About 15 years ago, I apprenticed in a professional's studio. I worked after school and sometimes on weekends, filing his negatives, cleaning the studio, assisting him on shoots etc. Well he was selling two Mamiya TLR's with lenses, and I remember being completely in LOVE with them. He offered me one of the bodies, along with a lens, and allowed me to work off the price tag. I dont even remember which model it was. I shot a lot of rolls with that camera, and it accompanied me to each of the workshops that he put on for the local photography club.
Somehow, through all of the moves in my 20's, the camera got lost. I have no idea if it is at my parents, at one of the houses of the many friends I roomed with, if its in some ex's drawer, but I know its gone. And since I've gotten back into film, the fact that that camera is lost is absolutely killing me. I know I paid, or worked off about $350 for that thing, and now I wish I had it even if all it did was sit on the shelf.
I may not be ready to move into big film again just yet, but I have got to replace that camera otherwise it'll drive me bat shit crazy.
I'm not as well versed with TLR's as I am with 35mm and digital, so I'm not quite sure what I should be looking for, and the things that I need to pay attention too. There is a local ad for a C33 with a lens that I've inquired on, but was just reading that the C33 had body problems which where later fixed with the C330.
Any advice or things that I should know before jumping into one of these again?
Just that 1) 6x6 is hardly "big film" and 2) if you shoot 35mm now jump right in, the water is fine.
I'm not well versed in the Mamiyas. I have a Yashica TLR I like a lot. The Mamiyas are a lot bigger and heavier but also a lot more versatile.
I have a C-330s and a C-220f, 55, 65, 80, and 135mm lenses, plus waist level and metered porrofinder. I spend most of my time shooting these and a 4x5 and love the squares most. I cannot say enough good things about my TLR's.
I've had a C330 since I bought it new in the 1970s.
At one time I had 4 different lenses, but I'm now down to two - 65mm and 135mm.
The black lenses marked with a blue "dot" are the most recent - you are less likely to suffer part availability problems.
The C330 plus the left hand trigger grip that also works with the RB67 is a great combo.
EDIT: I just noticed that you posted this in the "Large Format" forum. If you think that a C33 is large format, there are some photographers here on APUG who could really give you a scare
Last edited by MattKing; 09-21-2011 at 05:25 PM. Click to view previous post history.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
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I recently sold all my Mamiya TLR gear, 2 C330 bodies and the finders, lenses, etc. I had a C220 and a C33 many years ago and didn't like them too much, the improvements to the C330 are well worth it, IMO. Overall I found them a bit awkward to work with, heavy, kinda clunky. But the lenses were amazingly good, I've never used anything that topped them. Very versatile system and reliable. It's all pretty cheap now, too.
I have had a C220f (a small part of the Buyin' and Sellin' Circus I ran off to join a few years back) and I liked it, both the ergonomics and the photographs. The only issue I had with it was that a plastic knob of that particular, late model had sheared off, rendering the loading/unloading of film a "poke a screwdriver into the works" affair until I found a spare part (in Pakistan, of all places). Compared to the expensive Rolleiflex 2.8, a well-maintained C220 or C330 and an 80/2.8 is positively a bargain.
“Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu
I have a C330f with a set of lenses and it is a GREAT camera.
The "2" series have knob wind - the "3" series have a crank. C3s and C33s are now very old and therefore probably suspect. I'd leave them to the collectors. I would stick with a C330 (or C220 with a bit less functionality for a bit less money).
The C330s is the latest and 'best' and you pay a bit more for it, but really the difference isn't worth the price (it can take different focussing screens). The " f " for me is therefore the best bargain.
Remember each lens has it's own shutter - so you need to give some thought to both the optics and the shutter being in good order before you buy, it easy to get caught out with a lemon as they are getting quite old, now. The shutters are, I'm told, easy to work on. But, as I know from my own experience, it is getting very hard to find a dealer who will service them. Better to spend a bit extra on buying a really good one that doesn't need servicing rather than to get a bargain which leaves you with the problem of trying to find someone to service it...
I didn't notice that until I read your comment since I just click new posts and read.
Originally Posted by MattKing
Yeah, as I said above, 6x6 is far from large format. I love my 4x5 but a lot of really ULF shooters only grudgingly acknowledge 4x5 as large. Some think large begins at 8x10!
My first proper medium format camera was the Mamiya 330f with a modern 80mm and an older 135mm lenses. They are excellent cameras, albeit rather on the heavy side with excellent optics. The bellows focussing allows one to take macro photographs with the ordinary standard 80mm lens - plus the silver needle in the viewfinder tells you how much exposure compensation to apply for a given bellows extension. If only Hassies did the same!
Film Cameras currently used:
Large/Stort-format: Ebony 45SU (field camera), Medium/Medlem-format: Mamiya 7, Hasselblad 503CW
35mm/Små format: Nikon: F4, D800 (yes digital, I know)