The Mamiya ZE camera was introduced in July 1980. It was a 35mm SLR camera with aperture-priority auto exposure and a center-weighted TTL-metering system. It was also the first Japanese SLR to use an electronic bayonet mount to transmit data between the camera body and lenses, enabling functions such as total electronic aperture control and compensation.
The Mamiya ZE-2 camera (December 1980) added a manual override of the automatic exposure and a shutter speed dial. An electronic sensor automatically selected the slowest hand-held shutter speed possible for a particular lens.
The Mamiya ZE-X camera was introduced in September 1981. It featured both aperture-priority and shutter-priority automatic exposure modes.
The Mamiya ZM camera (October 1982) was the advanced version of the ZE-2 with some of the features of the ZE-X like aperture-priority and shutter-priority automatic exposure modes, and also with manual exposure mode.
A complete range of E series interchangeable lenses was developed for the system. The EF series lenses provided distance priority flash auto exposure, which automatically set the aperture in relation to focusing distance when using with the Mamiyalite MZ auto electronic flash units. The Mamiya ZM could use E and EF series lenses however a number of specific E "S" lenses were also made for the ZM.