Christopher J Osborne

Cosina CX-2

When Rollei launched their Rollei 35 model in 1966 they started a craze for ultra compact 35mm cameras that continued right up to the end of the film era, and, judging by the huge prices such cameras command on eBay, the present day too. In the early 1980s the ultra-compact 35mm craze was perhaps most memorably represented by the Olympus XA and the Minox 35mm cameras, the first example of which was the Minox 35EL.

Cosina CX-2 showing the focussing leave and distance scale below the lens.Cosina CX-2 showing the focussing symbols above the lens.Rather less well known these days is the Cosina CX-2 you see here. The Cosina CX-2 offered manual zone focusing (with focussing symbols both in the viewfinder and above the lens, along with a focussing scale with distances in meters bellow the lens) and fully automatic programmed exposure. You may have noticed the aperture scale to the left of the lens (when facing the camera) but don't be fooled into thinking this means the CX-2 also offers an aperture priority mode. When you move the leaver from "auto" to one of the f-numbers the shutter speed is fixed at 1/45th of a second as they were intended only to be used for flash photography.

The Cosina CX-2 was sold along side a cheaper alternative: the Cosina CX-1. The CX-2 offered the following features over and above the CX-1:

These days, the main claim to fame for the Cosina CX series is the fact that they were the inspiration for the Russian LOMO LC-A camera. Most of the controls are in exactly the same places, but the LOMO lacks the Cosina's rather elegant method for switching the camera on, unlocking the shutter release, and revealing the lens and viewfinder: you simply twist the lens cover through 90°. It really is a very satisfying and practical design.

The CX-2 was available as a set consisting of the camera, the matching CX-11 flash gun, and the CX-W autowinder. To be honest the autowinder is really very silly. I really can't imaging any CX-2 owner left it attached to their camera for more than a roll or two of film. It makes the tiny and pocket sized CX-2 into an awkward and pocket busting monster! All for the dubious benefit of winding on the film at 1 frame per second. Add the flash gun too and the svelte CX-2 goes from 225 grams to nearly 500 grams! Within a few years cameras like the Olympus Mju II would become available that would provide both built-in automatic film advance and a built-in flash and yet be smaller and lighter than the CX-2 on it's own… such is technological progress!!

Technical specification: Cosina CX-2
Type:Miniature 35mm, lens shutter, programned EE Camera.
Film Format:24mmX36mm
Lens:COSINON f:33mm F:3.5 of 3 groupes and 4 elements (CX-1)
COSINON f:35mm F:2.8 of 5 groupes and 5 elements (CX-2)
Shutter:Programed automatic shutter, equipped with built-in self-timer (CX-2)
Flash contacts:Hot shoe contacts, "X" sync. 1/45 second f/2.8-16
Viewfinder:Bright frame (Albada) type equipped with parallax compensation mark, symbol mark for focusing (CX-2), green LED battery check (illuminates when OK) and red warning LED for long-shutter speed. (illuminates when shutter speed is over 1/45 sec.), Magnification: 0.5X
Focus adjustment:Zone focus system. 4 symbol marks available in viewfinder (CX-2 only) and focusing symbol mark window. Closest shooting distance: 0.9m
Melering system:Programmed EE System with CdS
EE Coupling range: ASA 100 EV2-17
Film speed range: ASA 25 - 400 (DlN 15-27)
Power source: 2 SR44 type alkaline (or silver oxide) battery 1.5v
Film transport:rear advance (Knob) type. Arc of travel of advance knob - 360 degrees, exposure counter resets automatically, film rewind with crank system.
Special features:Auto winder adaptable for winder accessory providing film advance up to 1 fps (CX-2 only). CX-11 AUTO FLASH is available.
Weight:225g (without batteries) CX-2
215g (without batteries) CX-1