Unfortunately the tank’s problems got worse and due to the cost of it I decided to return it to the seller. They were awesome and gave me a full refund, no questions asked. I bought the C33 at a camera fair and I originally picked up a scrappy looking C2. The dealer then showed me the tank and I fell for it….back in the shop there was the scrappy C2 again. So I took the refund money and bought it, it was kismet. It was also half the price of the C33, probably due to the state of the leather which fell off in tiny pieces at the slightest touch.
I played with it a little in the shop and everything seemed ok, but until I put a film in it I could not tell for sure. As I was in Ueno I walked straight to Yodobashi Camera and bought some Fuji Acros. Then I wandered around Tokyo until the light faded. I finished off the roll near my house the next day and immediately developed the results.
Yahoooo, it worked perfectly!! Not bad for a camera from 1958. In comparison to the C33, I didn’t see much difference in the quality of the result. The C2 is much lighter at only 1.6kg, so that is a bonus. There is no film crank on this version of the series. There is also no switch for sheet films, which is not an issue for me. Only 9 of the shots came out because I didn’t read the manual first, loading the film is a tiny bit tricky if you don’t. There are two red dots on the sides where you need to line up the “start” of the film. Before you do this you need to make sure the red dot on the frame counter is at the top. If it is anywhere else then shoot through the numbers without the film connected to the spool. Then once the film is on the spool and the door is closed you need to push the lever under the winder away from the unlock sign. You can then advance the film to the first frame and the camera will lock the winding system when it is in the right place and the number is on 1. It sounds complicated, but once you have done it a couple of times you are set.
Each time you take a shot you need to press the lever again to advance the film. Without pressing the lever the film will not advance. The shutter is cocked manually on the side of the lens. As with the other Mamiya C series of cameras, the lenses are interchangeable. Mine came with a Sekor 10.5mm, I will invest in another lens if I see one.
The scale on the side of the bellows is for exposure compensation. The further out it is the more light is needed so that scale lets you know how much.
As I knew the camera worked I spent the next morning replacing the skin. You can buy skins online, but with the shipping it would cost a third of the price of the camera. So I decided to try it myself. I have reskinned other cameras, but nothing like this. All the buttons and levers, plus the circle at the bottom meant it took some time and I was actually patient this time.
First I had to remove all the skin that did not just fall off. At some point an owner had tried to reattach parts with stronger glue, but with the help of a scraper and sticky stuff remover it all came off.
Then it was a slow process of matching sizes and cutting out holes.
The skin job is not perfect, but it is perfect for me. I have a unique camera. I love this one even more than the C33 and I am definitely keeping it. Though I am going to sell the Lubitel. I can’t go back to that after this one.