Mamiya Universal Press

Mamiya blog

Man I love this camera!

It is rare for me that I instantly bond with a new (old) camera. Normally the first roll is messed up with quirks that aren’t mentioned in the instructions. My learning style has always been by cocking it up the first time. But not this time.

As mentioned yesterday I have been looking for a camera to walk around and document the things I see in my home town of Auckland, and for any large city I might visit. Yesterday I sold one of my digital lenses that I wasn’t using, and parlayed a quarter of the proceeds on this beast of a camera.

I am not sure I got the point across in the first line, but I love this camera. Mine comes with 6×7 and 6×9 backs, and the lens is the Sekor 100/3.5.

The shooting process is really well thought out because, as the name suggests, these were Press cameras, and needed to be ready to go at a moments notice. One of the original paparazzi cams:)

My shooting process is:

  1. Meter the scene with my sekonic light meter.
  2. Set shutter speed and desired aperture.
  3. Compose either hand held or on tripod.
  4. Focus using RF or zone and then recompose
  5. Set shutter
  6. Remove dark slide and fire shutter.
  7. Wind film on.

Now this sounds time consuming and it is, and that is the point. Shooting film on old manual cameras for me is relaxing. Using technology that is close in age to me makes the process enjoyable. I love digital for my long exposure work but I could never see myself walking around town with my Sony.

Best of all this camera suits left eye shooters. The RF/VF is on the right hand side of the body, which is awesome, so for the first time ever my nose isn’t pressed into the back of the camera. If you shoot with your left eye you will ‘feel me.’

Shooting hand held is also really easy because of the shape of the camera back it is really easy to balance and keep it steady. Hand holding as a righty means my left hand is cradling the lens, and if you manually trip the shutter this is super easy to do with your left fore finger.

Anyway pics below are 6×7 negs, shot on Kodak Potra 160. Half were hand held (HH) and half on a tripod (T).

Mamiya blog

The 1st pic with this camera from my deck. Auckland CBD with early sun reflection. (HH)

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Half of Auckland CBD is a building site. Not sure what these are? (HH)

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Test for vertical orientation. Love this art work, must have 10 versions of this. (T)

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Not much good lying in a garden. (HH)

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Two from Tyler Street, Auckland. (Both T)

So in conclusion, this camera is awesome. The 100/3.5 lens is unbelievably sharp, shutter is super accurate, the shooting process is really well thought out and the camera has a presence about it, so when people see my carrying  it, you can almost hear the ‘WTF is that’ comment under their breath.


More to come, next time with the 6×9 back.

One response to “Mamiya Universal Press

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