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Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Mike Té, Jan 14, 2007.
I'm just getting used to the waist level finder.... I've never had so much vertigo!
I highly recommend the Porrofinder or prism. A "bargain" Porrofinder from KEH is $25.
Of the two, I recommend the prism finder over the porrofinder. The prism finder is heavier but much brighter and lets you see the whole ground glass without looking around inside. The porrofinder is lighter and less expensive (it seems) but dimmer and I have to make an effort and move my eye and head around to see all the image. I use both but am considering replacing the porrofinder.
Also, using either of these finders, you lose the sometimes interesting perspective that a TLR brings from having the viewing point lower to the ground than an SLR would be. I find myself shooting both ways some days, depending on the image I want to make.
I totally agree. I just thought I'd save him from getting dizzy and falling over ...
You can practice a bit in the house and you will get used to it. I always invision that the camera is a control stick on a plane. Works for me!
It's a definite risk, what with the weight of the thing and all...
I don't really mind it; the experience is still new to me yet. I find it to be a kind of visuo-spatial exercise. Sort of takes me "out of the box".
All the same, I have seen another type of prism finder:
How are you using the Waist Level finder ("WLF") - with or without the pop up magnifier?
Are you aware that your WLF may have a built in sports finder?
I have both a prism finder and WLFs for my Mamiya TLRs. While I use the prism finder more, I use and have used (since the 1970s) the WLFs a lot too.
Very few photographers can use WLFs successfully for fast changing action, unless they use the sports finder, and zone focus.
If your subject is reasonably slow moving, and sufficiently low, the WLF is wonderful, because it concentrates attention, but boy it is different (I remember the vertigo!).
The trick is to use the WLF enough to get used to it, become familiar with its weaknesses, strengths and effects, and then exploit those strengths and effects.
And it's great fun to go through the process.
One hint - look for things that you wouldn't have thought to photograph, because the best angle is a very low one.
There is a reason that when I got my Mamiya 645 Super with included prism finder, one of the first accessories I purchased was a WLF.
When I got mine, it took about a week of practice around the house to get
used to it. And then you only get better from there! By now, when I get the pictures back, I hardly ever remember even seeing the images reversed.
I think you're going to like that camera.
I use a metered chimney finder with my C330f and up to now I haven't had a problem with the reversed image except when the subject is fast moving, when I sometimes end up panning in the opposite direction. Noticed the link to the Baier website. Has anyone used one of those metered prisms. How do they measure up (no pun) in terms of metering accuracy and build quality?
I'm using the WLF without using the sportsfinder nor the magnifier at the moment, Matt. Just getting used to the basics and, yes, having fun.
I got so used to my WLF on my RZ that when people looked through it and said 'whoah' I was confused, then realized I was so conditioned I had forgotten
Pardon me and allow me to jump into this thread for some advice.
I've recieved some real good advice elsewhere in the forum regarding a Mamiya reference book and I've decided on the Mamiya TLR format as my first medium format camera.
My main use will be landscapes, steet scenes, existing light exposures, etc. I am prepared to slow down and use a tripod as often as needed considering the size and weight difference when swtching from35mm.
I've read the Bob Shell book on Mamiya M/F so I have the basics. The C330 is preferable to theC220. That being said, can the Mamiya TLR experts out there weigh in on some of the finer points within the Mamiya TLR series?
1.) What is the difference between the C33 and 330? Is one preferable?
2.) Are there various models within a given model? Such as c330s, etc?
If so, what is the best version?
2.) Are the chrome lenses clearly superior to the black lenses? The book says
they are sharper. May be better for landscape use?
3.) What exactly are the blue dot lenses?
4.) A purchasing question. I read references to HEH "Bargain" choices being
good choices. Any personal purchasing experience to offer?
Any other tips are really welcome! Thanks.
Mr Patterson will be happy to explain it all to you.
As for "KEH", many (including me) have had good luck with bargain grade equip. My personal preference, tho, is that the little extra (in many cases) for "ex" grade will get you a lens that is about flawless. YMMV.
The C33 is the precursor to the C330/f/s. Heavier, fixed focusing screen, minor detail variations. The C330 and C330f are pretty much the same apart from the focus lock on the C330f. The C330s has some changes to the focus screen, lens back catch, and more plastic internals.
Black lenses are easier to repair (with caveats), and generally have more contrasty coatings. Many, but not all, of the lenses kept the same design. Blue dot shutters are the last model Seiko used, and are easier to repair. Having said that there are a lot of older Seikosha shutter lenses still tripping along...
They compare fairly well to other MF equipment from the 1970's.
The main thing about cameras of this vintage is to judge them on actual wear and tear, not chronological age.
Hmmm.... I can't link into this site or pull it up by typing in. Is this site for Mr. patterson been taken down?
Would love to see what it offers ! Thanks.
Try going in at the top:
and following the Mamiya TLR System Summary link. There is also a copy at https://webfiles.berkeley.edu/~grahamp/
I go to some lengths to keep it available.
Hmmm. That sounded like an inrevocable statement. Why is a 330 preferable to a 220? The increase in complexity with resulting diminished reliabilty, added to the increase in weight, far outweighs the shifting parallax control and auto shutter cocking features in my mind. I'll keep my C220 (as I have for over 15 years) and know it will work every time I pull it out of the cabinet (without a hernia).
As far as lens, each has it's own personality, you need to decide which works for you. My personal favorites are the 65 for landscape work and 135 for portraits, although the 180 is a pretty nice piece of glass. Put a lens shade on and you will have little room to complain about these lens.
tim in san jose
I am inclined to agree... given the choice between the two (c220 vs c330) I chose the c220. Later when it was time to add another body, I opted for the c3, which is basically the c220 with a single crank advance rather than a regular winding knob... and a few years older. But the simplicity and reliability are exactly what I wanted them for.
As for lenses, my 3 favorites are the 65mm, 80mm & 180mm. I've had these since 1979 and wouldn't trade them for anything. Although, every now and then, I think about adding the 55mm, but when I have borrowed one to use, in the end I'm not sure it is sufficiently different from the 65mmm to warrant it.
I have both a C330 and a C220, and I like them both.
To my mind, the best thing about the C330 is the fact that it is one of the best cameras around if you are left handed. I have limited right hand dexterity, and my C330 is perfect for me.
The combination of the auto shutter cocking, the additional shutter release, and the left hand grip that allows triggering that release from the grip, makes the C330 much faster and easier to use in a fast changing environment, like a wedding. I find as well that the configuration of left hand grip and trigger makes it very good for handheld work, even in marginal light.
The C220, however, is simpler, smaller and lighter, and I like it for that.
I have 55mm, 65mm, 80mm and 135mm lenses. I would not want to dispense with any of them
I do however think it is important to have both waist level and prism finders
Just I inherited both the waist level and prism finders with the tower, literally. They are in for cla 65mm, 80mm and 250mm.
Please tell me about what you use each for.
First, and most obviously, the waist level finder is of course more convenient when you want to shoot from a lower vantage point. The prism finger is better when you need to shoot from a higher vantage point.
Second, if you are photographing something with a lot of movement, it is easier to track with a prism finder. The fact that the image is not reversed makes it more convenient and natural to follow movement, and you have (somewhat) better peripheral vision too.
Third, and this is related to the first point, photographs of people taken using a waist level finder have a somewhat unusual angle of view. I worked with a portrait and wedding photographer once who would hire other photographers to do overload work. He refused to hire anyone who didn't use a prism finder, because he didn't like what he called the "navel-eye view" of the world. We are used to looking at people using eyes that are approximately 5 - 5 1/2 feet off the ground - photographs taken from 3 feet of height are often not as flattering.
Fourth, you will find that the prism for the Mamiya C series isn't the brightest viewing system in the world (although if you want really dim, try a porrofinder). As a result, when light is marginal, the waist level is better.
Fifth, the waist level finder has a built in magnifier, which is good for fine focus adjustments.
Sixth, the waist level is small and light, so if that is the priority, that is what goes on the camera.
And finally, seventh, the waist level tends to force you to slow down and approach the photograph in a more methodical manner. If you need something to encourage that approach, than the waist level finder is recommended.
Some times I go for a long time with just the prism finder on the C330 (which I use more). Other times, I carry both finders, and switch between them. Finally, at other times, I just carry the waist level (usually on the C220) when size and weight are important, or I know that I'll be shooting something other than portraits, and mostly from a tripod.
Hope this helps.
I primarily shoot scenic photographs - distant views, close up of flowers, wildlife, ... , sometimes active people in action - skiing. I use UC 400 almost exclusively because I rarely photograph people close up. An lastly, I moved from 120 to 35mm slr 40 years ago because I could not stand the right-left reversal.
I have several focusing screens, the WLF finder, a tower, a Porroprism with a light meter [cds ?] and a paraminder. Also about every thing available for a C330 [he had a C2 before].
I have a Nikon 35mm with a f3.6 28mm to 300mm and a f2.8 20mm to 35mm Nikon lens. So I am used to travelling fairly light. I am planning on a trip with both cameras and maybe a 120 folder, too. I am trying to figure out what I should leave a home for a skiing and snowmobiling vacation in Wyoming at the end of the month.
I also have a nasty habit of printing 35mm at 12"x18" and 24"x36" and hanging the photos on the wall.
I would add a few more experiences to what Matt said:
I find that as I get older and my eyes get worse, the prism finder is easier to use with bi-focals
If I am shooting architecture or street scenes, where there are going to be a lot of signs with words, I use the prism finder, so that I don't end up with L to R composition problems... but that is much rarer than my outdoors landscape and scenic kinds of shooting.
The porrofinder, while much less expensive and lighter, is much darker, as Matt said. I have one in case I have both bodies going at the same time and don't want to be using the WL on either of them... strictly "overflow".
I find the WL finder very natural, after 35+ years of TLR usage. On my Bronica system, I have only the WL finder and it seems perfectly fine. What I have never tried, in all this time, is the chimney finder, and I'd really like to...