The Taron Chic is an attractive camera due to its unusual design.  The original half-frames from the 1920's were vertically-styled cameras, since the half-frame film format came from the motion picture camera, and was hortizontal across the film width.  In 1959, the Olympus Pen changed this style to a vertical image so that the camera could be held horizontally, like full-frame 35mm cameras.  Other manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon and made similar cameras.  In 1961, the Chic did an about-face and reverted back to the original, vertically-styled half-frame camera.  

But in all other respects it had fairly standard features for the time.  It came with a 30mm f2.8 - f22, manually focusing lens -- from 2 feet to infinity.  For quick use, the distance scale has additional markings for (S) scenics, (G) group and (P) person distances.  Shutter speeds of B, 1/30 - 1/250.  The exposure is set manually with the aid of the built-in selenium meter.  The readout is on the top of the camera, but it gives you a color, not a number like other meters.  ISO settings are from 10 - 800.  Take the color and dial it into the shutter speed ring around the lens (shutter speds are NOT listed) and you have the correct exposure.  The ring dials in the correct f-stop at the same time that the shutter speed is set, in a manual-programmed exposure system -- like the Agat 18 and 18K.  At f2.8, the shutter speed is 1/30 and increases to 1/250 at f22.  The f-stop is visible on the ring and changes as the "shutter speed" is dialed in.  You can select the shutter speed and aperture manually, but not in the usual way.  Since the shutter speed in not marked, you have to choose the speed based on the color on the dial.  Blue is 1/30, while red is 1/250.  The f-stop pin can be disengaged from the shutter speed ring and set manually.  Awkward, to be sure, but useable.  The f-stops are listed normally, so a flash can easily be used.  

Let's face it , the camera was designed to be semi-automatic -- and is quite convenient when used in this manner (assuming the selenium meter still works correctly).  The shutter speed flash synch is probably 1/30.  Built-in tripod socket, cable release socket, PC socket and cold shoe.  The Chic has a 22.5mm filter thread.  Because the camera has manual control of the aperture and shutter speed, a B shutter setting, a cable release connection, a tripod socket, and a focusing lens, the Taron Chic is very versatile.  But some people find the camera difficult to use at first.  That is, the button that looks like the film release button is the button that opens the camera back -- fortunately, only after the lock/open switch is set to "open"!  The film release button is a much larger button on the other side of the camera, but is often mistaken for the shutter release -- which is on the front of the camera, but on the left-hand side!  The film rewind knob is often mistaken for the film advance knob which is controlled by the right thumb-wheel and is very fast and convenient-- similar to the left-handed thumb wheel advance of many Fuji half frames.  You get the picture.  The Chic may take some getting used to but will always be in vogue.

COPYRIGHT @ 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 by Joe McGloin. All Rights Reserved.