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  1. #1

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    Chinon 35mm SLRs

    Hi,
    Yesterday I was given a Chinon CS to look over with a view to a colleague's daughter using it for an 'A' level photography course. I will admit to never having previously had any dealings with Chinon equipment, having seen it for sale in my youth in Dixons shops, who also sold the dubious Prinz branded photographic goods, and therefore given it a wide berth in favour of Pentax kit. However, when I had a look at this CS I wondered whether Chinon deserve a better place in the photographic league.
    Small and light it most certainly isn't, yet the controls feel substantial - the shutter speed dial rotates with convincing clicks, the film advance has a robust feel and the match-needle metering is clear and positive. It's one of the few cameras I've come across where the delayed action mechanism doesn't sound as if it's struggling, and a nice touch is that on setting the DA going the first thing that happens is that the mirror flips up so that vibration is minimal when the shutter opens ten seconds later. The TTL meter has an "out of range" indicator that appears in the viewfinder (as opposed to the contemporary Spotmatic's minute red dot on the top plate).
    The camera in question has lived in a cupboard for fifteen years and seems to have led a hard life prior to that, yet seems none the worse apart from needing new seals (as do most of that vintage). Information about Chinon on the web is not that plentiful, but for a total learner this fully manual, match needle metering camera would seem to be a good bet.
    Has anyone else any experience of Chinon and would care to comment?

    Best wishes,

    Steve

  2. #2

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    I own a Chinon CE-4 and love it. The feature set is like that of a Pentax ME Super, but with added exposure lock and depth of field preview.



    Chinon is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Kodak.

    That's about all I know.

  3. #3

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    I used to have a Chinon CS. It was, I think, the first M42 body I bought when I got into film photography about 8 or 9 years ago. I liked it very much. I recently picked up a Spotmatic II [I sold the CS years back] and it doesn't seem noticeably superior to the Chinon.

  4. #4

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    Mike Butkus is a Chinon fan, and his camera-manual website has what looks to me like manuals for every possible model of these cameras:
    http://www.butkus.org/chinon/chinon.htm

  5. #5
    olleorama's Avatar
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    I was given a CM, with a couple of M42 lenses. The house itself is robust and gives a sense of reliability. The lenses, which are third party, are usually a bit soft in the edges when shot all open. A few stops down they are good though.

  6. #6

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    We had a CE4 here for some time, always seemed like an easy to use well made camera, body a bit short for my hands so wife used it a lot, never any problems with it and like wise it had sat around in a drawer for years- gave it to brother in law , still going strong - CE4 is PK mount, i think CM an aerlier model so probably even better made - the CE has a plastic base cover.

  7. #7
    Vincent Brady's Avatar
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    Does it relly matter what camera a beginner starts with? The object is to learn about photography and not worry about what camera you are using.

    TEX

  8. #8
    Brac's Avatar
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    I think the object of the question was to glean comments about the reliability of the Chinon brand, so to my mind it's a very sensible enquiry.

  9. #9

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    My CE-4 has a metal base cover....maybe there was more than one version.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by TEX View Post
    Does it relly matter what camera a beginner starts with? The object is to learn about photography and not worry about what camera you are using.

    TEX
    IMHO yes, it matters very much.
    The beginner had previously been offered an immaculate Olympus OM10. Nothing wrong with that as a camera, but the exposure is automatic and in order to play all the tunes on it, such as forcing long or short shutter speeds, using exposure compensation, etc. you really need to grasp the basics by having learned on a fully manual camera with or without a built-in meter. The said OM10 actually came with the manual adaptor but even that combination takes a bit of getting your head around if you're new to the game.
    As the subsequent poster Brac states, the point of the query was in regard to the quality of Chinon (and whether I'd been missing something all these years!) It looks as if this will be a good camera with which to learn, as would an OM1, Pentax Spotmatic, Praktica Super TL/LTL etc and many other basic SLRs which can nonetheless produce good results in the right hands.

    Thanks for everyone's comments.

    Steve



 

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