Focus-Lock really necessary on Mamiya C TLRs?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by eric_m|4, Mar 17, 2021.

  1. Hello,

    The Mamiya C330 F/S have a focus lock feature to prevent bellows from slipping out of focus. The older cameras do not have this feature. Does this mean that older cameras slip out of focus when pointed up or down? They seem like they're built so well that nothing would budge unless you wanted it to. I was thinking of getting one of the older Mamiya TLR models but wanted to know if anyone here has any "focus-slipping" problems without the focus-lock feature. Thanks.
  2. "Dunno"
    I believe I never used the lock. But I am hand holding or shooting horizontally from my tripod. I think I 'd appreciate having the lock when erratic user efforts could happen and spoil amplanned shot.
  3. I had my C330 for over 15 years and never used the lock. Again I either used it handheld or on a tripod and rarely tilted it very far. As you say, I think it would take a fair bit to make it move.
  4. the focus lock on the most recent C 330 TLR's does have a use - but perhaps not in the way you have imagined. The lens pairs tend not to 'rack out' under the influence of gravity (even with big lenses attached), but they can do just the opposite! They can 'rack-in' from a highly extended bellows. You need to remember that there is in fact an inner bellows with the C TLR, and both 'inner' and 'outer' bellows have a preferred resting dimension. In practice, when you have two bellows very extended - 'they just want to go in a bit'.
    mag_miksch and Jochen like this.
  5. Hey guys,
    Thanks for replies. I've never had a 6x6 camera with bellows but I've shot a lot of large format. Neils explanation makes sense, but never gave it much thought because every LF camera I've used always had some type of locking system that was just second nature to use - makes sense.
  6. Not really needed. I have 2 C33s without it. Focus adjust is relatively tight, built in resistance. My RB67 has it. Never used
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2021
  7. The friction in the rack and guide can vary. Some will move from bellows pull, some less so. After a rebuild and lube they can move pretty easy. I've rarely needed it because I don't do close-ups with that camera.
  8. Hmmm. Vertical copying and extreme close-ups with a TLR?

    I'd worry far more about parallax than bellows creep.
    laurencecochrane likes this.
  9. When I was a kid my fathers bank copied documents vertical ( document vertical ) with a Mamiya TLR & paramender.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2021
  10. I guess you could use any camera to copy documents but I wasn't planning on using it for that. I just thought maybe back in the days when the C330 was in production some of the pros were complaining about "lens/focus creep", and the focus-lock feature was Mamiya's response. I could see how many would like to shoot close-up with this camera just because the bellows feature triggers the macro switch in many shooter's brains. I'd like to try it. I have other setups that I could use to get closer but I am curious. I would think the focus-lock feature would be used when copying documents, assuming it was pointed vertically down and not at documents mounted on the wall.
  11. There probably was some reason for it being there: excess of caution or actual 'creep'.

    I would think you would soon know if it is needed or not.;)

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