Anyone using a Mamiya C330?


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Mar 24, 2008
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Ann Arbor, MI.
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I'm tempted to pick one up with a 65mm f/3.5 or a 55mm f/4.5. I'm looking for something unique for my wedding photography and as silly as it is, I always get oooows and aaaaahs when using my Speed Graphic and my RB67. The only problem with my current specialty cameras is weight. They are a pain to pack and even more of a pain to carry and require tripods 80% of the time. 20% of the time I use flash bulbs with the Speed Graphic.

Basically I am looking for a nice "vintage" camera for some specialty work. I understand that these cameras where once widely used for weddings and journalism, but what kind of quirks do they have and what are the best things to look for when buying them used? Any and all help is appreciated!
I have a friend who owns a C330 and it's tricky at first, but it's a joy to use. I have never seen the results out of it though.
First off, I went through your flickr gallery and I love your work! I wish I was as talented in the studio as you are. I'm working on it though, I just got started with studio shooting a few months ago and haven't had much time to experiment yet.

Second, If you find anything that your friend has shot and can link to it, I'd be very gratefull. I haven't found too much online that I am certain was taken with Mamiya TLR lenses. I'm very interested to see how much vignetting I can get out of the 55, 65 and 80mm lenses. I love square format vignetting in black and white.(NOT Holga style) It's easy to do in post, but I would rather get it in camera.
I've used it n still have my very first one bought new. The problem with the C330 is a dark view finder that will make your life miserable at a wedding.

The camera that made me a living for weddings was the Koni Omega 6x7... - Classic Cameras The only problem I've had with this one was a very stiff focusing ring. I did a DIY remedy that involved replacing bushings, it worked great.
I hope this is not too late, but get a C330 (I preferred the C220. I forget why.) with a prism finder.
I'm tempted to pick one up with a 65mm f/3.5 or a 55mm f/4.5. I'm looking for something unique for my wedding photography...

In general, the C330 is a very good choice for "classic" wedding photography. I would, though, recommend strongly against the 55mm f/4.5. Its a bit wide, but primarily at issue is that it is very slow. Focusing indoors will be extremely difficult. The 65mm would be a bit better, but I would really recommend you get the 80mm f/2.8 for wedding work.

If you get an eyelevel finder, get the prism finder and not the Porroflex finder. The latter is a mirror finder with low brightness and lower magnification, not good for weddings.
Yesterday I picked up a Rollei T 75mm f/3.5 Tessar for a song, so the Mamiya is out of the running. Expect a equipment porn posting very soon! Thanks for the thoughtful advice though!
Yesterday I picked up a Rollei T 75mm f/3.5 Tessar for a song...

I used a Rollei T back in High School when the camera was a current model (yes, I'm old...). It was one of the staff cameras. While the 2.8E and 2.8F get all the high praise, the T's images will run with the best; its an excellent choice. Its smaller and lighter than the C330, easily has a good if not better lens, and has a feel thats a joy to use.

The only things you loose are a little viewing brightness (f/3.5 viewing lens instead of f/2.8 if you were considering the 80mm on the C330 but it matches the 65mm you mentioned), the ability to shoot 220 (the T is 120 only), and the close focusing ability (T is 3.5' while the C330 approaches true macro). The limited focusing range does allow the T to offer full parallax correction (moving mask behind the screen).

Keep your eye open for one of the old bayonet on lens hoods. The lens is not particularly flare prone, but a hood is always a good thing. Yashica cloned the bayonet mount and used the same focal length lens (as did some others) so theirs will work fine also. If memory serves, the T used the "Bayonet 1" size. Hoods fit the outer flange and filters the inner. There were even trick polarizers that covered both lenses with the two elements geared together so you could see the effect in the VF.

Here's a link to the manual:

Rolleiflex T instruction manual, user manual, PDF manual

Enjoy your new jewel.
Thanks for the info. It came with an original Rollei protective bayonet filter for the taking lens. (probably UV, but I don't know for sure) I've already looked into lens hoods, but the Rollei ones that I've seen are more than I paid for the camera. I'll check into the Yashica hoods. I love this camera already. I thought that I'd have more trouble with the EV scale and linked shutter speed aperture controls, but it is very intuitive. It reminds me of the "Program Shift" employed by Canon on their DLSRs. Quite funny to think about that. The holiday is preventing me from getting anything developed, but I've already run rolls of Kodak 400VC, Fuji 160S and Ilford HP5 400. I can't wait to develope them and get them on the scanner. I'm still blown away by the smooth mechanics and intuitive operation.
Oh and my viewing lens is a f/2.8 instead of a f/3.5. It is delightfully bright screen. On par or better than my RB67. I may still get a modern screen of some kind though.
Oh and my viewing lens is a f/2.8 instead of a f/3.5. It is delightfully bright screen. On par or better than my RB67. I may still get a modern screen of some kind though.

I'd forgotten that the viewing lens was fast than the taking. There were several TLRs that did this; the shallower DOF in the viewing lens aids focus.

Be carefull about "modern" screens. The vast majority of modern screens are designed with AF in mind. They are "viewing screens" more than "focusing screens". They can be a lot brighter but often at the expense of focusing ability.

Also, I fully agree that if you understand the modern "program shift" function, the old EV lock system is very intuitive. The reason is, it was designed that way. The EV lock was designed to allow ease of using separate uncoupled light meters. Instead of reading off an f/stop and shutter speed, you would simply read the EV number on the meter. You then set the EV on the camera and f/stop and shutter speed controls are coupled so that a single control changes both without changing the exposure. A very usable system. The modern "program shift" is simply a decendent of the same concept. I learned it on the T some 45 years ago and was very happy to find my "old friend" again when I got my first digital with "program shift".
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I had a Rolleiflex D, and it just seemed like there were too many steps. Hence the switch to Mamiya.

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