The C330 as a carry-around camera?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by celluloidpropaganda, Oct 16, 2006.

  1. celluloidpropaganda

    celluloidpropaganda Subscriber

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    I've had the itch for some time to get a camera for handheld square shots (my old Bronica SQ-A is somewhat limited in that regard, and I hate the EVS system on the Vb Rolleicord I picked up cheap).

    Ideally, 'my' camera would be a Mamiya 6, but they're holding value quite well. Too well. Rolleiflexes are nice, but after a good CLA and new screen, they're right there with the Mamiya 6. Aside from the Yashica-Mat or Autocord (both options, but it seems fewer nice ones are popping up), that leads me to the late C220/C330. New, reliable, built like a tank, good optics... but built like a tank. Or so I've heard. Lots and lots of complaints, 'oh just get a Rolleiflex,' etc.

    I'm not talking about going on hikes or anything, mostly an afternoon at the ballpark or time at roadside carnivals, wandering for a few hours at a time. Any reason to think that the C-series is unsuitable? Or are there any other issues that might make one less than ideal for carrying and handholding?
     
  2. kb244

    kb244 Member

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    I've used a Mamiya C3 and C33 with a 65mm for a while, and I find them to be perfectly fine. While not as light as a lubitel 166U, Yashica/Seagull or Rollei they're probally one of the most pratical TLRs I've seen out there. And yes they're built quite nicely, while a C330 is the latest I've always held a fondness to the older models. I also own a Seagull (SA-85) and once owned a Yashica Mat-124G, so I know how that goes. Its pratical but some people may not like it's weight, its like trying to decide what you want to take to the fair, a RB67 or a 6x9 folder :D
     
  3. kraker

    kraker Subscriber

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    I use my C3 on exactly those occasions. It's not the lightest of cameras (but it *is* sturdy), but even a hike (I admit, it's a flat country here) isn't a reason to leave it at home.

    On the other hand, if you are looking for a lightweight and small 6x6, look into folder cameras like the Agfa Isolette series.
     
  4. blokeman

    blokeman Member

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    C330

    I've carried my old C330 with 80mm lens (+ extra 55mm) around both India and Europe and US on two separate trips and encountered no problems. Sure they're 'built like a tank' but that weight is a small price to pay for toughness and reliability. Mine is an old one. Reading the beginning of this thread I understand it has been manufactured again? Is this why you called it 'new'? bm
     
  5. P C Headland

    P C Headland Subscriber

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    If you don't mind being limited to one the lens, you might like one of the better folders - e.g. Agfa Super Isolette, Super Ikonta, Super Baldax, Certo Six or my favourite, an Iskra. Much easier to carry around all day. The Certo probably being the most compact of them, but the VF on the Iskra (and similar Agfa) is pretty good for an old folder.
     
  6. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    If you want to use a Mamiya C330 handheld, a Mamiya L handle makes a big difference. If you want one and can't find one, I have one somewhere!

    Regards,

    David
     
  7. Blighty

    Blighty Subscriber

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    Agreed, the trigger grip makes handling much easier. But even without, it's easy enough to use as a carry-around. I used to take mine hiking up in the mountains. Even did an ice-climb on pikes crag with it. Go for it!
     
  8. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    As an owner of a 330s I find the main benefit of the Mamiya is the interchangeable lens facility. Unless your intend utilizing this it makes sense to go for a lighter TLR for the purposes you describe. Light weight it is not.
     
  9. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    I have a C33 I affectionately call my "Brick". It's one of my favourite cameras (I'm still looking for more of the black lenses) but not one I'd hang around my neck for a few hours. It certainly creates a stirr amongst the pigeons. :smile:
     
  10. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    I have found the Mamiya TLR's to be most reliable and have used mine (C2 and C3) for 30 years before putting them on the 'retirement shelf'. They are veterans of a few hundred weddings, so they have been well loved. The most vulnerable part is the film wind, and I have only needed to repair this twice in all those years of heavy use. Not the lightest of MF cameras, but definitely lighter than an RB or RZ. Go for it.

    Bob
     
  11. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    A good, wide neopreme neckstrap will help. I've also used a good hip-belt camera pack to take weight off neck and shoulders.

    I understand the 220 series is lighter, but I don't know how much lighter.
     
  12. Cooki

    Cooki Member

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    I often walk around with my C330 on a monopod, it's heavy but it's worth the effort. The best part is no one ever mistakes it for digiscrap although I do get the odd person ask if its a movie camera.:tongue:
     
  13. Richard Kelham

    Richard Kelham Member

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    Not much.

    The Mamiyaflex is a fine camera, but no lightweight – I normally use mine on a tripod – nut is lighter than my 5x4 technical outfit. Choice depends on how rugged the terrain...


    Richard
     
  14. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Minolta Autocord. Half the weight, all the quality. Running $125 - $150 on evilbay these days.
     
  15. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    I own a C33 and while it is a wonderful camera it is not something that I would wish to carry about for several hours. Remember it has no light meter and is limited to 12 exposures per roll. And while it is possible to change lenses in the field it helps if one has more than two arms like a Hindu diety. All this must really be entered into the equation.
     
  16. kb244

    kb244 Member

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    LOL someone thought my RB67 was a video camera. So yea been there done that.
     
  17. mediumformatphoto

    mediumformatphoto Member

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    Right on! The Minolta Autocord shoots great and is quite small and light compared to the Mamiyas (I know because I have a C330S, C220, two Autocords, and two Rolleiflexes). :D

    The Autocord's 75/3.5 Rokkor is tack sharp. Another advantage of Autocords: film rolls from the top spool to bottom spool with no bending of the film on corner. The bottom lever for the helicoid focusing can be broken on these - just make sure it works smoothly, and that the front face of the camera has never been hit hard.

    I recently replaced the dim viewing screen in my user Autocord with a grid/split image screen available from another APUG member, and it works great. Highly recommended.

    R.J.
     
  18. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    I have direct comparison experience of the Mamiya 6, the C33/C330/C220, YashicaMat, and a Zeiss folder (amazing what you collect over a few decades). Using my own data (http://www.btinternet.com/~g.a.patterson/mfaq/m_faq-11.html#Heading141) The C220 with a standard lens will put you around 500g/1 lb heaver than the YashicaMat. Put some weights in a bag and go for a walk to see how it feels.

    The YashicaMat gets used for casual walks. The Mamiyas tend to be used for trips with a definite photographic plan (and where an alternative lens might be useful). I use a monopod rather than an L-grip. The others are usually reserved for travel.

    Everyone has their own tolerance for weight and bulk. Remember, the best camera for the job is the one you have with you!
     
  19. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The C220 is definitely lighter than the C330, so if weight is the deciding issue...

    I've used my C330 a lot to shoot weddings. Generally, that is with the left hand trigger grip and a prism finder (not the porrofinder). It is heavy, but I've had a chance to get used to it, and don't mind.

    One thing to consider, however, is that due to the fact that these cameras use a bellows to focus, a lot of weight and bulk is in the camera, rather than the lenses. My 55mm, 80mm, 135mm kit with C330 body compares favourably in weight and bulk to my Mamiya 645 Pro SLR with 55mm, 80mm and 150mm kit.

    If you want to go even lighter, a C220 with WLF and 65mm and 135mm lenses is also a pleasure to use. Unfortunately, the trigger on the trigger grip wont trigger it:sad: .

    Here's a link to a shot I took with my C220 on the ferry between the mainland and Vancouver Island last year. The camera, two lenses, a meter and some film fit nicely in a small camera bag:

    http://www.apug.org/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=11024&ppuser=6479

    Matt
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2006
  20. Kobin

    Kobin Member

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    Hauling my C330s and two lensets (close to 7 pounds) up and down rough country led me to purchase my Zeiss Ikon folder.

    K.
     
  21. f/stopblues

    f/stopblues Member

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    I owned a C330 for a couple years and finally decided to sell it. It's a great camera, seemingly archaic design that actually turns out to be very well laid out.

    I enjoy cameras I can handhold comfortably, and the nail in the coffin for this camera was a trip to the Colorado Rockies. I hiked up the side of a mountain and up part of a glacier with this beast, cursing it every time it swung and battered me in the chest. I got some great photos, but I wished I had brought one of my 35mm rangefinders instead.

    Ultimately, it's a great camera. However, it is *not* in the same ballpark in size and weight as the Rollei's or Autocords. It's a substantial tool that may be best suited for tripods and more leisurely strolls and hikes. FWIW, the next year I went to Colorado I took a Canonet QL17 and a load of HP5+ and the whole experience was much more pleasant :smile: I even took it snowmobiling! The Mamiya would have knocked my butt off the snowmobile had it been bouncing around in front of me.

    My $.02 :smile:
     
  22. wclavey

    wclavey Member

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    Mamiya c3 and c220 have been my walking around cameras for the past 20 years. I did street shooting in NYC for several years and people reacted much more naturally to me with the TLR than they did with the 35mm. I have used them hiking & camping and I have a padded case that I strap to the panniers on my bicycle. But as I get more purposeful in my photography and less opportunistic, I have changed my strategy of using them a bit.

    Originally, I used an original Domke bag to carry the lenses, filters, prism finder and light meter in and I selected 1 body to take - - B&W in the c220 or E-6 in the c3. Now, I have a large saltwater reel bag that lets me take everything with me in the car, and then I can put off the E-6/B&W decision until I get where I'm going - - or even 2 bodies with the samee film but 2 different lenses. I have 4 lenses: 2x80mm, 65mm, 180mm.

    I almost always use a MF L-bracket and a wide neck strap if it is going to be a long day, and I also carry a monopod and tripod in the car, to support a last minute decision-making process. I also throw the Domke in the bag to use with my equipment selection once I wander off from the car.

    If worse comes to worse, I also have a large padded computer backpack that I can fit everything into plus the tripod or monopod for a long walk into the woods - - the same back I use for my 4x5 kit.

    I wouldn't have it any other way... I love the c3 & c220 and, in fact, I always scan the *bay availability for a back-up, if I could ever afford it...

    So I whole-heartedly support the c220/c330 as a general shooter. BTW, I also carry an Ansco 4.5 Special in my 35mm bag for taking real pictures... :smile:
     
  23. KenR

    KenR Member

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    Carrying a C330

    I owned one for several years and liked the system. I hiked with it extensively although it was rather heavy, even with a wide neck strap. I sold it because the camera was so big and different looking that people would stare at me to the point of my feeling unsafe. (No I'm not paranoid, my wife who generally hikes with me, also noticed it and told me to get rid of the camera)
     
  24. Bighead

    Bighead Member

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    I have been using my C330 for a couple of years... I use it for travel... The body and 3 lenses pack nicely in my Domke, w/film... I also use it as a supplemental system at weddings.. For ambient shots. The square makes some great portraits. Its heavy, but with a waste level finder, you never have to raise it up.. You can just steady it while hanging from your neck... I'm pretty sure its lighter than my Pentax 645, which of course, you have to hold it up to your face.... So, think of it as weight used differently....

    And there seems to be an almost endless supply of bodies and good condition black lenses and they all are very inexpensive...
     
  25. Jeffrey A. Steinberg

    Jeffrey A. Steinberg Member

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    I have lugged mine all over israel with 3 lenses and two different hoods. Not bad in the end. Quite livable and it is built like a tank.