Mamiya NC 1000 35mm film camera

It seems like everyone at one time or another has been in the 35mm business, even Hasselblad had the X-Pan. There are several Mamiya 35mm film cameras, which is no surprise. The NC, with the 1000 and 1000s is one of the most recent lines. The NC 1000 is well built with a lot of accessories and lenses available for the CS style bayonet mount.

Mamiya : a company of many formats

Anyone who is into medium format photography knows the name Mamiya. Founded in 1940, Mamiya has made some of the best and most recognizable cameras ever made. During the course of 71 years Mamiya made 35mm, 645 (6cm x 4.5cm), 6×6, 6×7, and 6×9 format cameras. While most of their cameras are manual focus, the Mamiya 645AF is a solid auto focus system on a very flexible format.

Mamiya released the NC 1000 early on in 1978 and then the NC 1000s later the same year. The cameras weren’t in production for very long and there are only two cameras in the NC line. The CS bayonet mount is not compatible with any of the other systems. There is, however, an adapter (P-Mount adapter) to be able to use the TL, DTL, SX and any other 42mm thread on lens.

There are several differences to the camera after the 1000s update. The film door has a sleeve to hold the film tab, so you know what film is loaded. Nice, but by 1978 everyone was doing that so I’m not sure why this wasn’t included originally. The biggest update was a new shutter to make the 1/1000s shutter speeds more reliable. The new NC 1000s also has interchangeable screens, so like Nikon and Canon SLRs of the time you have several screen options available to customize the camera to your shooting style. The update also added a silver body option, but it seems like they didn’t sell to many of the silver ones by how infrequently they show up for sale.

Oddly Mamiya also had a deal to sell the camera with Sears called the Auto CS 1000MXB in black and Auto CS 1000MX in chrome.

Design and features

The Mamiya NC 1000 is very much your typical 35mm film camera and it was marketed towards first time buyers. As Mamiya themselves stated “It’s uncomplicated. It’s automatic. It’s compact. It’s rugged. It’s inexpensive.

The NC 1000 is a clean simple design that is easy to hold and carry around. It’s not significantly lighter or heavier than any of your other 35mm cameras, it’s middle of the road. The only controls to speak of are the aperture ring, shutter speed ring, ISO ring and the winding knob and film advance lever. Without the usual host of controls on top of the camera it creates a very clean look; uncomplicated.

NC 1000 shutter lock

The best designed feature on the NC 1000 has to be the shutter lock. It’s integrated into the film advance lever and also acts to turn of the metering system. There’s a small disc in the middle of the film advance lever that pushes down to lock the camera. Once you pull the lever slightly to activate the camera the button pops up and reveals a thin orange circle indicating the camera is ready to fire. I love the way this works.

It’s marketed along with several lenses for the new CS bayonet mount as well as other accessories such as filters, eye cups, extension rings and even a bellows for macro work.

Using the NC 1000

NC 1000 metering

The simplicity of the meter really sets the NC 1000 apart from other 35mm film cameras of the time. With the aperture ring on the lens set to its lock or “auto” position, the reading you see is the camera telling you what the aperture will be set to with your current shutter speed selection. With the camera in manual mode the meter indicates what the proper aperture should be with your shutter speed selection. Okay… Simple is very apt. I really like the style of the meter. The Nikon FE2 has the same kind of meter design. I find this style of meter very easy to understand and see in just a glance. It would have been a nice touch to show the current shutter speed in the finder as well.

With the shutter lock off, the meter is on and working all them time, so there’s no need to half press the shutter button. Since the NC 1000 is an electronic camera, it does need batteries to function properly. If the batteries die while you’re out shooting you can still use the camera if you don’t have a backup set. The shutter will fire as close to 1/1000s as it can, so as long as you have decent light you can at least control the depth of field.

The NC 1000 is also capable of shooting multiple exposures. It is a simple and pretty familiar set of steps. Depress the shutter rewind button then cock the shutter. According to Mamiya you should also wind the film backwards to tighten it up before you shoot the exposures, and hold the rewind knob while advancing the lever to cock the shutter, but that all seems a bit overboard; but that’s their recommendation.

Optics

Mamiya is well known for their high quality lenses. They’re sharp, clear and very well made. The lenses for the NC 1000 are no different; just smaller. The camera kit came with a standard 50mm Mamiya Sekor lens, but it faster than most other kit lenses on the market; it was a f/1.7. Almost everyone else sold cameras with a 50mm f/2.8, so this was a nice step up. Mamiya also offered a really fast 50mm f/1.4.

All of the CS lenses Mamiya made only stopped down to f/16 rather than the more common/standard f/22; which I’m guessing was a cost saving measure. There are about a dozen lenses made by Mamiya for the NC cameras and are listed below. Although with the P-Mount adapter you can mount pretty much anything to this camera.

Wrap up

At first glance the Mamiya NC 1000 may seem like a single use toy camera like many of the Lomo cameras, but it’s not the case. It may not be a Nikon F3, but with the updates made to the NC 1000s, the camera is a great platform for just taking pictures. The meter is easy to read and uncluttered and most importantly; very accurate. It takes the same readings when compared to cameras like the Nikon FE2 or Olympus OM10.

*NOTE: If you feel like going down the NC 1000/s Rabbit Hole, check out this site dedicated to just the NC line. There is a wealth of information here.

While I doubt I’ll be running out and collecting a bunch of lenses for this camera, I like it for it’s differences to other cameras that have a knob and a dial for everything. The NC 1000 is uncluttered, easy to use and easy to focus on making pictures – which is what this whole thing is about in the first place.



Specifications

General

Mamiya NC 1000
Type : Single Lens Reflex (SLR)
Lens mount : CS Bayonet mount
Operation : Electronic
Format : 35mm
Shutter : Focal plane – cloth – Horizontal
Shutter speeds : Bulb, 1s – 1/1000s
Shutter remote : mechanical
ISO range : 25 – 3200
Shutter lock : Yes
Mirror Lock-up : No
DoF preview : Yes
Multiple exposures : Yes
Self timer : 4 – 9 seconds
Flash sync : FP, X terminals @ 1/60s
Flash mount : Hot shoe
Strap lugs : Yes
Production : 1978 – 1982 (ish)
Batteries : MS76
Weight : 16 oz

Download the Mamiya NC 1000 manual

Download the Mamiya NC 1000s manual

Accessories

Filters : Various CS filters min 49mm, 52mm and 58mm. SY48lY2l, SO56 LO2l, SL39 (UV), Yc, and SL-18 (Skylight).
Rubber Eye Cup : attaches to prism
Magnifier : replaces standard eye cup
Angle Finder : attaches to prism
Auto Extension tube set : No. 1 (45mm), No. 2 (82mm) & No.3
Auto Bellows Extension : Allows for movements and unlimited macro/magnification possibilities.
Slide Copier : Copies slides 1:1
Bellows Stand : Stand to make macro photography easier
P (Praktika) Mount Adapter : Allows the use of several other lenses. The TL, DTL, SX and other 42mm thread-on lenses.


Mamiya CS mount lenses

Mamiya Sekor 14mm
Angle of view : 180 deg.
Elements : 10 front / 7 rear
Aperture range : f/3.5 – f/16
Filter size : built-in

Mamiya Sekor 21mm
Angle of view : 91 deg.
Elements : 10 front / 8 rear
Aperture range : f/3.5 – f/16
Filter size : 58mm

Mamiya Sekor 28mm
Angle of view : 75 deg.
Elements : 7 front / 8 rear
Aperture range : f/2.8 – f/16
Filter size : 49mm

Mamiya Sekor 35mm
Angle of view : 63 deg.
Elements : 6 front / 6 rear
Aperture range : f/2.8 – f/16
Filter size : 49mm

Mamiya Sekor 50mm
Angle of view : 47 deg.
Elements : 6 front / 7 rear
Aperture range : f/1.4 – f/16
Filter size : 49mm

Mamiya Sekor 45 – 90mm Zoom
Angle of view : 51 – 27 deg.
Elements : 12 front / 9 rear
Aperture range : f/3.5 – f/16
Filter size : 67mm

Mamiya Sekor 50 – 135mm Zoom
Angle of view : 47 – 18 deg.
Elements : 14 front / 10 rear
Aperture range : f/3.8 – f/16
Filter size : 67mm

Mamiya Sekor 50mm
Angle of view : 47 deg.
Elements : 5 front / 7 rear
Aperture range : f/1.7 – f/16
Filter size : 49mm

Mamiya Sekor 50mm Macro
Angle of view : 47 deg.
Elements : 4 front / 5 rear
Aperture range : f/3.5 – f/22
Filter size : 49mm

Mamiya Sekor 50mm
Angle of view : 47 deg.
Elements : 6 front / 4 rear
Aperture range : f/2 – f/22
Filter size : 49mm

Mamiya Sekor 135mm
Angle of view : 18 deg.
Elements : 4 front / 5 rear
Aperture range : f/2.8 – f/22
Filter size : 52mm

Mamiya Sekor 200mm
Angle of view : 12 deg.
Elements : 4 front / 4 rear
Aperture range : f/3.5 – f/22
Filter size : 58mm

Mamiya Sekor 80 – 200mm Zoom
Angle of view : 30 – 12 deg.
Elements : 14 front / 10 rear
Aperture range : f/3.8 – f/16
Filter size : 58mm

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