Click here for a quick look at the parts of a Chinon CP9-AF and Specifications.

My story of Chinon cameras
(How to operate the Chinon cameras)

I first picked up a Chinon camera in May, 1997, a Chinon CP-5 dual program.  I was at a camera store and they had a 100-500 Samyang (PK-A/P) zoom lens.  I picked up the camera and lens for $95 each.  The camera had a two auto programs so it would work with the 100-500 by just point, focus and shoot. The zoom had a PK/A and PK/R lens so it would  work with both Pentax and Ricoh in program modes.  I took that camera set to vacation and the zoom works great on the beach.
Information on the CP-5 camera will follow as well as the type of lenses that work on each.

    Chinon CP-7m 
35mm motorized camera
Camera abilities 


Basically this camera is the same as the CP-9AF except for the AF abilities and the ability to do AEB (auto exposure bracketing). This camera can NOT do TTL flash. It can use a dedicated Chinon flash that will set the shutter speed in Auto and Manual mode to 1/100 when the flash is ready. Read below about Flash Units. 


Flash units 
The CP-7m can use two different kinds of flash. 

1. Any automatic flash unit. 
This flash unit has one button on the base of the flash without any other pins. The flash unit's built in "electric eye" senses the light reflected back from the subject and tells the flash when enough light has reached the subject. Depending on the size of the unit (power) you set the F-stop of the camera to whatever setting they state. The power (size) of the unit usually determines if you will have a small F-stop (F8 or smaller) and how far from the subject you can go (sometimes up to 40 feet). Smaller units may require you to set the F-stop to F4 and only reach 15 feet. Using one of these units you would set your CP-7m to manual and 1/60 of a second shutter speed. Set the camera F-stop by the guide on the flash. 
That F-stop is determined by power of the flash unit, film speed and distance you want to be from the subject. Many flash units have two settings but they just give you a wider aperture for further distance.  Watch out shooting at F-2.8 as dim lighting may make your focusing off and the picture could be out of focus. 
Wait for the flash "ready" light to glow on the flash. Fire, wait for the flash "ready" light to glow, fire again. 

What if you don't set the shutter to 1/60? Slower speed may cause streaks of lights from the room's ambient light (candles, wall lighting) as you move the camera in your hand. Sometimes a "cool" effect. 
Faster speeds will show less and less of the image as the second shutter curtains closes before the flash fires. Cut off body parts won't impress your friends. Depending if your shutter closes left to right or top to bottom.  Faster shutter speeds actually open only a small slot exposing all of the film but not all at the same time.  As the first curtain moves to expose the film a second curtain will start behind it.  When the first curtain hits the end of the film the flash contact is made and the flash fires.  Too bad the second curtain is right behind it and is already covering some of the film, hence no exposure.  The type of shutter determines the flash speed.  Ricoh seem to be 1/125 and Pentax 1/60 to 1/100. 

 Leaf type shutters used in PRO cameras or rangefinder open from the center to the edge. So at one instant all the film is exposed, so those types of cameras can use a 1/500 or 1/1000 shutter speed with flash.  A flash will expose the film with enough light in 1/3000 or faster. Very expensive flashes can fire at 1/20,000 second.  That is how the get shots of bullets leaving a gun or light bulbs bursting.   Old flash bulbs fired before the iris was wide open (no SLRs in those days) and burned longer so if you see old flash shots you will see this "halo" around the picture. This is due to the uneven exposure that is common with flash bulbs and leaf shutters.

2. A dedicated Chinon or compatible flash. 
I have a Chinon S-280 that takes 4 penlight batteries. I'm selling it for $40 plus shipping. Very, very hard to find. Brooklyn camera exchange in N.Y. has them on their Web page for $70. plus shipping. The S-280 is long way on the camera. The units has two F-stop setting and a manual mode. It will also allow bounce. 
The dedicated Chinon flash has a center pin and a pin on the left. It tells the CP-7m to go to flash mode (1/100 sec) automatically when in auto or manual mode NOT program. You still need to set the F-stop according to the chart on the flash, hence NOT program mode. Trust me I did it. Don't use a dedicated flash from another camera! The voltage of the pins of another flash may short out and damage the electronics in any Chinon including the CP-7m or CP-9AF. 

The AF-S280 flash sounds the same as the S-280 but are very different. The AF is an auto focus flash providing IR light to assist in CP-9AF in focusing in this dim light. No you can't use a AF-S280 on a Chinon CP-7m as there is no electric eye in that unit. Plus the CP-7m will NOT do TTL flash. That's the extra feature of the CP-9AF. 
Find a Sunpak auto 2000DZ, that unit will work fine and has extra great features such as bounce and manual zoom modes. 
http://www.sunpak.com/2000dz.html 
This Sunpak has a switch you must set to CH that makes the pins match the CP-5, CE-5, and CG-5 according to my manual. My flash manual is old and lists older Minolta and Canon cameras so it may have come out before the CP-6 and CP-7m. I have tried it on my CP-7m and it sets the viewfinder flash "ready" light and flashes when the shutter is fired. 

The Chinon S-280 Auto flash unit 
If you are going to shoot flash, buy 400 ASA film. Here's the settings from the flash. 
The flash has a switch with gold color, manual and green color 
ASA 400 - up to 11 feet at F-16 - Gold setting 
ASA 400 - up to 22 feet at F-8 - Green setting 
ASA 200 - up to 11 feet at F-11 - Gold setting 
ASA 200 - up to 22 feet at F-5.6 - Green setting 
The flash shows setting for ASA 25 to 400. Should you get that MAX 800 ASA film. Close one more stop so 800 in gold would be F-22, green F-16 

Lets say you get 400 ASA film. Set the switch to green, your camera to Auto and F stop to F-8. You can point, focus, shoot anywhere from 5 feet to 22 feet. The viewfinder will show when the flash is charged. There is a "ready" light on the flash that glows when it's charged. 
It's also the "energy saving" flash so if the distance is short, the flash is cut off and doesn't just dump the energy. Short shots (5-8 feet) almost instantly recycle the flash. 

BASIC FEATURES

    The Chinon CP-9AF/7M is a well built camera, with metal lens mounts on both ends.  The lens is also made with metal tubes.  This makes it a bit heavy, but what can I say.  It is auto load, automatic advance with auto ISO selection.  The square program selection allows easy Auto, Program, Bulb and Manual.  With Program mode you can choose one of three:
"P"rogram, that gives the same priority to aperture and shutter speed.
"Pc", mode allows the aperture to close more allowing more depth of field.
"Pa", mode more preference is given to the shutter speed for action shots.
Any of these exposures can be locked by a button on the front by the lens, the mode will flash in the viewfinder until a picture is taken or that button pressed again.  Each of the modes you selected can be seen in the viewfinder. You can also view information on the LCD panel.  Aperture information is not in the viewfinder but on the LCD as is distance to your focused object.
"M"anual mode, shutter speeds are changed by the Up/Down bar and aperture settings are changed by holding the front bottom right exposure lock button and pressing the Up/Down bar.
"A"utomatic, the shutter speed it chosen by the camera as you choose a F-stop.  Now the F-stop selection is the Up/Down bar.  This is how you will use non-program PK lenses.
"B"ulb.. yes it eats batteries as the battery holds the shutter open. (electronic shutters only, if you take lots of long time exposures you many consider getting a manual [battery used only for metering] shutter camera.)
Those are the basic functions.

LENSES

Any Pentax lens (PK) will fit your camera...  The Pentax and Ricoh lenses will work to as well as Pentax AF lenses.  Pentax and Ricoh has contact pins in a different area but doesn't matter with this camera.  The magic of getting any K-mount lens to work in program modes provides a little problem with fast lenses.  The CP-7m computer program only works up to F4.  This is how it will work with any K-mount lens without the contact pins.  First you need to move your aperture to F22 when in one of the Program Mode or the program modes will blink in the viewfinder.  Every lens is F4 or faster (don't try this with a F8 mirror lens or F5.6 big telephoto) so the program just figures out an exposure within an F22 to F4 range.  If it's getting a bit dim, the program opens the lens to F4 and then starts to eat your shutter speed.  So if you have a 135mm F/2.8 or 50 mm F/1.7 the camera in P, PA or PC mode will only open the lens to F4 then start to shoot with slower and slower shutter speeds.   Need faster shutter speeds, go to A for "auto" or just open the lens past F8.  You will basically have an Auto mode.  The biggest problem with the CP-7m is you can't see your aperture, just shutter speed. That is how the CP-7m has program modes with any K-mount. The CP-9AF has contact pins as well as Pentax and Ricoh Program cameras.  The contacts tell the computer how fast the lens is.  Once the computer knows that, it will be able to open the lens wider and wider while keeping the shutter speeds above that magic 1/30 second blur speed.

PK-A:  That is a Pentax K mount with a matching pin on the lens to match the Pentax A mode.  They call it A for Automatic mode.  Put the F-stop on the lens to A... it should lock in that mode. If you have a PK-A lens... It should say "A" in red on the lens by F-22/32.  If you have an PK-A, turn on the camera.. lens to A and press P to choose whatever Program you want.  In the viewfinder you should see P in the upper left.  Press P again and you should see Pa in the viewfinder.... press P again and it should change to Pc... It this happens, the lens is a PK-A.  The A mode on the lens should lock (some lenses just click.. some have a button to lock it in and out of the A mode).

PK-R: Ricoh (also using the K mount) but the pin for the lens info (facing the camera mount) on the bottom right.  They are called PK-R or PK-P (R for Ricoh or P for Program, the word that Ricoh uses).
Since Tamron, Vivitar and other NON-OEM companies didn't want to make yet another lens for each of these cameras they call them PK-A/R (A for Pentax and R for Ricoh) or PKA-P lenses with the P for Ricoh's Program.  Those lenses will work fine on both cameras (Ricoh, Pentax and Chinon) It's very easy to tell with the lens in hand... It should have BOTH the P and A on the F-stop setting.  Check the lens and they will have BOTH pins (bottom left and right).

There are a few (a real few) Ricoh only lenses (PK-R)... this would not work in program mode on a Chinon or Pentax.

NEW LENSES

Not to really confuse you... BUT if you want a new lens.. any K mount auto focus lens will also fit and work on a Chinon in program mode!... you just have to manually focus.
Should you ever "move up" the lens will work on any Pentax AF camera. The Pentax AF lenses will be harder to focus depending on where the focus knob is located. Check it out.
The other universal lens makers do make new lenses that are PKA-R.  They will work in Program and Automatic mode with either Ricoh or Pentax bodies.  Make sure the store will guarantee that without "re-shelving" fees.  Usually the Ricoh cameras have this problem as most lenses are PK-A, not the dual A and R / P pins.

SPECIAL ITEMS ON THIS CAMERA

    The Chinon CP-9AF and CP-7M, seem to be the same camera.  It seems the 7M is just not Autofocus and has a different switch by the firing button.  Plus the CP-9AF can do interval photography.
AE lock:  By pressing the front button by the lens when in A, P, Pc or Pa mode you can lock the exposure (when exposure readings are being taken) while still maintaining slight pressure on the shutter.  The shutter speed in the view finder will flash while locked.

AEB: (Automatic Exposure Bracketing) By pressing the AEB button, on the LCD 3 small covering squares will appear.  Pressing the shutter three separate times (single shot mode) or holding it (continuous mode) will expose the shots as one normal, one stop over and one stop less.
You can't do this with flash exposure.

Time Exposure:  You can take long exposures in BULB by using the time exposure mode.  Up to 90 minutes can be set (this uses battery power).  A variation of this feature allows it to be used as a self timer up to 90 minutes.  Select either B or a regular setting, press the TIME button and hold it while pressing the Up/Down bar to change the amount of time it states on the LCD.  Remember AF many not work correctly, so turn it off. You should be able to use the auto exposure lock with the bulb or self timer.  When you press the shutter the LCD will display time left.

Other Information on Chinon products

Chinon AF-S280 flash .  I found this new in a box at a camera store in NJ.  They used to sell the Chinon cameras and still had one.  The store still wanted $79. for it back in 1995.  When I asked to see it I asked the sales person for the "used" flash they had.  "Oh, we don't have used flashes" they said.  I told them I was sent by their other store and the reply was "Oh, the NEW flash" (that hasn't been sold in 9 years!)