Mamiya Super 23 basic info

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Some low level info about the camera.

Transcript of Mamiya Super 23 basic info

Mamiya Super 23

Search for Press CamerasI enjoy shooting with a cheap plastic toy camera, but I also wish to explore other medium format camera with better precision within reasonable budget. In this searching process, I came across a comparison on the web covering various press cameras, namely, Graflex XL, Koni / Rapid Omega and Mamiya Press. Then I knew roughly what I needed. In fact, before acquiring Mamiya Super 23, I also thought about Kiev 60 and Kiev 88. I even purchased a Kiev 88 via ebay, but finally I returned and got refunded. The shutter curtain jammed and broke even in my first few trials, before actually going into the field for shooting. You can search for Kiev 88's shutter jam problem in web for more details. With a bit little experience with Kiev 88, its design objective is good in making all components modular and integrated with the intelligence in mind. Actually, it is a Hasselblad copy (Finally I got a Hasselblad 500C/M). e.g. you cannot dismount the back before inserting the dark slide, you cannot fire shutter until completing the film advance, you cannot fire shutter until dark slide removed. However, it may be the point that is creating more problem when the actual manufacture standard did not fully cater for that. Koni Omega seems to be more robust, but supports up to 6x7 frame size, which is still not I preferred.

Mamiya Press SystemCommon models for this Mamiya Press series you can find are Mamiya Standard, Mamiya Super 23 and Mamiya Universal. Standard and Super 23 can fit Mamiya backs, while Universal is built to fit different back types by using adapter : Universal + M Adapter + Mamiya Back Universal + G Adapter + Graflex Back Universal + Polaroid Back

The design is modular but integrated with little intellience among components. It is simple, and just works, e.g. Lens built with shutter, body for RF focus mechanism, back for film advance / rewind. Each component just performs its own well-defined function without too much coupling with others. You can expose film for as many time as you want without restriction from film advance mechanism. Dark slide and back can be attached and detached any time in any sequence.

From its name, it is so easy to associate with shooting by press photographers. It need to be easy to operate, robust like a workhorse. Probably, it is due to the loosely coupled and modular design to achieve this. From its appearance, it is huge in size, like a Gozilla. Was it a lovely pet kept by press photographers, to bring around ? I think, yes. It is a complete system with a full range of accessories supported to suit different shooting requirement, e.g. sport finder for capturing fast moving subject, ground glass focusing for sheet film, extension tube for marco photography, tilting back for perspective control in architectural photography. It started from a press camera, but extended beyond that.

How to Choose ?Mamiya Universal and Super 23 are very similar but different cameras. Function-wise, they cannot replace each other. Many people always ask, what should I choose ? If you want to shoot polaroid (instant photo) => Mamiya Universal If you want to shoot by using built-in bellow with tilt function => Mamiya Super 23

About The CameraThe camera shown in this webpage is my Mamiya Super 23 purchased via ebay (image credit - from wideangleman @ ebay). You can see a test sample shot here. with Bayonet mount, lens available with various focal length quite often come with the standard lens, Mamiya Sekor 100mm / F3.5, supporting 1/500 - 1 sec shutter speed & Bulb setting, and Flash sync contact of M / X (mine is a DIY modified one to lock the flash sync in X position to facilitate usage of common modern flash, and sych chord adapter is attached, with sync chord passing through the hand grip) Hand grip attaching to the left side of the camera body, to provide attachment of shutter release cable & pushing button, and cold shoe for external flash attachment Various roll film backs are available to support 120/220 format for frame size 6x9, 6x7, 6x6, 6x4.5. Some film backs support only 1 frame size (e.g. 6x7, 6x9) but some support multiple frame sizes (e.g. 6x9+6x6+6x4.5, 6x6+6x4.5). Some models are using simple film advance rotating knot with red window displaying count on film backing paper, while some others are using double stroke on the film advance crank for advancing one frame with mechanical film counter built on film back. No couping of shutter release with film advance control allowing multi-exposure. accessory shoe on the top of camera body, for attaching finder, exposure meter, etc


More Information Other Resources - Students of journalism will experiment with various types of cameras. The digital age has changed the way photography and journalism blend together. Projects and business use the medium in a variety of ways. Those studying for an AACSB online MBA or with an interest in MBA entrepreneurship will find the photographic medium an exciting way to further their studies. Photographs have a way of impacting a potential consumer or scholar that words alone do not. Finding the right tools and cameras is an important step in the learning process. Expirimentation can be fun and produce many different results that can be applied to various practical applications.

Mamiya Super 23: Love at First LightLouis Meluso , May 31, 2010; 06:27 p.m.

Original 1967 ad for the Mamiya Super 23

Original Ad

ResponsesLouis Meluso , May 31, 2010; 06:28 p.m.

This is a 1967 Mamiya Super 23. I wanted a 6x9cm camera for landscape work so I could make big prints. I had a 6x9cm roll back for my view camera but I always felt if I was going to carry a view camera, I may as well shoot 4x5. I was hoping to get a camera that handled quickly, had good optics and had a rangefinder that wasnt

squinty. After researching, I settled on the Mamiya system. The Super 23, and its cousin, the Universal, were the last of the Mamiya Press camera line. However by 1967, most press photographers had moved to 35mm camera. The Press cameras did find a niche in the professional photography markets for portrait/ wedding, architectural and studio photography. The Super 23 is a true all-mechanical, classic manual camera with no batteries, no meter and no automation.


Louis Meluso

, May 31, 2010; 06:29 p.m.

The camera looks boxy, and it is, but the inclusion of the detachable grip makes handling the camera quite easy. Its a modular system where the lenses, backs, focusing screens, extension tubes and optical finders can all be changed to suit the assignment. One of the features that attracted me to this camera was the rangefinder. Its HUGE and bright. You could drive a bus through that viewfinder. Even with glasses, seeing everything and focusing is a breeze. A selector switch on the rear of the finder provides framing lines for the 100mm, 150mm and 250mm lenses. The wide lenses have separate optical finders that mount on top. You can also focus via an accessory ground glass that attaches to the back when the film holder is removed.


Louis Meluso

, May 31, 2010; 06:30 p.m.

The Mamiya-Sekor 100mm f/2.8 is an excellent multicoated, planar-type that is one of the sharpest and fastest lenses available for the 6x9 format.

100mm f/2.8 Lens Fast and Sharp

Louis Meluso

, May 31, 2010; 06:31 p.m.

There is also a 100mm f/3.5 lens available which is the standard normal lens for this system. This is a tessar-type design that has a collapsible feature so the lens can focus to infinity when the rear bellows are employed. The lenses are mounted in Seikosha shutters.

100mm f/3.5 Normal Lens Extended and Retracted

Louis Meluso

, May 31, 2010; 06:32 p.m.

Here is my system which consists of the body with grip, type 3 6x9 back, ground glass with magnifier, 75mm f/5.6 w/finder, 50mm f/6.3 w/finder, extension tube set, 150mm f/5.6, 100mm f/3.5 collapsible and the sports finder mounted on top of the body.

My Mamiya Super 23 System

Louis Meluso

, May 31, 2010; 06:33 p.m.

Just a word about the120 film backs. The Mamiya Sshaped film backs are renown for their film flatness. One can obtain backs in various formats, 6x4.5, 6x7, or 6x9. There is a multi-format back, the K back, as well. Also there are several styles. The older style is good but have no interlocks and it is possible to double expose a frame.

Compare Backs

Louis Meluso

, May 31, 2010; 06:34 p.m.

The newer style (type 3), developed for the Universal but works fine on the Super 23, has a unique feature where you can disconnect the handle grip and use a special cable attached to the bottom of the back. In this configuration you can actually hold and fire the camera like a standard rangefinder and, in addition to providing interlocks, it removes a lot of the bulk and a fair amount of weight from the camera.

Back Release

Louis Meluso

, May 31, 2010; 06:36 p.m.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the rear bellows. The bellow can be extended in any direction to help carry focus, assist in perspective control, and close up photography when fully extended. When combined with extension tubes, significant magnifications can be obtained. Attaching the ground glass with the hooded magnifier helps with pinpoint focusing. There is a slot on the ground glass adapter that allows the insertion of cut film holders that are available as an accessory. Here are a few shots made on various films as noted.

Rear Bellow, Ground Glass Adapter with Magnifier

Louis Meluso

, May 31, 2010; 06:37 p.m.

Farm Scene with Pond