Mamiya was founded in May, 1940 by Seichi Mamiya (engineer and camera designer) and Tsunejiro Sugawara (provider of the required funds), initially named Koki Seisakusho Mamiya (Mamiya Optical Workshop). The first camera they produced was the Mamiya Six. This camera focuses at the film plane, which means that the film moves instead of the lens.

Seichi Mamiya took certain ergonomical aspects into account when designing the camera, something not frequently found. Some improvements and features were added in the course of time, and 400.000 units were sold in almost 20 years of production.

By the end of the Second World War, Mamiya received big orders from the US government, that allowed them to buy a new factory at Tokyo and manufacture their own shutters and lenses (hence the Mamiya-Sekor name, SeKor = Setegaya Koki, the name of the optical factory), and overcome the lack of parts and providers. In 1949, the Japanese market was regulated by the controlling management and civilians were not allowed to buy photographic cameras. As a result, Mamiya started making 35mm cameras and, in 1950, Mamiya openened their New York and London branch offices; in 1951 they entered in Tokio's stock market.

The evolution towards the pro sector became a reality with the introduction of Mamiya's range of TLR with interchangeable lenses (C220 and C330, and the pro counterparts C22 and C33) and, above all, the introduction in 1970 of the RB67: the first medium format SLR giving negatives in 6x7 size and interchangeable backs, manufactured until 1982 when it was replaced by the RZ67. In 1975, the Mamiya 645 is presented, more compact and providing negatives 6x4.5cm in size.

Another recent success of Mamiya is its rangefinder cameras. In 1989 production of the Mamiya 6 began, a rangefinder camera with interchangeable lenses. Since then, Mamiya's catalog remains more or less steady, adding new features and improvements to each new revision of the models - the 6MF is multi-format, 300mm and 500mm lenses, the Mamiya 7 or 7II...

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