Chinon Genesis II (GS-8)

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by jdm_von_weinberg, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. Chinon Genesis II (GS-8)

    Kadlubek Nr. CHI0316

    Another late 80s to early 90s auto-focus, auto-exposure SLR 'bridge camera' with a fixed Chinon 35-80mm with some 'macro' capability.

    Chinon Genesis II was the second model Genesis SLR 'bridge' model, the first being the Genesis GS-7 of 1988. I had been looking for the original model, but this is quite similar, and I grabbed it when it was offered. There was a Genesis GS-7 model offered a few days later on eBay, but I decided not to bid on it. Probably one copy of Genesis is enough in one household. They sell for very low prices on eBay, but the original price was $300 in 1990 US dollars.

    Here is the ad for the original model from Modern Photograph of December, 1988.

  2. The camera is very much like the Ricoh Mirai that I recently reported on ( ) in appearance and function, except that it is simpler and less capable of photographer-control than the Mirai.

    Here is the Genesis II (GS-8) model:
  3. When I first turned the camera on, it popped up the flash (it does that and, although there is a way to turn flash off, most pictures are meant to be taken using fill flash). The LCD screen on top, lit up for a few seconds, blinked and went dead. Looked in Butkus's html>pdf manual, and found out that the battery was too low for the camera to function. So I put in another 2CR5 battery, got further down the road, but that one turned out to be weak as well, so finally with a 'new' battery everything came alive. I could see there was some film in the camera, so I shot a few pictures to see if it was working, but then noticed that the frame counter still read '0'. Opened up camera, and sure enough the film was probably the rewound last roll shot with it and for once, I didn't try to shoot it again in my unfortunately long series of double exposure films.

    My D-76 developer is very old, probably no longer working well, and I didn't have any 35mm color except for some ancient color-infrared (E-4 process, good luck with that) and some other extinct slide film, so I stuck in a roll of slightly outdated Ilford XP-2 -- a C-41 B&W film. I got a huge batch of this free at my photo-collective, and this is third from the last roll left.

    In the instructions manual, Chinon does not actually recommend against slide film, but clearly there are limitations on the AF-AE capabilities in that regard. Nowadays, I hardly ever shoot slide film (warm dark room, click-click-click, gentle snoring from audience), so not a problem for me.

    Here are some shots from my test roll.

    First, a section of architectural screen on my carport (even where there used to be garages here, they've been converted into faculty home offices). This was handled pretty well by the autofocus, I thought. The AF is an active infrared system like that on many contemporary point-and-shoot AF cameras.

  4. Then a picture of the local coffee/bread/internet shop's ceiling, showing the 35mm minimum focal length, and the 80mm maximum focal length.

  5. My someday-to-be-a-seasonal-series of my neighbor's flagpole and house is next. The second shot is the "artist at work" reflected in my front door glass.
  6. Finally, my neighborhood is diverse, but under my carport, it is kind of waspish (with the built-in fill or not flash, as all of them are). All the other pictures show the full frame, but the wasp is cropped.

    The last of my pictures taken yesterday on the Genesis II is a fairly complicated image for this kind of AF - a yucca plant in bloom with lots of other detail around. The Genesis did well again.
  7. That's it, folks.
    A post of the found film which I got with the camera will soon follow.
  8. The "Found Film" post is at
  9. I love how they describe 80mm as capable of "distant telephotos" in the ad.
  10. As you can see, the range is not so huge by modern standards, but in 1988, everyone described the 35-135mm zoom range on the Ricoh Mirai as being extreme - and that was not just the ad copy writers. Times change.
    Imagine what they'd have made of an 18-300mm or so.
  11. Nice results, JDM. At the time of this camera 35-80 was a typical starter zoom focal length for SLR's and had replaced the usual 35-70 in most models. So a "bridge camera" with a 35-80 made sense for the time. The hybrid active/passive AF system solved a lot of problems that occurred when only one system was used.
  12. Great résumé, JDM. Since I had absolutely nothing to do with this genre of cameras at the time of their creation, I have an ongoing sense of discovery after I've paid my five bucks and one turns up at the door. This Chinon is one I've not encountered in the flesh, but the results look pretty much as the makers would have intended. Thanks for a very readable and interesting post.
  13. As always, thanks for sharing. I was thinking that the 'M' on the button labeled "M. Exp" meant 'manual', but instead it means 'Multiple'. Oh well. At least there is the BLC button, and unlike with most P&S I imagine you can actually see where it's going to focus.
    They should have used someone with larger hands int their ad--it doesn't look all that small there.
  14. Never owning a bridge camera, these are all interesting to me. Always something new to learn here on Pnet. Thanks for the article, JDM.
  15. JDM,
    I wasn't able to find a test of this camera but I did find an introductory article by Herb Keppler that discusses the original Genesis and the Olympus version.
    Here is page 1.
  16. Here is page 2.
  17. Here is page 3.
  18. Here is page 4.
  19. Here is page 5.
  20. Thanks Marc.
  21. I should give credit. This article was from the May 1988 issue of Popular Photography.
  22. JDM,
    I found a nice, complete test of the Ricoh Mirai camera. I posted it Mirai post.
    Here is the link for those interested.
  23. I bought a Genesis II from a pawnbroker in Edinburgh about 15 years ago and popped a film in it and got very disappointing results. So it got put on a shelf and forgotten about. A few months later I got another film back and the results were also disapointing - this time from a different camera.
    I dug out the negs from the Chinon and scanned these in - they were fine. The next film I shot went to a different lab with much better results. I'll name and shame the first lab because they are not around anymore - Photo Factory in Dunfermline. This was a valuable lesson - it taught me most one hour labs employ chimps with minimal knowledge of anything photographic.
    As for the Genesis II - I used this quite a lot for a couple of years with nice results. It was a terrific camera from the point of view of handing to the children of my friends. They would mill around at social getogethers and get some great pics because adults had no problems posing for kids. Finally I gave the camera to a friend's son as a birthday present because he was using the camera almost all the time.
    A few years later I bought a later Genesis model - much better spec'd but nothing like as nice to use. More seemed to be less.
  24. Much later:
    Other posts done by me on "Bridge Cameras" here at
    Bridge Cameras posts

    Yashica Samurai X3.0 (1987 or 1988) -
    left-handed" Samurai -

    Chinon Genesis II (GS-8) 1990 - ,

    Ricoh Mirai - an 1988 modern AF film camera -

    Canon T50 (as Bridge) -

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