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Chinon Bellami - best lens in its class?
Old 07-18-2019   #1
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Chinon Bellami - best lens in its class?

Got my test roll back from my new-old-stock Chinon Bellami. And quite frankly the lens on this lump has shocked me. So much so I went back onto ebay and bought a spare before people read this, news gets out and the prices sky rocket!


Fuji C200, shot into a dimly lit fire station:




100% crop:

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Old 07-18-2019   #2
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I had quite a few Chinons, the CG5 was probably my favourite. I had one of them (Bellami) also that stopped working half way the first film. Maybe I will scan a picture from that roll later on.
There is another one like this in my local charity shop for 35 - I can't make myself go and buying it.
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Last edited by p.giannakis : 07-18-2019 at 22:35. Reason: Sticky fingers
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Old 07-19-2019   #3
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Here is one. It must be around 2008 or 2009.


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Last edited by p.giannakis : 07-19-2019 at 01:37. Reason: Sticky fingers again...
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Old 07-19-2019   #4
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Old 07-19-2019   #5
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Old 07-19-2019   #6
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Many of those old school RFs or compacts with 35-40mm lenses are very decent. My favorite is still Ricoh 500g rangefinder. A mode (shutter priority) manual override, compact size, 1.7 lens, no dependence on the battery...
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Old 07-19-2019   #7
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I had no idea what the Bellami was, apart from remembering it vaguely as a kid. My curiosity was piqued when I found this unused one recently:



While many of these types of cameras have similar specs, the lens on this one far exceeds most that I have used in its class.
The thing that I really like about this type of camera is that they are much quicker, and arguably more accurate, to use than P&S cameras with AF. Set the zone focus (on the Bellami there is a green setting on the lens which in good light pretty much renders everything in focus) and shoot. Super quiet and zero lag as there is no AF mechanism making adjustments.
Fitting in the palm of my hand is a bonus, as well as having a single wind film advance lever.
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Old 07-19-2019   #8
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This thread and the ongoing discussion about AF SLRs is firing my GAS... Specially in summer where a "battle camera" to keep and use in non ideal conditions is welcome.

These results are sharp, sharper than the mju I I have!
Lens might be a tessar type? I passed on getting a Konica MT11 with similar specs... but from now on I may pick up more of the thrift stuff.
I agree on the note about AF P&S which do every now and then miss focus.


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Old 07-19-2019   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prest_400 View Post
.

These results are sharp, sharper than the mju I I have!
Of course sample variations makes it difficult to state something with certainty but my overall impression was that the mju 1 I had was just as sharp if not sharper.

Edit: the chinon has a tessar design lens, the mju is a triplet (3 elements in 3 groups)
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Old 07-19-2019   #10
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I had the original Mju (with the 3.5 lens) and the Bellami is sharper. Plus I hated the delay with the Mju! Push the button, eventually it would take a pic.
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Old 07-19-2019   #11
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Old 07-20-2019   #12
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Old 07-20-2019   #13
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One of these in good nick might give it a run for the money.



Canon MC With Flash (Open) by P F McFarland, on Flickr



Check Valve by P F McFarland, on Flickr




Log Light by P F McFarland, on Flickr



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Old 07-20-2019   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farlymac View Post
One of these in good nick might give it a run for the money.



Canon MC With Flash (Open) by P F McFarland, on Flickr



Check Valve by P F McFarland, on Flickr




Log Light by P F McFarland, on Flickr



PF
Hmm maybe to the Minolta AF-C, but not the Bellami. The first pic I posted was indoors, so the lens was wide open, and the 100% crop showed it super sharp.
Maybe you can post something similar so we can compare?
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Old 07-20-2019   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
I had no idea what the Bellami was, apart from remembering it vaguely as a kid. My curiosity was piqued when I found this unused one recently:



While many of these types of cameras have similar specs, the lens on this one far exceeds most that I have used in its class.
The thing that I really like about this type of camera is that they are much quicker, and arguably more accurate, to use than P&S cameras with AF. Set the zone focus (on the Bellami there is a green setting on the lens which in good light pretty much renders everything in focus) and shoot. Super quiet and zero lag as there is no AF mechanism making adjustments.
Fitting in the palm of my hand is a bonus, as well as having a single wind film advance lever.
Looks as good as Minox lens. Hopefully this camera is not Minox "quality".
But to be honest XA lens is just as good with C-41.
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Old 07-20-2019   #16
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The Chinon Bellami is a great camera, surprising good image quality. I had one, silly i sold it years ago, to clean my collection...
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Old 07-20-2019   #17
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The Minox 35GT and the Olympus XA both have excellent lenses. I give the edge to the Minox.
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Old 07-20-2019   #18
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The trouble with most of these p&s's etc is few of them let you know what the exposure is. So there no way you can compare lenses.


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Old 07-20-2019   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raid View Post
The Minox 35GT and the Olympus XA both have excellent lenses. I give the edge to the Minox.
problem is the Minox's lifespan is shorter than a disposable kamera.

because of that I have the minox lens in an LTM mount and use it on my Bessa L. Or nikon Z7
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Old 07-20-2019   #20
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Like the OP, in the past I've been shocked when I got the first rolls back from these little cameras: Nikon L35AF, Olympus mju, Kodak Retina IIIc, and the Konica Hexar AF. Don't know why I sold any of them, but they're all gone now. :-(

Congratulations, Huss, on your find! :-)
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Old 07-20-2019   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
problem is the Minox's lifespan is shorter than a disposable kamera.

because of that I have the minox lens in an LTM mount and use it on my Bessa L. Or nikon Z7
I got lucky with (one) GT camera. It stayed working well for over 25 years for me, and it still is working well. I bought it from a very experienced camera repairman in Pensacola, and he may have worked his magic on it in the past by giving it CLA's. I don't know. Many other Minox cameras had sticky shutters or other stuff.
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Old 07-20-2019   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
The trouble with most of these p&s's etc is few of them let you know what the exposure is. So there no way you can compare lenses.


Regards, David
If u are indoors or in low light, they tend to shoot wide open. If u are outside in bright light, they tend to shoot stopped down.

You wont have an exact comparison but you can see what the kamera is capable of.
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Old 07-20-2019   #23
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Old 02-26-2020   #24
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Chinon Bellami, Fuji C200

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Old 02-26-2020   #25
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Chinon or who ever they contracted out the optics to always made great lenses with a special touch. Some Yashica lenses are like that (many made by Tomioka) and so are most of the Rokkor lenses.
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Old 02-26-2020   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
Chinon Bellami, Fuji C200


That's a beauty. You may recall from earlier in this thread (I think), I noted that my Bellami 'vignetted' the left side of each frame, but, the lens was, indeed, very sharp. I've gotten a second Bellami, and hoping my current roll of film proves it to perform as well as yours.
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