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Changzou Hongmei HM-1
France Version française
Photos by JM text by JM. From the collection of JM. Last update 2024-03-28 par Sylvain Halgand.

Manufactured or assembled in China from (Before) 1970 to (Circa) 1980.
Index of rarity in France: Rare (among non-specialized garage sales)
Inventory number: 2345

See the complete technical specifications

Chronology of cameras Changzou 

Hong Mei therefore means "Red Plum" in Chinese. It's no surprise that red is a favorite color in China; "Mei" could also mean "plum blossom".

Released from the Changzou Camera Main Factory in Changzou (northwest of Shanghai), the Hong Mei HM-1 is a classic horizontal 6 x 6 folding camera, offering the bi-format option (4 1/2 x 6 vertical). A small hinged cover allows for format modification when loading the film. On a 120 film, 12 exposures can be made in 6 x 6 format and 16 in the vertical reduced format. There are two light-tight viewports on the back, offset and protected by a single sliding cover indicating 12 and 16 exposures, depending on the viewport.

The Hong Mei presented here is said to have a twin brother from another factory, this time in Shanghai: the Shanghai 202, with a different top cover but seemingly identical body, shutter, and lens. There is also a TLR Hong Mei (Hong Mei-5).

The flash shoe is offset (to the left when holding the camera). To the right is a modern black synthetic lever, like on a reflex camera. The viewfinder is slightly left of center. The top cover is shiny metal, housing the shutter release next to the film advance lever and the button ensuring automatic cocking (opening the back and extending the bellows). The camera sits flat when deployed, which is useful as it has a self-timer; no tripod is needed.

This camera, which functions perfectly and comes with its always-ready case, was purchased in Kunming (Yunnan) in November 2007. Along with the numerous Seagull cameras, it is one of the relatively common cameras found in Chinese flea markets; it is occasionally available on online selling platforms as well.

Changzou Hongmei HM-1

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