For over 50 years, Mamiya has been a name synonymous with excellence and innovation in professional photographic cameras and lenses. Mamiya’s dedication to the professional and advanced amateur markets ranges from the original folding, compact Mamiya 6 rangefinder camera of the 1940’s to the recent introduction of the Mamiya 7 — the world's only 6x7 rangefinder camera with interchangeable lenses.
The company was founded in May, 1940 by Seichi Mamiya (pronounced Ma-mee-yah) - a camera designer, and Tsunejiro Sugawara who provided finances. The first camera they produced was the original Mamiya 6. This camera featured a back focusing system, which moved the film plane instead of the lens for focusing.
Seichi Mamiya designed the camera with "Human Engineering" in mind, making the camera much easier to handle than other cameras which existed at the time. Many additional features and improvements were added and Mamiya sold 400,000 cameras within 20 years.
When World War II ended in 1945, Mamiya was very fortunate to receive massive camera orders from the United States Central P.X. Procurement Office. As a result, Mamiya was able to build a new, larger factory in Tokyo City, where the Mamiya-Sekor name originated.
In 1949, General Headquarters of the Allied Occupation Forces in Japan regulated the camera business and prohibited the sale of cameras to the general public in Japan. However, if a camera manufacturing company had exports large enough to become ranked as "top camera exporter" it could also sell cameras in Japan.
As a result, in 1950, Mamiya opened branch offices in New York and London to accelerate the international demand for its cameras. In 1951 Mamiya became listed on the Tokyo stock exchange.
Knowledge of Mamiya’s reliability and unique design spread throughout the world and made Mamiya the choice of professional photographers.
As a result of answering the demands of professional photographers, the RB67 was introduced in 1970. The RB67 became the first medium format 6x7cm single lens reflex with revolving back. This coupled with bellows focusing made it an instant success that has lasted to present day world-wide status as the "workhorse of the pros."
In 1975, Mamiya once again pioneered a world first with the Mamiya 645, a versatile and compact medium format SLR with a convenient yet large 6x4.5cm format. This further demonstrated both Mamiya’s ability and singular dedication to providing innovative and rugged professional tools.
The Mamiya RZ67 system followed in 1982. Using the latest technology in electro-mechanical hybrid design, and optical glass formulation and production, Mamiya once again re-enforced their position as the innovative leader in medium format cameras.
Mamiya’s system of innovative, ultra-high performance medium format lens designs including unique achievements in high speed, zoom, PC shift, soft focus and APO telephotos is to this very day unparalleled by any other manufacturer of medium format optics.
1989 saw the reincarnation of the Mamiya 6 rangefinder concept in a unique, modern, compact, interchangeable lens medium format rangefinder camera, that opened up new possibilities of image quality for photojournalists, fine art photographers and photo enthusiasts who previously relied upon classic 35mm rangefinder cameras.
Mamiya’s history of innovation and dedication to excellence is further shown in the 1992 introduction of the 645 Pro camera. The Mamiya 6MF (Multi-Format) camera and 645 Series 300mm f2.8 APO lens appeared in 1993, and the RZ67 PRO II and 645 Series 500mm f4.5 APO in 1994.
1995 brought the Mamiya 7 and the 645 SV PACK. In 1996 the NEW 645 SVX PACK was introduced.
Mamiya continues to be a pioneer by continually improving and refining the finest professional photographic products with state-of-art advancements such as superior apochromatic lens technology and practical, ergonomic camera design and function.
Explore the history of Mamiya cameras as they span the decades.