Canon Mate AZ-100 Review – Poundland Challenge Camera No 12

Let’s be clear this isn’t camera from the mighty japanese manufacturer Canon. The AZ-100 is one in a long line of sound-a-likes under the Canon Mate moniker. As part of the Poundland Camera Challenge got this with a load of other cameras including a rather excellent Pentax Espio AF Zoom for 99p but was this the runt of the litter or was this fixed focus trashcam better than it sound.

Canon Mate AZ-100
Canon Mate AZ-100 35mm sound-a-like trashcam

I got caught out and actually wasted a few minutes search Canon’s camera museum for the mate series. These cameras seriously blur the boundary between counterfeit and sound a like especially with the canon name so trademark busting similar. Look closely and you’ll see it’s a bit squint and no embossed canon name appears. The fact that the camera has ‘LCD Panel’ and ‘DX’ printed on it is pretty unlikely for a real canon as is the ‘Japan Lens’ (I’ve seen this before on the Hanimex 35 DL so perhaps the 2 share a common manufacturing plant). That said it is reasonably well constructed with a sliding clamshell design not a million miles removed from Olympus surezoom 80s.  It also survived being dropped on a couple of occasions (not intentional).

Railing against the Shadows
Canon mate AZ-100 with Kodak BW400CN. 2015. Note sharpness in foreground but poor distance

Slide open to arm the camera. The camera has an automatically triggered flash in low light which is pretty quick to charge. You have no way of turning this off or forcing it on as the only controls you have are a shutter button, timer and a motorwind rewind button.

Canon Mate AZ-100  Specs

  • Lens : 28mm 1:4.5
  • Focus: Fixed
  • Exposure: ? Auto
  • Aperture Range  : Unknown
  • Shutter:  Unknown
  • Batteries : 2 xAA

All information based with what is printed on camera

20 Zone
Canon mate AZ-100 with Kodak BW400CN. 2015.

The timer explains the musical stave on the bodywork. Not only do you get a red light to tell you its on but a weird series of countdown bleeps kick in (I wouldn’t recommend setting it off at any airport unless you fancy being pinned facedown by security). The LCD displays battery, shot count, motorwind activity and weirdly ‘DX’ which doesn’t disappear when testing the camera without film

Ageing quietly
Crichton, Dumfries 2015. Canon Mate AZ-100 with Agfaphoto Vista Plus 200.

Loading is simple enough. Insert film and pull leader over take up spool and close the back. The motorwind is reasonably quick and not that noisy. I’d got so use to using AF point and shoots that was almost shocked by the speed of shots but it isn’t instantaneous like a mechanical shutter. I’ve no data in this camera but I assume it really only DX codes films into either 400 ASA or 100/200 ASA like many entry level cameras given just 2 sets of DX prongs in the film compartment.

Watcher in the sun
Canon mate AZ-100 with Kodak BW400CN. 2015.

Viewfinder is basic with no marks and a shot ready LCD is on eyepiece

Shotwise its a mixed bag. I was actually pleasantly surprised with shots taken on it on a cloudy day at an environmental fair at between 1.5-10 meters with 200 ASA film. Any further wasn’t great. The same was true with 400 ASA film except just a bit crisper at near to mid but still not great at distance. The edge of the frame was a bit blurred which makes me wonder about an anastigmatic lens set up. There is a smidgen of vignetting in bright conditions

Oh Deer
Canon Mate AZ-100 sample flash shot 1 taken on Agfaphoto Vista Plus 200 about 1.5m

It wasn’t so hot on flash shots. At about 1.5- 2 meters okay but beyond was underexposure with 200 ASA which was puzzling as it should have been quite good at this.

Canon Mate AZ-100 sample flash shot
Canon Mate AZ-100 sample flash shot 2 taken on Agfaphoto Vista Plus 200 about 3m

This arrived with a Halina Silhouette also a fixed focus (abet with zoom) camera with few feature and at least was an honest model. The Canon mate actually was better and more fun to use scarily except with flash and was probably on balance better than the Praktica Sport SP301 too. However none matched the more basic  Kodak 35 EF.

Why buy

  • Compact
  • Takes AA batteries
  • Okay in daylight in near range

Why not

  • Borders on being Counterfeit
  • Fixed focus
  • Flash rubbish
  • Noisy timer

What it cost, came with and what it sold for

  • Came with joblot of cameras for 99p + £3.50 p&p
    • Effectively 19p + 70p
  • Can’t sell in case illegal
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