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Mamiya 6 Automat Mini-Evaluate – A small, low cost 6×6 with a great lens!

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The Mamiya 6 Automat, a 1955 folding 6×6 folder has been reviewed most engagingly on Youtube by a bloke referred to as Martin Henson, who has a fantastic accent and a fantastic photographic eye, along with an unpretentious and accessible method of explaining issues. It’s a digital camera that’s truly superfluous to my ‘wants’ as a photographer, since I’ve been utilizing, for over twenty years, its Nineties relative, the Mamiya 6MF, which is superior to it in just about each respect, besides dimension (the Automat is considerably lighter, and smaller when folded up). Oh, and worth! The Automat was a few tenth of the present worth of its snazzy fashionable cousin. And to return clear with you, I simply wished to personal a cool and purposeful folding digital camera with a great lens, that I didn’t need to pay a fortune for, and this one suits the invoice.

The two Mamiya 6 cameras (both in folded state) to show relative size.
The 2 Mamiya 6 cameras (each in folded state) to point out relative dimension.

The two Mamiya 6 cameras with lenses extended
The 2 Mamiya 6 cameras with lenses prolonged. Notice that the larger, fashionable model right here is smaller than a Hasselblad or a TLR.

Essentially the most distinctive function of the Forties and ‘50s Mamiya 6 collection (they had been made between 1940 and 1958) is that they focus by transferring the movie airplane, not the lens. The movie could be very firmly held in opposition to the movie gate with a detachable strain plate (which you completely don’t wish to lose), and also you focus utilizing a thumb wheel to the suitable of the viewfinder, which can also be a fairly neat design function. Some say that due to the distinctive movie airplane focusing system, the rangefinder not often wants adjusting. I checked mine and it’s smack on. One other fascinating function of my mannequin is that its 75mm F3.5 lens is a ‘D Zuiko’ made by Olympus. It’s a typical tessar – tremendous sharp within the centre, straight from broad open, and the far corners aren’t actually reliably sharp until F11. They’re usually OK at F8.

There are lots of fashions of Mamiya 6 cameras, and a few have a Mamiya-Sekor lens. Not like older Mamiya 6 fashions, the Automat automat-ically cocks the Seikosha shutter while you wind the movie on (therefore the identify). You too can cock it manually with a lever on the highest of the shutter housing if crucial. For instance, in case you wind the movie on with the entrance door closed, the lever that does the automated shutter cocking doesn’t have interaction. Two variations of the ‘Automat’ had been made. Mine is the sooner one. The second, referred to as the ‘Automat II’, is outwardly rarer, has ‘Mamiya’ in white textual content on the entrance of the digital camera physique, and sports activities a Mamiya-Sekor lens. Different extra delicate variations are defined on this glorious technical evaluate. As with many of those older cameras, if you wish to use the highest velocity of 1/five hundredth, you must set it earlier than cocking the shutter.

I needed to do some minor repairs to the Mamiya 6 Automat earlier than I might use it – the straightforward stuff was portray over the few small holes within the bellows, and lubricating the arms that open the entrance door. The actually scary bit was the winder – it’s a part of a sophisticated maze of clockwork and encompasses a large-diameter tremendous spring contained in the winder housing, which resets the interior movie counter wheel while you open the again door. The entire equipment wanted cleansing and lubrication – not a straightforward job for somebody with my restore ability degree. And you actually need to observe that goddam spring, which isn’t all that straightforward to pop again into place if you end up placing every little thing again collectively. In any case I bought it working ultimately and it has principally behaved nicely ever since. However generally the interior movie counter wheel nonetheless doesn’t rewind all the best way again and I’ve discovered that I can provide it a prod with a toothpick by way of the little window within the winder housing to coax it into place. If the counter wheel doesn’t reset all the best way the digital camera gained’t depend the subsequent roll appropriately. The again door additionally has a closable purple window for viewing the numbers on the movie backing paper however it’s successfully redundant on this mannequin, so I’ve taped over it for good measure. Mercifully the lens is clear (not a standard factor with these cameras) and the shutter works nicely in any respect speeds.

I discovered a slip-on hood for it, and I can slip filters over the entrance of the hood utilizing a step-up ring.

An unlucky design omission of the Mamiya 6 Automat is that there’s nowhere to connect a strap, so it’s a good suggestion to discover a well-fitting pouch or case for it, assuming it doesn’t include one of many authentic leather-based circumstances.

Let’s take a look at what this little digital camera can do. All the photographs are on color unfavourable movie, which I processed at house with a 1 litre C41 package, and scanned on a Nikon Coolscan LS-9000. I hope you get pleasure from them.

1 Butterflier at the Queensland Masters Swimming championships in Mackay, March 2023. Portra 400, F11, 1/500.
1 Butterflier on the Queensland Masters Swimming championships in Mackay, March 2023. Portra 400, F11, 1/500.

2 The start of a race at the Queensland Masters Swimming championships in Mackay, March 2023. Portra 400, F11, 1/500. I like that you can see both the shadows and the reflections of the divers in this shot.
2 The beginning of a race on the Queensland Masters Swimming championships in Mackay, March 2023. Portra 400, F11, 1/500. I like that you would be able to see each the shadows and the reflections of the divers on this shot.

3 Suburban Poinciana in full bloom. Fuji Pro NS 160 with polarising filter. F11.
3 Suburban Poinciana in full bloom. Fuji Professional NS 160 with polarising filter. F11.

4 Cassia in full bloom. Fuji Pro NS 160 with polarising filter. F11.
4 Cassia in full bloom. Fuji Professional NS 160 with polarising filter. F11.

5 Back yard pineapple in soft afternoon light. Fuji Pro NS 160. F5.6.
5 Again yard pineapple in comfortable afternoon gentle. Fuji Professional NS 160. F5.6.

6 Helicopter refuelling, Greenvale, North Queensland. Portra 160, F8. I was helping the North Queensland Conservation Council by filming the upper reaches of the Burdekin River from the air as part of a campaign to prevent a proposed dam construction.
6 Helicopter refuelling, Greenvale, North Queensland. Portra 160, F8. I used to be serving to the North Queensland Conservation Council by filming the higher reaches of the Burdekin River from the air as a part of a marketing campaign to forestall a proposed dam development.

7 Catherine. Portra 400. F4.5.
7 Catherine. Portra 400. F4.5.
8 The view south across the pond at the Townsville Palmetum. Fuji Pro NS 160 with polariser. F11.5.
8 The view south throughout the pond on the Townsville Palmetum. Fuji Professional NS 160 with polariser. F11.5.

9 The mailboxes of the Trebonne Post Office, west of Ingham, North Queensland. Portra 400, F8. This is a working rural post office.
9 The mailboxes of the Trebonne Publish Workplace, west of Ingham, North Queensland. Portra 400, F8. It is a working rural publish workplace.

10 Cane crusher from an old sugar mill. Tyto Wetlands, Ingham, North Queensland. Portra 400, F11.
10 Cane crusher from an previous sugar mill. Tyto Wetlands, Ingham, North Queensland. Portra 400, F11.

The Mamiya 6 Automat could be very compact little folder that has been an absolute pleasure to make use of and I can suggest it in case you are searching for a 6×6 that’s small, low cost and has a great lens. Discovering one in good situation might not be straightforward, however I dare say with some persistence and warning, and maybe some primary restore expertise, you might get one that’s usable.

Thanks for studying. My flickr web page is right here

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