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Mamiya C3 favori envoyer Print
Photos by FL text by FL. From the collection of FL
France Version française

Chronology of the Mamiya brand  New window

Manufactured in Japon from 1962 until 0.
Index of rarity in France : Rare (among non-specialized garage sales)
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Inventory number: 11287

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Mamiya C3

This camera is an evolution of the Mamiyaflex C and C2

Note that the evolution will also concern the series 220 and 330 simultaneously.
It is a 6X6 cm format on film 120 with interchangeable lenses rather of professional use and especially dedicated to studio portraits.

The originality of the system is that shooting and viewing  lens are both installed on the same supporting plate, and it is this plate that is interchangeable.
In addition, the shutter is also mounted on the same plate, behind the shooting lens, which means that each lens becomes an optical / shutter block, thus making the interchangeability much more expensive ...

The construction is that which will be used for all the following evolutions, C33, C330, C330F, C330S.
The lens plate is mounted on a sliding carriage on a high-deflection rail, with two knobs for focusing. Note that there are two bellows, a large bellows protecting both the sighting and shooting chamber, as well as a smaller bellows, itself inside the large, for the catch chamber Of view only !!!!! Thanks to the locking clearance of a hatch, this system allows the optics to be changed by preserving the external light input as much as possible.

The design and construction shall serve as a base for the later evolutions: C33, C330, C330F, C330S.


The lens plate is mounted on a sliding support system on a long rail, with two knobs for focusing. Note that there are two bellows, a large bellows protecting both the sighting and shooting chambers, as well as a smaller bellows, itself inside the large one, for the shooting chamber!!!!! Thanks to the locking system of a hatch, this system allows the optics to be changed while preserving from the external light to ingress as much as possible.

Here are listed the different variations in chronological order:

C3 in 1962

Film winding lever, automatic image counter, system preventing from double exposure

C33 in 1965

Shutter cocking  by the film winding lever, parallaxe compensation system

C330 in 1965

Double shutter release (on the camera body and at the body base) allowing to shoot in any position, film 120 and 220, interchangeable ground glasses, depth of field control.

C330F in 1976

New viewfinder, interchangeable back

C330 S in 1983

New film winding system, the latest evolution but the backs are not interchangeable any more.

The standard lens is a 80 mm opening at 1: 2.8 and combined with a Seiko shutter from 1 sec to 1 / 500th of a second and bulb exposure.

According to the evolutions, the optics have undergone some changes, especially with regard to the diaphragm, the control ring of which becomes notched. The last version is recognizable at the blue dot on the cocking button.
The shutter, for its part, can be manually or automatically cocked by the movement of a linkage coupled to the winding lever from the C33.

When using this camera, it becomes quickly obvious that the item is rather dedicated to the studio and not  to outdoor photography. Its weight of about 2kg with optics requires a solid strap and hardened steel cervical. Its ergonomics leads to spending time to prepare the camera before taking a photo and thus makes it incompatible with fast shooting.

Mamiya C3

Mamiya C3