Mamiya C220 – The TLR Itch

Greater than a short while in the past as a younger photographer, I aspired to show skilled, even beginning a form of apprenticeship with a marriage photographer. I had graduated onto a Bronica SQA with all this in thoughts. Massive format was no good for displaying slides on the native photographic society, however I cherished the outcomes. There was one thing interesting a few waist degree finder and that barely seasick sensation once you instinctively transfer the digicam a technique and the picture does the other. Ahead to 2023; like so many I had just lately rediscovered the enjoyment of movie. The joy of ready for outcomes with 35mm was as soon as extra fairly particular. Positive sufficient, earlier than lengthy that thrill wasn’t fairly sufficient. I craved for a return to bigger codecs. There was an itch that needed to be scratched. I had by no means owned or used a Twin Lens Reflex. After very a lot deliberation over months, I clicked the purchase now possibility on the bay. The package deal arrived just a few days later, however I needed to wait a few weeks till the day of a giant birthday. The Mamiya C220 I now personal had been described pretty much as good situation, with its unique field, person handbook and just lately serviced. It wasn’t a disappointment. The whole lot appeared very clear and clean functioning, with its 80mm lenses trying spotless. There had been temptation to go for a C330, however they had been fetching extra money and I made a decision the lighter weight that stems from the 220s simplicity, was the proper factor. Hindsight is great isn’t it?

Younger man with good eyesight

Ilford HP5 was chosen as the primary roll, actually as a take a look at. The necessity was for a reasonable, good all rounder. I had a giant concern with this buy. The final time I had used a waist degree finder, I used to be a younger man with good eyesight. While I now attempt to handle with out for all the pieces else, for driving I’ve to make use of glasses. Utilizing the dioptre on a digital digicam is straightforward, I knew the C220 was going to be problematic, so messing with one thing like HP5 appeared preferable to doing it with the likes of Kodak Portra. My eyesight means at shut vary all the pieces appears okay, put my glasses on I can barely discover the finder, by no means thoughts use it to focus. I needed to shortly quit focusing with the help of what is meant to be my imaginative and prescient correction and it was all going to be a bit experimental.

Slows down

The whole lot slows down with the Mamiya, it simply has to. Nothing automated in any respect, not even a battery to energy a meter. A Weston Grasp ii accompanying the Mamiya in all places. At first it wasn’t even simple to work out the place to carry a TLR. With out the elective grip, it’s a little devoid of apparent hand holds and when you want even a chilly shoe for a flash, that’s additionally solely on the elective grip. So to the primary few pictures. Set the aperture, set the pace, line all the pieces up, flip the main focus knob and press… nothing. Okay, bear in mind to cock the shutter with the little lever on the lens, with out disturbing the aperture or pace rings and take a look at once more. A quiet click on, that wouldn’t alert folks or creatures to the presence of a digicam. Open out the movie wind lever on the knob on the prime proper and drive it easily spherical with the fingers. That is mechanical pleasure. It simply feels good and sounds good, however sooner or later you’ll neglect to wind on for the subsequent shot. Aperture, shutter pace, cock the shutter… nothing. Wind on and take a look at once more. Ultimately a rhythm develops and all of it begins to make sense in addition to feeling slightly satisfying.

Are any in focus?

The roll of HP5 glided by fairly shortly. As I’ve no house creating equipment but and I’d be very rusty with these abilities; the movie went to a lab. Opening the information from the obtain hyperlink, the primary concern was all the time going to be are any in focus? Effectively, some had been, some not fairly, at the very least not fairly my chosen focus level.

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Nearer to the topic, for this one I appear to have focus the place I wished it…

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and about proper on this one

Slightly additional away appears extra problematic.

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On this one, I centered on the vessel identify, but the main focus level is definitely across the warning signal on the wall. At a wider aperture, I’ve missed by about 30 ft or extra. How’s that for entrance focusing?

The seek for dioptres started however initially drew a clean because it turned clear this was far much less achievable with the C220 than different cameras Mamiya produced. On the C220, the waist degree finder has a magnifier, however the lens mount is riveted into place and doesn’t unscrew like different fashions. So, I took it to an opticians and requested for recommendation. That was inconclusive. At present there’s an notion taking form in my thoughts. How about I get an acceptable dioptre lens for one of many different Mamiyas and vogue a metallic plate? Hooked on the sides it’d have the ability to drop into place over open finder and sit about the identical peak from the display screen that the magnifier lens could be. I hope to jot down once more about this sooner or later. Within the meantime, even when I miss some, the C220 continues to be a beautiful digicam to make use of.

Gold and extra

Some issues concerning the first HP5 photos impressed me. I remembered taking them. Not so troublesome with 12, however I remembered every pretty clearly. The digicam had made me work and assume and take time. No trying on the digicam again to see if the shot appears okay. Subsequent got here a roll of Kodak Gold and with it a rising, although presumably misplaced confidence. Once more focus missed in a single or too, however some good outcomes and a pleasant type of readability.

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Brothers, Ben and Tom Birchall, sidecar racing champions. Focus drawback right here was extra concerning the topic transferring about. Moderately happy the flare was simply from very sturdy daylight on the polished white UPVC counter they had been signing autographs on. It didn’t happen on some other frames and the taking lens was virtually touching the very reflective floor.

Emboldened, I set about extra monochrome with Ilford Delta 100 and Ilford Ortho in fast succession. This served as a reminder {that a} digicam like this takes time to get to know and so do the movies. One or two good ones on the Delta, however with the Ortho I produced little of word. Depth of subject nonetheless displaying as an issue and contributing to focus issues. I like taking pictures huge, however remembering to think about greater numbers than for 35mm and digital is taking some adaptation on my half.

Precision instrument

The Mamiya C220 isn’t gorgeously enticing, although it has the look of an quaint, effectively made precision instrument. Individuals take a look at it, however then not everybody notices. I discovered myself crouching for an image with the digicam resting on my thigh and somebody walked proper in entrance of the topic, not out of rudeness, however merely not understanding an image was being taken. Only a man on the ground staring down into an odd trying field. This after all will be one of many strengths of a TLR regardless that it lacks the pace of use to be superb for avenue images. The parallax although, effectively that may be the topic of one other article.

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Ilford Ortho chopping the orange color all the way down to dimension on this shot of an previous repurposed lifeboat.

Blended outcomes with the Mamiya C220 to this point, however principally all the way down to my eyesight I believe. Time to begin the hunt for an acceptable minus 2 (I believe) Mamiya dioptre. This digicam is so pleasing to make use of I shouldn’t quit over a imaginative and prescient correction drawback ought to I?

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