Chinon 35EE Rangefinder Review

I got this rangefinder film camera as a birthday gift. Besides my Pentax SP1000 photocamera and the Sharan 35 Wide DIY pinhole camera, I had not used other film cameras. It's a great and very cheap camera to get you started in the world of 35mm rangefinder photography!


A rangefinder is a small 35mm film camera, often with a fixed lens, and a seperate viewfinder to determine composition and focus. Rangefinders gained popularity in the 1970's. They were less complex than manual film cameras of the 60's and they could be operated as 'point-and-shoot' cameras.

On the Chinon 35EE, all you can set are the ISO value (ASA, or DIN) of the film loaded. The ISO range is 25 ISO to 500 ISO. Shutter speed and aperture value are controlled by the camera, based on the lightmeter. So basically this Chinon 35EE rangefinder is a point-and-shoot 35mm film camera.

Also works for scenery and views

Great for streetphotography

Nice focal length at 38mm


I was pleasently surprised by the Chinon 35EE's light metering! Generally, I prefer having full control over aperture and shutter speed settings. With this camera, you have no control over those settings. However, I had taken some photos when going out in nature, because of the beautiful lightfall through the greenery. To my surprise, the Chinon 35EE did very, very well in capturing those scenes.

The magic of the Chinon 35EE is, for me at least, that it mostly captures a scene exactly the way I was experiencing it at that time - whether it was beautiful lightfall, or in quickly getting the right composition of a scene in the streets.

The Chinon 35EE metered for the right spot: the golden sunlight on the tiles

I was surprised and very satisfied with this exposure!

I didn't expect this shot to be this good!


The Chinon 35EE has a 38mm f/2.7 'Chinonex Color Lens'. However, f/2.7 is pretty decent for all-round photo and even some depth of field. I think 38mm is a lovely focal length, it works great for streetphotography but if you move in on your subject you could even take decent portraits.

The overall image quality from this rangefinder is not bad. Compared to the Pentax Takumar lenses, or Contax Zeiss lenses that I use for photography and movieprojects, this is not the sharpest lens. The focus throw of this lens is very little, meaning the rotation for focusing is very minimal, so focusing takes some practise. The viewfinder helps in finding focus, but it's not always spot on, sometimes resulting in soft images.

Well metered and properly balanced shot

It's nice to be able to quickly snap simple compositions like this

Well exposed, but slighty soft

The Chinon 35EE has a hot-shoe mount and flash port. The settings ring can be adjusted for flash photography, setting it to 1/30th speed and syncing the flash. I have not used this feature though.


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