I'd appreciate some advice on C330F kit

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Laurent, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    Hello all,

    I'm afraid GAS attacks again. For years I've considered adding one MF to the herd (quite thin at the moment, one camera per format only). My dilemma is between an RB67 kit or a C330/C220 one.

    A gentleman is selling a kit made of C330F body, three lenses (80/2.8 "blue dot", 65/3.5 (looks black) and 135/4.5 chrome), two focusing screens, paramender 2, and a Manfrotto tripod (190B). He's asking €450 for this, which seems fair for me, if the set works as fine as it looks.

    I've recently discovered the square format with the Rolleiflex, and am happy with it so I'm not sure I need a bigger neg. Also of consideration for me is that the whole kit might weight as much as an RB67 body with one lens, which makes it quite portable in my book.

    I'd be happy to hear your opinions, particularly about the pricing.
     
  2. AgentX

    AgentX Member

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    Sounds like a great kit. Personally, I'd use the TLR over the RB any day, especially out of the studio. The C330, while not as compact as a fixed-lens TLR, carries pretty nicely.

    I'd think 450 euro is a bit much to ask for it, but if it's all in truly mint condition, maybe it's worth it. I'd scope out prices on Ebay or even a kit shipped from KEH in the US and see how they compare. And consider the value of 1) being able to inspect the gear your local guy is selling before you buy it and 2) getting everything you'll need in one spot.
     
  3. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    I had a look at KEH yesterday, and I think I'd pay much more for a similar kit from them. As you say, having the chance to inspect it is worth a significant percentage in my book.
     
  4. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Heck of a great camera. Never owned an RB but in general, the TLR should be more reliable, portable, and the lens are tops. Does seem a trifal high but it may be the exchange rate. I would put the vale on the body, 3 lens, a maybe the tripod. The other items, while nice to have, maybe not something you would need or buy.

    Good Luck
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Having had an earlier Mamiya C33 and a C3 plus lenses until they were stolen I'd go for it, they are great cameras to use with superb lenses.

    Ian
     
  6. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    By US standards, the price (US$565) might be a bit high. But supply and demand is somewhat local, so hard to give an absolute opinion.

    The paramender is a specialized tool, so if you don't plan to do macro work, you can always sell it.

    I think the 190B is the same as the Bogen 3001 (which I have). If so, it's a bit light for the C330 but great for travel.

    Parts for the older chrome lenses are getting tougher to find, so factor that in.

    I agree that being able to physically evaluate the equipment is worth a premium.
     
  7. kraker

    kraker Subscriber

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    Laurent,

    My first MF was and is a C3, initially with 80mm lenses only, later added a 65mm and a 180mm. And a paramender.

    It's a very nice camera. The C330 should even be better (more recent, some added features).

    As for the price: it sounds reasonable for what you get, including 3 (or should I say 6?) lenses, paramender, tripod.

    If you do indeed have the chance to examine it before buying, especially check the shutters of the lenses at slower speeds. My oldest, chrome, 80mm has become "a bit" slow over the years (should really get it CLA'd). I always forget which setting is the correct one, but on either X or M the shutter should work fine.
     
  8. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    That doesn't sound like too bad a deal for the C330. They are great cameras with very good lenses. However, there is a BIG difference between the square and 6x7 formats when it comes to printing - especially if you plan to print large. With the square, you are cropping out a very large portion of the negative if you want it to fit the standard 11x14, 16x20, or 20x24 formats. With the 6x7 format, cropping is minimal, you get to use most of the negative, and you are subjecting the negative to a lower power of magnification. Because of tht, you can expect a higher degree of image quality from the larger negative. Now if you plan to print up to 11x14 as your maximum print size, you won't really be able to see the difference; but f you print larger than that, the differences will start to become apparent.
     
  9. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    You would be happy with either the C330 or the RB67. I don't know about the C330 but with the RB67 you can change the backs for different films.

    Jeff
     
  10. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    Thanks again for your advises.

    I did the maths on KEH, and reached $510 (I considered $80 per lens, as there weren't the same ones) without the tripod.

    I've been looking at tripods as mine are a bit cumbersome, so the 190 might be a good deal (I even consider shortening it a little to make it lighter !), and my 055 and Berlebach are enough for the other cameras.

    The paramender is a "must have" for me, as I do lots of close-ups in MF, I'm not so sure about the screens.

    Last, I'm used to print 6x6 as a square and, should I buy ths 330, I plan to do the same, so the aspect ratio is ok for me.

    I'll keep you informed when I have made my decision and inspected the kit.

    Cheers
    Laurent
     
  11. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Laurent, US prices are way lower than EU/UK, that's always been the case. Sometimes in the UK we get stung for 21% approx VAT & Import duty on purchases from the US, that's levied on the postage/shipping as well.

    Based on UK/EU prices that kit is a bargain.

    Ian
     
  12. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Since you have a Rollie, what do you gain from the C330F? Interchangeable lenses, a long built in baffle for close ups. The Rollei is more ergonomially designed then the C330F which has IMNOHO a high fiddle factor. The Rollei has better optics versus the need to buy multiple bodies for multiple focal lens. So, better optics and more ergonomic versus interchangeable lenses and close-up photography.

    Since you have a Rollie, what do you gain from the RB67? Again the Rollei has better optics. The RB67 has interchangeable lenses, no parallax issues, measures the light through the filters, polarizors are much easier to use, closes are possible through extension tubes, and you have a slightly different negative shape.

    There is your decision tree: I got rid of a complete C330F for a Hasselblad and never looked back so I would go with the RB67 for that reason plus the ones listed above. Question 1: How you will use the C330F versus the RB67? Question 2: Which will make you happier? That only you can answer.

    Steve
    PS: If you only own Rollei you could walk around with wide angle, 80mm, and telephoto Rolleis hanging from you neck as bling!
     
  13. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I've owned the a C330 kit very similar to the one you are looking at for many years. In just this last year, I also acquired an RB67.

    If you like working with a TLR, you will like the C330f. And a body plus three lens kit is very small and light. The lenses are good and I like how they handle.

    That being said, the RB67 is much more of a departure from what you currently use, so may add more variety to your options.
     
  14. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I had a C220F and lenses and it is a pretty nice system....I also used a 3001 tripod with it. It is plenty big enough for a C330. You won't be tilting it over on the side, no mirror and a leaf shutter. I never had a problem as long as I had the head locked down tight. It was pretty amazing how small and light a 3 lens kit can be with that system.
     
  15. AgentX

    AgentX Member

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    3001 has been fine for mine, too.
     
  16. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    Thanks all for your advises again. The tripod in it's 190B version is one I rejected for use with my EOS3 (I bought a 055 instead, pretty stable but a bit bulky), but it should be fine under a TLR.

    Not sure my Rolleiflex has better optics since it's a 3.5B about 54 years old, but I'm quite happy with it (at least I could not find issues with it's sharpness).
    The 330F would give me a 2.8 lens that I miss sometimes when photographing in available light, plus interchangeable lenses and -may be- better close up
    facilities (I use Rolleinars, and they are quite easy to use, not sure a Paramender would be as efficient).
    The RB is something I lusted after for years, even before I even shot my first 120 film.

    I know I'm french, but "bling-bling" is not for all of us :D

    P.S. If I really consider my options and try to be serious, then I have the feeling I should 1) test Delta 3200 for real speed in X-Tol and be sure I use every ISO it can give me for the available light situations and 2) buy a light and stable tripod (Gitzo something) and make sure I always have it with me when I carry the Rolleiflex... Don't know if I'll be serious !

    Laurent
     
  17. AgentX

    AgentX Member

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    For handheld close-ups, it can be a toss-up between a rollei with rolleinar and the Mamiya; depending on the circumstances, one or the other might be preferable, but both present challenges. Tripod-mounted, the paramender is the ultimate solution, and I think most C-series users should have one.

    And to give the counterpoint I always give to the claim Sirius always makes about the Mamiya TLRs being "fiddly," many users, including myself, simply don't understand what he's talking about. No more or less "fiddly" than his vaunted Hasselblad. (one of which I'd love to have, mind you, but not to replace my TLR...)

    Contrary to what he says, you can see the aperture and shutter settings from the waist-level position (with the black lenses, not the chrome). To operate, you can support the camera with the left hand, focus with either hand, and make adjustments, fire the shutter, and wind the crank with the right hand. There is no "tossing the camera back and forth between your hands to operate," which is something I've heard people say about TLRs in general. You can even continue to focus the camera (left hand) while adjusting the shutter or aperture with the right; try that with a Hassy. I find the camera particularly ergonomic, frankly, if somewhat bulky compared to my Rollei.
     
  18. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I has a Porro Prism, not the WLF so I was not looking down from the top. I had all black lenses - some cock when the film was wound, some did not.

    I disagree. On the Hasselblad, I set the EV and if necessary rotate both rings to change the shutter speed. The Rollei handles better than the C330. Also the Rollei has Zeiss optics. I have a circa 1935 folder with Zeiss optics which are still really sharp!

    Steve
     
  19. AgentX

    AgentX Member

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    Well, some people blow their tops when I point out that a Leica is--quantifiably--more complex to reload than an SLR. So we all have our prejudices.

    And I don't want to get into a tit-for-tat, really, just point out that not everyone finds Mamiya TLRs awkward to use. And to me, it's different than a Rollei but no better or worse. I'll agree with you that most any TLR with a prism is awkward for any number of reasons; they're optimized for use with a WLF. Then again, so is a Hasselblad, IMHO...
     
  20. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    If I had the money, and everything is in good shape, I'd go for it, though maybe after haggling a bit (400 Euros, maybe). It may not be the best deal on such a kit ever, but you will certainly get your money's worth. I was close to saying go for it as I read through the list, but when I got to the Paramender 2, it was sealed. It is an invaluable tool for the system, and they usually sell for close to $100 U.S. by themselves.
     
  21. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I use a 45º PME for the Hasselblad. But remember post #12?

     
  22. AgentX

    AgentX Member

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    the 45s are a lot easier to use handheld than the 90s for most MF cameras, I've found...but doesn't change the fact that the camera's not at waist level, where they're easiest to operate. Anyhow, I think our points have been made. Just didn't think it was fair to characterize the system from a single point of view... Post #12 is indeed the important thing.
     
  23. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Steve:

    If you were using a Porro-finder, rather than a prism finder, I understand at least in part why you didn't like your C-series Mamiyas.

    Those are dim!
     
  24. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Amen to that! I have the Paramender and I use it with my C220's. Fantastic accessory. When doing moderate closeups, it's easy enough to adjust for parallax error by eye. But when doing extreme closeups less than 3 ft. when precise framing is called for, you can't beat it. It will get ou on target every time. And you can have lots of opportunity to use the C330 for close up photography with the bellows focusing system.

    On the subjects of lens quality and ergonomics, all I can say is that there were thousands of event photographers who built successful careers using these cameras. I'll bet there are still a few, I reckon, who use them selectively. Even in the dark ages, before everyone went bit crazy and became internet connected, a camera with inferior optics and fiddly handling would not have remained popular with the working photographer for very long.

    So, does a Rollie have superior optics simply because they carry the Zeiss label? Maybe, maybe not. Heck, the lens on my little Yashica T4 Super carries a Zeiss label, but that doesn't make it "better" than any of the Nikkors I use on my 35mm SLR's. In addition to my two C220's, I have a Hasselblad with 50, 80, and 150 CF Zeiss lenses. I've shown well made photographs to uninterested third parties and asked them to choose which was made with the Zeiss glass and which was made with the Mamiya glass. The results of my admittedly informal survey indicated that you couldn't tell the difference. I could, but then I'm prejudiced, having known beforehand which was made with which equipment. Otherwise, no. They both look mighty good to me.
     
  25. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I guess I am the wrong person to opine about this topic, as I shoot regularly with a C33 or C220, an RZ67, and a Rollei 3.5F. :D

    I don't have, or plan to get, a Hasselblad, however. I think they are lovely cameras, and I borrow one from time to time, but the things I would shoot with that sort of camera are covered mightily by the RZ. The things I want to and/or can shoot with a TLR, I do, as I find this style of camera the near-perfect tool to use for a lot of what I shoot. For shooting the things for which I simply want one lens in a compact (though heavy) package, I use the Rollei. Where TLRs fail, I use the RZ. When I want a square frame shot with an SLR, I crop from the RZ. True, the Hassy would be a great "in-between" camera, but I honestly don't think I'd be doing that much more with it than I do with the ones I already have, nor would I want to use the others any less often.

    I don't find any of these four cameras to have a high fiddle factor. However, the one I fiddle most with is the Rollei, as I sometimes forget to put the film under that one roller. With the other ones, the fiddle factors are what makes the cameras worth using, IMO. The fiddle factor on the C220 involves cocking the shutter before shooting, and changing lenses, which is just as quick as with the others. Personally, I like having the shutter release independent of the advance for many things, and the interchangeable lenses are the big thing with the C system; the one thing that makes is stand above all other TLRs IMNSHO. If I don' want this, the C33 eliminates the need to cock the shutter before each shot (but it won't accept my 180mm lens, and is notably heavier than the C220).

    IMO, you would have a fine camera with any of the above. Each has its pluses and its minuses, though.