Mamiya C330: The Most Versatile Twin-Lens Reflex Camera

While many film photographers lust after the Rolleflex 2.8, the Mamiya C330 is a revered and unique twin lens reflex film camera.  It definitely deserves a serious look for anyone who desires a vintage TLR.  Released in 1969, it is part of the Mamiya C series of cameras.  The C330 is an update to the Mamiya C33 and was succeeded by the C330S.

The camera accepts 120 and 220 roll film and produces square 6x6 cm negatives or transparencies.  It is also a fully mechanical camera that doesn’t need batteries to function.

Mamiya created this system with the intention of attracting professional photographers.  The design of the Mamiya C series cameras included a number of unique features not seen in other medium format TLRs.

UNIQUE FEATURES

It is one of the only TLR camera systems with interchangeable lenses.  There are 7 different focal lengths available, ranging from 55mm wide angle to 250mm telephoto.  The standard lens for this camera is the 80mm f/2.8, which is the one I have.  All the lens options are listed and below:

  • 55mm f/4.5
  • 65mm f/3.5
  • 80mm f/2.8
  • 105mm f/3.5
  • 135mm f/4.5
  • 180mm f/4.5
  • 250mm f/6.3

Another unique feature is the rack and pinion bellows system, which makes extreme close-up photography possible without the use of expensive attachments.  You will also need to compensate for exposure and parallax error the further the bellows are extended, but Mamiya have provided some useful charts in the user manual, which I’ve linked in the description.

MODULAR SYSTEM

The Mamiya C330 is a truly modular medium format system.  In addition to interchangeable lenses, you can also switch out different viewfinders.  There is also an adjustable back plate to allow for loading of 120 or 220 film, as well as an optional, interchangeable holder for single exposure sheet film that can be purchased separately.

Most twin-lens reflexes do not have this range of flexibility, making the Mamiya C330 a very distinctive camera among TLRs.

CONCLUSION

The C330 has excellent build quality and great lenses.  I love having the option of interchangeable lenses in a TLR.  The body is heavier than I hoped, so I'm not sure if I will keep this camera since I already have a massive medium format workhorse: the Mamiya RZ67 Pro II.  Nonetheless, this camera is incredible and deserves attention.  If you're looking for a twin-lens reflex camera, definitely check out the Mamiya C330.

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