MAMIYA C33 with Weston Master Universal Exposure Meter and shutter release cable (attached)
MAMIYA C33 with Weston Master Universal Exposure Meter and shutter release cable (attached)

I bought this beauty a few weeks ago off ebay – I’ve been out with it a couple of times and so far I think it all works as it should. The C33 is a late 60s Twin Lens Reflex (TLR – view through the top lens and take the picture through the bottom lens) medium format professional camera manufactured in Japan – it uses 120 roll film and produces square negatives 6x6cm in size. It doesn’t have any metering and is fully manually operated, so to take a picture you either fly by the seat of your pants and use your best guestimate to choose aperture and shutter speed or you have some kind of light meter. The thing to the left of the camera in the picture is a 1950s Weston Master Universal Exposure Meter (another ebay acquisition), I’ve had it checked out and it works fine.

The plan, oh yes, there’s a plan, is to produce a body of work (15 to 20 black and white pictures) that I shoot, develop and print myself. The project will be loosely based on who I am and where I came from. We moved around quite a bit before the family settled in Luton in December 1976 – remember that hot hot summer of ’76? We lived in Milton Keynes for 9 months in 1976 before moving to Luton, before that we lived in a high rise block of flats (almost) overlooking Arsenal’s Highbury Stadium (and now even closer to the Emirates Stadium), before that we lived in Army Married Quarters in Bushey after moving back to England from Germany where Dad was stationed and I was born.

So that’s the plan – I’d like to think that by the end of 2014 I’ll have that set of prints that I’m happy with. It’ll take me to places I’m guessing will look quite different from what I remember. I’ll try and keep the blog updated with a few pictures along the way but the main aim of the project is to produce those pictures through film, negative, wet print and probably a few headaches from the darkroom chemicals – can’t wait !!

All the best



8 thoughts on “MAMIYA C33

  1. Good luck Steve on your quest – Do you develop/process your own photos too?
    I still am completely smitten by the BW/antique camera bug and have a growing collection of MF, folders and 35mm cameras that are so well made/designed.they knock the spots off modern plastic rubbish! (some of which are curiously starting to resemble the old leicas etc!)
    ps need to to be careful when changing lenses with a film in these C series beasties – (did I shut the blackout gate or not….?!!!!

    1. Exactly right with the new cameras Gary – I am quite taken with the Fuji X100S and X-Pro1 cameras – but as you say nothing touches the old cameras for build quality.

      I wonder how many of today’s cameras will still be in operation in 45 years time like the C33 above 🙂

    2. Missed the first question – yes I develop and print my own negatives and prints – plan to have a set that might be worth putting together into a book or exhibition. That’s a fair way off yet though …

      1. I am glad that you are also keeping this dying art alive. Just hope the film stays available (I have some stored in freezer already and will add more if I can). Just waiting to get some chemicals then will be in a position to make first wet print, hopefully soon, DIY/redecorating depending! Would love to see some of your work. I have recently bought a 50’s devere 5×4 / MF enlarger (a real beast) from old newspaper printroom and a wonderful LPLC7700 enlarger for £15 from a local photographer, so almost good to go!

      2. Good to go !! Very cool – I was at a suppliers today – – they say the art is very much alive and kicking – as soon as stock comes in the back door it’s out the front door. With that kind of optimism we should be safe for a while !!

  2. I was recently given one of these cameras by my Grandma. I’ve figured out how to focus it, how to change shutter speed etc. but I can’t figure out how to actually take a picture. There aren’t any videos or blogs detailing exactly how it’s done. Could you please tell me?

    1. Hi Mia,

      I’ll try to explain 🙂

      On the left is the shutter release – while there is no film in the camera you need to cock the shutter by “winding the film on” and then returning the winding arm and seating it in its resting place. On the left of the camera (looking from the front) is the shutter release lever – push that down – set the shutter speed to a second or so so you can hear it open and close.

      Let me know how you get on – I’ve never done a YouTube video but happy to if it helps.


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