Tag Archives: folding

Mamiya Six type III

This Mamiya Six came as needing some cleaning.

The first thing I noted upon receiving the camera was that the remaining leather covering needed to be removed … which is too bad as it is embossed with the Mamiya labeling. The bellow were fairly worn in the corners and had some yellow mold growing on it. Time to strip it down and completely clean it.

The first thing is to take off the lens. Open the back and use the spanner wrench to loosen the circular retaining nut.

Open the front to extract the lens.

Continue to unscrew the circular retaining nut and then pull the lens off.

The lenses looked fogged so I had to take it apart … and also it give a good opportunity to clean out the shutter gears.

The front cell just unscrews counter clock wise.

The front cell has an outer cover. Loosen the screw in the side then pull it off.

The front cell can then be unscrewed counter clockwise.

Use a rubber tool to unscrew the front element. You can now clean these.

Flip the shutter over.

The rear cell also just unscrews.

Remove it.

Clean the lens.

This image shows the front cell (in the upper left).

To get at the shutter gears … unscrew the thin retaining nut.

Pull off the cover.

Remove the shutter speed cam.

Remove the outer dial.

The lower set is the self timer.

The set in the upper right is the slow shutter speed.

Put some Ronsonol on everything.

Exercise the shutter and aperture.

You can clean crud off the shutter and aperture blades.

Put it back together and set aside.

Open the back.

The film/focus guide moves in/out with the focusing.

It is held in by two tension springs.

Pull the film guide out at the top. You will be able to see that the springs are clipped on.

Gently pull the spring off the clips.

Remove the two springs.

Clean out the back.

The bellows is held onto the body with four retaining clips that are accessible from the back. It is also glued to the the body. Carefully separate it from the inside … don’t just pull it off.

I examined for light leaks using a flashlight … inside and outside.

Patch any holes with liquid electrical tape.

The leather was quite worn so I used a tincture that worked quite well on blackening and also conditioned the leather so it was softer.

Maybe I should have used the tincture first before fixing the holes.

Now lets look inside the top.

The winding knob is removed by unscrewing it counter clock wise.

Take off the single screw to remove the cap.

Four screws around the outer edges need to be removed in order to pull off the top. Flip it over and clean the inside.

The counter dial on the left can just be pulled off. There is a spring underneath it.

Turn the focus dial and note how everything moves.


The lens release button and the shutter button are not secured to anything so you can just pull them off.

View front the front showing the light path.


Clean the mirror, silvered glass, and all other things up there including the red exposure warning arm.

Put the top back on.

Clean out the front door and mechanisms.

Glue the bellows back on and put on retaining clips.

Screw on the front shutter/lens.

Put the film/focus guide back on.

I stripped off all the old leather … the front square piece has the S M logo on it so I made sure to keep it as intact as possible.

I put new leatherette on the body … I recommend  semi soft leather / leatherette as there are curves/bends in the body. I shined up the rusty chrome metal on the front which reveals the brass underneath … I did not do this for the rest of the body so I left the rust there.

Yeah the S M leather piece doesn’t exactly fit with the leatherette, but it needed to be there.

Sadly my Mamiya Six is missing two parts … one the springs holding the film/focus plate is missing and one the knobs on the bottom (to release the film spools) is also missing.

I figure I can make a spring but the knob is something I cannot reproduce.

Time to find a parts camera to complete it.



Let’s talk about S&M … I mean Mamiya


Mamiya Koki Seisakusho (Mamiya Optical Works) was founded by businessman Tsunejiro Sugawara and engineer Seiichi Mamiya in 1940. The S M company logo was designed by students from the Japan Fine Arts School … which is still the same used today.

The first camera they produced was a folding medium format with an odd focusing mechanism … the lens did not move … the film plane does!!! Another oddity was the fact that this was the only camera they made for the first 8 years. They started producing their own shutters and lenses in 1947 and added new products like a TLR, submini and 35mm SLRs. In 1950 the Sekor lens name appeared. In 1957 they looked outside the box again and made a 35mm rangefinder with interchangeable backs (the Magazine 35) and an interchangeable lens TLR, (the Mamiyaflex C).

Mamiya would continue their modern camera line primarily with medium format. Mamiya Op Co was transferred from Mamiya-OP to Mamiya Digital Imaging Co. Mamiya-OP makes industrial and electronic devices and other things like golf clubs. Mamiya Digital Imaging is the current photographic company using the name.


The Mamiya SIX type III folding rangefinder


I cannot resist medium format folders … and this one is really cool. This has a coupled rangefinder using 6×6 film format.

The focusing is done by moving the film plane, instead of the lens.

About 13 versions of the Six/6 were made. This type III introduced in 1942 and was made throughout WWII and later. My Six is a pre-war version.

It has a K.O.L. Sola Special Anastigmat 7.5cm f/3.5 lens and NKS Tokio shutter.

The one that I just got needs a LOT of cleaning and it appears the focusing mechanism needs repair … I think there is even mold growing on the leather bellows !! Looking over the camera and especially the screws, it appears that this one has been taken apart before.

National Graflex – didn’t win

I was a little hopeful that I would be able to get this one working based on the description of the item before I purchased it … well, I was too hopeful. This is still a cool looking camera to add to my collection, and it is a Graflex !!

The lens is removable so that made it fairly easy to clean. Just pull off the U clip from the back of the lens … then push the lens forward until it can be pulled up-off.

Access the interior lens elements by screwing off the ring in the back and unscrewing the front cell.

There was some slight haze that was easily cleaned off.

Now the main problem with this camera was the shutter. I was anticipating that the shutter curtains were torn … but it appeared that at least the rear curtain was intact. I was able to turn the winding knob and saw that the front curtain was also intact … but the shutter winding would not stay cocked.

Time to open it up …

First remove the hood by removing the four screws at the corners.

There will be a clamping bracket under the screw that also come off.

I removed the plate on the left side and figured out that it is not necessary … but I will show you anyway.

Unscrew the small shutter release knob.

Remove the screw on the rewind knob and remove.

Remove the screws that hold the plate on.

The two bolts you see are holding the spring loaded shutter curtain take-up reels.

Now on to the right side

Remove the screw from the film counter dial. Pull off the dial. Remove the pointer arm.

Remove the screw from the shutter winder dial. Pull off the dial … note that there are multiple parts within the dial.

Remove the screw from the Bulb switch and pull off the little arm.

The mirror set lever has a screw and bolt through it … unscrew both.

Remove the four screws that hold the plate off.

These are the parts for the winding / shutter speed setting knob (including the gear that sits under the plate).

Not much here … and I did not find any info on the web to help me figure this out … so I moved stuff and guessed.

The golden gear at the bottom of the image (that sits under the winding knob) appeared to be the cause of the problems.

I can turn it to cock the shutter, but it would just freely wind back.

I pulled it off to take a look at what was happening underneath.

Ok, some more turning and guessing.

The gear underneath is responsible for moving the front shutter curtain. It was locking in place fine.

The gear that I removed (that was on top of it) is responsible for the rear curtain … and also locks it in place.

The toothed lever on the bottom looks like it locks the top gear.

Looking under the top gear … I can see that the tooth was worn down, so it no long could catch.

I would have to either mill a new part (I don’t have a mini milling machine) or get a replacement part.

Hopefully this will be of help for anyone else that is going to tackle restoring one of these … this one is sitting with the rest of my camera collection.

Skip the Yashica … now presenting National Graflex.

Ok, I have decided to put the Yashica Mat aside as it was becoming much more of a job than I expected. Too many locked screws, broken screws, and damaged mechanism … and anyway I received a new camera today.


Yes, it is a name that we all know well … at least for those of us that delve in the large and medium format. The picture that most people have of a Graflex camera is seeing all those press dudes in the 30’s running around with their Speed Graphic camera’s.

Originally founded by two Williams … Mr. Folmer and Mr. Schwing, under the company name Folmer & Schwing Manufacturing Company. Initially the company made gas lamps and bicycles, but for some reason they choose to make cameras after the gas market declined … some references say that they wanted to make cameras mounted on bicycles.

They produced the first Graflex reflex camera in 1896. The company was then acquired by George Eastman and became known as Folmer Graflex. In 1926 Kodak had to give up the Folmer Graflex division, and this became the company we know as Graflex.

Obi-Wan Kenobi’s lightsaber was actually the handle from a Graflex 3-cell flash gun.


The camera I now have in my possession is the National Graflex series I.

The National Graflex camera was first produced in 1933 under the Eastman Kodak, Folmer Graflex division..

The camera is printed with “Graflex, Inc. Rochester, NY, USA” . The name National Grapflex appears on a plate located on the back of the hood. Mine says SERIES II, but all references to the II show that it has a sliding cover over the ruby window.

This camera folds up into a neat squarish metal box. This is a sling lens reflex camera, medium format 2 ¼ x 2 ½. It was called the “Single-Lens Model”. There must have been a couple of variants of this model, as I have seen some with a swing flap to cover the ruby window … or possibly that someone modified the camera.



Once opened the camera appears to be a mini Graphic type camera.

Open the top flap and there is a fold out hood with all the control dial.

Pop open the front and the lens comes out. This model has a B&L (Bausch & Lomb) Tessar IC 75mm f/3.5 lens.

The shutter speed dial has numbers from 1-9 printed on it. The key to figuring out the exposure is done from a nice chart under the top plate that has a slider to match up the Time of Day during each month to figure out the exposure depending on the Description of Picture … no need for a light meter, though I have no idea what film speed that chart is designed for.

The lens is removable to facilitate cleaning of the mirror and the insides … the series II model was a interchangeable lens model and offered a 75mm and a 140mm lens.

This particular camera has a busted shutter and a foggy lens. I think the rest of the camera is OK, but I will not be sure until I get the shutter working … oh, and this camera belonged to “Uncle Al” based on the tape stuck to the bottom plate.


I forgot to add in the super duper exposure calculator

Just figure out what date/time it is, move the slider, and choose the subject type … and now you have your exposure.