Mamiya ZM Quartz 35mm camera

The Mamiya ZM Quartz is a 35mm film camera produced in 1982 and has the distinction of being the last 35mm film camera that Mamiya made. Being part of the Z Series cameras, the ZM can use E and EF series lenses as well as a few lenses designed specifically for the ZM.

Design

At a glance the Mamiya ZM Quartz looks like many other 35mm SLR cameras on the market. It’s compact design is very similar to the Olympus OM series cameras, like the OM10. But it diverges pretty fast back into the 80s and the use of plastics instead of metal.

Like other manufacturers Mamiya started to use plastic in their cameras to save on weight and cost, this is the biggest flaw of the ZM Quartz. Mamiya used a lot of plastic in the ZM’s controls, lenses and body construction. The body is mostly plastic as are the film advance lever, shutter speed dial, shutter release button and exposure compensation dial. The two exceptions that are readily apparent are the base plate and the film door, which are made of aluminum.

Mamiya ZM batteries and tray
ZM battery Tray

The worst piece of all is the tiny plastic battery tray that slides out so the batteries can be replaced. This part is exceptionally small and fragile and it’s a miracle that it hasn’t broken.

The right hand side of the camera has a bump out to make holding the camera more comfortable and, unlike the rest of the camera, is covered in a thin layer of rubber rather than the leatherette. It does the job but the camera isn’t heavy enough to make a difference unless it is loaded up with the motor drive and a long lens.

Shooting with the ZM

The Mamiya ZM doesn’t have a lot of controls which means accidental changes are uncommon, but it also makes for a clean, uncomplicated camera. The shutter speed dial is large and easy to rotate and is well placed in relation to the shutter button and the shutter lock switch. The film advance lever is smaller than average and close to the shutter button. With its pivot point next to the shutter speed dial, it’s a little awkward at times to grip the camera and advance the film quickly though. It has a max shutter speed of 1/1000s which is a bit limiting and surprising given that many other cameras had faster speeds available.

The camera’s TTL center weighted meter is accurate and updated with features from the Mamiya ZE-X and has an automatic, aperture-priority mode. The shutter lock is well placed and easy to access but not in the way and also changes the ZM’s mode from normal to self-timer. The Exposure Lock (AEL) mode works the same as Automatic but the exposure is locked until you remove your finger from the shutter release button. For instance, if the subject you want to take a picture of is brightly back-lit you can move towards the subject so it’s the only thing in the frame. Lightly press the shutter release to get the proper exposure locked in. Then you are free to back up and re-frame the image however you like knowing that just the subject is influencing the meter.

focusing screen display

The Mamiya ZM uses the split-image focusing and the finder is quite bright and clear. The metering system is a little different but very easy to get used to and to figure out. On the right side of the finder the shutter speeds are listed. A solid red dot will indicate which shutter speed you have selected, and a flashing red dot will indicate the shutter speed required to get a proper, averaged exposure. You can set the ZM to Auto and do one of two things at that point. If you lock the aperture ring into “auto” with the white button towards the top of the lens and let the ZM go about its business, or use the camera in Aperture Priority by adjusting the depth of field while the camera selects the shutter speed. Of course you can use it manually too.

Another nice feature is Exposure Compensation. The dial on the left top of the camera controls the cameras ISO setting and also Exposure Compensation. You can adjust the camera to either over expose or over expose the image by two stops in each direction.

E and EF Lenses

The Mamiya E and EF series lenses are specifically designed to interface with Mamiya electronic film cameras and have corresponding terminals to allow them to communicate with the cameras light meter and processor. In addition to the shutter being electronic on the Mamiya ZM, so is the aperture control. The Aperture Priority and Automatic modes of the Z series cameras dictate the aperture and this is communicated to the lens via the terminals instead of a mechanical lever like in the Nikon AI/AIS lenses.

There’s a solid line of lenses available ranging from 28mm to 300mm. The lenses were constructed specifically for the Z series and are not compatible with any other Mamiya cameras. The lenses feature a multi-group/multi-element constructed with coated optics and constructed using a lot of plastic in order to keep costs, and weight to a minimum. The ZM came fitted with a standard 50mm f/1.7 just like pretty much every other 35mm camera of the time. It seems odd, given that Mamiya put a lot of money and development into the line that the lens selection is rather anemic. With 28mm being the widest lens available and 300mm being the longest lens it feels unfinished.

Overall

Unlike the NC 1000, the Mamiya ZM doesn’t feel like a proper camera; it doesn’t feel or perform like a camera from Mamiya. Their medium format cameras are legendary for being well designed, high quality devices that are (for the most part) easy to use and produce wonderful images. The lenses for the RB/RZ7, Mamiya 7 and Mamiya 645 systems are amazing and have held up well over the decades. The ZM doesn’t fit into this category at all. The rubberized coating on the hand-grip of the camera is out of place.

The Mamiya ZM isn’t a camera I would honestly recommend anyone buy if they wanted a reliable camera that’s going to last for decades more. Mine only fires intermittently and the lens is extremely hard to rotate. The battery tray is a disaster just waiting to happen. The Mamiya ZE-2 would be a far better option if you wanted to pick a camera from the Z series. In fact, The Mamiya ZE-2 is the next Mamiya camera on the list – so stay tuned!



Specifications

General

Mamiya ZM Quartz
Type : SLR – Single Lens Reflex
Lens Mount : E and EF lenses
Operation :
Electronic
Format :
35mm
Shutter :
Focal plane
Shutter Speeds :
B, * 2s – 1/1000s
Shutter Remote : Mechanical
ISO Range : 12 – 3200
Shutter Lock : Yes
Self Timer : Yes
Mirror Lock-up : No
DoF preview : No
Flash:
TTL
Flash Mount :
Hot shoe
Multiple Exposure : Yes
Strap Lugs :
Yes
Battery : (2) MS76
Production :
1982 – 1984
Weight :
1lb 7oz (with 50mm f/1.7)

* Automatic shutter speeds are capable of a range from 4s – 1/1000s.

Download the Mamiya ZM Quartz manual

Download Mamiya E/EF Lens guide

Accessories

Mamiyalite MZ 36R Flash
Mamiyalite MZ 18R Flash
Mamiyalite ZM Flash
Mamiya Winder ZE
Lens Hoods
Diopter lenses (-3 to +3)
ZE Rubber Eyecup w/adapter
Magnifier ZE (attaches to prism)
Angle Finder ZE (attaches to prism)
Close-up Lenses (No.1 and No. 2) 49mm
ZE Extension Rings (3 sizes)
Auto Bellows ZE
Slide Copier ZE
Bellows Stand ZE
Microscope Adapter ZE
645 Adapter ZE (allows use of Mamiya 645 medium format lenses on ZM)
Auto Macro Spacer ZE (Extension tube)


Mamiya E/EF Lenses

28mm Sekor E
Type : Wide Angle
Angle of view : 74 deg.
Elements : 7 groups/8 elements
Aperture range : f/2.8 – f/22
Filter size : 49mm

28mm Sekor E
Type : Wide Angle
Angle of view : 74 deg.
Elements : 5 groups/5 elements
Aperture range : f/3.5 – f/22
Filter size : 49mm

35mm Sekor E
Type : Wide Angle
Angle of view : 63 deg.
Elements : 6 groups/6 elements
Aperture range : f/3.5 – f/22
Filter size : 49mm

35mm Sekor EF
Type : Wide Angle
Angle of view : 63 deg.
Elements : 6 groups/6 elements
Aperture range : f/2.8 – f/22
Filter size : 49mm

50mm Sekor E
Type : Telephoto
Angle of view : 47 deg.
Elements : 6 groups/7 elements
Aperture range : f/1.4 – f/16
Filter size : 49mm

50mm Sekor EF
Type : Telephoto
Angle of view : 47 deg.
Elements : 6 groups/7 elements
Aperture range : f/1.4 – f/16
Filter size : 49mm

50mm Sekor E
Type : Telephoto
Angle of view : 47 deg.
Elements : 5 groups/6 elements
Aperture range : f/1.7 – f/16
Filter size : 49mm

50mm Sekor EF
Type : Telephoto
Angle of view : 47 deg.
Elements : 5 groups/6 elements
Aperture range : f/1.7 – f/16
Filter size : 49mm

50mm Sekor E
Type : Telephoto
Angle of view : 47 deg.
Elements : 4 groups/6 elements
Aperture range : f/2 – f/16
Filter size : 49mm

50mm Sekor E Macro
Type : Telephoto
Angle of view : 47 deg.
Elements : 4 groups/5 elements
Aperture range : f/3.5 – f/22
Filter size : 49mm

135mm Sekor E
Type : Telephoto
Angle of view : 18 deg.
Elements : 4 groups/5 elements
Aperture range : f/2.8 – f/22
Filter size : 52mm

135mm Sekor EF
Type : Telephoto
Angle of view : 18 deg.
Elements : 4 groups/5 elements
Aperture range : f/2.8 – f/22
Filter size : 52mm

135mm Sekor E
Type : Telephoto
Angle of view : 18 deg.
Elements : 4 groups/4 elements
Aperture range : f/3.5 – f/22
Filter size : 49mm

200mm Sekor E
Type : Telephoto
Angle of view : 12 deg.
Elements : 5 groups/5 elements
Aperture range : f/4 – f/22
Filter size : 52mm

300mm Sekor E
Type : Telephoto
Angle of view : 8 deg.
Elements : 4 groups/5 elements
Aperture range : f/4 – f/22
Filter size : 77mm

28 – 50mm Sekor E
Type : Zoom
Angle of view : 74 – 47 deg.
Elements : 8 groups/9 elements
Aperture range : f/3.5-4.5 – f/22
Filter size : 55mm

35 – 70mm Sekor E
Type : Zoom
Angle of view : 63 – 34 deg.
Elements : 6 groups/7 elements
Aperture range : f/3.5-4.5 – f/22
Filter size : 55mm

70 – 150mm Sekor E
Type : Zoom
Angle of view : 34 – 17 deg.
Elements : 9 groups/12 elements
Aperture range : f/3.8 – f/32
Filter size : 52mm

80 – 200mm Sekor E
Type : Zoom
Angle of view : 30 – 12 deg.
Elements : 10 groups/14 elements
Aperture range : f/3.8 – f/32
Filter size : 52mm

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: