Mamiya U AutoFocus
A couple of weeks ago I picked up, in a junk store, a Mamiya U AutoFocus. It is a point and shoot camera that I had not heard of before, also sold in Europe via Foto-Quelle as the Revue 500AF Super. The lens is a Sekor 35mm f2.8 comprised of 5 elements in 4 groups. Given the quality of Mamiya Sekor lenses on the medium format cameras of this vintage, I thought the optics might be superior. Research on the internet is not all that informative, but this model seems to have been in production for only a year or two right around the time that Mamiya went through a financial reorganisation after the bankruptcy of a major distributor in 1984. This restructuring included getting out of 35mm camera manufacturing.
I have taken shots of all sides of the camera since there really are none on the web that I could find. Click on any image in the gallery below and navigate with the arrows.
The Mamiya U AutoFocus was introduced in July 1983, two years after the Mamiya U (4 zone manual focus). Both models are plagued by cheap plastic components that fall off like the battery compartment door, parts of the lens cover mechanism and the red shutter button on top. This quality issue probably means few of them have survived in working order and thus not many make it onto the used market. On my one the only exterior problem was that the rewind crank was partly missing, though enough of it is there to rewind the film. The film advance is by a dial in the right corner, and it felt a bit stiff, but I bought it anyway hoping for the best. Otherwise, the case was only a bit marked and the lens looked to be in good condition.
Once I put a roll of film in I found that the frame counter was a bit wonky, not returning to 1, but everything else seemed to work. After a dozen frames or so it became evident something was screwy inside, the film seemed to be no longer advancing and otherwise felt all wrong, so I rewound the film. Turns out that while the film was being pulled across by a ratcheted wheel, the take-up spool was not rotating or taking up and so the exposed film was piling up in that side of the camera. Eventually it caused the film advance sprocket to slip giving a stack of multiple exposures on one frame. This was likely also causing the film to rub on itself as there are numerous longitudinal scratches on the film (which might also have come from a bit of grit in the camera, though none was visible).
Today’s pictures are from the film that was folded into one side of the camera – it was kind of lumpy and needed flattening prior to scanning. While the images are just fine in many respects, I don’t think they are of sufficient quality to motivate me to dismantle the camera to see what might be wrong – after all my Olympus XA and XA2 and other small cameras I have and occasionally use take at least as good pictures and they are working. I suspect the problems with mine are the result of bad design, just as the cosmetic ones are. In this case, the take up spool is on the opposite side of the camera to the film advance wheel, with a sprocket wheel to move the film along half way between, so the problem is likely to reside in some kind of linkage or gear between the working sprocket wheel and the take-up spool. Fixing the self timer and low light buzzer would not be a priority if I were wanting to use the camera, but that might just be a loose connection.
I have other cameras in need of repair that are much higher priority than this one. This one will either languish in a bag somewhere for a long time, or perhaps I will try to sell it as a parts camera since it has most of the parts that are commonly missing or broken. Someone surely will want it, if that person can be found!
Autofocus is by infrared and ranges from 0.9m to infinity. The light meter is CdS, and the camera recognises film from 50-1000 ISO. The shutter speeds vary from 1/8 to 1/450 second. In addition there is a built-in pop-up flash (also cheaply constructed and not very durable). The flash is activated by popping it up, though it only fires when the camera thinks it needs to. There is a low-light buzzer, but it can be turned off by a switch, and a self timer, activated with the same switch in a different position. On my camera the switch seems to be broken, there is no low light buzzer and no self timer functioning.
To view images from this partial roll click on any image in the gallery below and then scroll with the arrows and escape or “x” to return to this screen.
Mamiya U AutoFocus, f2.8/35mm lens, Fuji Superia 200 film, scanned with Epson V700.
Photos of camera taken with Canon G15, see gallery for exposure info.
If you see an advertisement below, it is there because WordPress makes it so and I don’t pay them money to stop ads.
If the ad is inappropriate or tawdry and you don’t like it, then click on the “About these ads” link above the ad and file a complaint with WordPress.