GAF / Chinon L-CM

  Got a job on cleaning this camera out. I don’t see these a whole lot nowadays so I decided to blog the specs. The gaf L-CM is a rebadged L-CM. It’s Basically a Chinon M without couple things I heard. I also heard gaf was the former Ansco. Photos are after the cleaning.

The Gaf hanging out in front of my window. With an Auto Chinon 50mm f2.

            Specifications (From what i can see):

  • 35mm SLR Camera
  • M42 Screw Mount with the auto reflex aperture
  • Shutter Speed B -1/1000, Mechanical
  • Center Weight Metering, Meter inside the viewfinder is just like the K1000 but smaller.
  • Metering Range ASA 10-800
  • PC Sync, X and M plug, with Hot shoe.
  • Battery for the meter: Mercury, PX625/PX13. x1
  • Non Interchangeable focusing Screen, Micro Prisms, No Split Image.
  • Self Timer

Chinon Auto 50mm f2 M42 Screw Mount

  • Focus range (on the ring) 0.5m to infinity
  • Aperture – f2-f16
  • Filter Diameter – 52mm

Controls on top


  Not going to put a roll in this camera as I’m just working on it for someone else. Feels solid and heavy, Probably better than the K1000.  Shutter speed seems accurate and fire without a problem, repeatedly. The meter is just like the K1000 inside the view finder, ” + 0 – ” with a needle, except it is not as big. View finder is bright, after the cleaning. Microprisms only, which is actually what i like best. I had to open the top to clean the prism and the focusing screen, from what I can see, everything is pretty heavy-duty and high quality, nothing sticks, most everything inside are in good shape, and lets just say I know this camera has not been stored in the driest place on earth. The only “bad” thing is, you need a big screw driver to take the battery cover off, a quarter would not work, I checked, it’s not because of corrosion, it is just that tight.  Bottom line is, if you see one for a decent price, buy it, you’ll like it.

Cleaning the Prism and Focusing Screen:
There were signs of fungus inside. In order to get to the prism or the other side of the focusing screen, You need to take the top off. The only thing you might have trouble with is to take the film advance lever off. The black piece of metal on top of the lever is indeed glued on, You need to find something to try to spin the top and snap the glue or, ply it off with a blade. If you destroyed the plate, simple cut a piece of vinyl and over up the scratches. Once you get the top off, it’s just a standard spring clip on top of a plastic protective cover holding on the prism. There are no wires attach from the body to the top cover, all connections to the hot shoe are made via contacts.

16 thoughts on “GAF / Chinon L-CM

  1. I got this camera for free a fee months ago. I had some question you may be able to answer for me. First, whats the purpose of the slide button on the side of the lens, it makes the viewfinder darker. Second why is it that the metering scale only seems to move in the bulb mode ( and then there is a red triangle).

    Thanks. I hope you can clear this up for me

    Great work on the site.

    • First of all, I already send the camera back to its owner so I can only reply you by memory, photos and info i can find on the internet. The slide button you’re referring to on the lens is probably the one marked A and M. A is for automatic diaphragm (aperture) reflex. When you set your lens to F8, when in A, while you’re focusing your subject, you are actually still looking through the lens at maximum aperture, e.g. F2 for the 50mm F2 lens. That gives you a brighter view to focus, and when you hit the shutter button, the aperture then stop down to the preset f stop and then return back to the maximum once the cycle is completed. When you set it in M, that acts as your Depth of field preview, it could also works for stopped down metering for older M42 screw mount cameras. However, I believe you will want to set it back to “A” after your preview for the L-CM meter to work correctly, as it is not a stop down meter system.

      About the metering needle, first of all you need to check if you’re battery is working. If your L-CM is the same one I worked on, it takes one PX625/PX13 1.3v mercury battery. The battery is a little hard to find this days, you can search for a Zinc Air battery online, they are not too expensive. Alternatively you can get one of the button batteries and try to fit it in there. But be aware that the newer alkaline batteries are 1.5V, so the metering will actually be off a little bit. They also make battery adapters. The battery door is located at the bottom of the camera. And whatever its doing in bulb should not matter, as the meter shouldn’t operate in bulb, or rather we have no use for the readings in bulb as bulb is not a definitive time.

      After reading up on a similar manual, you need to press the big sliding button on the right hand side of the lens mount down, to activate the meter, and when you push up on the same slider, that’s how you remove the lens.

      About the red triangle. The red triangle shows when the light level is too low for the camera to make proper exposure.

      Here is a link to the manual:
      The Chinon M1 and the L-CM are not identical but they are almost the same.

      Hope this helps and make sure you link me up to samples form that camera, cheers.


  2. My aunt had just given me this camera. What film should I buy? Also, I have been having trouble finding blogs/sites on the proper way to clean the camera. Any recommendations?

    • It will take regular 35 mm (135) film. Cleaning the camera. You can use a damp cloth to wipe off the outside and use a tooth brush to help. Inside you need to use a hand blower or a can of compressed air. Becareful NOT to touch the mirror, the focusing screen above, or the shutter curtain behind . Anything else you should take it to a camera repairman.

  3. i have this camera! i got it at the flea market for $10 – do you have any idea how much it would cost when it first came out… it just interests me! and also the back part where the film goes doesn’t close all the way but it clicks in is that ok?

  4. I bought this camera from a thrift store, and it takes very nice photos. While finding a good 35mm camera for cheap is easy enough, finding one with a lens and mirrors that are clear is tough. Thank you for the info.

  5. Hello! Praying that this thread is still alive.

    Was just wondering about the exposure meter and depth of field switch on this camera (that’s the slide switch on the side of the lens). I was reading its manual here: I noticed that in able for me to use that, I have to use the light meter in the camera or else a red flag will show in the viewfinder (page 12 of manual)

    I intend to use this camera without the use of batteries and without using the meter because I’ve been doing manual shooting from my digital dslr for the past year, however I would like to confirm, will this camera still work properly even without the batteries or do I have to get this one some batteries in able for me to set the shutter speed, aperture and such?

    Thank you!

    • I don’t have that camera anymore. But let’s make it simple. If it let’s you fire the shutter at different speed without the battery then it’s mechanical and you can use it without. Otherwise it’s electronic shutter you must use it with a battery.

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