Mamiya ZM Quartz
Camera makers are often associated with a certain style. As from the top, Leitz is associated with rangefinders. Rolley with TLRs; Olympus, Canon and Pentax with SLRs; Agfa with viewfinders; Graflex with press cameras and so forth. All these makers produced other camera styles as well but none made the complete styles range. Mamiya was an exception. Making cameras since after the war, their line included everything and the kitchen sink. Rangefinders and viewfinders. Sub miniatures and press. SLRs and TLRs. Cine, klapp, and full-size SLRs.
Mamiya products were always considered to be within the top of the crop. Today they carry a shadow of the past selection, staying with a high-end digital product line.
The Mamiya ZM Quartz is an example of their ability. Here is an able SLR, packaged in a compact and lightweight body, that does all the other guys do. It falls into your hand, comfortable for either large or small paws. The viewer is nicely positioned off-centre, so your nose is off the way as well. Light enough to use single-handed. Speeds up to 1000, manual and auto, exposure compensation dial, exposure lock, trigger lock, a fancy self-timer, TTL meter showing both current and desired settings. The viewer is exceptionally large and bright.
Made of plastic, it takes gentle hands to deal with it. Rough handling would leave dials and levers flopping. The batteries are set in a tiny plastic drawer at the base. Not sure how many times the said drawer could be handled before it becomes a recycling part; moreover how to clean the inside contacts should it corrode. Perhaps it is me, but I tried to press the button set in the middle of the winding lever, where I saw the tapered thread for the remote trigger. The shutter trigger is within the speed dial, similar appearance to cameras made much later. Dissecting it, it is a harbinger of the cameras of the future, plastic everywhere, including moving parts. It could be acceptable in the current time where a camera becomes obsolete the day it hits the market, but out of place where a camera supposed to last.
One odd issue, the body seemed to be missing half of the front leatherette. Looked at online images, all show same. Assume area without leatherette is covered with some rubbery substance, for better grip.
eBay mysteries dept.: looking for a donor body, about a dozen or so, mostly from Japan and some from the US. Asking prices were over $300. Real-life price for this model is in the vicinity of 10% of that. I wonder.
To sum it up, the camera is a pleasure to use; but once something fails, which would be in a prompt order, don’t set high hopes on service. I had the worst experience with this camera, fixing one part just to have the next falling apart. Didn’t even get to the delicate areas yet.
|Mode||Auto / manual, AP|
|Weight||480 gr, Body only|
|Class average weight||560 gr, Body only|
|Lens make||Mamiya Sekor E|
|Filter size||52 mm|
|Lens mount||Mamiya Z|
|Mount size||Mamiya Z|
|shutter||Focal plane vertical metal|
|Light meter||TTL, manual override|
|Battery||SR44 2 ea|
|Other||Power handle ready|
Shutter trigger within the speed dial.
Right side no leatherette, coated with some antislip substance.
Battery drawer. 100% plastic. Of the fragile kind.