Mamiya Six is a 120 film folding rangefinder camera, 6x6 format, first
issued in 1940 by Mamiya Optical Co.,Tokyo. The camera was an
innovative design by Mamiya Seiichi, a Japanese camera designer.
It focuses by moving the film plane, not the optics. It was built until
the end of the 1950s and there are plenty of different models.
camera shown is the model IVB, issued in 1955, hence a late model. It's easily recognizable by its square rangefinder window.
There are also some pictures of the model V, issued in 1953, with
a fairly unique feature: it has automatic film advance for two formats,
6 x 6 and 4.5 x 6. I bought it for parts, as on the photos, but later gave it away to a
skilful camera lover, who told me that he has restored it by now. So this technical beauty hasn't got lost.
Size (mm): 143 x 105 x 52 Weight: 810 g Lens: Olympus D-Zuiko 3.5/75, closest focus 0.95 m Shutter: Seikosha MX, B, 1 - 1/500, F 3.5 - 22 Finder: coupled rangefinder, double exposure warning Film advance: automatic, double exposure prevention
Here are some photos of the camera. There is a short introduction to the use of it and how it feels at the bottom of the page.
front closed. Top: shutter release button, rangefinder window,
opening button, viewfinder window, film advance with exposure counter.
from the back. Near top: film advance lock release, viewer, focusing wheel. Red window, not necessary in ordinary use.
Seen from the bottom. Tripod socket.
Seen from above.
Camera front open. Speed setting ring.
from above, camera open. Shutter cocking lever near the speed setting ring, aperture
control. On top: film
advance knob with automatic exposure counter, shutter release button, distance indication
window with depth-of-the-field scale.
Left side, camera open. Synchro setting lever, dented wheel for aperture control.
Right side, camera open.
Camera back open. Note the cover of the moving film plane.
chamber. Cover of the film plane slid open.
Mamiya Six V. It has a round rangefinder window. Note the little lever
under the rangefinder housing, it slides a viewfinder mask for the
4.5x6 format into the view. Seikosha Rapid shutter, similar to the MX,
without the synchro choice.
distance indication window is a bit different. Film counter can count
up to 16 when set so. Camera opening button sits on the housing, not on
chamber with 4.5x6 masks put into place. they are hinged and fold into
the spool housing when not in use. Note the little lever to set the
film counter according to the film size. It changes the advance gear as
well. A quite complicated mechanical solution, but still working
a Mamiya Six is easy, it's like
other folding rangefinders except for the focusing wheel, which is even
more fluid than ordinary focusing. Loading film is quite as usual, you
just have the cover plate of the film plane in addition. Check, whether
the film counter is on the dot mark. It normally stays there when you
have taken out the previous roll. (If not, move it there by turning the
advance knob and actioning the film advance release lever.) Open
camera back, slide the plate out and put the
film roll into its place, the knob on the bottom retracts the spool
shaft. Same procedure for the take-up spool. Insert the film paper
into the spool and advance it using the knob until the start
arrow meets the white index marks (near the take-up spool). Slide the
film plane cover into place. Close the camera back. Then action the
film advance lock release once and move the film via the advance knob
stops at "1".
Cock the shutter, set speed and aperture. Set focus via the wheel on
the camera back. Press the
shutter release button. That's it. A red indicator will fall into view,
it's a double exposure warning. Action the lever to unlock before
film advance and it will disappear. To
close the camera, press the hinges of the struts as
usual, it will fold easily.
Mamiya Six is a very nice and sturdy camera, easy to use. The IVB model
is a very good choice, it's quite modern. There is an "Automat" model
which combines film advance with shutter cocking, but it is quite rare.