Thursday, August 10, 2017


The Mamiya C330 will never be a favorite shooter for me.  It is too big, too heavy and too hard to handle.  It does, however, have some unique capabilities , mostly in the area of close-up work due to the extending bellows.  Also, I have invested in several accessories for the purpose of taking full advantage of the camera's possibilities including an eye-level prism finder, a paramender for parallax correction, and a left-hand grip which frees up the right hand to operate all the right-side controls.  Recently, I loaded the C330 with a roll of Acros and took a slow stroll around the nearby botanic gardens.  Two hours later I had only managed to use half the roll of twelve frames, so I took the beast home and unloosed it on my our home's four-legged contingent.


Heritage Farm

Buckboard Wheels





James Harr said...

Very nice work Mike. That is some sharp glass on the front of that camera. Poor Roxie looks a little camera shy.

Mike said...

Yes, one of the few cameras about which I have no qualms shooting wide open. The Mamiya 135 has also spent a lot of time on my Spotmatic.

Andy Umbo said...

Heavy, but it has a warm spot in my first jobs working for a portrait/wedding/school studio in high-school and college (1970-1974), we were assigned a C2, or C3, then a C22 or C33, then a C330. Not all the glass was good, but the 80mm's were always great. It was the first time I realized that unless I was going to be a photo-journalist, I had to step up my game to a larger format. You really had to sweat to get a decent image on 35mm at a print size like 11X14, but with 120, it was a breeze!

Spent my years shooting sheet film in 4X5's and 8X10's for money (as an ad/product photographer), and eventually bought a Hasselblad when I picked up some serious corporate work; but until that time, I kept a C220 with a 65mm and 135mm going for myself; as well as an occasional Rollei, Yashica, or Minolta Autocord (my favorite of the Rollei copies).

People forget that back in the film days, the only professionals using 35mm were photo-journalists. The ad agencies would accept work done that small, and my town (near Chicago), had one guy who was the "35mm expert", that all the agencies went to if they had something that needed to be shot like that!

Mike said...

Andy, you make a lot of good points about film formats in professional settings. Nearly all my money makers were 35mm, but I was selling them to the wire services and local newspapers. I did peddle one 6x9 pinhole image to the Sun Magazine. I played with a Speed Graphic and a polaroid back when I was not long out of photo school, but it was never more than a toy to me.
I have the 180mm for the C330, but am not sure if I ever got any images with it. I've toyed with the idea of taking it on a trip to the zoo, but I may need to hire some temp help to carry the camera bag.

Jim Grey said...

The portrait of your dog is wonderful. So expressive!

JR Smith said...

In my endless search for a TLR that I would bond with, I have almost pulled the trigger on buying a C330 a couple of times. I hesitated exactly for the reason you indicated you don't love shooting this Mamiya; size and weight.

I've stayed away from the Pentax 6x7 for the same reason. So far, my Pentax 645n is the most portable medium format camera I have tried.

Mike said...

I think the C330 is pretty versatile and it was the choice of a lot of people trying to make a living from photography, especially in studio work. Luckily, for those of us who just need something to walk around with there are a lot of other choices in medium format. My favorites are the little 6x4.5 Ikona A 520 and the Duo Six-20. I've also made a lot of pictures with the simpler mf cameras like the Panda and the Anscoflex 40. They don't do close-ups either, but their compact portability means they will be there when needed.

My YashicaMat is light weight and has a very fine lens, but it is not much good for close-ups and using the focusing magnifier is fussy. I've always thought it would be nice to have a medium format slr, but there aren't many available for the $40 or so that I'm willing to spend on old cameras.

Actually, come to think of it, I did once have a Primarflex for a time when I lived in NYC. I sold it for food money for about $25. It would likely cost me about $400 to rreplace it today.

And, a fellow I knew in Las Cruces once loaned me a Kiev 60 which apparently worked perfectly and I could have had it for a song. However, the thing was so ungainly that I could not even get myself to put film into it. I have toyed with the idea since then of trying a Kiev 88; the refurbished ones seem ok, and the lenses are cheap.

Andy Umbo said...

Got to say as a long time large format guy, there's one camera we all agreed on (all my photo pals) that was the "bomb" and perfect for street photography: The Mamiya 6. I never have been able to afford one, especially when it got to the point where I couldn't spend money on anything that wasn't making me money. We use to have a pro shop in Milwaukee I always rented one for the weekend from. One one my buddies actually snagged a used one for cheap on eBay one time, then got rid of it...he still mourns that camera to this day!

astrobeck said...

that leaf shot up top is superb! There's just a lot to look at there.
I had a big Mamiya too, but parted ways with it since it was like carrying luggage!