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Review: Mamiya C330

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Intro:

The Mamiya TLR series was topped by the C330 which boasts features such as 120 & 220 compatibility, a one-action wind on crank, a changeable back for single exposure photography, and also weighs 340g less than the C33. It also has interchangeable lenses across all the series – a massive selling point for these cameras. Ideal TLR’s for people who like to chop and change lenses or do lots of differing styles of photography that need different focal lengths.

If I had a choice of one TLR to use, this would definitely be in contention. The macro capabilities and the lens system makes them very appealing.

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A few good bits

Interchangeable lenses – Unlike most TLR’s, the Mamiya series all have interchangeable lenses. This has obvious benefits including different focal lengths and easier to clean/repair. Changing focal lengths is the biggest plus on these, as other TLR’s can be quite restrictive, or cost a fortune to get a wider/longer focal length.

Medium format – Larger negatives & excellent IQ as comes with 120 cameras. With this being a TLR it’s 6×6 so produces 12 photos a roll, in the pretty iconic square format, which has become extremely popular over the last few years.

Built like a tank – These are very very sturdy, this is a bit of a downside too as discussed further down, however for lots of photographers good build quality is paramount.

The bellows allow for excellent macro – The Mamiya TLR’s have visible bellows which extend quite far from the body, allowing very close focus, without having to lug around an extra dedicated macro lens.

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A few bad bits

You’ll never need a gym again – Alongside the point above about it being built like a tank… It weighs a similar amount too. These are beasty cameras that weigh a ton. This is obviously going to come alongside it being well built and so sturdy, so if the build quality is something you’re after then the weight is just something that has to be dealt with.

Parallax correction – While shooting macro the image you see through the finder is slightly different to what you will get in the negative, this is due to the nature of a TLR and with the close focus exaggerating this. There are little tools called paramenders which rectify this issue.

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The bottom line

Lovely cameras which are built very well, and with the macro capabilities and interchangeable lenses it allows for a great camera kit which can do it all.

The C330’s with a standard 80mm lens will put you back around £199-299, however the earlier versions such as the C2, C3, C220 can all be had from around £99-£199. We have a large quantity of these in stock at the moment so get in touch if you are interested.

West Yorkshire Cameras
Unit 19, Leeds Corn Exchange LeedsWest YorkshireLS1 7BR England 
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One Response to Review: Mamiya C330

  1. Peejay -

    January 22, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    Stunning cameras. I used to shoot weddings with them in the early 1980’s and the 55mm, 80mm and 150mm lens combination will allow anyone to take any subject you care to mention from landscapes to portraits.

    The bellows action also allows great close-up capability and the viewfinder on mine was extremely bright for easy, precise focusing. No meter built in but that just means you have to do the job properly and think a bit.

    For me, the best value and most versatile MF TLR there is. I traded mine years ago and regretted it. These days I have a Rolleiflex 2.8e which is a lighter camera (and mine has a fully working light meter) but just the one focal length and, though it’s well made, I dread to think what would happen if I dropped or knocked it.

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