Mamiya Six I

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Contents

History

Setting up the production capacity for Mamiya Six cameras followed immediately after the formation of Mamiya Kōki Seisakusho (マミヤ光機製作所, Mamiya Optical Works) in May 1940.[1] First advertised in Asahi Camera in September 1940[2] the Mamiya Six went on sale in December 1940 at a price of ¥248[3] According to company history, the first production of 61 cameras sold out on the first day, with orders for 250 additional units received.[4]The Mamiya Six was designed with both the domestic and the export market in mind and was heavily promoted at Japanese Export trade affairs in Japan and abroad.[5]

Technical details

Full metal body construction. Body, back door and front door are made from painted sheet metal, while tip and bottom plate are chromed with a rough texture. The three-element struts supporting the front door are chromed and shows the Mamiya logo. All units are covered with black-brown leatherette with exposed chrome top housing and bottom-plate. The Mamiya logo is embossed in the leatherette of the front door, while 'Mamiya-Six' is embossed on the back door, underneath the red window, which has a horizontal slider opening to the left. The camera has a twin set of range finder windows as well as a small, seperate Brillant-type waist-level viewfinder, resulting in three windows at the front.
      The first model of the camera has a slightly larger waist level viewfinder (12 x 12 mm) than the subsequent models. The round viewfinder window on the front has a serrated edge to it, while it is smooth on the later models. Model I is the only Mamiya Six design with small eyelets for a neck strap. Other characteristics are: a solid knurled film winding knob, a raised button (on the top plate) to release the front door; indicator arrow next to the film counter is a pointed arrow with a thin tail; the shutter release button has a rounded top; the cold shoe for the flash is affixed with three screws; the depth of field indicator at the right corner of the top housing ranges from 3.5 to 8; a bottom plate with a strengthened, raised tripod mount held by three screws and flanked by two knobs for the release of the film spools.
      The back door is hinged at the right. The camera takes 120 roll film and gives 6x6 negatives. The supply chamber is on the right and the take up spool on the left. To ensure that the film remains flat even though the film plane moves in and out with the back focussing mechanism, the Mamiya Six I has a removable pressure plate that slides in from the right. The guide rail for the removable pressure plate runs for the length of the film gate and lacks an embossed directional arrow.
      Some units of the Mamiya Six I have a double exposure warning system,[6] comprised of a small transparent, square, red coloured half-pane that appears in the rangefinder window when the shutter button on the top plate has been pressed[7]

Dimensions

140 x 103 x 51mm closed (105mm open), weight 780g.[8]

Lens and shutter combinations

Interestingly, Mamiya offered purchasers to bring their own lenses, which would be installed in the '0' shutters. This resulted in a range of known shutter combinations:
  • K.O.L. Anastigmat 75mm f/3.5
    • in MSU-TOKYO NEW HIT shutter[9]
    • in RAPID K.O.L. (B, 1-500th) shutter[10]
  • K.O.L. Special f/3.5 75mm
    • in MAMIYA-SIX (B, T, 1-200th) shutter[11]
    • in NKS (B, T, 1-200th) shutter[12]
    • in NKS-TOKIO (B, T, 1-200th) shutter[13]
    • in YAMATO-RAPID (B, 1-500th) shutter[14]
  • K.O.L. Trio f/3.5 75mm
    • in ??OD. P. II (T, B, 1-300th) shutter[15]
  • Kolex Anastigmat f/3.5 75mm
    • in DABIT-SUPER (B, 1-500th) shutter[16]



Mamiya Six Ia

The next iteration, publicised in January 1941[17] saw the use of a larger '00' shutter, which was wider and thus required the redesign of the strut system. Instead of the three-part struts, the camera has a simple, two-part strut mechanism.[18] The camera sold for ¥298.

Technical details

All units are covered with leatherette. Like the Mamiya Six I on which it is based, this version of the camera has a slightly larger waist level viewfinder (12 x 12 mm) than the subsequent models II and III. The film respool knob is a solid knurled knob. The indicator arrow next to the film counter is a pointed arrow with a thin tail. The larger diameter shutter required that the internal door catch be redesigned and there is a different shape to the shutter release side of the front door.

Dimensions

140 x 103 x 51mm (closed), weight 780g.

Lens and shutter combinations

  • K.O.L. Special 75mm f3.5
    • in Vester-3 shutter with T, B, 1-1/200 sec (standard)[19]

Manuals, Brochures and Advertisements

Notes

  1. Mamiya. A History of Innovation. Mamiya 50th Anniversary. Produced by the Mamiya-History of Innovation Editorial Committee. Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo: Mamiya Camera Co. Ltd. p. 3.
  2. Asahi Camera September 1940 | Neco's Mamiya page
  3. | Mamiya Six I (Mamiya history website).—See also advertisement in Asahi Camera (アサヒカメラ) April 1941 (Rebollo_fr flickr).—By December 1941 the Mamiya Six I sold for ¥298 ('Mamiya. A History of Innovation. Mamiya 50th Anniversary. Produced by the Mamiya-History of Innovation Editorial Committee. Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo: Mamiya Camera Co. Ltd. p.4).
  4. Mamiya. A History of Innovation. Mamiya 50th Anniversary. Produced by the Mamiya-History of Innovation Editorial Committee. Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo: Mamiya Camera Co. Ltd. p. 3.
  5. According to company history, the Mamiya Six was taken on a Japanese export mission to Latin America (in December 1940) as a representative example of the Japanese camera industry (aboard the Osaka Shoshen Kaisha passenger-cum-cargo vessel Montevideo Maru). The Mamiya Six also won first prize at the Tokyo Export Promotion fair in April 1941: Mamiya. A History of Innovation. Mamiya 50th Anniversary. Produced by the Mamiya-History of Innovation Editorial Committee. Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo: Mamiya Camera Co. Ltd. p. 3
  6. At least from sn#28xx onwards
  7. It is coupled with the shutter button on the top plate; thus releasing the shutter at the shutter face will not trigger the mechanism.— For appearance in viewfinder see [| here] (Flickr Image); sn #2854 Photographica Collection Dirk HR Spennemann
  8. With K.O.L. Anastigmat 75mm f/3.5 in MSU-TOKYO NEW HIT shutter
  9. sn# 2854.—Photographica Collection Dirk HR Spennemann (Flickr image)
  10. Neco's Mamiya Site
  11. Neco's Mamiya Site
  12. Neco's Mamiya Site
  13. Neco's Mamiya Site
  14. Neco's Mamiya Site
  15. Advertisement in Asahi Camera (アサヒカメラ) April 1941 Rebollo_fr on Flickr
  16. Sales advertisement, seen December 2010
  17. Asahi Camera January 1941, February 1941 | Neco's Mamiya page
  18. | Mamiya Six Ia (Mamiya history website)
  19. Mamiya Six Ia (Mamiya history website)
  20. The brochure covers the Mamiya Six III]], bit has one page for the Mamiya Six I/IA and for the Mamiya Six II/IIA
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