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The uninspiring Chinon CS 35 mm SLR camera

This is a Chinon CS 35 mm film SLR fitted with a Chinon 50 mm f/1.7 lens which was made in Japan sometime in the 1970s.

I remember the Chinon camera range being sold in the Dixon’s high street chain along with Miranda (made by Cosina – not the real Miranda) and Prinzflex (which was a Zenit), and I remember them being towards the top of the Dixon’s line up. Admittedly, top of the range in Dixon’s line up is not necessarily a sign of good quality!

Pictures of the Chinon CS

Chinon CS Description

Ignoring the somewhat flippant comment in the paragraph above this camera is a quite solid if somewhat uninspiring unit. It’s quite weighty and has a pretty loud ‘clunk’ when the shutter is released.

One part of the camera which is quite nice is the lens which was supplied. It’s a 50 mm f/1.7 unit with an M42 screw thread mount – in fact, the CS in the camera’s title refers to ‘Chinon screw’ mount.

I will probably try the lens on my Sony Nex, because these standard lenses are often of quite good quality – that is certainly the case with my Minolta 50 mm f/1.7 and Pentax 50 mm f/1.7.

One slight oddity is that there are a couple of blanked out holes in the top cover near the rewind crank and in front of the film advance lever. I guess these were probably used on a more advanced model in the Chinon line up, and they just used the same components.

The light meter fitted drives a fairly standard meter needle which appears in the viewfinder and is activated with a switch mounted on the side of the lens mount. As the meter is turned on, the lens is stopped down and the shutter speed and aperture can be adjusted until the needle sits in the middle of a small rectangle with a + and – to indicate over and under exposure. I was surprised to find that the light meter on my copy of the camera seems to work, so the PX625 mercury cell fitted to it must still have some life in it.

Although the metering is done with the lens stopped down, the focusing can be carried out at full aperture, with the lens being stopped down as the shutter is released.

The viewfinder has a centre micro-prism to assist with fine focus, and a bright ground glass screen.

Chinon CS camera Specs.

  • Chinon CS 35 mm SLR
  • 1 sec to 1/1000 sec + B
  • Light Meter ISO 10 to 1600
  • 10 sec self-timer
  • Match needle metering
  • X & FP sync sockets
  • X sync hot shoe
  • Tripod mount
  • Quite weighty and solid
  • 50 mm f/1.7 M42 mount lens
  • Aperture range f/1.7 to f/16
  • Body Serial No: 421742
  • Lens Serial No: 477253
  • Manual available online here

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I’m a software developer by profession but I’ve been taking pictures since I was about 8 years old. In that time I’ve owned cameras of all types and sizes from 120 roll film thro’ 35mm to my current Pentax K-5, Ricoh GXR + P10/S10/A12 28mm/A12 50mm, Canon S95 and recently acquired Sony NEX 6.

  1. John says:

    I still have my cs from 40 years ago. I call it the t34 of cameras. It’s never let me down and you will always get a picture. You can throw it in the back of the rucksack with no worries. Tougher than the Nikon fm2. Yes.

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