Home Camera Reviews Mamiya 23 Standard Press Camera Review | GEAR HEAD

Mamiya 23 Standard Press Camera Review | GEAR HEAD

Mamiya 23 Standard Press Camera Review | GEAR HEAD

In this video we’re going to  take a look at something BIG! This is the Mamiya 23 Standard medium format  rangefinder camera. These were made in the   1960s and geared towards press use. Lenses are  interchangeable and connect to the camera via a   breech lock type mount.

These range from a 50mm  f/6.3 to a 250mm f/5. Nine has a 90mm f/3.5,   which is the kit lens for this model. Shutter  speed is selected with a dial on the front,   ranging from 1 second to 1/500 of a second.

  The shutter is manually cocked with this   lever. Aperture goes from f/3.5 down to f/45,  and is adjusted with this tiny little tab. It’s a bit of a pain in the ass to use   requiring an uncomfortable amount of force on  the wide end.

I will chalk this up to a greasy   aperture. Note – not all of the lenses  for this camera use this type of design. This model doesn’t have any rangefinder  frame lines, just a piece that slides out   giving you a mask for the 150mm lens.

The  eyepiece can also be adjusted for parallax. I don’t have a lot of experience with rangefinders  but i think they’re pretty self-explanatory. Being a modular system, different backs can  be used for different frame sizes and formats.

   I have the 6×7 back, but 6×9 backs as well as  ground glass viewfinders that accept two inch   by three inch sheet film are also available  – and that’s why it’s called the Mamiya 23.   Unfortunately i’m missing the dark slide on mine  so that prevents me from changing lenses or film   backs while there is film loaded, as doing  so would expose and ruin the current frame.

The trigger is attached to  the shutter release like this   when the camera is not in use or  when you’re changing lenses it   can be detached and held in this little  space here. Let’s load a fresh roll.

.. Before doing so make sure the knob  is lined up with a little triangle.   Pull these tabs out to pop the cover open. Take  the core off the one end and move it to the   take-up. Drop the new roll in, pull it across,  slip the end of the paper into the new core,   and begin winding.

Stop when the arrow  on the paper lines up with the triangle.   Close it up and keep winding until it stops  at the first frame. Now it’s ready to go. OK, enough of that, let’s take it to the streets.

It’s a cool, quiet, somewhat sunny  sunday morning, and it’s probably my   last chance to take this thing out for a  spin before the weather goes to complete   shit. I did go yesterday when it was really  really nice out and took a couple pictures.

Let’s take a couple more  before the snow comes back. To shoot with this 60 year old camera, I  brought a light meter of a similar vintage. So, what do I think about it? This is a  completely manual camera, so you have to   focus.

.. and not just the lens, but focus on the  process itself. You’ll get the best results when   you’re methodical with its use. Documenting myself  while using the camera was kind of distracting   and I didn’t get as many good shots as I wanted  to, including a double exposure, oops! That said,   I’m looking forward to experimenting with double  exposures on this camera as it’s so easy to do.

It seems that the loading mechanism on my  back is overwinding and leaving a pretty   big gap between the frames. I was only able to  get the full 10 exposures on one of the four   rolls that I shot.

I’m planning on picking up  the 6X9 back, and that should resolve that issue. lthough it’s rather large it’s  actually quite balanced and relatively   easy to lug around. If you’re ever going to need  to use both hands you’re going to have to either   hang this bad boy around your neck  or find somewhere to put it down.

   I found myself resting it upside down as I didn’t  want to accidentally damage the shutter cable. In conclusion: if you want to get into a camera  system that has a decent range of lenses,   can shoot a 6×9 frame, and is  considerably cheaper than the   medium format SLRs that can do the  same – give one of these a shot.

A word of warning though; you’ll  find yourself wanting to wear a   trench coat and a fedora with a card  that says press sticking out of it. Thanks for watching, if you enjoyed  this video I implore you to hit   subscribe.

I try to get new videos up every  Thursday, so hopefully I will see you then. Now, this is a one-way medium, so I  guess hopefully you’ll see me then.


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