical to work this with the timer which would be better (less camera shake) but probably was more designed with underwater uses in mind. The metering range is 1/250 at F22, to 2secs F3.5, but remember these are all selected automatically by the camera Auto Exposure. There’s a film window so you can remember what film is inside (if you have GAS you know this problem ;) Underwater range to 5m/16ft, and it floats in water. The Viewfinder has parallax guides for macro and panorama guide too, also Auto Focus guide in the center (only) and focus-lock is possible for re-composing.

There seem to be a few different versions of this cam, mine has 2 extra later features, Date Back and Panorama. The Panorama just cuts off the negative top and bottom (see icicles pic) so both of these features are kinda redundant. The manual was printed in 1993. I’ve seen a WP1 (waterproof1) also that looks identical?

A word of warning perhaps? I was so into the dial and twisting it back and forth (trying to see if the lens moved for macro focus – it does!) I did break that dial, but I did get it fixed for $50 at a local camera repair service, well worth it – this cam is really great!

written by fash_on on 2009-03-10 #gear #sports #macro #underwater #review #winter #canon #auto-focus #auto-exposure #a1


  1. mattcharnock
    mattcharnock ·

    great gallery - especially the snow with the person with the trolley!

  2. eyecon
    eyecon ·

    # 4!!!!

  3. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    Cool review, the cam looks great! Did you try it underwater? The shots of the gallery are great, very sharp and well contrasted... and #4 is my fa orite shot! :))

  4. stouf
    stouf ·

    Cool ! 11 is a beauty ! Where are you in Canada ?

  5. fash_on
    fash_on ·

    thanks for such nice comments :) I was so pleased with this cam I persevered with beta upload for days ;) #4 is really why you must take your camera everywhere! ha ha!
    It's too cold for underwater right now, so no chance yet. Beautiful BC, Vancouver. Some of the shots are with Ektar, that is so nice too.

  6. halfawakehaiku
    halfawakehaiku ·

    11 seems like something straight out pf a movie nice review

  7. cinzinc
    cinzinc ·

    i love #9! try adding some underwater shots soon.hehe

  8. leios8
    leios8 ·

    I also wanted one of these way back when. I somewhat want to remember the sticker price for these snazzy devils somewhere near $400 or so. They were all the craze when I was younger. It's crazy!

  9. dsaito
    dsaito ·

    I love your pictures! I really want to love the camera as well... However, it seems it may suffer from heavy uneven vignetting, which I'm not a fan of (I like soft vignetting though). Not sure what causes it, but a previous reviewer said it could be due to the small appertures used in highly lit conditions... Here are some examples (let me know what you think!):……

    Maybe it would be wise not to use fast films with this camera. Thank you for your sample pictures and keep up the good work!

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