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Chinon CE Memotron SLR – A Hidden Jewel

Chinon CE Memotron

The Chinon CE Memotron was not made by one of the big well known manufacturers like Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon or Leica and can be therefore purchased these days for very small money.

The Chinon CE Memotron

What makes the Chinon CE Memotron special, is the fact that it is one of the rare SLR cameras which works with almost every M42 SLR automatic lens in aperture priority mode. Every lens which has the small metal pin at the back for the automatic aperture will work with the camera in automatic (aperture priority) mode. With the shutter release pressed down half way, the meter reading can be stored/locked (that’s where the name memotron comes from) by pushing another button on the side of where the lens is mounted. Due to the involved mechanics, the shutter release has a quite long travel way which might be the only drawback of the camera.

Very well made

The camera is very well made with a brass top plate underneath the black paint. If you hold the camera in your hand, you can feel the quality since it is more on the heavy side.

The electronic shutter of the camera features speeds from B, 1 sec up to 2000/sec and a switch close to the shutter release button enables double exposures with disengaging the film advance gear.

The film advance lever has a very nice gear transmission ratio which leads to a short and distinct travel way.

Focusing with the viewfinder is easy due to the possibility to focus with open aperture when using automatic lenses.

All the nice M42 lenses

As much as I like the Bessaflex because of its tiny size and bright viewfinder, it has a big issue with several lenses where the rear element is hitting the mirror. The Chinon has not such problems. The camera just accepts each and every M42 lens and works flawless with them. …and there are some fantastic M42 SLR lenses being made!

Currently I use the following lenses with the Chinon aka Revueflex 5000EE aka Porst Reflex M-CE:

  • Pentax Super Takumar 50/1.4
  • Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.4
  • Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 135/3.5 MC

Pros

  • Works with all M42 lenses
  • Aperture Priority Mode with almost all automatic M42 lenses
  • Meter lock switch
  • Fantastic solid built quality (brass)
  • Double Exposure Button
  • Nice short defined film advance
  • Up to 1/2000 shutter speed
  • Very reasonable priced on the second hand market

Cons

  • Long shutter release travel way
  • Dependent on battery

Example Shots (Super Takumar 1.4/50 on APX100)

The Chinon CE Memotron Camera Series

There are three different types of the Chinon Memotron available. The CE, CE II and CE III. Below I’m giving a short overview of the similarities and differences of the cameras.

Common Features

  • M42 Screw Mount
  • Focal Plane Vertical Metal Blade
  • Multi Exposure Lever
  • Viewfinder: SLR pentaprism, Speeds Scale and Exposure Indicator Needle are visible in viewfinder
  • Hotshoe + dual PC M X sockets
  • AE Memory Button (Memotron): for holding the metered exposure in memory, on the lower left side of the lens mount, for this: in Auto mode, depress the shutter in half-way for metering then press and lock the Memory Button, then release the shutter on another frame composition

Chinon Memotron CE

  • 2 – 1/2000 seconds shutter speeds
  • Dual Silicon Blue Cell (SBC) TTL Center Weighted meters
  • 760 gr body weight
  • PX28 6v Silver-Oxide or Alkaline equivalent battery
  • 145 x 97 x 54.5 mm
  • ASA 25-3200

Other branding: GAF L-ES, Sears 2000, Revueflex 4000EE

Manual: https://www.butkus.org/chinon/chinon/ceii-metrotone/chinon_ce_memotron.pdf

Chinon Memotron CE II

  • 2 – 1/2000 seconds shutter speeds
  • Dual Silicon Blue Cell (SBC) TTL Center Weighted meters
  • Battery: 1x 4SR44 (6v silver oxide)
  • 760 gr body weight

Other branding: GAF L-ES/2, Revueflex 5000 EE, Revueflex 4004,  Porst Reflex M-CE, Alpa SI 2000, Argus CR-3E

Manual: https://www.butkus.org/chinon/chinon/ceii-metrotone/ceii-memotron.htm

Chinon Memotron CE III

  • Smaller Body than the CE and CE II
  • Seiko MFC-ES, stepless electromagnetic focal plane metal shutter, vertically travelling shutter with speeds from 4 to 1/1000. Manual: B, X, 4 to 1/1000.
  • Viewfinder: Eye-piece blind feature: a lid closes by a small lever, just left to the prism
  • Exposure meter: TTL CdS meter, two cells, centre weighted, aperture priority automatic exposure control
    • Auto exposure range: EV 1-18, at 100 ASA
    • Auto Exposure compensation feature: -1/2x to +2x EV, 1/3 F-stop increments
    • Metering is possible in Auto and Manual modes
  • Battery: 3v, two silver oxide 1.5v, eg.G13/S76, (accepts lithium Kodak K58L or two alkaline, eg. LR44)
  • External motor drive socket and connections: on the bottom plate
  • Body Dimensions: 140×88×50mm.
  • Body Weight: 620g.

Other branding: Revueflex AC 1

Manual: https://www.butkus.org/chinon/chinon/ce-3-illus/chinon_ce-3.pdf

Ressources

http://anusf.anu.edu.au/~aab900/photography/cameras/chinon.htm

http://blog.bkspicture.com/review_Chinon_CEII_Memotron.html

http://www.mieeckman.com

CHINON CE II_power

Please feel free to correct provided information and let me know if you know more Chinon CE Memotron re-branded cameras in the comments.

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