Mamiya Universal - Urgent Help Needed
I just received a Mamiya Universal that I bought on Ebay. This is the first viewfinder camera I've owned (aside from polaroids and p&s), so I'm very unfamiliar with the way everything works. The description was;
"Mamiya Universal medium format camera. This camera has the 100mm lens. All functions work great.The back is a 6x9."
Unfortunately, the shutter release from the pistol grip (is that the right term?) is broken; I attached a picture below. Also, the light seals are in very bad condition, on the camera and on the 6x9 back. I plan on sending the guy I bought it from an email about these problems, but I wanted to ask a few questions of anyone familiar with the camera first.
First, are the light seals worth mentioning, or should I consider that a given with an older camera like this? Second, I thought that maybe I should quote a price on getting the shutter cable repaired or replacing the grip... anybody have an idea what either of these would cost? Lastly, the camera came with a Mamiya-Sekor 100mm f/3.5 lens. The lens is made to collapse into itself a bit and it must be pulled out fully to use, or the focus will be off. Perhaps I'm missing something, but when I pull it out fully and twist it slightly everything seems fine. Then I go to adjust ss or ap in a counter-clockwise motion and the lens collapses down. Should it be locking in place? Is this another defect?
Any help and advice is much appreciated. Again, I'm unfamiliar with the camera, so any other help not related to this particular issue is helpful too.
P.S. I've never used a synch cord for a flash before. But I'm gonna need one now, aren't I?
I can't help you directly with your questions about the camera except to say that it's not at all unusual for cameras of this vintage to need new light seals. It shouldn't be an expensive job and depending upon what you paid for the camera shouldn't necessarily be a deal-breaker. However, considering the description and the condition you describe, you may want to return it to the seller. In any case, you should contact the seller regarding the discrepancies.
Ebay is a crap shoot. It can work very well if you know the seller, are very familiar with the goods involved, get lucky - or all three. If you're starting out in a realm in which you're unfamiliar, you're usually better off going to a reputable retailer who will stand behind his product.
I have a mamiya press (basically the same camera). I shouldnt worry about the pistol grip too much, you cant really hand hold these cameras without camera shake. just use a normal shutter release cable.
The lens should lock into position (it clicks when you twist it), sounds like it is worn. It still should be usable if you hold it whilst adjusting the aperature.
Light leeks are very common on these cameras, the rubber seals rot! I used thinish black felt to make new seals for the back which worked a treat. I have read that mamiya US will still supply original seals still.
you can get the material to seal the back here
I have an extensive Mamiya Universal System with multiple bodies and several backs. The light trap is not dependent on the foam seal. It's a mechanical trap and as long as contours are still closely matched I've never had a light leak with any of my backs. The foam is always dead on these. Gooey nasty stuff. I have a "near" direct replacement for the cable release. Identical but about 1 inch shorter. They were used for many years on Polaroid C4 tektronics CRT cameras. I can send you one for $15. Works on all of the Universal lenses but perhaps the 150 and 250mm. I always use a tripod and a seperate cable release anyways as a remotely held release button cures shake. Try giving your 100mm a harder twist. It should have a "high" spot it bumps over to lock in place. The other lenses for this system are all excellent. The Mamiya is my "color" camera. I'm a LF B/W guy but when people require high quality color I don't waste my time with expensive 4X5 chromes. I have many 20X30's in public places made with the old Mamiya and Velvia 50. The 50mm wide angle is Superb! Worth more than you paid for your whole system so far. It's a Zeiss Biogon copy. Do yourself a favor and don't buy one without the finder included. The accy. focus screen is worth it's weight in gold for anything that the finder won't tell you like macro etc.
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I was thinking about taking one of my backs and tweaking it for 35mm film, then use the 50mm lens, hoping to get an interesting panorama view. Mine didn't come with the rangefinder, but i do have a ground glass adaptor. Was thinking i would just pop it on infinity and shoot away. Expensive "point and shoot". Any thoughts about the lens being used in this manner?
I have had a Super 23 for almost 25 years, but haven't used it much since I've found the Koni-Omega system more convenient in most respects.
Recently, I had occasion to get out the old Mamiya. I found that the plastic ring used
for locking the lens in place seems to be frozen; I can't turn it, and although I have used some extra mechanical assistance, I don't want to overdo it and break something. Am I forgetting something? Is there some simple pin allowing release of the ring which I'm overlooking, or do these things commonly become frozen with age?
Hi Ann. Been there done that. A lot of fun. I simply took some 1/2 wide scotch tape and wrapped continuously on an empty spool at both ends until I had plenty of "build-up" on either end. The 35mm then fits nicely in the middle. You have to spool and load in the dark of course. The image all the way out into the spool holes is a very neat effect. Look out Hassy X-Pan.
Why limit yourself to infinity? With the 50 you've got lots of DOF and a very complete distance/DOF scale on the lens. That said, I think you're confusing the viewfinder with the rangefinder. The add-on thingy that you're missing is the viewfinder; you still use the rangefinder in the body.
I'd look very closely at film flatness with the back off the body--I'm guessing this is going to buckle pretty badly in the middle, especially if you leave the back loaded for any length of time.
Konical: Nope, you're doing it right. Sometimes it does require a bit of force. Especially, it is possible to get a lens "cross-mounted" if mounting quickly, where the ring locks it on, but it's not really seated in the mount correctly. This can jam the retaining ring pretty good. Sometimes wiggling the lens while twisting the ring helps. Do make sure you're turning it the right way (counterclockwise from front). This is a pretty stout mount--you'd have to use some really impressive force to do any damage.
Aurore: The retraction mechanism on the 3.5's is the one and only bit of underengineering on this system--both of mine have scary amounts of slop also. The 3.5's are the least impressive lenses for this system anyway. They're perfectly acceptable Tessars, but there are better things than Tessars. Get a 100/2.8 (Planar clone) or a 50/6.3 (Biogon clone).
no, i understand the difference betwen rangefinder and viewfinder. I may have missed typed .
I just decided to start with infinity and have already figured out how to make it work, now it is just shooting some images.