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Mamiya 35mm Information
The fixed-lens series of Mamiya 35mm cameras were produced and marketed for the the hobbyist, who was only concerned with a good snapshot. Not that there is anything wrong with that. The vast majority of picture-takers would probably fit in this category. It's just that most of these cameras are never going to be noted as the most critical photographic equipment Mamiya ever produced. Still, for the most part they had decent optics, took decent pictures, filled a need and sold well. Technical reviews about them are scare, so any Gentle Reader who has information, please join the Collecting Mamiya 35mm Forum and tell us about it!

Mamiya Auto-Lux 35
The Mamiya Auto-Lux 35 was introduced in 1963. A 35mm leaf-shutter SLR with a large selenium cell above the lens, it has a manual match-needle or shutter-preferred auto exposure control. It was sold with a fixed (non-interchangeable) 48mm Mamiya-Sekor f/.8 lens in a Copal-X shutter, with speeds from 1/15-1/500 second.

It was also sold in Germany as the Revue Auto-Lux 35 by Foto-Quelle or the Porst Autoflex by Porst.

Canon distributed a similar model known as the Canonex, also in 1963. It was their first automatic exposure camera, and the similarity to the Mamiya Auto-Lux is striking. It is believed to have been produced under contract for Canon by Mamiya. But because of the scarcity of records, there is still an ongoing debate about which of the two companies was the actual designer and manufacturer.

Peter Dechert, the noted Canon historian, wrote an interesting article about the Mamiya/Canon production arrangement, talking about who made what and sold it to whom, which supposedly also involved Osawa.

All that aside, the Canonex was not a successful camera and production lasted less than nine months, ending in 1964. Ironically, its short-lived production cycle makes the Canonex somewhat of a rare camera, sought after by collectors today. No known records exist of Mamiya Auto-Lux production, but it is known to have been produced for several more years.

Mamiya Auto-Lux 35, c.1963  R. Herron Collection

Canon's short-lived Canonex, produced by Mamiya, c.1963
Photo courtesy Canon, Inc.

Mamiya Family SLR, c.1962  R. Herron Collection

Mamiya Family
meter indication on top panel
near rewind crank

Mamiya Family
The Mamiya Family is an economy model lens-shutter SLR first released in June 1962. It features a quick return mirror, and a fixed (non-changeable) Mamiya-Sekor 48mm f/2.8 - f/22 lens with an automatic (two element) aperture and Copal shutter, featuring speeds from 1/15 to 1/250, and a B setting.

It has a built-in selenium exposure meter, which is not coupled to either the shutter-speed dial or the f-stop ring. The meter's needle indication is read on the camera's top surface, near the rewind crank, and transferred manually to the camera. A manual shot counter is on top, near the film advance. A popular camera in its day, many of them can still be found in workable condition. They are not considered particularly rare, but no serious Mamiya collection would be complete without an example.

It was fairly popular in England, where it was also sold as the Mamiya Korvette by B. Bennett & Sons, Ltd., and as the Mamiya Saturn by Dixons Photographic Ltd. All the literature I have seen indicates the Saturn and Korvette were equipped with the Mamiya-Kominar 48mm lens, which was not the sharpest lens Mamiya ever produced. I have seen several comments written about it as prone to flaring.

However, Gentle Reader Maurice Fisher, who lives near Worcester in the UK, has written to say the Mamiya Saturn he owns has a Mamiya-Sekor lens. So did the one he owned in 1964, which seems to indicate both the Saturn and Korvette were marketed with a lens option. In spite of a few negative comments, most users have been very complimentary about the camera (Maurice indicated both of the ones he owned worked well) and the pictures it provided for them!

Mamiya 528TL
Another economy fixed-lens SLR, the Mamiya 528TL was released in 1967. It features a built-in behind-the-lens meter (a spot meter with approximately a 10-degree center spot; needle visible in the viewfinder), with a fully automatic aperture and hot shoe.

The shutter-priority AE lens is a fixed 48mm f/2.8 with Copal shutter, with a filter size of 52mm. Speeds from 1/15-1/500 including a B-setting. It can be found with either Mamiya or Mamiya/Sekor markings. It was also marketed in the USA as the Sears Auto 35TL.

Auxiliary lens sets, designed to screw onto the lens ring, much like a filter, were sold as options to provide wide angle and telephoto effects (accessory lenses were also made by Vivitar). They changed the normal 48mm focal length to 35mm (covering an angle of view of 63-1/2°) and 62mm (38-1/2°), respectively.

The 528TL, although not among the most critically acclaimed pieces of photographic equipment Mamiya produced, was reasonably popular, took fairly adequate pictures and is still available today at fairly modest prices. It uses one MS76 1.5v battery.

Click here for an interesting online repair article about the Mamiya 528TL.

Mamiya 528TL, c.1967  R. Herron Collection

Mamiya Wide & Tele Accessory Lenses

Mamiya 528AL
The Mamiya 528AL was first released in 1975. Another inexpensive camera similar to the earlier 528TL, it provided manual focus, with a fixed 48mm f/2.8 lens in a Copal-X leaf shutter. The same accessory wide angle and telephoto lenses that worked on the 528TL were also available for the 528AL.

However, unlike the TL, which was a shutter priority AE with a spot meter, the 528AL provides an averaging meter with the f-stop range visible (needle) in the finder. Like the 528TL, it also uses one MS76 (or equivalent) battery.

Mamiya 528AL, c.1975  R. Herron Collection

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