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Japanese Six (6×6)
Prewar and wartime models (edit)
Adler Six | Bonny Six | Clover-Six | Condor Six | First Six | Gelto Six | Gotex | Green | Lyra Six | Super Makinet Six | Mamiya Six | Miyako Six | Mulber Six | Mulix | National Six | Neure Six | Oko Six | Olympus Six | Pilot Six | Romax | Ugein | Vester-Six | Victor Six | Weha Six
Ehira Chrome Six | Minolta Six | Shinko Super | Weha Chrome Six
Freude Six | Heart Camera | Konter Six | Tsubasa Six
Postwar models (edit)
Aires Viceroy | Angel Six | Aram Six | Astoria Super Six | Atom Six | Balm Six | Baron | Beauty Six (1950) | Beauty Six (1953) | Calm Six | Carl Six | Centre Six | Crown | Crystar Six | Daido Six | Dorima Six | Doris Six | Ehira Six | Elbow Six | First Six | Flora Six | Fodor Six | Frank Six | Fujica Six | Super Fujica Six | Futami Six | Gotex | Grace Six | Kohken Chrome Six | Kyowa Six | Liner Six | Lyra Six | Mamiya Six | Middl Six | Mihama Six | Mine Six | Minon Six | Mizuho Six | Motoka Six | Mount Six | Muse Six | Super Naiku | Ofuna Six | Olympus Six | Olympus Chrome Six | Orion Six | Oscar Six | Pigeon Six | Planet | Please Six | Pluto Six | Poppy Six | Press Van | Press Van-120 | Proud Chrome Six | Proud Super Six | Renown Six | Ricoh Six | Ruvikon | Ruvinal | Sanon Six | Silver Six | Sisley 1 | Sisley 2 & 3 | Sister Six | Tenar Six | Toho Six | Tomic | Toyoca Six | Ugein Six | Wagen Six | Walcon 6 | Welmy Six | Wester | Windsor Six
rigid or collapsible
Dia Six | Ehira Chrome Six | Enon Six | Flora | Flashline | Fujipet | Harmony | Mikono-6 | Orion | Ponix | Rich-Ray-6 | Shumy | Weha Chrome Six
Japanese SLR, TLR, pseudo TLR and stereo models ->
Japanese 3×4 and 4×4, 4×5 and 4×6.5, 4.5×6 and older 6×9 ->

This article is about the spring-folder camera made by Mamiya in the 1940s and 50s. For the 1990s camera, see Mamiya 6.

The Mamiya Six is a series of 6×6 folders with a coupled rangefinder, made by Mamiya from 1940 to the 1950s. All of them are focused by moving the film plane, rather than the more common front-cell focussing of other folders of the time.


The brain behind the development of the Mamiya Six was the inventor Seiichi Mamiya. His camera design departed from the common method of front cell focussing. In order to be able to control the camera when looking through the rangefinder while maintaining a steady hold,[1] he designed a method that allowed the film plane to move in relation to the lens. He filed his invention on 1 July 1939 in Japan[2], on ¶¶ 1940 in the United Kingdom[3] and on 5 June 1940 in the U.S.A. The U.S. Patent (nº 2,305,301) was granted on 15 December 1942, but, because of the state of war between the USA and Japan, was vested in the Alien Property Custodian.[4]


The first model (Mamiya Six I) was advertised in September 1940 and first went on sale in December 1940. Until the end of the World War II, the Mamiya Six was significantly modified at least three times: first in early 1941 (model Ia) with two additional improved models introduced in the next two years. Erratically, model III was released in 1942[5] before model II appeared in 1943. All pre-war and war-time models have 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. All units have a single red film frame counter window counter on the back with a horizontal slider opening to the left. The Mamiya Six III added an exposure counter with double exposure prevention. The pre-war and war-time models were all 6x6 format cameras.

Production of the Mamiya Six was restarted after World War II. The first cameras to be sold were Mamiya Six III. It is not clear to what extent these units were assembled from existing spare parts, or whether all are totally new construction. The official Mamiya history states that ¶¶¶ These post-War Mamiya Six III were fitted with which was introduced in Takatiho Tokio Zuiko f/3.5 75mm lenses, which debuted in 1946.[6] The first new model to appear was the Mamiya Six IV, introduced in 1947, which dispensed with the waist-level finder. It remained the sole model until 1953. The Mamiya Six V added the dual 6×6 and 4.5×6 format capability, with an exposure counter functioning with both formats. The Mamiya Six K was a simpler model, with film advance via red windows.

In 1955, the Mamiya Six IVb introduced a squarer body design, easily recognized by the square rangefinder window. Its features were similar to the model IV. The Mamiya Six K2 was similar to the model K with the new body. The body design was slightly modified again for the Mamiya Six IVs and simpler Mamiya Six P.

From 1955, the Mamiya Six Automat and the later Automat 2 added a coupling between the shutter cocking and the film advance.

Chronology of Models

Given the quite erratic nature of model numbering that occurred over the years, the chronology of the thirteen major Mamiya Six models is set out in Table 1. The characteristcs of the individual models, as well as the variants within these models, are described further below. If in doubt about some of the features mentioned in the type descriptions, please refer to the visual documentation of the critical elements which provides a dichotomous key as well as a series of illustrations showing the model-specific details.

Table 1 Chronology of Mamiya Six Cameras

Release Date     Model/Variant
pre-War Production 1940, September    Mamiya Six I
1941, January
   Mamiya Six Ia
War Production 1942, January    Mamiya Six III
1943    Mamiya Six II
1943?    Mamiya Six IIa
   Production Ceased
post-War Production   1946, November    Mamiya Six III
1947    Mamiya Six IV
1953, November    Mamiya Six V
1954, August    Mamiya Six K
1955, May    Mamiya Six IVb
1955, December    Mamiya Six Automat
1956, March    Mamiya Six K2
1957, October    Mamiya Six IVs
1957, December    Mamiya Six P
1958    Mamiya Six Automat 2

Dichotomous Key to aid identification of models

The Mamiya Six comes in a bewildering range of variants. The interactive, dichotomous key provided below provides an avenue at identifying the types of Mamiya Six. Once you have identified your model, click on the model name to be taken to a full description. If you are unclear about any of the criteria, either click on the criterion name or jump to this page for visual identification guides.


START : How many viewfinder windows are on the front?
TWO Windows
Is there a horizontal bar underneath the lens?
The right hand, square viewfinder window is:
Flush with the casing→Mamiya Six Automat
Surrounded by a small back rim → Mamiya Six Automat 2
The right hand, square viewfinder window is:
Flush with the casing
Film Advance knob is
Solid with film speed on top→Mamiya Six P
Mushroom shaped
Depth of Field Indicator is
in a small raised ring → Mamiya Six IVb
flush with top housing → Mamiya Six K2
Surrounded by a small black rim → Mamiya Six IVs
Surrounded by small rectangular plate
Viewfinder housing to the left of the shutter release is
Curved→ Mamiya Six IV
Straight → Mamiya Six K
Surrounded by a rectangular plate that encompasses the left round window as well → Mamiya Six V
THREE Windows
Does the body have triangular neckstrap lugs?
How many Struts ?
Two → Mamiya Six Ia
Three → Mamiya Six I
Is there a Flash Contact?
The cold shoe for the flash is fastened with
two screws, set diagonal → Mamiya Six III post-War production
front door release is
single raised button → Variant A
twin set of buttons → Variant B
three screws → Mamiya Six III war-time production
How many Struts ?
Two → Mamiya Six IIa
Three → Mamiya Six II


  1. Seiichi Mamiya had field an earlier application with the British Patent Office (for an improvement in single lens reflex cameras) again emphasising the need to be able to maintain control when focussing. While that application was successful, the patent was not granted as Mamiya failed to pay the sealing fee: "Improvements In Or Relating To Photographic Cameras. Patent GB326688. Filed 17 April 1929; Published 20 March 1930.[| GB-Patent-326688/]
  2. Japanese utility model publication (実用新案出現広告) no.S15-14673. Applied for (出現) on Jul. 1, 1939 and published (公告) on Oct. 5, 1940.
  3. Improvements In And Relating To Focusing Devices For Portable Photographic Cameras. Patent GB542016. Filed ¶¶. Published 22 December 1941.
  4. Focussing Device for Portable Photographic Cameras. Patent application by Seiichi Mamiya, Ohita, Takata-Gun, Japan. Filed 5 June 1940, granted 15 December 1942. U.S. Patent nº 2,305,301.
  5. According to the official Mamiya history website | History of Mamiya Six (Mamiya history website)
  6. See the lens chronology on the Zuiko page.
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