Introduced in 1994, the Sure Shot WP-1 is a fully automatic weather proof camera that looks like a toy but preforms surprisingly well.
The WP-1 is a truly automatic camera. Even the ISO is automatically set by the DX reader in the camera. You get to pick: off, flash, no flash, auto flash or macro. Oh and you still get to frame the shot and push the red button. Focus, don't be silly, the camera has that too.
What do you get for giving up all that control? You get a weather proof camera that looks like a toy but delivers surprisingly good images. It is large for a point and shoot but that is because it is basically a camera inside a sealed housing. It feels very sturdy, like it could take some abuse and not need to be babied on your next adventure.
The WP-1 may also be a waterproof camera, or not. Canon produced a camera call the Sure Shot A-1 for the Americas (Prima AS-1 in Europe and Autoboy D5 in Japan). They were sold as waterproof up to 16.4 feet or 5 meters. The WP-1 looks almost the same as the A-1. The only notable differences are the red grip on the WP-1 is black on the A-1 and the macro symbol is a fish on the A-1 and a flower on the WP-1. I found a manual for both the WP-1 and the A-1 online. The WP-1 manual (printed in 1996) clearly says that the WP-1 is splash proof but not intended for underwater use. The A-1 manual (printed in 1993) says it is safe down to 5 meters of 16.4 feet. I also found people on the net who say they are the same camera, one entry even claimed to have verified this with a Canon rep. There are also, photos by people who used the WP-1 underwater. So what is the deal?
Are they different cameras? My WP-1 was made in China and the PDF of the manual says it was printed in China. The A-1 PDF says that manual was printed in Taiwan and some of the A-1 on eBay show make in Taiwan. Did production shift and the water proof integrity change? Were they different cameras targeted for slightly different use? Were they having problems with flooding so they backed off the specifications and claim? At the online Canon Museum they list the A-1 (and regional varieties) but make no mention of the WP-1. If anyone know the real story, let me know.
Despite looking like a toy, I really like this camera. There is just something friendly and appealing about it. I shot my test roll on a rainy day in Seattle with no concern about the weather. Even seting it in a puddle for a few shots. I also, took it on a ski trip. The WP-1 is not a pocket camera but I did not worry about falling on it (other than maybe breaking a rib) or dropping it in the snow. The large view finder and knobs worked with googles and ski gloves.
Image quality is good for what it is and better than I expected. The autofocus is not alway perfect especially if there is rain on the camera. But as good as my focus most of the time. It went in the pool and hot tub without issue but never very deep. Is it submergible, I don't know but will take it to the beach or pool and use it underwater. If it floods, oops. If you use your in the water, remember to keep the seal in good shape.
I think this may become my goto water/rain camera. They are not that expensive so I won't feel the need to protect it. Sometime expendability is a beautiful thing.
Lens: fixed Canon 32mm f3.5
Film: FujiColor 100