Chinon CP-7m

This camera from 1986 is another donation. I also took this one on a trip to Manchester. I looked it over and everything seems to work, but I forgot one thing. A basic thing. The seals. The first rule of junk camera use is to check the seals. I didn’t notice these ones until I took some photos of the camera for this blog. Then I saw them.

How could I not have noticed that. The film window seal, really the only seal, is disintegrating in front of my eyes. How would that affect the photos I took in Manchester?

A massive reoccurring light leak.

Bugger. Oh well, more on that later. Did you see the battery compartment? This camera takes either four AA batteries or one 2CR5. How convenient is that? Plus there is a switch for multiple exposures. Not only that, you can attach a cable release and set the timer for interval shots. Pretty impressive.

Apparently, this is also the only Chinon that uses the K-Mount lenses in fully automatic mode. I used this one in P mode with a Chinon 28-50mm lens for the test film. I have not seen a 28-50mm lens before, it is a really useful choice. I hope it is sharp. The grip was covered in a white leather due to the original owner covering a sticky patch. It made the camera more comfortable to hold. 

 Apart from the now obvious seal issue, I really liked this camera. It has enough features to make it interesting, but not too many that is is confusing. Plus the layout is really easy to understand. And the test shots?

Due to the resulting fogging, I cropped some of the photos to a square format. That way you can observe the photos without being distracted by the light leak. Shame though as I really like some of the shots I got and I met some interesting characters. The guy in the hat standing quite proudly was someone I approached and asked to pose for me. I have done that before, but it always leaves me a little surprised by myself. Surprised I did it, surprised they said yes. He was great and super polite. He really owned the alley 🙂 I took a photo on my phone just to be sure I got the shot as I had not used the camera before. I am glad that I did that. Though, my phone camera glass was cracked too…super photographer I am, everything is falling apart.

The lens cover on my phone camera is cracked, but I still managed to get this shot. Thanks random guy,

As for the Chinon shots. I used Fuji Acros 100 pushed to 400. The exposure settings are spot on for the most part, but the lens is a little soft for my liking. So after fixing the seals, I tried another film. I used a film I thought was damaged as I still wasn’t sure about the film door seal. I don’t like using lots of tape on a camera, they should just work without too many fiddly adjustments. The film I used was a Fomapan I had tried in a 126 adapter. I suspected it had been covered by my fingerprints or scratches, but as this was a light leak test those issues didn’t matter.

Here are the results of that test.

What is it!! I changed the seals, where is that light coming from??…let me check.

As you can see the light from the torch shines through the edges of the seal material I chose for the film door. This must be where the light gets on the film. So I tried the camera one last time. I usually don’t try a camera 3 times, but I like this one. I am not giving up on you mighty Chinon. This time I put a lot of tape on that section and around the back of the camera.

Nothing is getting through that. If there are more light leaks then it is coming from somewhere else, somewhere from the depths of Mordor.

And the final film results.

Yes, finally. Ok I will change the seals on the film door again with thicker material. This film was an Agfa 200 that I got from Poundland when they used to sell it, I miss that cheap film score. The camera and lens performed really well this time and the back lit nettles are particularly well exposed.

I have seen this camera for sale really cheaply on eBay. If you are looking for a motorized SLR, this is a good choice due to all the cool features.

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