Chinon C-300 8mm projector

The Chinon C-300 is a budget, 8mm projector, capable of showing both standard 8 and super 8 films which was made in about 1976 and retailed in the UK by the Dixon’s high street store.

Chinon C-300 Images

My Chinon C-300 8mm Projector

I acquired my Chinon C-300 from eBay when I first became interested in collecting 8mm cine films. I bought it because I wanted a projector which could play both Standard 8 and Super 8 films and which had a lamp which wouldn’t cost a fortune to replace. I had originally found a Eumig 8 Dual, but had problems with it and got this as a more reliable alternative for a few pounds.

When the unit arrived I found the lamp was burned out so I had to order a replacement. The lamp fitted is a 12V 100W lamp of type A1/231 which I found I could get for only a few pounds, so I obtained one from amazon UK and fitted it to the projector.

With the new lamp fitted I found a couple of problems with the Chinon C-300; First the lamp was very temperamental and would sometimes just go out as I was showing a film and secondly the auto feed system didn’t always work, leaving films jammed in the mechanism.

The first issue turned out to be my fault. When I fitted the new lamp, I got the base socket incorrectly fitted to the lamp pins so it wasn’t properly pushed home. Once I’d worked this out and fitted it properly, the light has been consistent.

The second issue was caused by scraps of film being stuck in the pathway which feeds the take up spool. Obviously at some point in the projectors life a film had broken and bits of it were left in the plastic channel which the film runs through. Once I’d prised the channel off the projector and cleaned it, the auto feed works quite reliably.

Other than those two issues, the projector has been quite reliable and can generally be counted on to show the vintage films in my growing collection.

Chinon C-300 8mm Projector Description

The Chinon C-300 is a no frills projector with push button controls and a pretty reliable auto-feed system. I suspect it was either actually made by Bell KO-ON or Chinon made projectors for Bell KO-ON, because there are striking similarities between this model and the Bell KO-ON Magnon projector.

The body of the projector is quite compact, with the arms which hold the reels of film being foldable into a space at the top of the unit until they are raised for projecting a film.

All the controls which would normally need to be altered during film projection are available on the front of the unit but if access is needed to the film gate, a hinged panel at the front swings out allowing that.

As I said above, the C-300 has an auto-thread system which seems to be pretty reliable. You just need to feed the end of the film into the slot in the top cover, press the Forward piano key control, and once it is pulled it wait for the same end to emerge from the back of the projector where it feeds into the take up spool. Although the film will sometimes automatically catch on the take up spool, I find that it often doesn’t and needs to be helped at this point. For the auto-threading to work reliable, the end of the film needs to be cleanly cut, but to help with this there is a handy trimmer fitted to the frame of the unit, inside the front compartment.

Chinon C300 Std 8 & Super 8 projector - Controls
Controls

The Chinon C-300 has a reasonable arrangement of features allowing normal and slow motion projection of both standard 8 and super 8 film. The film format is set with a switch next to the focus knob (marked Regular and Super, left) and this needs to be set prior to threading the film.

Once the film is being projected it’s possible to change the frame rate in a couple of ways. The rotary control, just under the light housing, allows the motor speed to be changed. This would be used to set the projection speed to the same as the speed the camera ran at. There is also a lever at the bottom of the control panel which switches the gearing ratio of the motor and shows the film in slow motion. Finally, there is a lever which switches the C-300 into Still projection mode. This stops the film and displays just the image on the film at that point. Because of the heat the lamp makes, a heat filter slides down over the back of the film when this lever is used. Although this will result in the frame being slightly darker, it does stop it melting which is generally seen as a good thing!

The C-300 is fitted with a zoom lens, which means the size of the projected image can be changed without having to move the projector back & forth. This is quite an advantage; I remember my dad on our family film nights, having to spend quite some time setting the projector up, focusing, moving it back slightly and re-focusing etc to get the picture to fill the screen.

Once a film has been viewed, it can either be played backwards if the motor direction is changed before the film releases from the feed spool, or the film can be rewound quickly by threading it directly from the take up spool to the feed spool and pressing the reverse motion piano key.

Chinon C-300 In use

Below is a short video of the Chinon C-300 in use projecting an 8mm film I recently found in a tin of films of my dads. We had always thought that all the old film he shot during the 1960s and 1970s had been lost or damaged, but I found this film a couple of weeks ago and discovered it is still in pretty good condition.

Chinon C-300 Specifications

  • Chinon C-300 8mm projector
  • Projects Standard 8 and Super 8 film formats
  • Auto threading
  • Still frame projection with heat shield
  • 15 – 25mm F/1.3 zoom lens
  • Normal + Slow motion projection
  • Speed control
  • Power rewind
  • Handy film end trimmer
  • Front height adjustment
  • 12v 100W A1/213 Lamp
  • Ser No: 309594

 

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