135compact.com       16mm film ultra compact cameras       Mamiya 16 Automatic

The first Mamiya 16 was released 1949, the model presented, a Mamiya 16 Automatic, was launched in 1959, a camera for all types of 16mm film
* (see below). It's a model with a meter, but it's in no way automatic inspite of its name, nevertheless it's easy to use. It has a very luminous, focussable lens and full manual control which is meter-assisted.

* 16mm film is a movie film format, as was 35mm film. In the early days it was cut from 35mm film and thus had perforations on one side (single perforation). Please note, that the perfs and their area of 35mm are bigger than those of modern 16mm film. As soon as 1923 Kodak introduced a set with camera, projector, tripod, screen and splicer (or was it a slitter?) aiming at amateurs. The new format was rapidly adopted by still camera producers to build smaller devices. The film usualy sits in a cartridge, but no standard has been established, many have 2 cassettes, one feeding and one taking. So every maker made his own system. Some, like Minolta, even sold a choice of readily available film cassettes. If you want to use your camera, you should at least have one (pair of) cassette(s).

16mm film is still made. There is double perf, single perf and unperforated film. Check, which one suits your camera. Some need perfs to advance. Smaller picture formats can use double perf film, bigger ones would have the perfs (or sprockets) visible in the picture area. There is 10mm of usable space between the perfs of double perf film, 12.5mm to the side of single perf film. Film can also be s(p)lit from other formats like 120.

The camera's 
main features are:

25mm F2.8 coated Mamiya lens, F2.8-F16, min. focus 0.3m (!)
Shutter speeds: B, 1/5 - 1/200,
10x14mm picture format, can use all perfed or unferfed 16mm film
Size 108x48x30,  Weight 289 gr.
ISO 10-1600(!), foldable finder
with bright framelines and parallax marks, PC flash socket, tripod socket, built-in filter (yellow), can be changed

Some pictures of the camera:

The camera, case and strap..

The camera, ready. It's not as small as the original 16.

Camera front closed. Well protected and shutter blocked.

Back view. Viewer folded. Film advance on top right.

Seen from the top. Selenium meter to the right with ISO setting. You have to match the desired speed with the needle and the window towards the front will show the aperture (white numbers on black). Distance setting. Shutter release with cable release socket.
Speed setting. Film counter. Film advance and film type memo.

Seen from below. T
ripod socket. 2nd socket for grip. PC socket.

Left side. Film chamber opening, Slide the button up first, then press the tiny lever with a fingernail.

Right side. Accessory shoe and second tripod socket.

Camera open. Above the lens, to the left: camera opening slider, to the right: filter slider. Under the lens: access to filter chamber.

Filter slid before the lens. It's yellow (can be changed)

Viewer erected.

Camera film compartment open.
Mamiya sold its own film in double cartridges, but there were single and double cartridges which could be reloaded. The camera uses any type of 16mm film.

For more information about cartridges, please consult this page.

The film chamber.

Meter in the sun. The
desired speed should be matched with the  red needle.

Shutter set to B.

Size comparison with the original Mamiya 16.

This camera is very easy to use, slide it open, erect the viewer and it's ready.
Match the desired speed with the meter needle, control speed and aperture setting before pressing the shutter release. After taking a picture, you have to turn the advance wheel for film advance and shutter cocking. Putting a film is easy if you have a double cartridge, for reloadable cartriges it's a bit longer, you have to engage the film into the winding spool, advance to the first frame and that's it.

It's a very good full manual camera, meter-assisted for an easy use, with a very good lens, superb picture quality, good quality finish in a relatively small body. This camera feels very solid. It has a luminous lens. Picture results were good. It has 2 rare features: focussing down to 30cm without extra lenses and a B shutter. It's a good choice if you want a high quality, easy to use camera for 16mm film. It's smaller and lighter than its succesor, the Mamiya16 EE de luxe. It gives you full manual control.