As well as being roll 22 and 24 of my 36, this is also a review on another new to me camera; the Mamiya 35 Executive.

I am not really sure why I bought this as I have several other 35mm rangefinders two of which are very good and my ‘favourite’ brand.  But Mamiya is also a trusted brand for me and when browsing recently to find a replacement for my soon-to-be-dead Mamiya C330, I stumbled across this.  It wasn’t cheap so I can’t use that to justify my purchase.

I didn’t actually know that Mamiya made 35mm rangefinders and so seeing this, I was intrigued.  It seems like an unusual and dare I say it, rare model and maybe that is why I went for it.  Doing some research the Executive was somewhere in the middle of a range of models Mamiya produced in this line.  It is exactly the same as the ‘Mamyia 35 Crown’ and it wears grey leatherette.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is a fixed lens 35mm rangefinder but what a lens….  it boasts a f1.9 48mm!  Otherwise it is a fairly typical example of the format.  It is equipped with a Seikosh-MXL shutter which I must say is amazingly quiet and on first use makes you wonder if it actually operating.  Other nice features are the film type and speed reminders which are helpful to me as I am terrible at remembering what film I have loaded – I know I should keep notes but I tend to forget.

Specs;

Make Model Film/format Year Lens Shutter Aperture
Mamiya 35 Executive 35mm Rangefinder c1958 48mm 1:2.8 B, 1, ½, 1/5, 1/10, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100 and 1/500 F1.9-16

For first roll I went with the familiar FujiPro 400 mainly because that’s what I had in stock and I know what to expect.  First impression was that I liked shooting with the Mamiya; it is a similar experience as with the Petri I shot with here.  It has a nice weight and balance and everything is where you would expect.  The grey colour makes it an attractive camera to look at too.

From using it on this first roll it was clear that the rangefinder on this example was very dull and difficult to make out; still I managed to nail; the focus most of the time.

After removing the top and cleaning all the accessible surfaces this was improved and I decided to take it on a trip to Hawaii at the end of last month with a roll of Kodak Portra.

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I seems though that in re-assembling I have done something slightly wrong and when I came to use it, the shutter release button was not operating correctly;  sometimes it’s fine, other times it’s like I haven’t wound on fully and the shutter is not cocked or the mechanism to prevent double exposure is still engaged – the button then randomly works without me doing anything.  But the result is I have missed some shots or poorly framed them whilst I am figuring out why it’s not operating.

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Overall despite the minor issues (which I am sure I can resolve) I am very impressed with the images that this lens produces; even when the rangefinder was almost unusable.

On returning home from the above, the stitching on the case suddenly failed and the camera fell onto the concrete road.  The lens cap was on and that seems to have protected the lens; although there is now a dent on the rim.

Note to self: don’t always trust old leather cases – keep checking them

I shot the last few frames after this incident and all seems to be okay so thankfully – I just have a dent to remove and a lens cap to straighten.

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This may have been an impulse buy, but I am so glad that I went for it and I think I might find a home for it in my stable of regular shooters; I can see this becoming a favourite.