The title is a reflection of the fact that this is essentially part 2 of my initial ‘5 Frames‘ pitch. You may have read my earlier one; the original idea was to present ten camera/film combinations but then I realised that half the cameras on review were Chinons, hence this title. I have developed a fondness for Chinon cameras (I also like Agfa) and have quite a few, from fully featured SLRs to simple point and shoots. Some of these are versions made for other companies or simply rebadged into their brands. Chinon made cameras in the guise of Sears, Hanimex, Revue, GAF, Prinz to name a few.
You may recall that my village graveyard is often a testing ground for new cameras and films, and here I present five more images. First up is a classic Chinon masterpiece, the CE Memotron, a solid and robust SLR that can operate just about any M42 lens in aperture priority mode due to its innovative exposure meter via a half-pressed shutter. When first acquired, I paired it with an equally solid lens and a classic in its own right, the Helios 58mm f2. You can see its distinctive bokeh in this first photo taken on a random roll of PanF+ which I found in the cupboard.
Frame two is on a film known as MyHeart 200. It is actually identical to the Lupus distributed Vista Plus (and therefore Fuji C200) but with an extra label stuck in top! This was shot in an AutoGX Tele, a 35mm compact with an array of sliding buttons giving you two choices of everything. First slide open the lens door. Wide angle or tele? Slide a button to 35mm or 55mm. Exposure? With a fixed shutter of 1/90th, ‘choose’ aperture by sliding the ISO switch to either 100/200 or 400/1000. Focus? Select from 1-3m or 3m to infinity. Flash? on/off via another slider. Easy, and acceptable images.
Equally basic is the 110 Pocket, a no frills all plastic, rather simple affair. But wasn’t that the point of that particular format? Apparently, it has a fixed aperture of f9.5 and shutter speeds of 1/125th for ISO100 and 1/250th for ISO400. This one came with a Supasnaps cartridge from 1991 so wasn’t expecting much. But I like the results and I like using this camera now and again.
I am less happy when using my next Chinon, the 35EE, a pocket sized rangefinder. Two main problems for me. Whereas I enjoy the big sturdy Memotron, I just can’t get to grips with this. Literally: too compact, too fiddly, hard to operate controls. In addition, whatever battery I use for the meter (and there is only auto setting), results just seem underexposed, even with Wein Cells. Luckily, it does have exposure lock so I try to take reflective readings off grassy areas turning the ISO setting until it reads something like what I think it should be before re-composing. I have selected a frame from a roll of Retropan that I ran through it as wanted to check out its characteristic rendering of mid-tones. In hindsight I should have used specialist developer and paid more attention to correct exposure.
Last up, a frame shot in a Revueflex SD1 which is quite possibly Chinon’s final M42 SLR kindly manufactured for the giant German retail house Foto-Quelle. But I want to concentrate more on the film. I accidentally bought some expired Perutz Primera and now I’m glad I did. It might be 15 years old, but I just love the results that I’m getting. It is actually rebranded Agfacolor 100/Vista 100 (the original, not the Fuji fake). I am not aware of film maturing with age like a fine wine or cheese, so just assume that Agfa once made a very gorgeous emulsion.
Thank for reading. Some of my stuff can be found at www.rocksreflex.com
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