My interest in zone/scale focus compacts and auto focus point and shoot cameras partly originates from Andy Warhol's casual use of the early auto cameras in the 1970s and 1980s.
A number of misconceptions have arisen over the years regarding this particular part of Warhol's photography.
One prevailing myth is the art historical overemphasis of his use of the Polaroid Big Shot and Minox camera. In fact, while the Big Shot was a very important camera in his oeuvre, he also made use of a wide range of early point and shoots from Canon, Chinon, Olympus and many more.
Minox never made an SLR.
Another art historian once wrote Warhol used throughout his career an autofocus Minolta SLR. Minolta did not release an AF SLR until 1985. Warhol would have used such a camera in only the last two years in his life (he died in February 1987). And indeed, we see him holding such a camera in his hands two months before his death. But it would have only covered a small period of his image production.
In short, there is a lot of misinformation about Warhol's camera use.
Note, none of these images definitively prove he used the camera in his own work. They do, nevertheless, suggest a far wider range of cameras were available to the artist.
The image above shows Warhol using an early Olympus "weather-proof" compact autofocus. The Olympus AF-1 aka Infinity laid the groundwork for Olympus's classic Infinity Stylus and Infinity Stylus Epic which all featured the ground-breaking clamshell design. The camera was available from 1986 and, like the Minolta, would have been a camera used in his later career.
Below you will also my own C35for comparison.
This post has been edited for accuracy June 3, 2018. It is one of the most popular on this blog. The fascination with the means and methods of Warhol's photography continues to fascinate people.
One of the aspects I liked best of his camera work is his penchant to hold or stand to one side of a camera, the way a photographer would with a large view camera. I believe it produced a type of connection and directorial relationship with the sitter/poser rarely captured when the shooter stands behind the behind and views the subject through a viewfinder or prism.