Mamiya 35-I and 35-II
Building on the success of the mid-size Mamiya-6 folder, which had quickly developed a reputation for reliability and unique design, Mamiya built an equally unique 35mm model. It was the first Japanese camera to automatically cock a leaf shutter as the film was wound.The Mamiya 35-I, (c.1949), with a fixed 5cm f/3.5 Hexar lens in a Copal B shutter, had speeds from 1 sec. to 1/200 and B. It featured a knob-wind film advance, and also adopted the unique backfocusing arrangement of the larger Mamiya-6, in which the lens did not move during focusing. Instead, the entire film plane itself moved within the camera, through the same ingenious mechanics that focused the Mamiya-6. There were problems, however, keeping the film flat in the 35mm format and the back-focusing 35mm was abandoned.The Mamiya 35-II, introduced in 1955, is immediately recognizable from the similar Mamiya 35-Ithat preceded it by the change in the distinctive round shape of the viewfinder window. The round viewfinder would not appear again on Mamiya 35mm rangefinder cameras. There were other noticeable differences, such as the squared-off top plate and the knurled film advance and rewind knobs. The 35-II was originally available with a f/3.5 lens (see picture at left), and a faster f/2.8 lens was sold in 1956.
Remarkably sturdy cameras, both the Mamiya 35-I and 35-II can still occasionally be found today, although they are rare. One in serviceable or repairable mechanical condition is becoming extremely rare, with auction prices beginning to climb considerably. These are both extremelysought-after items for true Mamiya collectors.