View Full Version : Mamiya Universal lenses on the Polaroid 600SE?
Anyone know for sure if the Polaroid 600SE (which is clearly a version of the Mamiya Universal) can take all of the Universal lenses? Or can it only take the lenses that it was advertised to go with?
A quick Google:
When Polaroid contracted for lenses from Mamiya, the contract arrangements called for a different breechlock system. Polaroid did not want to sell only bodies and have people use the mamiya press lenses they already owned. In addition, there were Polaroid backs made to fit the Mamiya that took the pack film of the era. Same opening as a Polaroid. End of Story....sort of.
The lenses are all Mamiya lenses and all have the same shutter systems. The Focusing helicals/breech locks are different. So, if you buy the 75mm that comes on the Polaroid (the polaroid versions have the red dot on the front lens ring), you would have to remove it from the 600SE mount and put it on a Mamiya helical for the Mamiya super and Universal bodies. The chances that you will ever find the lens/shutter alone, or either of the two helical/breechlocks alone is very remote.
The broadest use of the system is to go with the Mamiya Universal system, in which case, all the lenses made for Polaroid eventually were also sold in the Universal mount, but not all the Mamiya lenses for the Universal or Super 23 were mounted in Polaroid mount helicals.
I've probably had 5 or 6 of the Universals, three of the Super 23's, one of the Polaroid 600's (fixed 127 lens) and three of the 600SE interchangable mount bodies. Add to that at least 3 of each of the 75's and a half dozen of the focal lengths in both mounts. There is a lot of myth and outright misinformation on this partnership between Mamiya/Polaroid, but it was heavily protected from cross over purchasing. There were some adaptors for various crossover on the system backs, but the feet for mounting backs for both the Universal and the Polaroid were different. The adaptors that accomodate switching backs between systems are hard to find and outrageously expensive when they do turn up.
The other lens you will never find in the Polaroid mount is the Planar style Mamiya 100mm with the fast 2.8 f-stop. That lens was only ever mounted in the Mamiya Universal/Super 23 bodies. There was never a 100mm helical for the Polaroid because the standard focal length for the Pack film was 127 and there was never a fast 127 lens.
Also, many have claimed that the lenses made for the pack film 50, 75, 127 would also cover 4X5. Not true. I've tried it many times. Image circle is clearly not big enough, even at infinity.
Since this appears to be a negative post, let me say that the Press system and the Polaroid system from Mamiya were both outstanding systems in their own realms. The Mamiya Sekor glass is some of the best in the world. The camera's were simple and exceptionally reliable, albeit a bit heavy. I think most of the Mamiya Press cameras were easily as heavy as the earlier Graflex 4X5 Press models. The distinct advantage was the transition to roll film, which one could also do on the 4X5 press cameras toward the end of their reign.
Many thanks for this detailed information. I don't find it to be a negative post at all, just full of facts.
As you recommend, I will probably go with the Universal. They are actually a little cheaper on Eb&$ than the 600SE, for some reason. Have you got any of those 5 or 6 bodies still hanging around you'd like to sell?
Vince, as kuzano said, the Mamiya Universal Press is a better choice than the Polaroid. Cheaper and more versatile. Look out for the 100/2.8 lens. That's one of the best for that platform.
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