Mamiya C330 Lenses

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Shiny, Apr 25, 2007.

  1. Shiny

    Shiny Member

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    Just got a C330F - fantastic camera. But the lens (80mm) doesn't seem that sharp, certainly not compared to the 80mm on my now dead 645 1000s. Its not in fantastic condition - is it the lens? or are the TLR lenses just not as good?

    Thaks
    jim
     
  2. ajmiller

    ajmiller Subscriber

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    Hi Jim, the 80mm lens that came with my c330s is sharp enough. Don't know whether it applies to the c330f, but there was somthing I read somewhere about the black lenses been better than the silver lenses. Have a look at Graham Pattersons excellent info on Mamiya tlrs here

    cheers

    Anthony
     
  3. Dug

    Dug Member

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    Jim - I second Anthony's comment. I have a C330f with 80mm (black) lens and it is quite sharp. It has the prism viewfinder on the top and it is hard to see clearly in low light. I thought there was a problem with the lens at first and realized it requires careful focus.

    Doug
     
  4. Blighty

    Blighty Subscriber

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    I'll third that comment. The 80mm on my C330f is sharp as a tack. I think there were 2 versions (maybe more) of the black 80mm, the later and possibly better version having the 's' suffix. Graham Patterson is the man to ask.
     
  5. JJC

    JJC Member

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    I'll forth it. Although I think that the silver lenses were also sharp, but
    the issue was lack of replacement parts for the shutter assembly once
    the redesigned shutters for the black lenses were put in production.
    Graham is the man.
     
  6. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Jim,

    Slightly (but only slightly) tangentially to the previous posts, late Mamiya Press lenses were reckoned by many to be a different order of creation from the early ones. I'd be surprised if the same were not true of TLR lenses.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  7. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    What the heck! I starting using the C330 with the body on "Unlock" and got blank rolls.

    SO
    <insert Drum Roll here>

    I'll take a fifth!
     
  8. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    The earliest C series equipment is nearly antique (> 50 years old). What tended to improve over time was contrast due to changes in coatings. Most of the lens designs did not change (exceptions; 105mm D/DS, 180mm Super, 80mm S). They do prefer good lens hoods.

    Causes of poor performance:

    Focusing error, either due to poorly adjusted eyesight or a mis-aligned screen. There's a small chance that the lens panel has been damaged, but we'll stick with the simple stuff.

    Lens pair mis-adjustment. The viewing lens is usually shimmed with small spacers to match the taking lens. Taking them apart can cause the shimming to be lost.

    Fungus or clouding in one or the other of the lenses. Usually causes a loss of contrast rather than true unsharpness.

    You need to do a fence test, I think. Find a fence with vertical railings, preferably close set. Put a mark on one and make an oblique pucture with the marked post in the middle, focusing carefully, and at maximum aperture. Ideally repeat the process from the otherside. Make sure you are using the flip-up magnifier in the waist-level finder. If you cannot focus the edge of the central focus aid sharply, you cannot focus the camera. If you have trouble with the flip-up magnifier, try a loupe direct to the ground glass.

    Aims: ensuring you can focus the camera correctly, and testing to see if the taking lens focuses in agreement with the taking lens.

    The first rule is not to fiddle with any adjustments until you are sure that you know which of the elements needs adjusting. The second rule is only adjust one thing at a time.
     
  9. wclavey

    wclavey Member

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    I have 2 80mm Mamiya TLR lenses, one a black one purchased in 1980 (#915158) and the other an older chrome version made sometime earlier (#556454). My sense, when I used these two lenses was that the black one was "sharper" than the chrome.

    I did a simple test. I printed this chart

    http://www.graphics.cornell.edu/~westin/misc/ISO_12233-reschart.pdf

    on an 8.5x11 sheet of white bond and attached it to the wall of the house that was not in direct sunlight. I shot 6 exposures through the black lens, stepping through several f/stops, and then the chrome lens on the same 6 exposures, using Arista EDU ultra 100 film and developed it in Microdol-X. I examined the negatives, an enlarger print of each and several negative scans.

    To be honest, I could not determine a difference in the resolution (where the lines in the image coverge on a central spot) - - both lenses could resolve the same distinction between the lines at the same points on the lines. So if by "sharp" we mean resolution, I could not find a difference. However, I could tell the difference between the lenses in the brightness of the white space between the lines and in the darkness of the lines - - what I would call the contrast or perhaps the dynamic range. The black lens had a crisper look (brighter whitespace, blacker lines) than the chrome lens did.

    Was this scientific? Not really... but it helped me understand why I had the observations I did during actual picture making. So now I choose which lense to use based on the crispness I want in the picture... or whether I remembered to bring the other one with me... :D
     
  10. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Well, I gotta tell ya. I have a pair of C220F's. One came with a black 80 mm. lens, and the other came with no lens. Picked up a chrome 80 mm. lens for very small change. Can't tell the difference between them for normal photography. Who goes around shooting test patterns anyway? Both are very sharp. These cameras can be a little difficult to focus with the WL finder for some. Takes a little practice, but you get it after a little while.
     
  11. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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    Transitioning from the newer 645 series to the TLR I'm guessing you are actually seeing comparative loss of contrast as opposed to lack of sharpness. The TLRs MUST be shot with lens hoods as they are more subject to flare than the newer super multi coated lenses you are used to. Also try changing films. I was also very disappointed with my first C220 for the same reasons but I figured out that changing to higher contrast films and/ortechniques helped. For instance, in B&W develop 5-10% longer to boost contrast. For color print, fill flash makes a world of difference. For transparency, just shoot it - the chromes are the only photos from the TLR I was ever totally happy with.
     
  12. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    The C330 body I got earlier this year was from a portrait / wedding photographer who has gone digital. He was explaining the system to me and how he had used it for many years with great success. He ran into a problem with sharpness on one of the lenses (not sure which one now), and had sent it back to the factory for a check-up. The problem was as reported earlier in this thread. It seems the shims which came with the lens were not correctly installed. The same lens was returned and was "tack sharp" when he next used it, said this was a common problem with the lenses. The glass was excellent, but the shims would normally be out of adjustment due to an improper c.l.a. or tinkering by someone who didn't understand the lens.

    This seems to me to be simply a manufacturing issue from years ago. With today's technology and tolerances, the use of shims would be an unacceptable,costly and unnecessary manufacturing procedure. In the past, it was just a necessary part of the "system" for production. tim
     
  13. Shiny

    Shiny Member

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    Thanks, that was a great response! After a thorough clean and swap the lens appears to be significantly sharper.

    There were some marks on the taking lens which would not budge, the viewing lens was totaly clear though.... i swapped the two over (there were no shims - had certainly been done before!) and performance has definately improved.

    It seemed to be diffusing very slightly before, which i think would have been caused by the marks on the lens - i have an enlarger lens which gives similar results.

    I do find focussing a bit more difficult - but overall this is a camera im much more comfortable with than the 645. Comparing similar prints of the same grade from the 645 and c330, i think there is a contrast difference - certainly a different general look - i'll try ajusting development a little.

    I love the close focussing ability!

    Thanks

    jim
     
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  15. PeterB

    PeterB Subscriber

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    In response to Carl Neilson's well documented steps for replacing the C330f's viewing screen assembly's foam, I re-foamed mine. Something clearly needed to be done since sharp focusing below f5.6 wasn't possible, however it didn't solve the discrepancy between the viewing focus and the image on a focus screen I constructed for the film plane. Before I detail my problems, I'll add some advice for others changing their viewing screen assembly foam.

    I was able to predict before changing the foam that it wouldn't have made a difference by dabbing some slow drying ink onto the 3 posts in the C330f's body then putting the screen assembly back onto the camera, removing it and seeing 3 ink dots transferred to the underside of the screen. This was despite my foam being in poor condition.

    For others reading this thread, the two problems causing my discrepancy were as follows:

    1. The top of the lens plate/board was able to rock back and forth by about 1mm because the stiff retaining wire didn't press on it when latched as it should. I solved that problem by inserting a small piece of sheet metal (LxWxH about 2mm x 3mm x 1mm) to take up the slack.
    2. I had previously swapped the front of the viewing and taking lens with each other. This was because I had a small amount of fungus on the taking lens. After considering this might have been the problem I noticed that both lens bodies had different thickness shims between them and the lens plate, also the filter thread of the viewing lens was about 0.5mm further forward than that on the taking lens. After I swapped them back again the focus was identical (to within limits of repeatability).

    The amount the focus was out was a distance of 0.6mm linear travel of the focusing rails and about 2.2mm circumferential rotation of the focus knob.
     
  16. PeterB

    PeterB Subscriber

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    Can you help me solve my C330f focus problem ?

    Arrgh. I just checked my focus again this morning after changing nothing and it is off again. I thought I had this problem licked :sad: The only things I haven't yet tried (and I think I need the service manual to do them) are:

    1. Adjusting the mirror
    2. Swapping lens shims
    3. Adjusting the 3 factory trimmed vertical posts in the body that press against the underside of the viewing screen.

    The discrepancy distance is about 0.6mm horizontal movement of the focus rail. Read my prior post to see what I have tried.

    Can anybody give me any other suggestions to try ?
     
  17. Loren Sattler

    Loren Sattler Subscriber

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    I would consider sending it to a repair outfit that has the equipment to properly inspect the focusing. If someone left shims out of the lens mount, this would be a solution.
     
  18. Loren Sattler

    Loren Sattler Subscriber

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    I too have a black 80mm lens that is super sharp. But in the past I had a 55mm lens that was terribly weak. I replaced it with another 55mm that is reasonable good. Not all lenses are created equal.
     
  19. PeterB

    PeterB Subscriber

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    There is one shim in each lens. The taking lens' shim is very thin and silver, matching that lens' thread colour. The viewing lens' shim is thicker and is black, matching that lens' thread colour. See attached pics.
    I'm pretty confident I have the ability to detect the misalignment. I have spooled tracing paper between the two take up reels, and use a thin sheet of perspex/Plexiglas (in place of the pressure plate) to hold the tracing paper flat.

    IMAG0850_C330f_Taking_Lens.jpg IMAG0851_C330f_Viewing_Lens.jpg
     
  20. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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  21. PeterB

    PeterB Subscriber

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    I thought so too Matt, but when I hold a steel ruler along it in every direction it is dead flat !! I discovered another poster somewhere whose retaining wire didn't press against the top of the lens plate, but they didn't say their plate was bent. As for the body being bent, that is nigh impossible (but I'll still double check that tonight) since it appears to be cast as a very solid block of metal.

    The cause behind the out of frame artifacts isn't the lens but high intensity light bouncing inside the body, refer to the diagram I attached in my last post (#13) here.
     
  22. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    In Mamiya TLR’s, shims are also used to align viewfinder screens... as a general suggestion, do not disassemble the viewfinder chamber, even if it is dirty. There is little to gain and a lot of risk to misalign the screen.
     
  23. PeterB

    PeterB Subscriber

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    As other posters have encouraged people to do and as detailed here, I have already replaced the foam under my focus screen. It was deteriorated, but interestingly not enough to lose enough springy-ness and be the cause of the problem.
     
  24. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    I have two Mamiya TLR lenses that I don't use because they weren't sharp from day one. I bet missing or incorrect shim is a suspect, as they look clean and they make reasonable images. So, does anyone know the contact of current Mamiya service (does it still exist) and how much it costs to get them fixed?
     
  25. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    Oops, the viewfinder of C330 is very different from mine, C3. In older models, the alignment of viewfinder screen was determined by the number of tiny thin washers on ALL of 6 or 8 (forgot which) screws that retained the screen assembly. It is crazy. I had to calibrate the screen alignment when I could see moon from the window of my studio.
     
  26. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

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    Peter, I just posted on your photonet post regarding this. Your chrome shim looks like factory. The black one looks suspect, that is one thick a** shim! Something is amiss, I know the first thing I would do is do a test without that black shim.
    The spring lock being off by large amount still troubles me. Show a few shot where that was and how you fixed it.
    Christiaan