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06-26-2022, 08:15 PM - 7 Likes   #1
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1971 Mamiya/Sekor 500 DTL: Camera and lethal defense weapon

Hello,

We all know Mamiya as a well respected camera manufacturer, better known for their medium format equipment. Mamiya was founded in 1940 and their first camera was a 6x6 folder, named The Mamiya Six. In the 1950's, they acquired a lens manufacturer that eventually became the Setagaya Kōki subsidiary, eventually merging with the parent Mamiya company in the 60's. According to camera-wiki, the name Sekor comes from the first 2 letters of each word, with the r probably for "renzu" which means "lens". Mamiya is currently owned by Phase One.
Following the market trends, they entered the 35mm market in the late 40's. But it was not until 1960-61 that they entered the SLR market with the Prismat, which was marketed in the US by Sears as Tower 32A. In 1966 they launched the TL series with 2 models: The 500TL and the 1000TL using the M42 mount and integrated light meter. The model designation referred to the highest shutter speed. 1/500 and 1/1000 respectively. In 1968 they launched the 500DTL and the 1000DTL models, which were an evolution of the TL but boasting a Dual mode meter: Spot and Average. With a switch, the user could select Average metering, similar to the centerweight we know today, or SPOT which used a small square in the frame that was only about 10% of the image. Other than that the cameras were typical M42s of the 60's and became very popular. The 500DTL has no self timer, but the 1000DTL does.
These cameras were kind of similar to the Spotmatic in their layout. I think it may have been at least part of their inspiration since they were already a success. But this dual metering capability was unique in its day. Essentially, they were what the Spotmatic was originally intended to be.

My specimen:
A while ago, a friend sent me this Mamiya/Sekor 500DTL. It looks tired. The lens has a big hit. By the way, I did a separate post on this lens here: Lenses back from the dead! - Page 7 - PentaxForums.com
The body has multiple dings. While none are severe, I suspect this camera may have tumbled down a stairwell or something. The meter is acting up but the shutter is working.
These cameras are anything but lightweight. The body alone weights over a pound and a half (~725 grams). These can be used as cameras, hammers, lethal defense weapons, dumbbells, boat anchors, you name it...



Among other things, the viewfinder can use some cleaning... Don't you think?


The Prism was removed and cleaned. It is in great shape.


Interesting, this camera is literally chain driven. I have be extra careful not to disturb and cause a "chain" reaction... Ba da bum!




Not too bad, but a bit twisted and a few dings



Long story short, battery contact was cleaned, the meter switched was tweaked and cleaned with contact cleaner and I got it to work on spot, but not on average. The switch seems to be ok but I have no schematics on the electronics so I traced a few wires but nothing obvious. Frame counter was stuck and I got it to work. Everything was cleaned inside and out. Metal parts polished.

May I present my "new" Spot metering only Mamiya 500 DTL

Some serious cleaning went into this one.


The lens was fixed as a separate mini-project










I was able to remove and save the JCII sticker. It was placed back in the original location.


It definitely has some mileage


THE AF datecode translates to June 1971 manufacturing date.


Still very presentable






The best part? I was able to calibrate the meter to be in the ballpark of sunny 16! You are supposed to use calibrated light sources in a controlled environment for this. HA!
After tweaking the meter calibration I took this series of shots with the digital camera in manual mode as per the Mamiya's meter.

Not that I would rely too much on a 50+ years old spot meter but we are in the ballpark. Most importantly, I know how to tweak it!

I hope you approve.

Thanks,
Ismael

06-26-2022, 08:33 PM - 1 Like   #2
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another beautiful save - bravo!
06-26-2022, 08:36 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Unbelievable work. It looks almost brand new. I look forward to the test shots.

One thing I noticed in some of the older motorcycles is that smaller cc units were chain drive while the big brothers were shaft drive. Do you have a 1000dtl you can crack open and find out? 🤣
06-26-2022, 08:44 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Well done!

06-26-2022, 10:42 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Nice!!!
06-27-2022, 05:04 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Great job fixing the bent rim on the lens.
What did you use to get it back to looking so nice?
06-27-2022, 05:47 AM - 2 Likes   #7
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I fondly recall their ads in National Geographic magazine, which my family subscribed to.
Mamiya/Sekor called the spot/averaging selector "The Creative Switch".

At ten years old I could only dream of owning such a professional camera.
FWIW I always fancied a Folbot canoe, also advertised in the back of National Geographic.

Chris

06-28-2022, 02:26 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
I fondly recall their ads in National Geographic magazine, which my family subscribed to.
Mamiya/Sekor called the spot/averaging selector "The Creative Switch".

At ten years old I could only dream of owning such a professional camera.
FWIW I always fancied a Folbot canoe, also advertised in the back of National Geographic.

Chris
My Father had a Folbot (Folboat?)...
It was like putting together a puzzle every time you wanted to use it, but it did fit a two-person kayak into the trunk of a normal car.
As I (vividly) recall, he broke the main spar running the Upper Chattahoochee River, but he got it repaired (I think the company kept spare parts) and it spent most of its life on a lake with the available sail kit.
It was a neat thing, though...

-Eric
06-28-2022, 06:40 AM   #9
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Original Poster
Hello,

Thank you all for your comments. I appreciate it!

QuoteOriginally posted by blumoon722 Quote
Great job fixing the bent rim on the lens.
What did you use to get it back to looking so nice?
I used primarily a lens vise tool like this one: (online stock photo)


The trick is to work very slow and in very small increments, checking your progress. The first time I used it I destroyed the threads on an old beaten lens and made it worst.
Did not use it this time, but I also use sometimes a small wooden dowel and a little brass hammer. Love fixing things with a hammer


QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
I fondly recall their ads in National Geographic magazine, which my family subscribed to.
Mamiya/Sekor called the spot/averaging selector "The Creative Switch".

At ten years old I could only dream of owning such a professional camera.
FWIW I always fancied a Folbot canoe, also advertised in the back of National Geographic.

Chris
QuoteOriginally posted by TwoUptons Quote
My Father had a Folbot (Folboat?)...
It was like putting together a puzzle every time you wanted to use it, but it did fit a two-person kayak into the trunk of a normal car.
As I (vividly) recall, he broke the main spar running the Upper Chattahoochee River, but he got it repaired (I think the company kept spare parts) and it spent most of its life on a lake with the available sail kit.
It was a neat thing, though...
-Eric
It's been a while since I've been on a canoe or kayak on a lake. Very relaxing!

Thanks,
Ismael
06-28-2022, 10:17 AM - 1 Like   #10
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A friend of mine had one of those back when they were a thing. I recall the lenses were pretty good, but the cameras themselves were incredibly unreliable. His was in the shop more than in his hand.
Nice restoration though.
06-28-2022, 02:32 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Strange how the back of this Mamiya camera looks like my old Minolta SR-1 film camera ...

The eyepiece looks exactly the same, the "MAMIYA CAMERA COMPANY, LTD" lettering is identical to "MINOLTA CAMERA COMPANY, LTD" written on my SR-1. Inside, the pressure plate and the advance sprockets look identical. The film winding lever is very similar as well as the rewinding lever. Could the two makes share common parts ??

Regards
06-28-2022, 05:41 PM - 1 Like   #12
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06-28-2022, 05:48 PM - 2 Likes   #13
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Woohoo!!! I have had one of these since it was new. I loved working with the spot and averaging meter to analyze a scene. The meter was however sketchy and I had to have it repaired a few times. I replaced it with a Spotmatic II. I may have to take mine apart and get it working again.


The DTL 1000 had a top shutter speed of 1/1000 second.



Great job bringing it back to life.
06-29-2022, 05:57 AM - 1 Like   #14
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My parents bought me a Minolta SR-1 V in 1967. It had a separate, non-integrated light meter, mounted in a bracket on the upper left side of the camera and a 1/500 of a second top shutter speed. At the same time, Minolta was selling the SR-1 S model with an integrated light meter CdS cell (though it was mounted outside of the body and didn't meter through the lens) and a top shutter speed of 1/1000 of a second.

It was not yet "behind-the-lens" as this new earth-shattering novelty was introduced only in the SRT-101, 3 or 4 years later with their "CLC" (Contrast Light Compensation) approach. I still have an SRT-101 with a cloth horizontal shutter and an MC 58 mm f/1.4 lens in perfect working condition dating from 1972 (Hey, that's 50 years). Too bad I no longer use film, I turned entirely digital in 2007.

Regards
07-03-2022, 03:21 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
Hello,

We all know Mamiya as a well respected camera manufacturer, better known for their medium format equipment. Mamiya was founded in 1940 and their first camera was a 6x6 folder, named The Mamiya Six. In the 1950's, they acquired a lens manufacturer that eventually became the Setagaya Kōki subsidiary, eventually merging with the parent Mamiya company in the 60's. According to camera-wiki, the name Sekor comes from the first 2 letters of each word, with the r probably for "renzu" which means "lens". Mamiya is currently owned by Phase One.
Following the market trends, they entered the 35mm market in the late 40's. But it was not until 1960-61 that they entered the SLR market with the Prismat, which was marketed in the US by Sears as Tower 32A. In 1966 they launched the TL series with 2 models: The 500TL and the 1000TL using the M42 mount and integrated light meter. The model designation referred to the highest shutter speed. 1/500 and 1/1000 respectively. In 1968 they launched the 500DTL and the 1000DTL models, which were an evolution of the TL but boasting a Dual mode meter: Spot and Average. With a switch, the user could select Average metering, similar to the centerweight we know today, or SPOT which used a small square in the frame that was only about 10% of the image. Other than that the cameras were typical M42s of the 60's and became very popular. The 500DTL has no self timer, but the 1000DTL does.
These cameras were kind of similar to the Spotmatic in their layout. I think it may have been at least part of their inspiration since they were already a success. But this dual metering capability was unique in its day. Essentially, they were what the Spotmatic was originally intended to be.

My specimen:
A while ago, a friend sent me this Mamiya/Sekor 500DTL. It looks tired. The lens has a big hit. By the way, I did a separate post on this lens here: Lenses back from the dead! - Page 7 - PentaxForums.com
The body has multiple dings. While none are severe, I suspect this camera may have tumbled down a stairwell or something. The meter is acting up but the shutter is working.
These cameras are anything but lightweight. The body alone weights over a pound and a half (~725 grams). These can be used as cameras, hammers, lethal defense weapons, dumbbells, boat anchors, you name it...



Among other things, the viewfinder can use some cleaning... Don't you think?


The Prism was removed and cleaned. It is in great shape.


Interesting, this camera is literally chain driven. I have be extra careful not to disturb and cause a "chain" reaction... Ba da bum!




Not too bad, but a bit twisted and a few dings



Long story short, battery contact was cleaned, the meter switched was tweaked and cleaned with contact cleaner and I got it to work on spot, but not on average. The switch seems to be ok but I have no schematics on the electronics so I traced a few wires but nothing obvious. Frame counter was stuck and I got it to work. Everything was cleaned inside and out. Metal parts polished.

May I present my "new" Spot metering only Mamiya 500 DTL

Some serious cleaning went into this one.


The lens was fixed as a separate mini-project










I was able to remove and save the JCII sticker. It was placed back in the original location.


It definitely has some mileage


THE AF datecode translates to June 1971 manufacturing date.


Still very presentable






The best part? I was able to calibrate the meter to be in the ballpark of sunny 16! You are supposed to use calibrated light sources in a controlled environment for this. HA!
After tweaking the meter calibration I took this series of shots with the digital camera in manual mode as per the Mamiya's meter.

Not that I would rely too much on a 50+ years old spot meter but we are in the ballpark. Most importantly, I know how to tweak it!

I hope you approve.

Thanks,
Ismael
Although 1000DTL's are the kind I've harvested for parts most, I suspect the 500 uses the same focus screen, I was able to harvest them and transplant them successfully into Nikon 5000 series cameras - after precision cutting and so on, they work quite well except the range of 'in focus' is a bit too wide so I overshoot and back off to obtain critical focus - and it works quite well even on very fast glass. Those cameras are interesting inside, the build quality is incredible isnt it? I thought the chain was almost comical but it makes sense if you think about it, it can literally last forever being made from stable materials all over. Great job restoring yours!. They go for peanuts on ebay and the lenses are fantastic, I genuinely believe my M/S 1.7 is the best 55mm I've ever used, there is just something special about the diffusion effects of those radioactive elements! - I store mine in cases - cases inside metal cans, just to be safe, but, I'm probably paranoid.
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