$20 is all it takes to get a fully-fledged 35mm film SLR in operational condition, as classic as the Bullitt Mustang. At about the same year Mr Cool raced the said Mustang down San Francisco streets Mamiya came out with a revolutionary camera. Evident by the blue sticker on its front, it was able to take spot or average light measurements by a flick of a button. It was aptly named 500 DTL: 500 for the max speed, DTL for dual (measuring), TL for through the lens. It’s sisters DTL 1000 and 2000 were similar but for the average Joe, this camera has been perfect.
To get today a ’68 Mustang in good condition it will take over $40,000 where original cost adjusted for today’s value had been $22,000. Original Mamiya DTL 500 cost at a time was $200, equal to today’s $1.500, so today’s value is about 1% of that. The moral of that is that it is better to collect Mustangs. The Mustang was reintroduced to this generation by another cool guy, Keanu Reeves. It is worth mentioning that the car is the only one ever introduced with a half at the model year – 64 1/2.
Back to the camera. Compared to the ZM Quartz earlier discussed, it feels like a real camera, heft and all. At 720 gr it stands together with the heavy crowd. With a classic 42mm threaded mount, an instant return mirror it is in line with the common crop of the era. Using, however, would require consulting the manual. The finder has a needle and a large ‘C’ at the right, and an ‘S’ and ‘A’ markings on the bottom. The ‘C’ stands for ‘correct’ (I assume), referring to the exposure. It takes pressing the winder lever towards the body to activate the meter. selecting speed and thereafter adjusting the aperture to meet the ‘C’ is all it takes. The ‘S’ and ‘A’ stand for ‘spot’ and ‘average’ measuring and are selected by a lever at the base of the lens, at the left side. Depth of field preview can be set by a slider at the bottom of the lens barrel, selecting between ‘A’ and ‘M’, ‘auto’ and ‘manual’, where manual shows the image with the aperture opening as selected, and the auto shows the image via the full opening. The winding lever is to be locked when not in use by pressing the button in the middle of it, to fully fold it and conserve battery. The 500 DTL I have has no self-timer while online images show same with. Perhaps an upgrade.
Other than these quarks the 500 DTL is a classic ’60s camera.
|Model||Sekor 500 DTL|
|Weight||720 gr, Body only|
|Class average weight||560 gr, Body only|
|Lens make||Auto Mamiya / Sekor|
|Filter size||52 mm|
|shutter||Focal plane cloth|
|Lock||Yes, button in the centre of winder|
|Timer||No, Some models have|
|Other||Average / spot measuring selector.|