Mudan MD-1 Camera: Peony Prince for my Diana Princess :)


Who is older – the man or the camera? :) What is ziiiz? Why is he looking down when
shooting something on the left? Why can’t he is always turning the knobs instead of pushing the button?

Look for the closest Chinese photography equipment market (Shanghai this time) and see
which surprises you can get your hands on :) “Mudan” means “Peony” in Chinese, and here we stop the part of historical background. Sorry. Simply because there is a very few
info over the Internet and I’ve tried some google translations from both Chinese and
Japanese. Could get only two fact: the camera “Mudan MD-1” had been manufactured in the northern Chinese town, called “Dandong”. Also, the seller said that the camera is about
30 years old (like me more or less :) I would be happy to know more.

Now, about the camera. Tech specs: shutter speeds from 1 sec to 1/300 (“B” included),
aperture from 3.5 to 22. Mechanical self-timer is available. Multiple exposure is
possible. Release shutter can be attached. Flash cable can be connected. The multi-
coated lens states 75 focal distance and 3.5 the native aperture. Both 120 and 220
films are supported. Both 6×6 and 6×4.5 formats are supported. The viewfinder is enriched with the magnifying glass. From the personal experience the
seen picture is still a bit dull, especially in the corners, so the glass helps a lot.

Well, I must admit: this is the first time I’ve tried the TLR with “serious” intentions
:) The picture is crystal clear and sharp (assuming I’ve got enough time to set a
proper distance). Thanks to the depth of field, it like ripping out the main elements
from the reality. The viewfinder allows to observe the future pic to improve the
composition even better. The point-just-shoot-don’t-think paradigm is also trickier
here, since much more effort needs to be put for the sharp focus. The shutter speed is
adjustable, which simply means a greater films diversity (even slow films can result
with a decent pics for indoor shooting).

Still getting used to the new gear, enjoying both the functionality and the look (30
y.o. vintage brown leather case – just like whiskey :) Some images are attached, more
will follow. Boost!

written by breakphreak on 2009-01-13 #gear #chinese #120 #review #tlr #mudan


  1. camerao
    camerao ·

    great machine, and typically the high class of sharpness and quality of the old lenses!
    Congratz to this "Trouvèe", thougt first, it was an GreatWall Cam

  2. cinzinc
    cinzinc ·


  3. breakphreak
    breakphreak ·

    @camerao: do you know a bit more about China cameras history? I'd like to dig a bit more, if possible.

    Another interesting fact I've discovered is that "Mu-dan" (carrying a traditional Chinese peony icon) was kinda quality rank in China. Best products of different kinds (such as tv-sets and radios) were also called "Mu-dan".

  4. camerao
    camerao ·

    no sorry, saw 2 different cams like this at Bejings fleemarket, One with chinese letters, the other one signed Great Wall. Are you sure, that Mu-dan is the name of the factory, or of this special cam? Don't know, where Great Wall was producing in earlier times.

  5. breakphreak
    breakphreak ·

    @camerao: Mu-dan is the name of the camera, but also the name of some other quality Chinese products.

  6. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    How I'd like to have such a camera....

  7. pip-fazakerley
    pip-fazakerley ·

    Hey, my brother got me one of these from a junk market in Hong Kong a few years ago and I've finally got around to buying some film for it but I have a question. Do you turn the film advance knob once or twice per frame? I know there is a click but I can't tell if I should let it click once or twice per shot, can you help me out? I don't want to waste any film or accidentally double expose it : )

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