Chinon CX 35mm slr camera review

This is my review of the Chinon CX 35mm SLR made by Chinon in Japan in about 1974.

Chinon CX Images

My Chinon CX Camera

I was lucky enough to be given this camera by my cousin Therese and her husband Mike when we met up for a family reunion over the summer. They discovered that I am a vintage camera collector and kindly donated this camera and some vintage lenses which are in pristine condition – thanks to them both!

Chinon CX 35mm slr with auto chinon 55mm f/1.7 lens

Chinon CX 35mm slr

The Chinon CX is a close relative of the Chinon CS which I also have in my collection. I remember at the time I wrote my post about the CS commenting that the top plate had some holes which were blanked off on that camera and that I supposed the same components were used for other cameras. Well, this is the other, more advanced camera! Both the holes in the CS are using in this model for switches and buttons.

The camera is in very good condition with everything mechanical seeming to work correctly. The one part which is difficult to reliably test is the meter because, in common with most cameras of this vintage, it uses a mercury battery which is no longer available. I did fit a modern 1.5v camera battery and there is certainly some life in the meter circuit, but I’m not certain of the accuracy.

Chinon CX description.

The CX is a fairly typical camera for the time it was produced, having all the features and specification which were common at the time. In that it is a bit unremarkable, but I remember that there were an awful lot of them sold and they were a popular make.

It is a solidly constructed, heavy camera with quite ‘heavy’ controls. By that I mean that although they are easy enough to operate, they have the feeling that you are moving large sets of cogs, rather than winding a precise machine. The shutter release also has a very loud clunky sound, reminiscent of the Zenit models which were also popular at the time.

Chinon CX 35mm slr stop down metering button and self timer

Stop down metering button and self timer

The CX has built in match needle, stop down metering which is turned on with a switch on the side of the lens barrel. The switch is in a good position to operate with the camera to the eye and can also be easily cancelled after the exposure has been set. Since the camera supports lenses with the auto aperture pin, the metering can be done at any point in the picture taking cycle because the viewfinder remains bright once the metering is concluded.

One feature the CX adds which the CS didn’t have is a switch to allow multiple exposures. This is a small lever in front of the film advance, and takes up one of the slots which the CS had but didn’t use. When this lever is pushed towards the shutter release the film advance will cock the shutter but not advance the film, allowing a second (or third etc) shot to be taken over the top of the last. Although several cameras had this feature I wonder how many people actually ever used it?

The lens mount fitted is an M42 Pentax screw thread which made it compatible with a huge number of third party lenses as well as lenses made by Chinon themselves. I would think this is one of the last Chinon cameras to use the M42 mount – newer models switched to using the K mount, as Pentax themselves did. The lens itself is a nice looking multicoated fast f/1.8 unit, with an auto/manual switch and a useful close focus of about 1ft. I’ll probably give it a test on a digital camera sometime in the next few weeks.

So overall this is a solid, heavy and dependable camera which has shown it’s reliability by still working some 40 years after it was initially bought.

Chinon CX specifications

  • Chinon CX 35mm slr camera
  • Shutter 1sec to 1/1000 + B
  • Stop down, match needle metering
  • Auto stop down aperture
  • 55mm f/1.7 Auto Chinon lens
  • ASA range 10 ASA to 800 ASA
  • Multiple exposure selector
  • Micro prism and ground glass viewfinder
  • Film type reminder
  • Hot shoe with X sync + X & M sync sockets
  • Mechanical self timer
  • Battery check switch
  • M42 screw lens mount
  • Body Ser No: 123389
  • Lens Ser No: 215476
  • Manual available on-line here


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