Large, Heavy, Vintage and complicated the Mamiya C33 is a great twin lens camera. An uncommon camera with many special features.
I was very fortunate to have one great working Mamiya C33 that was found sitting away in storage in one of my father’s many warehouses. His logic behind having it was in case he had to shoot something for a magazine or an add; but opportunity never came. Now has this is the first time these cameras had been used since their previous owners over twenty years ago.
The C33 is was one of the top of the line Professional labeled twin lens cameras Mamiya made. The lenses are interchangeable and included a number of the controls separate from the body itself: shutter speed, aperture, and M&X flash plugs. I’m lucky to have three different lenses for this camera but I prefer the Mamiya-Sekor 80mm lens because of its speed and the way the C33 focuses.
Unlike other Twin Lens cameras the C33 focus the image by extending the lens away from the film; by using a bellows system. Dual knobs are on both sides of the camera; making it very easy to focus with either hand. A drawback to this the light loss when you more the lens further from the camera. On shorter lenses this really isn’t an issue; but when you use the 135mm lens you have to extend the bellow further away to focus. The camera has a built in Parallax scale to help compensate for it.
But without writing an entire book on it; the Mamiya C33 is a great 120 camera. Many little nifty features on with this camera: Optional Sheet film back, built in pop up magnify glass, switch for double exposures, frame counter, three distant scales for all the different lenses. The best thing I’ve noticed about it even if the light seals are rotten out of it. This camera is going to have many more miles put on it.