Mamiya RB67 -- is this the camera for me?

Discussion in 'Medium Format & Large Format' started by cigrainger, Nov 26, 2007.

  1. cigrainger

    cigrainger TPF Noob!

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    For about $1000, I'm looking for a camera the use primarily on a tripod, with as much medium format film real estate as possible (my scanner doesn't scan 4x5, and as much as I've lusted after a decent field view camera, I realized in the end I'm too poor for the accessories and continued costs).

    I'll mostly be using it for cityscapes and landscapes, with relatively long exposures due to low light and slow film the norm. I do, however, have interest in creating makeshift studio conditions in my flat for both portraits and still life. Speed and handholding is not important to me -- my 35mm setup covers that now, and somewhere down the line I plan on getting a MF rangefinder.

    So through all my research I've settled on the RB67 -- it's a fully mechanical workhorse that has tons of accessories available, great lenses, produces a huge neg, has bellows for close-up focusing on all lenses, and more. I prefer the 6x7 neg to a 6x6 one. I love the fact that it has leaf shutter lenses.

    My imagined kit, for about $1000 (and it does cash in that way with EX items on KEH) is an RB67 Pro body w/ waistlevel, 120 Pro-SD 6x7 back, 65mm f/4 KL lens, and 127 f/3.5.

    So am I making the right choice for the things I've described? Is there anything I should be looking out for? A different lens setup? Just words of encouragement about this system? Thanks!
     
  2. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Just keep in mind that this set up will be heavy and will therefore require a good tripod (read heavy tripod). If you have to hike for a day for landscapes shots it can get really tiring to carry all that weight. That being said, the RB67 is a really good MF in the studio and is used by some landscape photographers to great effect. The lenses are very good.
    Also, you should add a handheld light meter to your setup as the RB67 does not have a meter.
     
  3. newrmdmike

    newrmdmike TPF Noob!

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    its mega huge . . . if you were doing just landscape work i would suggest the mamiya 7
     
  4. cigrainger

    cigrainger TPF Noob!

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    Already have a handheld light meter and a great tripod (Giotto aluminum meant for 4x5's), so I'm not too worried. I've also got a comfortable backpack. Thanks!
     
  5. cigrainger

    cigrainger TPF Noob!

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    I like both orientations, and the Mamiya 7 is a bit out of my price range. It also doesn't have as complete of a system as the RB.
     
  6. Mike Jordan

    Mike Jordan TPF Noob!

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    Make sure it's the Pro S model and the lenses are the newer (reletively speaking) multi-coated C lenses.

    I used the RB67 Pro-S from the late 70's to mid 80's and I used it for everything from weddings, sports, portraits, scenics, PJ, micro, and just about anything else I needed to use it for. I could shoot about as fast as the 35mm guys... except for those blasted Nikons with motor drives. :D

    Alsol, get the left sided wrist strap hand grip. With that your left hand pushes the shutter button on the hand grip and your right hand is free to focus, cock the shutter and advance the film. And get 220 backs if you have a choice. You can shoot 120 film in them, but it's nice having the 20 shots on the 220 film. And the more extra backs you get the better.

    I never got the 70mm back, but I did have the Polaroid back and shot a lot of Polaroids with it. I had the standard lenses with it but my pride was the 360mm lens. That one cost more than the body and 90mm lens combined when I bought it. I loved the RB67 and almost got another one but went with a Canon D30 back when digital was getting going. It's a work horse alright.

    Mike
     
  7. cigrainger

    cigrainger TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Mike... a few questions:

    Why get the Pro-S model rather than the Pro? I didn't think there were really any differences in the body itself.

    Why not get the newest KL lenses if I can afford them used in great condition?

    Are you positive the 220 backs can take 120 film? There aren't any tension problems? I've heard with 220 backs, there's a different plate pressure or something than 120 backs. Obviously I'll take your word for it if you've used them yourself. :D

    I appreciate the help and advice!
     
  8. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    No matter how good the backpack, you have to carry the weight! The RB67 with film back and 127mm lens weighs about 2.7 kg and the 65mm lens another 1.0 kg. That's of course without the weight of the tripod (2-3 kg at least), light meter and other accessories (without mention none photography items, such as food, clothing, water...). The practicality of this setup really depends on your style of shooting. If you stay near the car to take your landscape pictures then it is fine. If you have to backpack for several days or even hike for 6 to 8 hours in the mountains, weight needs to be taken into account.
     
  9. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    If you have $1000 to spend, and are looking for DOF manipulation and distortion correction, you might look into the Fuji GX680. The book prices are high, but very reasonable on eBay. It shoots 6x8, and has movements on the front standard. It also has excellent glass, and mostly eliminates the need to purchase t/s lenses. It's sort of like an RZ on steroids.
     
  10. Mike Jordan

    Mike Jordan TPF Noob!

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    If I remember right, the Pro-S had some interlocking and a few other additions to it. Also, I believe the non-Pro S backs and add ons would work on the Pro-S but not the other way around. The Pro-S came out late 70's and the Pro was before that. So the Pro-S is a newer camera (although new for something about 20+ years old is probably a moot point :D)

    When I was shooting with my RB they had C lenses, which were better than the non-C lenses. The KL's must have come out after I sold mine in 84. I use to put 120 film in my 220 backs and shoot that way. I just had to remember to keep track of how many shots I took and not go past 10. :D

    I shot slides (loved the 6x7 slide) and color film but I loved shooting black and white. My film of choice was Ilford. I don't know how many thousands of rolls I shot of that, developed and printed in my dark room. Ilford still makes the best black and white film in my opinion.

    The one thing that does take getting use to if you are not already use... your view finder ground glass image is reversed. At least it's not upside down like on a large format groundglass. I was use to both way back when, but it took a bit of adjusting when I got back into 4x5 cameras a few years ago. I'd been spoiled by a 35mm camera for too many years. :D

    Mike
     

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