Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mamiya C220

Mamiya C220 with Telephoto Lens - Marin County  2012

I've had this camera since sometime in the 1980's. Sorry, I can't be more precise! I know that it's been in the Cascades, the Sierra Nevada and Acoma Pueblo, among other places.. (The Pueblo tribe at Acoma wouldn't let it be used on a tripod . . . for a long time the camera sported a little green sticker  proving the Acoma fee had been paid. And by a long time I mean from 1986 to 2012. )

The Mamiya C220 is a "medium format" film camera, it uses 120 roll film and takes 12 square 2-1/4x2-1/4 inch exposures per roll. I'm not sure how many varieties of film are currently available - I used Fuji transparency film for a recent test roll. Also: it's a "twin lens reflex" camera (TLR, for short) with a viewing lens directly over the "taking" lens. Thus the photographer must allow for parallex issues, meaning that what the photographer sees in the ground glass of the viewfinder (from the top lens), is not exactly the same view as what the film is recording (using the bottom lens.) For most subjects this doesn't seem to be that big of a deal.

This is a totally manual camera: focusing and exposure are all photographer-controlled. So some kind of light meter is essential. For a recent roll I used my Canon G12 set to aperture priority to get exposure readings with excellent results. (The Canon's highest f-stop is f8, so some interpolation was required to go up to f45.)

Another interesting feature, unique (I think) to the Mamiya twin-lens system is the ability to switch lenses. Mounted on the camera in the image above is the 80mm lens (50mm 35mm equiv.) Seen to the right of the camera is the 180mm (135mm equiv., I think) telephoto lens. In order to switch, a dial is turned to the "unlock" position and the wire spring is flipped down and out. Lenses are switched, then the spring is pushed back in.

Some photos taken with this camera:

Melrose Avenue, 1988

Kiva Ladder, 1986

Also, "Shooting A Roll of Film."

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