For a huge Japanese corporation that’s thought to be incredibly conservative, it’s easy to forget that Canon hasn’t been afraid to try out some radical designs over the years. This one is up there with the best of them: a point-and-shoot that looks like a video camera and featuring a flash where you'd never expect it.
Introduced in 1990, this bizarre device went under a couple of different names: the Epoca in Europe, the Photura in the U.S., and rather wonderfully, the Autoboy Jet over in Japan. Sitting somewhere between a point-and-shoot and a bridge camera, it has a 35-105mm zoom lens and the built-in flash — placed where no other flash has been placed before and probably since — is said to be quite powerful.
As George Muncey of NegativeFeedback explains in this short video, the resulting images are impressive and it seems that Canon didn’t cut too many corners when designing this experimental camera. The lens offers a surprisingly wide f/2.8 when shooting at 35mm, closing down to f/6.6 when zoomed in.
Canon wasn’t being entirely original with this design as the likes of the Chinon Genesis, Yashica Samurai, and Ricoh Mirai all preceded the Photura, though the Photura was the first (and only?) camera to decide on this placement of the flash, and none of the others seem to come close in terms of the lens.
Have you used a Photura? Let us know in the comments below.