Mamiya C3 - what to look for?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by RH Designs, Jul 6, 2007.

  1. RH Designs

    RH Designs Advertiser Advertiser

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    Hi all

    The local auction sale has a Mamiya C3 with 80mm and 180mm lenses and a few bits and pieces for sale tomorrow. I might bid for it - it's in reasonable condition. I'm not familiar with Mamiya TLRs so are there any points I should particularly look out for with this camera? Just out of interest, can it do multiple exposures?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Yes, it can do multiple exposures. When you are behind the camera, on the right side above the winding crank is a control that allows the choice of single exposure or multiple exposure.

    Be aware that any camera that has not been used for a long period of time may have a stuck or slow shutter. If so, do not stress it by forcing it; send it for a CLA.

    Steve
     
  3. Stoo Batchelor

    Stoo Batchelor Member

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    Hi Richard

    I bought one of these on ebay a few months ago. I did a little bit of research before I committed myself. Launched in 1962. Interchangable lenses(as you know)also takes a 5 x 4 back(yeh,try and find one!) And yes, it is possible to do multiple exposures. Check the shutter speeds on both lenses. They are 1 sec to 500th sec + bulb. But my 1 sec exposure sounds more like two.

    Apparently, the later and better lenses are chrome, as apposed to just being black. That I am affraid is where my knowledge ends, So, I will sit back and look and learn.

    One thing I will say. I took it to the lakes last week, and i could not wind it on past the first frame. In the instructions it talks of a little routine you go through when loading film. If you do not follow this routine, the film does not wind on. I am yet to suss it out!

    Good Luck

    Stoo
     
  4. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Other way around. The chrome lenses are the older of the two versions. They can still be quite good, but the shutters in them are quite old, and can be difficult to get repaired, due to a shortage of available parts.

    Matt
     
  5. Stoo Batchelor

    Stoo Batchelor Member

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    Thanks for the correction Matt, and there was me all chuffed that I got the latest lenses...Bummer! :sad:

    Stoo
     
  6. kraker

    kraker Subscriber

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    Well, as others said: try to sort-of check the shutter speeds on both lenses. And if it has not been used for a LONG time, check the bellows as well. Other than that, I can't think of anything that would go bad just from the passage of time.

    Good luck. It's a very nice camera! :D
     
  7. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    I used a C3 for some years and really liked it. I had the chrome 105s, and they were great for portraits---not overwhelmingly sharp. I am pretty sure they took a single frame 2 1/4x3 1/4 back, not a 4x5.
    The C3 requires manual shutter cocking. The automatic shutter cock thingy did not appear until the C33.
     
  8. RH Designs

    RH Designs Advertiser Advertiser

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    Thanks for all the responses. I'll have another look at it, if I can get it at a decent price it will be something to play with - I've never had a TLR. The lenses are black and the 180mm certainly seems to work OK. The kit has obviously seen a fair bit of use.

    There's another lot comprising a Contax RTS with 50/1.7 and a Weston Master III but I think I'll leave that alone!
     
  9. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    Bellows, state of the mirror (look through the lens throat as the screen is not intended for casual removal), front standard true to the back, back latches working, waistlevel finder opens and closes (unless there is something else on it), focusing rack moves evenly, the double exposure stop is functioning (a roll of old film or just backing paper helps here), the frame counter advances, the shutter release is smooth. Check that putting the camera in 'Unlock' releases the catch for the lens retaining wire (with the lens board fully retracted), and that the internal baffle comes up and is light tight.

    On the lenses: shutter works reasonably at all speeds on X. I do not recommend testing M as it often binds. Glass is clear. The lens pair serial numbers are usually close numerically, but they are unlikely to be in sequence.

    http://www.btinternet.com/~g.a.patterson/mfaq/m_faq.html
    or
    https://webfiles.berkeley.edu/~grahamp/mfaq/m_faq.html
    has more or less everything else I know about these things.
     
  10. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    I used a C3 for 20 years on weddings. This kind of work is pretty hard on cameras and it stood up to it very well. The only service issue was the film wind - had it repaired twice in 20 years. Winding a scrap roll of film through it should give you an idea. A very good camera if the price is right.

    Bob
     
  11. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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  12. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    The only issue I have had with mine is the film wind. It's not bad enough to warrant sending out for repairs, just a bit of discrepancy in the spacing.

    65mm is my favorite lens, then probably the 180 for environmental portraits. The 80mm is a lot of fun with a flash hooked up to the sync and mounted on a L bracket.


    tim in san jose
     
  13. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    With a camera as old as the Mamiya C3, you are likely to get either
    a) a camera which has been worked hard and has greater or lesser component wear or
    b) a camera which has been left lying around for quite a while and as a result may well have dried-out grease and be in need of CLA.

    It's a long time since I had a C3 (I also had C330s and C330f), but at this stage in the model's history, given that spares are getting scarce, option b) is obviously preferable, so long as storage conditions have been reasonable (bad smell and moldy bellows if they weren't). All the same, I would think you wil be lucky to find one that works perfectly immediately on receipt and without a CLA. Any rubber light-trap seals I would think are certain to be gooey and in need of replacement.

    Regards,

    David
     
  14. RH Designs

    RH Designs Advertiser Advertiser

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    Well, my bid was successful :smile: I couldn't check it properly before purchase in the end but the C3 body seems to be OK, as does the 180mm but the 80mm's shutter is dead. Not sure at this stage why but the cock lever feels a bit stiff in places and doesn't snap completely home when the release button is pressed. Still, I dare say it's fixable. And since I only paid a shade under £40 for the lot including a Weston Master V and a Sunpak Auto32 flash I'm not too bothered.

    An even better bargain was the Contax which I really couldn't let go at ten quid! When I got the box home it contained not only the Contax RTS II plus 50/1.7, but also a Weston Master II, a Vivitar 283 flash, a Konica C35 Autofocus compact, a rather nasty looking Soligor 105mm screw-fit lens and a weird black thing with two knobs, clear and red 35mm-size glass windows, a 35mm-type spool inside, and "E.Leitz Wetzlar" written on it. I thought the latter might turn out to be my pension but a bit of googling reveals it's an "ELDIA" filmstrip copier and worth about nothing. Still, I've put a battery in the Contax and it works fine so I think it was a tenner well spent :smile:

    Again, thanks to all for the hints; I shall set to work and sort the Mamiya out.
     
  15. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Richard,
    As we say here in the former colony of Virginia, Ya done guud. That little 35mm Leica take up spool for the pre-war Leicas is probably worth a couple of pound sterling in and of itself. IIRC, the Contax RTS was a heavy beast, but a fine camera. The Weston V (my favorite meter) in working order is worth ten pounds or so, at a minimum. It would be nice if the shutter on the 80 were easily fixable, but for many of us the 80 was the lens set used least.
    In case you think something in the viewfinder might be amiss, that red thing which intrudes as you focus closer is telling you to use nothing above its position in the viewfinder if you wish it to appear in the picture. A rudimentary parallax correction. Have fun. Were I a man with a capacity for envy, I would envy you having a C3. It was my first "real" camera back in the early 1960s.

    John in Mount Vernon, Virginia, USA
     
  16. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    In a C3 there is no parallax correction. If you see a black line in WLF, it means you have closed off the baffle to change lens. It will let you photograph in this condition. The prints just come out blank. My C220 has a red line, much more noticeable.


    tim in san jose
     
  17. RH Designs

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    Hi John

    There is a strip of red plastic on a pivot just above the mirror, but it doesn't appear to do anything. It doesn't move with the focus, so I suppose it must be faulty. I've run a roll of film through the beast this afternoon and the wind-on etc all seems to work; all I need to do is develop the film to find out for certain!

    Can anyone recommend a Mamiya service agent in the UK, ideally in the north of England? A CLA is in order at least.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 7, 2007
  18. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    Hi, when I last looked, the official Mamiya service agent was Johnson Photopia, but my preferred repair service is:

    Newton Ellis & Co
    29 Cheapside
    Liverpool
    L2 2DY
    Tel. 0151 236 1391

    I have sent many cameras to them, including tricky cases such as a Retina Reflex and several Leica R3s, I am sure they can handle your Mamiya with no problem.

    Best regards,

    David
     
  19. kraker

    kraker Subscriber

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    The red thingy is to remind you that the "lens change knob" is in the unlocked position. If that was showing when you ran the roll of film through it, you will end up with 0 exposed negatives (or positives, as the case may be)...

    That's all the red plastic does. As to parallax correction; on the C3 it's very rudimentary: all you get are the two lines in the ground glass representing 1.5x and 2x exposure compensation (see range near the left focussing knob to know which range you are in). Make sure your subject is below those lines and you should be OK.

    Well, really, Graham has already posted the link; check out his Mamiya TLR summary - without a doubt the most informative site on the subject!
     
  20. RH Designs

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    David - thanks for the repairer info, I'll give them a call.

    Kraker - on further investigation last night I discovered that the red flag does indeed move with the lens lock knob, thanks. I can see possible parallax troubles until I get used to the thing as apart from 35mm SLRs my only other camera is a Mamiya 6MF which has correction built into the VF ...

    Graham - I've already found some nuggets in your amazingly exhaustive study and will read a lot more of it. Kraker is right :smile:
     
  21. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    The parallax lines (also found on the C220 amongst the later models) do work, though practice and experience helps. If these cameras were limited to the 3 feet / 1 metre of the Rollei design, there would be little to worry about, but since you can get close to life size with the bellows and a short lens you have to make a framing adjustment or move the camera. Beyond 10-12x the focal length it is not a problem.
     
  22. RH Designs

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    The first film came out OK - I posted "Cotter Force 4" to the standard gallery as an example. This was metered with the Weston Master V that came with the camera. The film was 1997-dated APX100 so I was pleased to see it's still eminently useable as I have quite a lot in the fridge. Interestingly, I noticed that the 2006 APX100 I processed at the same time is on a much thinner base.