For a while now I’ve been feeling the painful bite of the rangefinder bug. Up until about a year ago I had only really used a couple of RF’s and longed for something different to sink my teeth into. I was very keen to see how much easier and accurate the focussing was. This has to be the major draw card when you hear about rangefinders, so I was passively on the hunt for something new.
Then one day I stumbled across an unknown “to me” rangefinder on ebay with very few bids and ending soon. I jumped at the opportunity. $30AUD later I was soon to be the proud owner of the tiny and very capable Mamiya 35 S2 fixed lens Rangefinder.
The Mamiya 35 S2 is a very small and lightweight 35mm rangefinder, produced by Mamiya in 1959 along with the Mamiya S. It has a coupled rangefinder mechanism but lacks a meter. This isn’t really a drawback for me as most times I have a Sekonic around my neck. It comes with a fixed 48mm f/2.8 Mamiya Sekor lens with a Copal 1/500 shutter and a 40.5mm filter ring, it’s a leaf shutter so flash syncs at all speeds. The lens is quite capable for a 50′s rangefinder and while it’s no Leica or Zeiss it can make some beautiful results.
The leatherette needed replacement so I ordered a sheet of genuine leather from cameraleather.com After cutting and attaching, it came up looking ship shape! Everything is mechanical on this little beauty and it has weight to boot. It feels sure in hand and the critical settings are easy to adjust, Aperture and Shutter speed are on the lens and the focus ring has a thumb knob for quick and easy focussing.
The viewfinder is smallish but not too bad, all in all very useable and the rangefinder patch is bright, the framelines are static. The winding mechanism is fairly smooth and uses a long stroke. the frame counter is mechnical and located above the advance lever.
This camera is so small, it’s a great “take anywhere” rangefinder. The lens is really nice and quite sharp. This following shot was taken at it’s widest setting, f/2.8
Not really much more I can say, it’s a great little shooter to keep in the car or in a backpack and a perfect travel camera that can take a beating. It seems to be a little rarer than some of the other Mamiya 35′s but more than likely quite comparable in lens performance and build quality.
Of all the Mamiya 35 rangefinders, I prefer the 35 S2 because of it’s classic design and sweeping good looks! Some additional information can be found Here