Chinon CE-3 Memotron. Any good?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by christos_theofilogiannakos, May 15, 2012.

  1. I'm considering this camera as an Aperture-Priority AE camera for my M42 lenses. How is build quality compared to Pentax Spotmatic F, Yashica TL Electro X and Fujica ST605N? (My main usable M42 cameras, none of which has an AE mode). It comes with an 1.7/55 MC Auto Chinon lens which i haven't used in the past. How does it compare with the SMC Takumar / Yashinon DS-M or the Fujinon (not EBC) of same focal length / max aperture? What's the difference from the CE or CEII earlier models? I also looked at the Fujica AZ-1 and the Yashica Electro AX, but i get mixed vibes for these cameras (although few actual users' opinions)
  2. Back in the '70's, Chinon was regarded variously as no-name junk. I think it might have had a poorly conceived name, which sounds too much like "Chinese." However, looking back at the camera now, it doesn't look so bad. The vertical metal shutter is particularly interesting. FAIW, I had a Honeywell Pentax H1, a Spotmatic F, and a Praktika LB back then, and I still have them. Both of the Pentaxes have rubberized silk shutters and have mild shutter issues now. The Praktika has a vertical metal shutter, which is tough as nails and just keeps on clicking.
    Please report back if you buy this camera. I've never actually seen one.
  3. A while back I won an auction, which for $75 includes a Pentax K1000, a Ricoh TLS, A Konica Autoreflex TC, a Yashica FX-70, and a Cinon Memotron CE II. They all work, mostly, and the Memotron is one of my favorites. I think it's a pretty good camera for its age. It's also so inexpensive I wouldn't hesitate to take it anywhere, although it's by far the heaviest of the lot. The "Memotron" feature lets you lock exposure, which can be handy.
    Comparing it to my ST605n it's got a faster shutter speed, and aperture priority, but it's much bigger. The Chinon lenses are ok but I prefer the EBC Fujinons. I do prefer the way the Memotron meters compared to my Spotmatic.
    No direct experience with the 3 version, but hope this helps.
  4. I briefly handled a Chinon CX a few months ago (just played with it, didn't actually take any photos) and it felt quite sturdy, yet i let it go due to light meter issues (way off). The one i'm interested in is quite nice-looking (black) and supposedly in very good condition, but i too have heard that the chinons were considered 2nd class cameras (but so were the M42 Yashicas and Fujicas which i really enjoy using. Perhaps compared to the CanoNikons of that era?). Feature-wise it seems quite capable, but i care mostly about build quality and lens optical/mechanical performance compared to the AZ-1 or the Electro AX and their respective lenses. The Spotmatic ES looks capable too but i've only come across expensive and battered examples so far.
  5. I may be wrong, but I think some of the Chinon's had a fast response meter (maybe silicon) that stopped the lens down as shutter release was partially pressed for metering and then quickly released shutter. Almost as convenient as open aperture.
  6. I don't have any Chinon cameras, but it is interesting, just to show that there are Chinon fans out there, that Butkus's wonderful manuals site apparently started as a Chinon support site. Look at the url for the home page:
  7. Ha, good call JDM. I had always noticed that when I used Butkus's site and wondered about it. And just to throw this out there, but supposedly some of the Auto Chinon lenses where made by Tomioka.
  8. Actually, having given the matter some deep thought, I realized that I not only have got one Chinon SLR, but actually posted on it. I may, perhaps, be forgiven for not thinking of it as a 'normal' camera, though, as it is a 'bridge' camera, the Genesis:
  9. JDM, that's a truly disturbing camera. I think I want one!
    ralf_j. likes this.
  10. The Genesis is a nice camera, in fact, but of the similar contemporaries, I personally preferred the Ricoh Mirai ( ) best. If you go for the latter (and all of these bridge models such as the Genesis and Samurai are pretty much dirt cheap) be sure to get the original SLR model, not the later viewfinder versions. They are all autofocus, although like most of the early AF models, the speed is not hugely fast.
  11. I've had 3 Memotrons, one each of the Chinon branded version, GAF L-ES version, and the Sears 2000ES version, which I kept.
    They are indeed big cameras, with a 1/2000 shutter speed, and autoexposure with any M42 lens. And Mike, the metering works just as you describe. Also they will take a 28L lithium 6V battery, available anywhere. I really enjoy using mine!
  12. I had a dreadful 28/2.8 Chinon lens as a teenager so I have always been wary of that name. A friend who did medical photography set up a bunch of rigs for close-up work and used one of the Memotron models. It had an interesting databack at a time when not many other camera makers had anything quite like it. Based on the time period, it probably used LEDs. Somewhere I have a very simple M42 mount Chinon SLR. It was missing its shutter button when I got it and Greg Weber put on a button from a Konica Autoreflex T or T2.
  13. I have a Chinon CE-3 Memotron (1977-78?) amongst a few other Chinons and it's rather more compact than some of the full size Chinon M42 mount cameras. Slightly smaller in size to Pentax Spotmatic and about the same weight due to a lot of metal in its body. Other Chinons with similar body but differing features include CM-1, CM-3, Revueflex SC-1. There's also a Chinon AM-3. These cameras look well made and appear durable. More features I'd say than the most recent Pentax Spotmatics that were made until 1976. Chinon seemed to like black bodies so maybe it was their standard finish with this and some other series.
    The earlier M42 Chinon lenses I have seem seem fairly hefty and maybe Tomioka had a connection with the lens elements, especially the 55mm and possibly some of the wide angle lenses. The newer M42 lenses to include 50mm f1.7 seem to have cut some corners (less metal?) in order to reduce weight and size and I'm guessing Chinon was the manufacturer. Personally I prefer the M42 Pentax lenses for their well known performance and build quality.
    There was a Chinon CS-3 (1980) about same size as those mentioned above with Seiko vertical metal shutter (AM-3, CM-1 & CM-3 had same shutter) but it has much more plastic in its construction. I think that was one of the last M42 mount Chinons.
  14. Anybody has any experioence with the Yashica Electro AX or the Fujica AZ-1? They are my alternatives for M42 Aperture priority AE.
  15. JDM von Weinberg [​IMG][​IMG], May 15, 2012; 05:15 p.m.
    The Genesis is a nice camera, in fact, but of the similar contemporaries, I personally preferred the Ricoh Mirai ( ) best. If you go for the latter (and all of these bridge models such as the Genesis and Samurai are pretty much dirt cheap) be sure to get the original SLR model, not the later viewfinder versions. They are all autofocus, although like most of the early AF models, the speed is not hugely fast.​
    I have the Samurai and the AF is fine outdoors, but lethargic at best indoors. It's a half-frame camera as well. Nice enough lens and takes nice pictures, but man.... it takes forever to get through a 72 exposure roll. :)
  16. From what I have read, the Yashica Electro AX (1972-75) was not very successful compared to other competing camera brands with similar or even better features. The few I have seen did not have functioning meters / LEDs.
    I always liked the compact size and ergonomics of the Fujicas to include ST605, ST705 and AZ-1. Shutters seem to be relatively trouble free. Nice bright viewfinders, very good lenses. AZ-1 (1978) originally available with a zoom lens but is often seen now with normal lens.
    Yashica made a lot of good cameras and they had some exceptionally good lenses but AX apparently was not one of their best efforts. AX also used a less common battery.
  17. i have a Chinon! It's a wonderful camera.. good enough to have been used in Fake Nikon F3. Yes! I seen some coming from Singapore..The metering is excellent, the shutter smooth and its a joy to use. Mine on a street sale for $10 incl. a 50mm Ricoh 50mm f1.8 lens. The lens is 52mm filter and so my Pentax and Cosina zoom all have same filter when i go out.. My Pentax 50mm plastic mount is worn out..
    i have really enjoyed the camera. It is fragile. It is not a Nikon F3.
    would i buy it again even for more? Yes. yes.
  18. The Yashica TL ElectroX is also a great M42 camera, the Fujica ST models are also a nice alternative, hard to go past a good Spotmatic F though!
  19. I own three working Electro-Xs (my favorite SLR style-wise), one ST605N and a Spotmatic F, but none of these have aperture priority AE which suits me well, as the cameras i find my self using most of the time are my Yashica Electro G and my Olympus OM (-2 and -30) SLRs in aperture priority semi-auto. As I own many M42 (esp FSU) lenses, i'd like to have a M42 camera with that option too, hence the question in the first place.
  20. I have started using a CE-II and love the meter system ...when it works! It drops out, needle down although green battery check lamp is on. Wiggling the ASA dial seems to bring it back to life. Any ideas where to look inside to fix it?

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