Zen and the art of Mamiya maintenance

Posted on 27.07.2013


9039859221_c0ec984c31As many of you know, last year I won a Mamiya from Ebay in a daring bit of sniping that required me to set an alarm, wake up and make a final bid on US time, while sitting in German time. Then, after I won the camera, I had to sit and wait for months until my father could bring it over from the states, since the seller wouldn’t ship to Germany. This camera has been a LONG process, across all fronts.

Earlier this year, the camera had an issue in which the winder was stuck, counter wasn’t counting, and it was generally in need of repair. This was all well and good, as I only spent about $200 to win what should have cost me upwards of $500. The repair by the ONLY person in 50 miles who could do it ran me an extra 230-Euros, for what took the man one hour to do. I was not happy with the service or the cost. But as the camera still cost less to repair and buy than buying a higher priced model, I was ok with having to do it.

While in NYC a few weeks ago, the camera got dropped (even though it had a neck strap and WAS IN the carrying case, also strapped) and the ground glass was shattered. As I was in NYC, I did what any camera lover would do and went to B+H (first time!), only to be told to go across the street to the repair man who would most likely be able to help me. It was Sunday. He was closed.

So the camera came with me to Europe, where I happened to know I’d be near some camera shops. I won’t be going back to the very expensive man in Germany, obviously, but I thought I might pass a few camera shops between points A and B and C. I have contacted all of them, and no one can help me. I have contacted Mamiya (as B+H also suggested) and am still waiting for a response.

But after sending the email to Mamiya and countless negative responses from camera shops, it occurred to me that even getting the camera fixed in the states would require mailing the camera off to a faraway state (like Arizona) and then paying some ridiculous fees to have it fixed, or to have someone else contact Mamiya successfully.

DSC_0213This all seems like a whole lot of work, for not a lot being done. I came to another conclusion on my own while talking with my friends. I have a small amount of money I can spend on frivolous things, and I think the best thing for me to do would be to buy myself a second C330 body. It will come with a good piece of ground glass, along with all necessary parts, should I need to do further repairs. If I need it, I can use it instead of the one I currently have. Having a second body for the same camera might be the easiest and most affordable option, as well. Taking a look at eBay, it seems I can get a functional body for under $200. That’s far less than I’ve spent on repairs, and I’m clearly not done yet.

And because of this, I will be purchasing a SECOND C330. Soonish. Now the only question is ‘where to mail it’? Do I have it shipped to where I am, or where the other Mamiya is, or just to my dad’s house and play the waiting game again? I only brought the Mamiya on this trip and now it’s nonfunctional, which means I am sans bbcamera. I’ve certainly learned my lesson and will never travel without the D80 again!

I know I’ve been MIA aside from book posts, but it’s only because I’m doing a LOT of travel and prefer to write about things once they’re done. I can tell you that NYC is done and so is England, for now, but I’ll be heading BACK to England to fly back out eventually, so it’s not even really done. I’m no longer in England which means I am ….

Photos to come eventually:) None from a Mamiya, of course 😦


Posted in: art, life, travel