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120 / 220 film RF's 120 / 220 format rangefinders including Fuji, Koni-Omega, Mamiya Press, Linhof 6x7/6x9 cameras, Mamiya 6/7 among others, but excluding the 120 folders and the Voigtlander 667 cameras that have their own forums.

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Any Mamiya Press users here?
Old 09-27-2009   #1
FrankS
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Any Mamiya Press users here?

I recently bought a Super 23 from Craigslist. Great shape, black, with the standard 100mm f3.5 Tessar lens. What a beast! Odd shape, and heavy. Separate film wind and shutter tensioning procedure keeps you thinking about what you're doing. The lens will need a CLA as the shutter is sticky/erratic due to sitting around for years. Yesterday I bought a 150mm lens for it from eBay for $60. I'd like to find a 50mm as well. Today is rainy so I'll have time to develop the roll of film I shot with it yesterday.

Is anyone here using one of these cameras?
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Old 09-27-2009   #2
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None that I know of here, but here is a user on flickr. Kirk is a good friend, and an excellent teacher.

His shots with the Mamiya Press. I have used the camera a couple of times, and it is very nice for use in any situation.
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Old 09-27-2009   #3
hans voralberg
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I, Kuzano and I think a few more member, probably 2-3 use the Press. I have a Universal, 127/4.7, 100/3.5 and the 75/5.6 with Pola back, 4x5 back and 6x9 back !

If you want to handhold it comfortably you need a grip Oh and try to have fun with the Super TS, it can produce some very interesting effects

Here's one on Polaroid with the 100/3.5

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Old 09-27-2009   #4
Michiel Fokkema
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I sued to have one.
With the 50,60, 100/2.8 and 150 lenses.
Nice camera, well built. The 50 and 100/2.8 are very good performers. The 60 was not that good.
I sold it because it is a bit awkward and big.

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Old 09-27-2009   #5
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I have a Super 23 (or rather two, the old one now is a spares donor) - but I almost always use it as a dedicated wide-angle camera, with the 50mm.
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Old 09-27-2009   #6
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I'm using the Universial-Version with the 100/3.5 for land- and cityscapes.
6x9 (and polaroids for testshots). especially the groundglas-back gives great composing-possibilitys.
love this camera.
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Old 09-27-2009   #7
Gordon Coale
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I have a flat topped Super 23 and a two Universals (a chrome and a black) with 50mm, 65mm, 100mm, and 127mm (it covers the Polaroid back) lenses. Two 6x9 backs and two Polaroid (now Fuji) backs. The 6x9 negatives are a pleasure to work with!

Some Flickr pictures of the cameras.
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I use the Press lenses, and have a home built body.
Old 09-27-2009   #8
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I use the Press lenses, and have a home built body.

I am currently looking and will probably order one of Tony Sansone's rebuilt Universal bodies. I have a homebuilt (bought it) body and use the 50, 75, 100 lenses on it. Linked are a couple of pics.

And no, none of the Mamiya Press lenses cover a full 4X5 sheet of film, but they do cover the 3X4 pack film. I use a Quickload back and a roll film back. When I shoot a 4X5 quickload, it is with the intention to crop to the usable image circle.
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Old 09-27-2009   #9
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Hey, good to see I'm not alone.
The tilt back feature is intriguing.
Kuzano, what lens is that there?
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Old 09-27-2009   #10
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Had a couple- pretty complete set:
Two bodies (one silver, one black/brass).
50mm/65mm/75mm/100 f2.8 and 3.5, 127mm, 150, 250... Along with several backs and lots of Polaroid.

It's been my favorite rig ever for film. I miss it, in fact, and have been talking with Tony Sansone again about picking up one...
(oops! For clarity, mine was a Universal)

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Old 09-27-2009   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankS View Post
The tilt back feature is intriguing.
actually i've read a lot that it's pretty useless.
you should definitely go for the "universal" version.
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Old 09-27-2009   #12
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I've seen some photos with selective DOF induced by the back movements, that looked pretty interesting. And the opposit: foreground to infinity sharply focused.
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Old 09-27-2009   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny.moped View Post
actually i've read a lot that it's pretty useless.
you should definitely go for the "universal" version.
The tilt is rather useless when it comes to the architecture and landscape photography with which tilt is traditionally associated, as only some of the normal lenses are collapsible (and hence provide tilt to infinity), while you'd want it with wides for these applications. But it can be handy in close-up photography (the Super is one of my favorite mushrooming cameras), and makes it a neat tool for DOF reduced negative tilt "toy landscape" photography (though the effect has been rather overdone lately).

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Old 09-27-2009   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny.moped View Post
actually i've read a lot that it's pretty useless.
you should definitely go for the "universal" version.
It is like anything else, it has its use, but if you don't ever need it for what it was designed for, it is indeed useless. It can help you keep things in focus. That is probably not something most people will use if for, but when needed, it is there. It will also help with magnification. If you don't ever want to use the back for that, keep it tightly closed. If you do have a need for either of those, enjoy what not many cameras have.

They are a little heavy, but with a wide strap, manageable. They are a system camera. You can change backs, lenses, and add extension tubes. The large negatives are nice to work with. The 65mm and 50mm lenses need separate viewfinders. They are both nice. The 50mm is a little large, but gives a really nice wide view.

The backs include a multi-format back. That is something I consider a bit useless. Why drop to a 6x6, and if you want 6x9, they have those backs too. Other backs include about three or four focusing backs. All but one take cut film holders, which can still me found from time to time. Beware the film pack backs which are sometimes advertised on the 'bay. Nobody I am aware of sells film packs any more.

The viewfinder has frames for 100mm, 150mm, and 250mm. The 250mm lens comes in two flavors; an f/8 and an f/5. The f/8 doesn't couple to the rangefinder, but is not as large. The f/5 does couple, but requires two men and a boy to handle. Alll Mamiya lenses are superb.

I keep most of mine in an aluminum case for transport, but not for carrying items. Already too heavy without the added weight of the case. A small (or larger) backpack with lenses rubber band wrapped in foam is a better bet. And unlike a 35mm system where you carry everything just in case, you won't do that with a press camera if you have many lenses and/or backs and accessories. At least I won't. In fact, there are times when I carry a Zeiss 6x9 for the big negatives and do without interchangeable lenses and backs.

Anyway, enjoy. Versatility in a 6x7 or 6x9 negative can get addictive.
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Old 09-27-2009   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankS View Post
Hey, good to see I'm not alone.
The tilt back feature is intriguing.
Kuzano, what lens is that there?
That's the 75, although the 50 looks about the same.

I never used the bellows on the two Super 23's I had. As far as I know, the only collapsible lens, which is needed to use the bellows, is the 100, and not all of those collapse. Furthermore, the bellows is really only usefull with Ground Glass viewing which is yet another attachment.

The Universal has far more flexibility for backs, plus the back opening is large enough to take the Polaroid Pack Film attachments.

One reason for this camera with 4X5 capability is that I can mount a 90 or 100mm large format lens in a 100mm focus helical (mamiya mount), and a 127 LF lens in a 127 focus helical and cover a full 4X5 sheet of film.

With this capability, I can shoot 6X9 (roll holder), 6X12 (roll holder), instant pack film, and 4X5. The lack of movements is of no concern to me. I have a standard LF camera for that. A stripped Graflex Super that weighs in at 4 pounds. All the rangefinder guts are gone and it's reduced to bare essentials for ground glass shooting.

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Old 09-27-2009   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oftheherd View Post
It is like anything else, it has its use, but if you don't ever need it for what it was designed for, it is indeed useless. It can help you keep things in focus. That is probably not something most people will use if for, but when needed, it is there. It will also help with magnification. If you don't ever want to use the back for that, keep it tightly closed. If you do have a need for either of those, enjoy what not many cameras have.
You misunderstood me. I would have loved to have a tilt-option, but from what I've heard and read it's just way to imprecise to be useful and to compensate for all the disadvantages compared to the universal-version (see post before).
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Old 09-27-2009   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny.moped View Post
You misunderstood me. I would have loved to have a tilt-option, but from what I've heard and read it's just way to imprecise to be useful and to compensate for all the disadvantages compared to the universal-version (see post before).
Sorry to have misunderstood. I think it would be impractical to use without a ground glass back. In that case I think would not be imprecise, as you can see what you are getting. Of course, it is not as versatile as a camera with full movements front and back. Still, with the 100mm f/3.5, which I think is the only lens you can use that for, it gives the user one more thing he is capable of. And of course, it is still usable for closer closeups. EDIT: BTW, I don't recall ever having used it for anything but closeups, but I am sure there are those for whom focus control with a movable back was valuable. I'm just not one of them.

The only thing I know of that the Universal can do that the Super Press can't, is take the Polaroid backs and the graflex backs as I recall. It also requires an adapter back to take the regular backs, which the Super Press doesn't. As in all things photographic, there are always good and bad, and compromises to make.
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Old 09-27-2009   #18
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I had a Super 23 as well and also thought the rear movements would be useful. That honeymoon didn't last very long. Got a Universal instead which was much more useful (graflok, Polaroid back etc). I figured for the hassle of the swing and tilt, I'd be better off setting up my 4x5 instead.

Good luck finding a 50, they're pretty hard to find and when you do, they'll cost a few bucks as well.

They're a beast to carry and use but it's basically a photographic Sherman tank.
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Old 09-27-2009   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newsgrunt View Post
I had a Super 23 as well and also thought the rear movements would be useful. That honeymoon didn't last very long. Got a Universal instead which was much more useful (graflok, Polaroid back etc). I figured for the hassle of the swing and tilt, I'd be better off setting up my 4x5 instead.

Good luck finding a 50, they're pretty hard to find and when you do, they'll cost a few bucks as well.

They're a beast to carry and use but it's basically a photographic Sherman tank.
For a news person, I expect the rear movements would have little use. It is usually a tripod thing.

The 50mm is expensive, as is the 250mm f/5. I got both mine off ebay, at relative bargain prices, but still not free. I saved on the 50mm as it came without a viewfinder. I see the viewfinders going for well over $100 dollars. A little experimenting showed me that the 65mm viewfinder using the 6x9 setting was close enough to correct for the 50mm with the 6x9 back which is what I use (I seldom use my cut film backs). I don't know why the 250mm was sold at a relative good price, but I wouldn't have it otherwise. Strangely I have yet to use it. I started having back problems shortly after I got it. You don't carry a kit of Super Press gear with a bad back. Fortunately I am getting over that, so I look forward to using the Press again.
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Old 09-27-2009   #20
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Oops, sorry for the double post. It appently happened as I got logged out and had to sign in again to finish the post.
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Old 09-28-2009   #21
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You'd be surprised what kind of cameras get used. You've got the workhorses but you've also got the cameras you pull out now and then. You do need your editors to be on board however or else it's a non starter.

Forgot to mention another possiblity of the Mamiya's I liked was the ability to use 2x3 cut film holders. Not as convenient as 120 but an interesting option.

I've always wondered what a long lens on this camera would be like.
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Old 09-28-2009   #22
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I'm another happy user in this forum.





The film is really *flat* with the S-backs. I won't go hiking or traveling with this one, but for those places I can go with my car, this is *it* for my 6x9 or 6x7 needs.
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Old 09-28-2009   #23
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Just picked up a gorgeous Universal, with standard 100 lens. Looks like it's never been used, so there might be some age problems.
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Old 09-28-2009   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newsgrunt View Post
...

I've always wondered what a long lens on this camera would be like.
Heavy, but of course, much more versatility.

Shadowfox - I used to carry it around more when all I had was the camera, the 100mm, and the 65mm. The later is not a heavy lens at all. Of course, 30 years ago I had more brawn. Unfortunately, I can't claim more brains now.
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...and a Super 23
Old 09-29-2009   #25
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...and a Super 23

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Just picked up a gorgeous Universal, with standard 100 lens. Looks like it's never been used, so there might be some age problems.
I'll be able to post some shots (6x7 and 6x9) ere long, shot with my Super 23, and am looking forward to taking the "new" Universal out this weekend, with 6x9 back and the original orange plastic Mamiya tab. I went through it last night and aside from some stiffness in the stabilizing plate, from non-use I would guess, everything is smooth and clean.

Ken
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Old 09-29-2009   #26
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I love my Super 23, use it a lot. I have the 50mm, 100mm and 250mm f8. I've heard the 250mm f8 is not so good, but I'm getting good results.
Yes, it's heavy, but so what, builds muscles! I use it on a tripod most of the time.
The moveable back is of limited value. With it extended and extension tubes it's good for close work. You do need a dark cloth though, as the image is pretty dim. Yes, you need the GG back to use it. With the 100mm collapsed, you can do some perspective correction, that's about it.
I love the 50mm, very sharp and wide enough to be useful (sort of like a 25mm on a 35mm camera).
I keep three backs in my case, B&W, Color and IR. Or, when I've done weddings, load all three up and it gives me 30 shots.
I'll keep using mine as long as I can.
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Old 09-29-2009   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oftheherd View Post
Heavy, but of course, much more versatility.

Shadowfox - I used to carry it around more when all I had was the camera, the 100mm, and the 65mm. The later is not a heavy lens at all. Of course, 30 years ago I had more brawn. Unfortunately, I can't claim more brains now.
The 100/2.8 that I have is quite big and heavy.
I'd carry this camera around if I'm on a real assignment or project. The negatives from this camera is out of this world.

Brain is overrated
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Old 10-01-2009   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfox View Post
The 100/2.8 that I have is quite big and heavy.
I'd carry this camera around if I'm on a real assignment or project. The negatives from this camera is out of this world.

Brain is overrated
I used to lust after the 100mm f/2.8 constantly. I have given up on that. Not only is it very much more expensive, being less than one stop faster, I can live without if by using faster film, pushing the film, or both. Truthfully, I prefer to be able to stop down when I can.
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Old 10-01-2009   #29
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Originally Posted by bsdunek View Post
I love my Super 23, use it a lot. I have the 50mm, 100mm and 250mm f8. I've heard the 250mm f8 is not so good, but I'm getting good results.
Yes, it's heavy, but so what, builds muscles! I use it on a tripod most of the time.
The moveable back is of limited value. With it extended and extension tubes it's good for close work. You do need a dark cloth though, as the image is pretty dim. Yes, you need the GG back to use it. With the 100mm collapsed, you can do some perspective correction, that's about it.
I love the 50mm, very sharp and wide enough to be useful (sort of like a 25mm on a 35mm camera).
I keep three backs in my case, B&W, Color and IR. Or, when I've done weddings, load all three up and it gives me 30 shots.
I'll keep using mine as long as I can.
I got my 250mm and then started having back problems, and only used my folders. I look forward to using it. I never heard any Mamiya lens was bad, or not a good performer. Perhaps whoever said that meant relative to something else. All the Mamiya glass I have used has given me superb results. After more than 30 years I still love it. Quite a bit better than 35mm with all that negative real estate, but not as heave and more versitile than 4x5. By more versatile, I mean the ability to change lenses and hand carry. I don't know how much of that I will do with the 250mm yet though.
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Old 10-13-2009   #30
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Originally Posted by kuzano View Post
I am currently looking and will probably order one of Tony Sansone's rebuilt Universal bodies. I have a homebuilt (bought it) body and use the 50, 75, 100 lenses on it. Linked are a couple of pics.

And no, none of the Mamiya Press lenses cover a full 4X5 sheet of film, but they do cover the 3X4 pack film. I use a Quickload back and a roll film back. When I shoot a 4X5 quickload, it is with the intention to crop to the usable image circle.

that is a nice camera! do you know if there are directions to make one online or know of anyone who makes these?
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Old 10-22-2009   #31
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I just found this site. I have shot with a Superpress for over 10 years now and have always loved it. I own 65,100(dual focus),150,250mm and a 6x7 and 6x9 back and extension tubes. I've lugged the thing all over, from Mexico to up in the mountains on packgoats. I have the ground glass adapter but have never been able to find any Mamiya cutfilm holders and that is something I really want. I haven't shot much with it lately but I'm going to start using it regularly for pano in BW.
Hope to make some new friends here and I'm sure I'll be here everyday.
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Old 10-22-2009   #32
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I just found this site. I have shot with a Superpress for over 10 years now and have always loved it. I own 65,100(dual focus),150,250mm and a 6x7 and 6x9 back and extension tubes. I've lugged the thing all over, from Mexico to up in the mountains on packgoats. I have the ground glass adapter but have never been able to find any Mamiya cutfilm holders and that is something I really want. I haven't shot much with it lately but I'm going to start using it regularly for pano in BW.
Hope to make some new friends here and I'm sure I'll be here everyday.
Jim
There is a J type on ebay right now. It is a sale by Camera$ who I think is always too high. The J type holds two sheets of film. They do come up on ebay from time to time, and other sites may have them for sale from time to time as well.
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Mamiya Press
Old 10-22-2009   #33
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Mamiya Press

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Old 10-23-2009   #34
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There is a J type on ebay right now. It is a sale by Camera$ who I think is always too high. The J type holds two sheets of film. They do come up on ebay from time to time, and other sites may have them for sale from time to time as well.
The single sheet J types seem to be the most widespread, and are mechanically the best Mamiya holders I have.

The difference between single sheet J and A is not in the capacity, but rather in that J can hold European/Japanese 6x9cm/"Dai-Meishi" film in addition to US size 2.5x3.5in/6.5x9cm film and plates, while A holders only fit the latter.

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Old 10-23-2009   #35
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Thanks oftheherd & sevo for the info
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I have a couple of cut film holders I will never use....
Old 10-23-2009   #36
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I have a couple of cut film holders I will never use....

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Originally Posted by Jim Howerton View Post
I have the ground glass adapter but have never been able to find any Mamiya cutfilm holders and that is something I really want.
In fact they are both different and seem to need septums like the grafmatic graflex boxes. Both are still in original boxes, but I'm not clear on how they work. I don't plan to ever use my Universal Press with ground glass, and my other camera has a 4X5 GG back and I used Quickloads on that.

If interested in pics of the Mamiya Press cut film holders, PM me.
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Sorry to be so late getting back....
Old 10-23-2009   #37
kuzano
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Sorry to be so late getting back....

Quote:
Originally Posted by noah booshu View Post
that is a nice camera! do you know if there are directions to make one online or know of anyone who makes these?
I really don't know who made it. I could take pictures of the internals. It's nicely done. It uses a standard Mamiya press front lens breechlock, which mounts all the Press lenses. It's a standard Linhof GG back and could just as well be a Graflex or other back. The linhof back is clearly from a rotating back linhof, but the GG back and underlying graflok type mount is mounted fixed, it does not rotate.

I have played around with mounting some LF lenses in the proper Mamiya helicals to get coverage for the full 4X5, which none of the Press lenses cover. However, I can also use roll film backs up to 6X12 and polaroid pack film backs. I have a 150 M press helical, and my next project is to mount a fujinon W 150 in that helical and shoot 4X5. It does not have a rangefinder, so handheld is risky, but I'd probably use it GG anyway.

I had fancied getting a Razzle Polaroid, but this came up and suits my needs. So now I have about six Polaroid 110 A, B, a 120 and two 900's. What to do.... what to do???
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Old 10-24-2009   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevo View Post
The single sheet J types seem to be the most widespread, and are mechanically the best Mamiya holders I have.

The difference between single sheet J and A is not in the capacity, but rather in that J can hold European/Japanese 6x9cm/"Dai-Meishi" film in addition to US size 2.5x3.5in/6.5x9cm film and plates, while A holders only fit the latter.

Sevo
I have never had one. I had seen photos that looked like they were dual sided so could hold two sheets. I didn't know they were for different sized film. My cut sheet film Type A holders are thinner. I need to get back to using them. They are good for when you want to use a single exposure of film that will be developed diferent that the rest as on a roll. Even though I have about 5 holders, that can be an advantage from time to time.

Thanks for the additional info.
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Old 01-29-2016   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankS View Post
I recently bought a Super 23 from Craigslist. Great shape, black, with the standard 100mm f3.5 Tessar lens. What a beast! Odd shape, and heavy. Separate film wind and shutter tensioning procedure keeps you thinking about what you're doing. The lens will need a CLA as the shutter is sticky/erratic due to sitting around for years. Yesterday I bought a 150mm lens for it from eBay for $60. I'd like to find a 50mm as well. Today is rainy so I'll have time to develop the roll of film I shot with it yesterday.

Is anyone here using one of these cameras?
don't know how old your post is but I just got the same camera. have a 65,90 and 150mm. Liking the difference from lf that I'm used to. Want to shoot sheet film but don't have the negative carrier for 6/9 on my Omega. Shoot landscapes and like to process film 3 sheet at one time. Hane a Bronica ,mamiya Rb and Horseman 6/9 in med.format and a calomet wide for 4/5. Hope your enjoying the 23
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Old 12-19-2016   #40
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Hi, I have a 23 and a Universal. Using the 23 because the Universal has a little problem with the frame lines not moving as I focus. I have the 50mm, 65mm, 100mm f3.5 collapsable, 150mm silver, and a 250 f5 black. I use the S backs, 6x9 for B&W and 6x7 for color. I've not used it much since my darkroom has been in boxes for at least 10 years. With luck I can get it set up this winter. The last lab I used did not scan 120 negatives and their proof prints were very disappointing. So I have nothing to show at the moment. Glad I found this site though. Will keep in touch
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