Mamiya ZE

This was a camera I received as a swap from an internet friend. I thought I might have got a raw deal, but when I was using it with a photo group they seemed to think it was fair. Also, I probably would have never used the Konica again, so it was an interesting swap for me.


As you can see it is very clean and has a Mamiya Lens attached. It was released in 1980 and had aperture priority only. You can find lots of technical details here. The ZE2 added the speed choice option. This was the first Japanese SLR to have a coupled light meter. I found using the camera very easy, it is just a little more than a point and shoot due to the lack of features. It is a nice weight, not too big or small. I did use the + and – feature for backlit subjects, but apart from that, it was all about composition. I suppose if you wanted to improve in that area then this kind of camera would work well for that. In the viewfinder, you can see a red dot next to the speed chosen by the camera.

Here are my two test rolls that were taken around Leeds and the Lake District.

Given that this was the first SLR to have a coupled meter in Japan it is great to see, even in difficult conditions, the exposure choices are very good. Given the lack of a manual feature, it is good for learning about aperture and depth of field, but little more.

I am still not sure it was a good swap, but I did get the Konica I swapped for it in a junk bin 😉

Keep or Sell: Sold. There was nothing about this camera that I found so appealing that I would rush to use it again.

2 thoughts on “Mamiya ZE

  1. Toby says:

    Lovely results, Such a shame they stopped their 35mm line so much promising, potentially so much future proofing built in. You may have notice the lens had 10 electronic contacts. Only 3 are in use, even today I don’t think any of the DSLRs have more than 10. Not sure but if it was a direct scale down of their medium format contact it gives some idea of potential.


    1. windswept007 says:

      I didn’t see that, plus it sold almost immediately so I haven’t got the chance to look now.


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