I have been shooting 35mm cameras for about a decade and mostly shoot black and white. My main camera for the duration has been a Pentax K1000 and various Pentax Lenses. The pandemic helped me step out of my comfort zone and explore both rangefinder and medium format cameras. My article today is focusing on one camera I was fortunate enough to become an owner of, the Mamiya C3.
I was lucky enough to acquire my Mamiya C3 through a friend I made at our community darkroom. Having been a long time shooter of HP5 it only made sense for me to pick up some 120 and load it in the beast.
The Mamiya C3 is a tank. It’s all metal, huge, heavy, and brutal enough to lend itself to beautiful images. One of my favorite features of the C3 is its modularity. Like other Mamiya TLR cameras, the C3 allows for interchangeable lenses and viewfinders. My C3 has the early 80mm lens that is clean and sharp, and its actually in quite good shape considering its age. I also use a pentaprism to help frame my images, this only seems to add to the machines weight and size!
I am primarily a nature/landscape photographer that dabbles in street photography and general candid captures. I have been thrilled with the abilities of the negatives of 120 film and the ability to print an 11×17 image with incredible detail is a welcome thing. For this article though, the images I share are scans of the negatives…my scanner is not big enough for the 11×17 paper prints!
Last year, my family went on a short camping trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains and Asheville, NC. While we were there, we explored some waterfalls, mountain ranges, and my C3 was along for the ride.
Some of my favorite locations on the trip surrounded Catawba Falls, it is in the Black Mountain region of North Carolina and was a great hike leading up to a 100 foot waterfall. We were lucky enough to get out early and beat the traffic that the falls attracts, this allowed for some nice opportunities for photography without the inevitable stranger wandering into the shot.
For these shots I used a light meter on my iPhone and shot handheld, although in retrospect, I would have liked a tripod to do some longer exposures.
The following images are some of my favorites from the trip. They were metered at box speed, developed in Rodinol 1+50, and scanned using my Epson Photo V550.
I hope you enjoyed my first article on 35mmc.