Sunday, April 13, 2014

At long last...Mamiya C330f... my dream camera!

Several weeks ago I helped a widow part with her deceased husband's photographic gear.  I got all the items cleaned up, tested, photographed and sold on ebay for her, and she did quite well as a result.  One camera that did not go to ebay was a Mamiya C330f outfit.  I paid her for that at a discounted price, and did not charge her a commission for the ebay sales.  I had always wanted a C330, as it was the final version of a remarkable series of TLR cameras from Mamiya (actually, the C330f was followed by the C330s).  This beauty came with the 80mm and 135mm lenses, waist-level viewfinder, prism finder, lens hood and lens caps.  It certainly is a tad heavier than the Rolleiflex and no heavier than a Hasselblad.  What I love is the extension bellows which gives me the ability to close focus to less than a foot away. This is an awesome feature, and I put it to the test this past week.  I like the camera so much, I sold my Rollei and my Hassy.  If any camera can get me back in the darkroom to print again, it is this camera.

The Mamiya C330 was designed to be a professional-grade system (it even says "professional" on the front of the body), and everything about it says versatility and reliability.  All I had to do was replace the foam light seals on the back and I was ready to start using the camera.  I didn't have a manual, and one is very helpful with this camera.  Thankfully, has manuals.  This site is also very useful.

Using the camera comes pretty naturally to me.  The focus screen is nice and bright, and the controls are easy to find.  It does pay off to read the manual, as this is a more complex beast than the Yashica A or my Rolleiflex Automat.  I used my Gossen Pilot light meter and several different rolls of film.  I have yet to send the color Fuji 400H off to be developed, but I did develop the B&W. One roll was 30 year-old expired Kodak Panatomic-X -- what a wonderful film!  I shot it at ISO 20, and the results were excellent. Others were shot on Ilford FP4+.  T love the out-of focus blur of the background when the subject is close by!

Calla Lilly, shot on Ilford FP4+

Fig tree, on Ilford FP4+

on Ilford FP4+

on Ilford FP4+
All these images were taken at Matthaei Botanical Gardens last Tuesday. I can't wait to do a lot of shooting with it this summer.

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