The Canon 5D’s gone, but another Mamiya’s arrived!

It’s gone; I sold my 5D on Ebay (where else?) last weekend, together with the Canon 28-135mm IS zoom. So now, apart from a Lumix GF1, kept for my work editing charity newsletters, for which I do the photography too and need fast turn-around, and a Contax SL300R T* which I keep in my pocket in case one of those once-in-a-lifetime pix which a newspaper might buy for a few £k comes up, I’m completely film!

Meet the new arrival, arrived this morning, not exactly a new-born but a welcome adoption, again thanks to Ebay.

Mamiya Universal with 100mm f3.5 Sekor

New ‘baby’ just arrived. Picture with a Contax SL300R T*, ideal for a quick snap like this

This is, of course, a Mamiya Universal, which joins my earlier Mamiya Presses. It has come complete with a 6x9mm film back which has a nice little ‘pocket’ on the back to park the dark slide, which is a little problem when out with the earlier backs. The light seals are very sticky so that’s a job for as soon as I have some time, but otherwise it seems in great order though till I put a film through I won’t know for sure. (I see a lot of moans on forums from people with light leaks in these backs; why they don’t fix them I don’t know, it’s pretty easy even if you don’t buy a pre-cut kit. Just be prepared to lick the adhesive – a vital tip from seals supplier and guru Jon Goodman – jon_goodman@yahoo.com).

The body also has the type M adapter fitted which considering they appear fairly frequently on Ebay for not much, in any, less, than I’ve paid for the complete kit, I’m pretty happy with that. I understand they are sought by the Polaroid (bastardised Mamiya) owners so they can fit the Mamiya conventional film backs and this is what leads to the silly prices.

It also came with a later version than I have of the collapsible 100mm f3.5 Sekor, the one with the 55mm filter size, which seems in very good order – even the shutter speeds sound about right. Pity it wasn’t the f2.8 but that really would have been a bargain – they can go for as much as I got for the 5D.

A hand grip with a perfectly working cable release completed the package (well actually there was a good quality UV filter and lens hood too).

Why did I want a Universal when it doesn’t have the back bellows of my Universal Super 23? For a start it will take a Polaroid back (I suppose I should now say instant film back) and, if I can find a G type adapter for less than the silly price they usually command, I’ll be able to use the more compact Graflex-type film back – useful if you want to forget the tripod and tote it like an old-style press man. For Polaroid I’ll need another lens to get full coverage of the Polaroid format, but that’s for the future.

The description on Ebay was sparse so I took a bit of a chance, but fortunately I know these cameras pretty well so could deduce a lot from the single photograph. From the price it ended up at I guess most people could not do that or would not take the chance.

Sadly I’m pretty busy with getting an income at the moment so no time for photography since the last post and it’ll be a little time before I can fix the seals and try this. Not a big problem as I haven’t been at all happy with the 120 film holders for my Epson 4990 scanner when scanning 6x9mm and much of what I thought might be my eyesight is, I think, the inability of the holder to keep the film flat. That’s really annoying as the Mamiya Press backs are superb at keeping the 6×9 film area flat. I’m not keen on exposing any more film until I sort out the scanning problem.

After reading a lot of conflicting advice on photo forums I’ve decided to go with the recent recommendation of one of my favourite photo bloggers and invest in a DigitaLIZA. I can’t work out why Lomo would produce a high quality holder for film exposed in cameras with low quality lenses but evidently they have. (I can’t see either why in the UK it costs getting on for double the price in the USA – another example of rip-off Britain I suppose). Most of the reviews concentrate on the 35mm version and go ape about having the sprocket holes in the picture. Each to his own! I’ll be happy if the holders keep the film flat.

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