As soon as I purchased my cute little Mamiya 135 EE I popped a roll of ASA 400 expired film into it and started taking photos.
I took photos at the Kilbourn Park basketball court, around the house, at the Addison overpass during a community mural painting, at Lake Michigan with fisherman.
I wonder if my other cameras are a little jealous (I know, weird thought). I’m supposed to be shooting out my Mamiya/Sekor 1000 DTL but this little Mamiya rangefinder is too cute not to use.
On a daily basis my Mamiya 135 EE looks a bit quirky. An old Vivitar lens cover that doesn’t fit and a rubber band to keep it on the camera. If you don’t use a lens cover it runs down the battery constantly. There is no on/off switch.
The Mamiya 135 EE is inexpensive, if you can find one
I couldn’t fine one completed listing on eBay with a sold price for the Mamiya 135 EE. I did find one that had not sold for $15 that now was selling for $10. I purchased mine for ten dollars at a Chicago garage sale in June 2012.
I love it when people speak in another language thinking that you don’t know what they’re saying. I speak English and understand some Spanish, German, and Russian. The owners kept saying “quince, quince” to each other. No I told them, I wasn’t paying $15. It was $10 or nothing (but I smiled and was friendly).
I purchased the camera for ten dollars in June 2012.
Where has this Mamiya 135 EE Traveled?
This is another camera without a past.
All I know is that the camera came from an older Hispanic couple living on the 3200 N. Karlov block in Chicago, IL.
“My” Mamiya 135 EE has traveled all around Chicago photographing fishermen, basketball players, and muralists. It’s a fun little shooter.
How Does the Mamiya 135 EE Feel?
It reminds me a lot of the Canon Canonet 28 and the Canon A35F. But not as nice.
Canonet 28 and the Canon A35F have a nicer viewfinder. You can actually see what shutter speed and aperture has been chosen by the camera. I never could tell what shutter speed and aperture the Mamiya 135 EE had chosen because in bright light outside it’s hard to see. And unlike the Canonet 28 or Canon A35F, the Mamiya 135 EE will let you depress the shutter whether or not there’s too little or too much light for the camera.
Mamiya 135 EE Problems
The Mamiya 135 EE does need a battery for its light meter. Years ago it took the infamous 1.3v PX-675 mercury battery. I used a battery from my Olympus OM-1n. A Rayovac 1.4v hearing aid battery worked just fine. It’s long identifier is L675ZA-8ZM.
The camera’s shutter works without a battery but you have no manual control other than focus. I’d say without a battery the camera is doing a 2.8 f stop at about 1/30th of a second. Just my guess.
Mamiya 135 EE Best Photos
It’s hard choosing a best photo. Out of a 24 exposure roll of film, 20 photos were “keepers”, only 4 bad shots. But here’s three of the best photos from an expired roll of ASA 400 film.
From my bungalow to the basketball courts of Kilbourn Park (Chicago) to an urban mural on Addison Street to Lake Michigan fishermen, these are some happy photos from an untested Mamiya 135 EE with expired ASA 400 color print film.
Mamiya 135 EE – 3400 North Tripp, Chicago, IL
I thought photographing my tall grass with a little bungalow bokeh would be fun. I estimated the distance from camera to grass, set the focus, placed the camera on the sidewalk, tilted the camera a bit, and pressed the shutter.
Mamiya 135 EE – Basketball at Kilbourn Park, Chicago, IL
Remarkably, if you ask people to take their photograph they may say “yes”. I watched this basketball game for 5 minutes and then asked to take photos. The shirtless man didn’t speak much English but he said, “Yes.”
I always try to move closer, closer to get the photo. For this photo I was sitting on the edge of the basketball court.
Mamiya 135 EE – Addison Street Mural, Chicago, IL
One June 2012 day I was driving westbound on Addison Street just past the Kennedy expressway and saw some teenagers painting a mural by the overpass. This was too good an opportunity to pass by. There were lots of nice photos. This is just one of those photos.
I wish I had the name of the Mexican artist supervising this work. Nice to see young people being creative.
Mamiya 135 EE – Montrose Harbor (Lake Michigan), Chicago, IL
This is taken at Montrose Harbor in Chicago, IL, looking south to the high rises on Lake Shore Drive. I used Google’s Picasa to adjust the exposure a bit on this photo. This 1977 camera was a bit overwhelmed with the brightness of the background and the fisherman. Now, Picasa adjusted, the photo looks even better.
Mamiya 135 EE Summary
I wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase a Mamiya 135 EE. If a Canonet 28 is a “poor man’s Leica” than the Mamiya 135 EE is a “poor man’s Canonet 28. But if you can pick up a Mamiya 135 EE at a garage sale than go ahead and have some fun.
For ten dollars and using expired ASA 400 film that’s probably 5-10 years old, I think the Mamiya 135 EE gave me some fun photos. There’s nothing fancy about the shot shown below, but it’s a darn good exposure (and a pretty lady).