In the early 90s, Canon thought it would be a good idea to try something different. It turns out it wasn’t such a good idea.
The Photura (marketed also as the Epoca and the Autoboy Jet, in Europe and Japan respectively) looks like a camcorder, but does much less. Don’t get me wrong, it does some things well for a non-SLR auto-focus camera; one-handed operation, decent flash built in to the swing-open lens cover, 3x zoom, and auto-loading is also beneficial at times. The tripod mount and timer also increase its versatility.
However, and it’s a big however, there are a few reasons this model was only sold for a few years before it disappeared. The padded hand strap and the added shoulder strap give the sense that you’re cradling a precious instrument, yet the bulky size and loud “power” zoom make it look and sound like a cheap toy. The small viewfinder, while offering the option of viewing from the top or from the back, doesn’t seem to be as large as it could have been, considering the bulk of the 1-1/2 pound camera.
I try not to buy too many cameras that require a battery; the good news here – I found the batteries for $2 each. The bad news? It was in the clearance bin and they only had 3 left. You can still find a 2CR5 on ebay, but I’mm not sure how long they’ll be available.
The biggest attraction in this camera, for me, is its novelty factor. A one-handed 35mm camera with a hinged lens cover that conceals a built-in flash? How many of these do you have kicking around?
If you’re looking for a tool that takes decent 35mm pictures and serves as a fun conversation piece, and you already own several dozen other cameras, this might need to be the next one on your list. :)