I love old, retro, vintage (whatever you want to call them) cameras. They hark back to a time when photography was more coveted than it is today I think. What I mean is, these days anyone can take a very decent photograph on a smartphone (I know this as I took these photos in this blogpost on my iPhone 7 (haters gonna hate). And No, calm down, of course this doesn’t necessarily make everyone a “photographer”. My point is it’s MUCH more accessible these days and you don’t even have to think how to take a photo. I also like to think about what sort of “things” – subjects, people, epic historical events, these cameras might have seen (slowly drifts into daydream land…), the history they documented for their previous owners…especially some of the REALLY old ones (oldest on the blog is here, but I have some folding pocket cameras dating back to the 1890s).Our good friend Julia, from JUAL Clothing, gave me a call to say they had found a couple cameras which belonged to her father whilst clearing their loft in preparation for moving home. Knowing I collect retro/vintage cameras she messaged me to ask if I would like them to add to my collection – which, incidentally, is getting quite substantial now so if anyone knows of another display cabinet please get in touch!
Chinon CM-4s + Chinon 28-50mm f/3.5 & Prinzflex 35-70mm f/3.5
The CM-4 is a fully manual SLR from Chinon released around 1980. It’s shutter speeds go up to 1/1000.
The metering for this retro beauty is something I hadn’t come across before and is based around a 3 LED system. A green one for correct exposure, and two red ones which indicate over or under exposure (yay, easy peasy lemon squeezy). My only other (working) 35mm slr’s have different metering, the earlier, Pentax Spotmatic (which works with a needle in the viewfinder) and my Canon 650 (or 620, can’t remember) – a massively popular, cold war/bomb proof camera which I think was actually the first EOS EF fitment camera with a design so 80s it literally shits shoulder pads and rubik’s cubes, but I digress. Back to the Chinon; these meter LED’s are placed outside the viewfinder, but it is possible to see them while focusing but means you have a uniquely clear view finder. Choosing either a different aperture or shutter speed will have an instant effect on the LED’s like modern slr metering does.
It takes 2 LR44 batteries, which as you can see, are a corroded showing they’re definitely past it so I need to get a couple of those to see if the metering functions work.
The difference between the Chinon CM-4 and 4s is the additional a self-timer on the 4s. If you ever see a CS-4, this is identical to the CM-4 but with M42 screw mount instead of Pentax K-mount. You can read more about the Chinon CM-4s here.
The Halina 3000 is the metered version of the 1000/2000, released around 1974. It’s retro styling is stunning which is so popular again now! It has a fixed focal length 45mm f/2.8 to f/16 lense with shutter speeds ranging from 1/30-1/250 sec + Bulb mode.
The camera has a battery free selenium metering system. Unlike more advanced cameras like the Olympus Trip 35, this doesn’t control the exposure automatically and simply gives the user a reading which you use to set the camera manually (Uncoupled metering). The needle meter on top of the camera gives a Light Value (LV) reading (in essence a EV at 100asa reading).
Setting the exposure on this vintage camera is so easy a child could do it. On the lens barrel between the aperture and shutter speed setting there is a Light Value (LV) window. To set the exposure you only have to move the aperture and shutter speed settings until you get the metered LV value in this window (a slide on the bottom of lens allows you to adjust for film speeds). This simple system was pretty common with uncoupled metered cameras in the 1950’s to 60’s.
You can read more about the retro Halina 3000 here.
Both cameras are fantastic pieces and I can’t wait to fire some film through each of them!
Thankyou to Julia for them!