domingo, 31 de mayo de 2020

CHINON SS1200: the Elmo GS1200 of poor students! like me in 1979

In current issue of SilverGrain Classics, number 7, on sale from this June, you can read an article about the best Super-8 projectors. In it, of course, we did not find the Chinon SS1200...
I was a student in the first year at the University, in 1979, when Hispáfrica, from Barcelona, ​​whose headquarters was very close to my College, Colegio Mayor Sant Jordi,  presented the Chinon SS1200. 
On the paper, the technical characteristics were exceptional, for a projector that cost less than half that of the Elmo GS1200! The GS1200 of the poor filmmaker!, like me, in those times: a mere student.
They are brilliant, on the paper, including: 
Amazing 150 W 15 V lamp, with economy switch and automatic switch on and off when the film is on gate. 
Built-in daylight screen, for recording purposes
Reel capacity of  360 meters (540 meters in poliester)
Fine speed adjustment of +/- 1.5 f.p.s., so important for me.
Stereo sound, with 2 x 15 W music power
Nice frequency response: 60-10000 Hz at 18 fps, 60-12000 Hz at 24 fps
Track sound controls: track volume, track tone, track recording level.
Automatic start of recording: selection of starting point via memory counter; remote start of external tape recorder possible
Track-to-track dubbing: synchronous sound transfer from track 1 to track 2 and vice versa
sound mixing, possible
Public Address: before and during projection possible
A lot of input terminals: 2 x Microphone, 2 x Dubbing, Auxiliary (300 mV, 1 M-ohm, PA Input
input jacks: Mic: 3.5 mm jack; Aux: 5-pin RCA jack
output terminal: Headphones, 2 x Line Out, 2 x Dubbing, 2 x External Speaker (2 x 7.5 W, 16 Ohm)
output jacks: Line-Out: 5-pin DIN jack; Dubbing, headphones: 3.5 mm jack
Two built-in speakers.
And a drive system with  two electronically controlled DC motors.

I remember the disappointment when I saw the Chinon SS1200 in person: very plastic appearance, not very good quality, with even the pressure pad made of plastic,  and difficult to clean. 
But all in all, the most disappointing was its electronic conception, with a tangle of cables inside that made it more like a Chinese product than a Japanese one. 
In Japan, Chinon barely sold any product, quite the contrary than in United States or Europe, where it was marketed not only with its brand, but with many others. In England, exclusive sales were then made by almighty Dixons, the largest chain of photographic stores, until, at the end of the 1990s, Perry's Movies bought all the inventory that remained in Spain to offer to British filmmakers.

Finally, when student, I decided to invest a little more and buy the Eumig 940 Multiprocessor, in Arpi, of Barcelona, with monthly payments,  a projector also made with a lot of plastics, but more beautiful, then futuristic and with a first class electronics, from Teutonic concept, which was nice to look,  even today!

Years later, in late 80s,  I had to buy a Chinon SS1200, because when I bought my first Braun Visacustic 2000  and it came out defective, sadly,  in the store, they refused to return my money and they only agreed to provide me with the Chinon SS1200 as an interchange, a forced interchange.

I used the Chinon SS1200, in late 1980s, to record the sound in some family movies, until I discovered that it produced slight scratches on the film!
Thanks to its variable fine speed adjustment,  I also used it to  record the sound in Spanish in two Red Fox feature films from a VHS-dubbed video as a source, until I discovered with horror that the sound recorded with the SS1200, as it has narrower than usual magnetic heads, if the films are projected with another machine, you can listen to the original sound recording in the background!
It is, the  Chinon SS1200, a projector that looks good on paper, but, in practice, what they have done in Chinon is to dress their well-known small very cheap models in a large way. The Chinon SS1200 reminds me of those fake Ferrari, with cheap plastic Ferrari bodies on VW Beetle chassis.
Something as simple as disassembling the lens for periodic cleaning requires watchmaker skill, including  the rear on the built in screen! Given how hidden the lens is, the SS1200 cannot project anamorphic movies.
This projector is interesting only as a good example of a device that tried to popularize the Super-8 at a low price, but I could no use it with expensive and irreplaceable films. 

Then, the best option, is a company from Hollywood, Pro 8mm. The service between California and European Union or England is very fast: usually, 3 days. 
You can take a look in the web:

3 comentarios:

  1. Tengo uno de esos y estoy muy contento con él. No lo usé nunca para grabar sonido, pero jamás tuve problemas proyectando, incluso lo he llevado en viajes y solo le tuve que hacer un service en más de 10 años

    1. ¡Menos mal que te hicieron el mantenimiento!, nada fácil en este proyector, por la maraña de cables, obsoleta en la época en que fue fabricado.

  2. Bueno, es cierto que el técnico es muy bueno pero no le gusta para nada la parte compleja de los cables y el cabezal de sonido, pero aún así como usuario me gusta mucho el proyector