This camera beat the famous Pentax Spotmatic features by Years! But it seldom gets the credit.
My blog has become a widely read resource among camera collectors for a historical "been there, done that" perspective of many vintage cameras. Ebay used to allow links to it, but not now, which is unfortunate because it is a great resource, and the reason I buy and seel these cameras via eBay. I make no attempts to be commercial in any way on my blog. You can find it by an Internet search using the title Photography for Profit or Fun. It is a Typepad Blog.
Mamiya is one of the oldest and most successful camera companies of all time. They are best known for their commercial Medium Format 6x6 and 6x7 120 film cameras in Rangefinder and Twin Lens Reflex Cameras that were produced over 70 plus years. Mamiya was known for unique design solutions, as one of their main founders and corporate officers was a gifted camera designer. The Mamiya/Sekor 1000DTL was one of the series that was among the first 35 mm SLR cameras to come to market in the USA. Typical of previous Mamiya cameras, the camera body was relatively heavy. Heavy cameras were not undesirable to many photographers at the time. They were considered durable, and this camera body was much lighter than the medium format Mamiya cameras at that.
The 1000 DTL holds a place in camera history often attributed to the Pentax Spotmatic. The Spotmatic name referenced the on-camera ability to choose a spot metering point to electronically read an exposure. But the Mamiya/Sekor 1000 DTL camera shown here preceded the Pentax with this feature. The D stands for Dual, meaning dual-metering--either Spot or Average electronic metering through the lens. The TL stands for through the lens; this was all a big deal at the time. It was a very advanced camera in history. There are actually two separate light meter cells incorporated in the body to achieve this. The selection is made by way of the film advance lever position. Camera history has largely obscured this advanced cameras abilities and deferred to the Asahi Pentax Spotmatic instead.
The Mamiya/Sekor uses a 42 mm lens mount which was the same as the early Pentax SLR's. At the time this was considered the standard mount and was used by many cameras. There are vast numbers of compatible lenses for this camera body. Although Pentax did not invent the mount, it is often called the Pentax Mount. It is also called the Universal Mount or just M42 Lens mount. It was also known as the Practica Mount. I have used lenses that came on a Pentax Spotmatic with this body. As we can see, even the removable Pentax viewfinder accessory Flash Mount, it interchanges with the Mamiya/Sekor. While some might guess these similarities to be the result of nefarious corporate espionage, the truth is that idea, design, and patent sharing was commonplace in the Japanese manufacturing camera world of this era. It is likely that Mamiya also shared their dual metering mode that inspired the very successful Spotmatic by Pentax.
Personal Experience with in a Historical Context with the Mamiya/Sekor Cameras
The 1000 indicates the top shutter speed. The first 35mm SLR I ever had unfettered access to was a Mamiya/Sekor TL500. It was made available to me as I assisted my High School Annual Staff and Newspaper with their photography needs. I was in Junior Highschool, but was allowed to assist because I was already taking photographs with a Yashica 44 TLR camera that used 127 roll film. I ahd also used Rollie TLRs belonging to my dad. I was enamoured by the mystical 35 mm cameras. I had used an old Argus I had found in some junk, and was not much impressed. but the Mamiya/Sekor opened up a whole new world of 35 mm capabilities to me. I used it with a huge over the shoulder batter pack and a Graphlex Electronic flash that would light up the whole football field at night--and them develop and print 5x7s to submit to the local newspaper.
Although I still preferred the forgiving enlargements from the large 120 film, the 35 mm was not that much smaller than those from my 127 film. And wala, it gave me 36 exposures. what a boon!
I have owned hundreds of 35 mm SLR cameras since I first had access to my first Mamiya/Sekor camera, but this camera holds a special place both in my own memory and in camera history. This is a must for any camera collector.