When I discovered medium format with my Holga, a whole universe of photography was unveiled before my eyes. Soon I felt completely attracted to one type of camera, the twin lens reflex (TLR). These cameras have two lenses — with one lens you see the image and do the focus; and with the other lens, the camera takes the photo. Among these cameras, the Mamiyas shone with a light of their own. I wanted to have one to see how those machines worked, so I decided to buy a used Mamiya C330 Professional I found online and I never regret it. Not once.
The Mamiya C330 is a beautiful camera. It does not need batteries: it is a fully mechanical intelligent beauty. The Mamiya C330 Professional was fabricated in the late 60s and early 70s. The slightly upgraded versions of this camera, the C330f and C330s, were built until the early 1990s. You can use either 120 or 220 film, but what it makes it special and different to the rest of TLR cameras is that it has an interchangeable lens system. That is what the C in C330 means, so you can go wide with this camera and its 55 mm lens or you can go tele with a 250 mm lens. I myself own a Holly 80 mm f/2.8 Mamiya Sekor lens, which I really like for portraits. The leaf-shutter is not in the camera body but incorporated into the lenses. It is also capable of speeds from 1/500 to 1 second, and you have a bulb option for long exposures or flash sync at all speeds.
The operation of the camera is easy: you set speed and aperture in the lens, you focus using the huge waist level viewfinder and you shoot with the shutter release button or with a cable release. The focusing is done thanks to the extension of bellows, and this lets you focus it really close. But as you extend the bellows you have to correct for exposure and parallax error. This is given because the photographer views through one lens but takes the photograph through another, so the photograph is different from the view on the screen. This error is not big in distant subjects but the closer the photo subject, the stronger the parallax. Do not panic, on the left of the focusing screen you have a mobile line indicating the parallax error (or where your photo will be cut on the film). That feature proved really useful when I shot macro that one time! And oh, you can easily do double exposures — you have a multiple exposure selector that will let you crank the shutter without passing the film frame.
Summing up, the Mamiya C330 professional is a really well-designed camera and a joy to take photos with. I really love the waist level viewfinder. It's huge and bright and it feels nice when you use it. The only drawback I find with the camera is its weight… and maybe this is why I do not shoot more with it, my neck really gets tired of holding this brick of a camera! If you want more information on how it works, you can check its manual online
This is a review submitted by Community Member rater.
written by rater on 2009-05-20 #gear #people #medium-format #macro #review #portrait #vintage #bulb #twin-lens-reflex #220-film #120-film #double-exposure #tlr #bellows #velvia-100 #mamiya-c330-professional #parallax #provia-100 #homemade-process #ilford-delta-3200 #long-exposition #astia-100 #waist-level-viewfinder