Chinon Screw-Mount Cameras

Chinon International Corporation, Tokyo, Japan.
Michael Butkus Jr. has a very comprehensive page about Chinon (and not only!) cameras

Chinon M-1, 1972-??

(Also Prinzflex M-1 in Japan, GAF L17 in USA)
Fixed pentaprism
Shutter: vertical metal mechanical 1-1/1000, B
Flash: standard X and F synch at 1/125, hot shoe(?)
Metering: stoped-down TTL metering
Finder: microprism spot and ground glass collar in Fresnel screen
Battery: PX625

Auto diaphragm
Instant return mirror
Self-timer
Special provision for double exposure.
Shutter speeds and battery check visible in viewfinder

Chinon CM, 1975-??

(Also GAF L-CM and Argus CR-1 in USA)
As Chinon M-1 but without battery test (?)

Chinon CX, 1974?-??

(Also GAF L-CX and Argus CR-2 in USA)
As Chinon M-1 but with depth of field preview (?)
(From Michael Allen>: I went to my mother's house the other week and found the receipt for my Chinon CX camera. It was dated Oct '74, so it must have been in full production before this date.)

Chinon CX II, 1976-??

As Chinon CX (?)

Chinon L-CS, 1976-??

As Chinon CXII but no battery check and double exposion provison.

Chinon CS, 197?-??

(Information by courtesy of Mojtaba Talaian)
Fixed pentaprism
Shutter: vertical metal mechanical 1-1/1000, B
Flash: standard X and F synch at 1/125, hot shoe
Metering: stoped-down TTL metering
Finder: ?microprism spot and ground glass collar in Fresnel screen
Battery: ?

Auto diaphragm
Instant return mirror
Self-timer

Chinon CE Memotron, 1974-??

(Also GAF L-ES and Sears 2000 in USA)
Fixed pentaprism
Shutter: vertical metal electrical 2-1/2000, B
Flash: standard X and F synch at 1/60 (?), hot shoe
Metering: stoped-down TTL metering, Aperture priority AE
Finder: microprism spot and ground glass collar in Fresnel screen
Battery: 6V A544 (Info by courtesy of Elise)

Auto diaphragm
Instant return mirror
Self-timer
AE Hold, AE compensation
(AE Exposure similar to Cosina EX-Lite)

Chinon CE II Memotron, 1976-??

(Also GAF L-ES2 and Argus CR-3E in USA)
Similar to CE Memotron, but double exposure provision and eye-piece blind.
Flash synch at 1/90.
Viewfibder image 92%
Battery: 544

Alpa SI 2000, 1977-??

As CE II Memotron, but split-image rangefinder

From Neil Walden
I own both the Chinon CEII and the Alpa SI 2000. Contrary to your description of the Alpa having a split-image range-finder, the viewfinders in both my camera have identical microprism spot focusing aids. Other differences between the two bodies are mainly minor cosmetics, except for the neckstrap attachment hardware. The Chinon has common eyelets, while the Alpa has much less convenient proprietary posts.

Chinon CE-3 Memotron, 1977-??


(also Revue AC1)
Shutter: vertical metal electrical 4-1/1000, B
Flash: standard X synch at 1/100, hot shoe
Metering: stoped-down TTL metering, Aperture priority AE
Finder: microprism spot and ground glass collar in Fresnel screen
Battery: 2xMS76

Auto diaphragm
Instant return mirror
Self-timer
Depth of field preview
Viewfinder image 95%
Has provison for auto winder PW15
Shutter lock, eye piece blind
Shutter speef visible
Battery test
Mechanical shutter speed 1/100

Chinon SLR, 1979-??

Fixed pentaprism
Shutter: vertical metal 1-1/1000, B
Flash: standard X and F synch at 1/125 (or 1/100?), hot shoe
Metering: open aperture cetre-weight TTL metering
Finder: Microprism spot
Battery: PX625

Auto diaphragm
Instant return mirror
Self-timer
Depth of field preview

Chinon CM-1, ??-??

(Information by courtesy of Chuck Brenner)
Fixed pentaprism
Shutter: vertical metal 1-1/1000, B
Flash: standard X and F synch at 1/100, hot shoe
Metering: stop-down cetre-weight TTL metering (2 silicon blue cells)
Finder: Microprism spot
Battery: 2x S76 (2x LR44)

Auto diaphragm
Instant return mirror
Self-timer
Depth of field preview (pressing the shutter release half way)
Comment: The CM-1 is more compact thant the Chinon SLR, and has the diaphragm stop down via shutter release rather than the metering stop-down of the CS and SLR. Leatherette seems better than the CS and SLR.

Chinon CM-3, 1979-??

As Chinon SLR but match LED instead of match needle.
Depth of field previw by pressing the shutter release half way
Provision for winder (2fps)
Battery: 2xMS76

Chinon CS-4, 1980-??

As Chinon CM-3 but more compact and light body; Flash synch at 1/60.
Viewfinder image 92%

From Franck Maubuisson :
I have a Revueflex AC1 which was the Chinon CE as distributed in Europe by Foto Quelle. I was presented with it in...'81 I believe (+ or - 1 year) Very reliable, I just have the foams replaced. Silicon cell, automatic or manual speeds, standard LR44 batteries. Good screen. Always gave better exposure than my Canon A1 or any other camera I tried. I have the winder and it works well too. The main problem is that the release button needs a strong pressure and the mirror slap shake the whole thing (the winder helps a lot for weight and ergonomy) better use it at 1/125 or more.

I use it with telephoto lenses needing high shutter speeds. Great with the russian 1,5/85: the weight of the lens stabilize the camera, the focusing screen allow a easy focusing.

The original 1,7/50 lens wasn't too good, i use an old Soligor 1,8/50 which came with a Soligor TM (the Soligor was well finished but not strongly built).

From Andrew Fildes: Power Winder PW-510 for Chinon CM-3 - powered by 4xAA. 2fps. Includes intervalometer with intervals of 1,2,4,8,15 and 30 seconds and preset number of frames for interval and continuous shooting - 4,8,12,16,20 or 24 frames (i.e. 24 frames over 12 minutes). Heavy mirror slap noise but it does not seem to translate to vibration much, possibly due to heavy camera weight with winder. I agree that the standard lens is poor - it looked so nasty that I immediately replaced it with a Pentax 1.4. This is new so no results yet but I do like the build quality and winder. Finish isn't as good as contemporaries like Fujica but it is solid and attractive.

I had some problems fitting Pentax lenses on my Chinon CM3 body because they didn't screw down far enough - the depth-of-field indicator was off centre. Not a serious problem until I picked up a 200mm Super Takumar for $20 the other day (YES!) and it was so short of screwing down fully that the automatic diaphragm pin didn't engage. My bellows unit was a full 45 degrees off too. So I decided to fix the problem and made 'gaskets' (ring shims) from hard, flexible black sheet plastic for all my lenses - the plastic was originally part of an old camera case divider. This allowed me to get the correct orientation one full turn up from the normal screw down position, adjusting the plastic by sanding it down until the lense fitted right. Crude, but it seems to work, especially as the Chinon has split image focussing so I know I'm in good focus. The only problems I can think of with this approach are that I may push out my close focus range (i.e. 1m minimum distance instead of 0.9m) and the scale focus markings will be slightly off. I rarely shoot wide open anyway so depth of field should compensate.

From Frank Moreau: I have owned my GAF L-17 (aka Chinon M1) for about 27 years now. It has survived a house fire some mishandling but it still functions well. The mirror slap is loud in comparison to other cameras, as is the metal shutter. The camera takes one 1.35v PX625 mercury battery which is no longer available in US. I use a PX625A which is a 1.5v replacement battery. The light meter seems to be about 1 f-stop off because of the different voltage, but I can easily compensate by centering the match needle on the high side. Some of the light seals are wearing out, probably due in part to age and the high heat in the house fire. I have had no problems with the camera at all, it has always functioned without a hitch. Sometimes the needle sticks at the bottom and I have to tap the camera, but it still takes great pictures.

From Franck Maubuisson:
- Revue 5005. (Chinon CE2 ?). very good camera. Compared to the Revue AC1 (Chinon CE3), it's heavier, has no split-field rangefinder, the viewfinder gives a little more vignetting with long lenses - still the ground glass is good. It has no exposure memory button. BUT it is much smoother than the AC1, can be used at slow speeds. Speeds are 1s to 1/2000 wich is essential with a mirror lens. I got good pics using the 1000 mm russian mirror lens on a monopod or even by hand. Meter gives under-exposed pics with the 20 mm (and only with this lens), I never understood why...

From R.Medforth:
(About Prinzflex M1 /aka Chinon M-1)
A really nice, well built camera which I bought very cheaply complete with a Prinzflex 770c computerised flashgun. Yes the camera is slow to use, but that has made me take time and think about the picture I am taking. I have found that since the mercury battery is no longer available, the use of a 1.5V silver battery alters the exposure by +2 stops. This I accomodate by changing the ISO meter setting.
All in all I am very pleased with the camera, as I use it mainly for still life and close-up photography, mainly due to the double-exposure switch making creative still-life stuff much easier.
The thing I like about the M1, is the double-exposure capability and the fact that the Cds metering may be old but it is accurate and reliable. These very manual cameras and the likes of them really get you back to basics and setting exposure, focus and so on help to aid composition. (Something sadly lacking in modern point - and shoot jobbies around today)!

From Phillip P. Dimor:
About GAF L-ES: This is a great camera. It's a bit heavy, especially with the Tomioka-made Chinon 1.4/55mm lens (Great lens!) but I like the heft. The build quality is really up there, my only problem is a broken strap lug. A great user/abuser!

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