Christopher J Osborne

Chinon CP-7m

Chinon CP-7m with a SMC Pentax-M 40mm f/2.8 lens mounted Chinon CP-7m top plate controls Chinon CP-7m top plate display
Chinon CP-7m with a Sun 35-200mm lens mounted

For a while during the 1970s and 80s the Pentax K mount was the nearest thing the camera world had to a universal bayonet lens mount. Many manufacturers made ‘knock-off’ Pentaxes with the Pentax K mount, most notably Ricoh, Cosina and Chinon. All of these cameras where considerably cheaper than a proper Pentax, but they didn’t stop at just price to tempt customers away from Pentax. They tried all sorts of unique features to differentiate themselves.

This example of the species, the Chinon CP-7m from 1986, has several interesting features. To begin with it is the only camera with a bog-standard Pentax K mount that offers a full automatic program mode. In fact it offers three of them: standard P mode, P-action mode with an emphasis towards high shutter speeds and wide apertures, and P-creative mode which goes the other way, favouring small apertures for maximum depth-of-field. It also features a built-in motor drive with automatic rewind powered by 4 AA batteries. But perhaps the most interesting features are the multi-exposure switch and the built in intervalometer which allows you to set it up to automatically take photos at intervals of between 1 second and 90 minutes.

I got this example from a car-bot sale for £15. It is in pretty nice condition. You can see it above fitted with a Pentax 40mm f/2.8 ‘pancake’ lens, but it actually came with a rather less interest Sun 35-200mm zoom lens.