5 frames with...

5 frames with a Chinon CG-5 and Vivitar 19mm & Ilford Delta 3200 – by Charles Higham

I enjoy shooting wide angle, and the wider the better. I’ve used 24mm lenses and got a lot of fun from a cheap Vivitar UltraWide and Slim camera which has a plastic 22mm lens. What I hadn’t used was an SLR with an ultrawide lens, so I recently invested in a Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 manual lens in PK mount made in the 1980s.

The Chinon CG-5 is an automatic aperture priority model with metal Seiko shutter and speeds from 1 to 1/1000 sec in automatic mode and 4 to 1/1000 secs in manual mode. The viewfinder is a match LED system and the camera has depth of field preview, a multiple exposure lever and self-timer. Chinon seem to have been a poor relation to the better known manufacturers but they shouldn’t be overlooked, not least because you can now pick them up for not much. Made in Japan, their SLRs were built down to a price, but they were usually properly designed, decently made and are often well-featured. Considering I bought it on ebay for around £10.00 it’s quite a lot of camera for the money.

When looking for a PK mount ultrawide manual lens at a budget price, for me it came down to either the Tokina 17mm f/3.5 RMC or the Vivitar 19mm f/3.8. Reviews for both were mostly positive and felt they represented good value. The Vivitar is usually cheaper and I managed to get a nice example for £69.00. Metal, solid feeling and reasonably compact, it’s f/3.8 to f/22 with a 62mm filter thread. I found it perfectly OK to use and it’s nice to have that really wide angle in the viewfinder.

The lens acquisition coincided with a delivery of some rolls of Ilford Delta 3200. This black and white film, which I hadn’t used before, is designed to be very fast and suitable for low light and night time shots. Obvious grain is what you might get, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for some images so I loaded up the Chinon CG-5 to see what happened. Looking at some of the frames I shot and I’ve not included here, I would say Ilford Delta 3200 is fine in the right situation, but it’s not intended for normal daylight use outdoors so I wouldn’t use it unless the situation is appropriate.

Another thing to be aware of is Delta 3200 can be affected by airport cabin-baggage x-ray machines. I mention it because my camera loaded with the film went through machines twice on a trip to Valencia, and some of the frames have a faint vertical stripe running through them which I’m pretty sure is due to the x-rays. I had read this might happen, although one photographer travelling with this film stated he had not experienced any problems with the scanners after multiple passes, so I felt it was worth taking a chance to see if this was actually the case. At least I now know.

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8 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Adam Singer
    March 26, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    Interesting, and proves you don’t have to do it on a Leica to get good film shots , now the one thing I missed is what ISO did you take the shots at? Most stuff I have read on Delta 3200 seldom use the box speed, and having seen what you can get this is an emulsion I am keen to use?

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Charles Higham
      March 26, 2019 at 5:29 pm

      Thanks for your comment Adam. I did some research on this point before using the film and the general recommendation seemed to be to shoot at 1600, so that’s what I did.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Khürt Williams
    March 26, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    I enjoyed reading the “5 Frames” posts. I’m in the process of building out my collecting of vintage lenses to use with my Fuji X-T2 and your posts have been a good source of information. Thank you.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Charles Higham
      March 27, 2019 at 8:17 am

      Thanks Khurt, I enjoy all the 5 frames with… posts too. It’s like having the opportunity to test the cameras and lenses yourself.

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    Reply
    fp
    March 26, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    Hello. Very nice photographs. Anyone lusting for more/better gear should read this before wasting money.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Charles Higham
      March 27, 2019 at 8:20 am

      Well thanks for your comment and I’m flattered. As has been shown many times by many people, you can get interesting shots with almost any camera.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Nigel Cliff
    March 29, 2019 at 10:05 am

    I’m a big fan of Chinon my first SLR was a CE4s in 1976 and I currently have a CE5 that I luckily got for free,I have the Vivitar 19mm and I find it a useful lens either on digital or on my A1 my only gripe being that it does lack a bit of contrast
    Were the photos taken at Kedlestone Hall by any chance

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Charles Higham
      March 29, 2019 at 8:10 pm

      Thanks for your comment Nigel. I haven’t tried the Vivitar lens on digital yet. River photo and library interior taken at Dunster Castle, Somerset. Grand Bridge photo at Blenheim Palace as well as misty view over bridge towards the palace.

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