From day one I have shot in M (Manual mode) on any camera I’ve touched (check out my collection). Whether it was out of snobbery, hipster-ness, or mere stupidity (I ruined a ton of photos while learning), I did it anyway.

You can imagine then, when I got a hold of my father’s old Canon Owl Sure Shot, threw a Fuji Film 200 roll in there, and got the negatives that I was quite surprised. The results weren’t half bad! Granted, I kept the ISO200 aspect in mind, didn’t shoot for flash, and kept everything outside and well-lit. For reference, the cover photo of this post was shot with the Owl.

The process is scary though. I’m not skilled enough to look at a scene and say, “Oh that should be 1/160 f11 at ISO200. I’m not that guy, but I was impressed when I read about a guy like that a few years ago. Good for him. Also, I don’t care to read manuals so I have absolutely no idea if this camera has a fixed shutter speed so I have been going around assuming it’s stuck at 1/125. While writing this I figured I should know what I’m talking about and checked out the camera specs on Canon’s Website.

“Combination aperture and program electromagnetic drive shutter.”

So I have no idea what that means, but assume it means the shutter fluctuates. Fair enough.

Let’s look at some examples with the Owl:

This was shot on a cold and cloudy Lansing, Michigan early Spring day. No harsh sun as you can see, and the light is very even (leaves and fence). This is Fuji Film 200 film with the Owl’s dial set to no flash.

I like this image a lot because it shows the range of film, no matter what camera you choose to use it with. This was shot at Lines Ballet in SF. The green door is to the outside world, but as you can see, the highlights aren’t exploding through the square glass (something that would always happen with my Canon 6D even with a 24-70 in front of it).

There was nothing done to this photo except for a scan and a down size.

The grain is beautiful and true to color and the focus (on the bikes) is crisp!

Here’s an action shot for you to show the performance of the Owl. Taken while walking in Berkeley, CA I saw this man and the two people walking beside me so I quickly twisted the dial to no flash, half-pressed, shot, and had the camera off and in my pocket before any of them realized what happened (I feel great about it).

For how quickly it was shot, not bad I’d say. The focus is a little off, can’t tell if it’s because the shutter was too slow or if it back-focused (see the fence in the back left). In either case, it did really well for looking between people and not front focusing on them (thank God).

My last note will be about the focusing system. From what I’ve seen, like most point and shoot film cameras, the focus starts at about 3-4 feet away form the lens. SO, for a photographer like me who lives for tight, close up shots, it was something I had to learn from.

Here’s an example of this very thing. I would later adjust my shooting style knowing anything remotely close would not be in focus.

And as a side note, it doesn’t focus well in low-light, especially when you don’t use flash (I hate flash).

Not being able to control many aspects of your shots can be very scary and confusing. I loved and still love using my little Owl, especially after being able to see its strengths and weaknesses.

Feel free to ask any questions about the camera, my experience with it, or even what i had for lunch today!

Thanks for reading!