First roll with RB67 - Do I love this camera?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by photo_griz, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. photo_griz

    photo_griz Member

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Reno, NV
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I was so excited to get this camera. I have only recently discovered I love film and then only in 35mm format and a couple of 4x5. Medium Format seemed like a great way to get the image quality I was looking for (large prints) and also the quality of image I was looking for (film). The camera arrived with a 6x8 back and a polaroid back came the next day. I decided to start with a couple packs of Fuji instant to make sure every thing was working as it should. It was, but there was a lot of user error those first two packs! Then I was confident enough to try the film back. I loaded the camera up with Velvia and took some "test" shots in the neighborhood. Luckily for me, the neighborhood is Lake Tahoe/Sierra Nevada. 3 locations, three days. Each shot bracketed +/- one stop gave me nine exposures. That is all you get off a 6x8 back I guess. I posted the shots in the gallery for your comments.

    So, what do I think of the RB67 Pro SD with the Mamiya Polaroid back and the Mamiya 6x8 motorized back? This thing is a tank. It is hard to lug around. It's heavy, unwieldy, and can be difficult to focus in some situations. Have I been spoiled? The cameras I've been using in 35mm are a Nikon F100 with various AI-S primes, an Olympus RC35 rangefinder, and a Leica 3f with a 50mm collapsible lens. Every one a dream to use (expect loading that damn Leica). I also have started dabbling in 4x5. Also a fantastic experience, but for completely different reasons. The slow and thoughtful methodology of the field camera forces me to be a better photographer. The RB67 seems somewhere in between, but not pleasantly. I think it might actually weigh more than my field camera. After shooting a number of rolls, I just wasn't feeling the love for the RB.

    Then I got the negatives back.

    November06005.jpg November06006.jpg November06007.jpg
     
  2. antmar

    antmar Member

    Messages:
    145
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Location:
    Athens Greece
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    These photos are really amazing! Bravo.
    But don't be confused as these are simply the results that film can do and they would be the same or even better if you were using a Hasselblad, a Pentax 67, a Mamiya 7, a Bronica. The easiness of use is a great advantage of a camera as it helps you to take more photos and in a more pleasant way.
    All that I want to say is that first you have to try to become more familiar with your camera and if this is impossible to you then I am sure that many other cameras can replace this one...
    I have most of the previous cameras but finally I am using my Mamiya 6 almost all of the time just because it's a pleasure to work with.
     
  3. dnjl

    dnjl Member

    Messages:
    376
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Shooter:
    35mm
    It's not just you - I think the RB67 is one of the finest cameras ever made. Great shots!
     
  4. quickbrownfox

    quickbrownfox Member

    Messages:
    58
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2012
    Location:
    East Coast A
    Shooter:
    35mm
    heh! nice neighbourhood you live in... think of carrying the camera as excellent exercize!
     
  5. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

    Messages:
    6,930
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    Richmond VA.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I had my RB67 for a good while, just love it!

    Jeff
     
  6. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,997
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Luscious! I shoot with an RZ and I use RB lenses and they're razor sharp. You'll get grainless 16x20.
     
  7. RobertoMiglioli

    RobertoMiglioli Member

    Messages:
    69
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    Location:
    São Paulo, B
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Great shots! Beautiful colors. RB67 was made for use indoors, not outdoors. It is bulky and heavy for handheld use. But lenses are amazingly sharp.
     
  8. grantlyd

    grantlyd Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2012
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I just purchased a RB67 Pro SD--I am waiting for it to arrive. There is something exciting about taking something out of its element. Since the RB is intended to be in the studio, I am guessing you have to get creative when using it handheld!

    This is my first post on APUG...
     
  9. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,603
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Welcome grantlyd.

    No special creativity required, I find it very much in its element in the field.

    I actuall find the waist level finder naturally provides a perspective I like.
     
  10. voceumana

    voceumana Member

    Messages:
    165
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2004
    Location:
    USA (Utah)
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I have an RB67, a Pentax 67II, a Fuji GW690III, and a Bronica SQ-Ai for my MF collection. I don't make nearly as much use of them as I should.

    That said, the RB67 seems like a studio camera to me, or a "very close to the car" camera. The Pentax 67II is also a lot to carry around. The Fuji is my most portable MF camera since it does not have interchangeable lenses, and the images it produces rival large format. The Bronica was purchased as an admission that I'm just not going to carry around the Mamiya nor the Pentax.

    Yes, MF can be spectacular. But I still love my 35mm rangefinders.
     
  11. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,560
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Location:
    Pacific Nort
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have an RB67 Pro and the negative size is a definite plus. That said I bought a Fujifilm GA646zi which produces 16 645 negatives on a roll. I also have two Mamiya 645's. I took the Fujifilm to Italy and carried it everywhere in my shoulder bag. Hand held it's like a 35mm, very ergonomic and functional. It's "normal" view is portrait since the roll loads from left to right.

    It's a perfect format inbetween 35mm and 6x7. I can't see taking the RB and accessories on a trip like I did. If I were to step up it would be one of my 4x5's. The RB has its place no doubt, in the studio and out on location. Traveling and carrying it around though isn't for me.
     
  12. photo_griz

    photo_griz Member

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Reno, NV
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thanks for all the positive comments everyone. A few more thoughts on the RB67. When I decided to move into MF, I really wanted something that was different than an rangefinder. I was specifically looking to shoot with something that had a WLF (versus a viewfinder) to mimic the process I'm learning to enjoy with the field camera. I also find myself attracted to the 4x5 and 6x7 aspect ratios and to a lesser extent 6x6. I am always cropping my 35mm to a more square format. It was also important that I have easy access to all the system pieces and repairs if necessary. I preferred a camera that needed no batteries and had a solid reputation for reliability and longevity. That really narrowed down my search to Mamiya TLR, Mamiya RB/RZ, Bronica, Pentax 67, and Hasselblad. While everyone may have a favorite, all of these camera systems are capable of producing world class professional results. In other words, regardless of the system, the limiting factor is the equipment between my ears. For me, the final decision came down to price. I know that sounds lame, but the whole system with a 50, 90, and 140 lens, two 120 backs, one 120/220 6x8 back, and a polaroid back cost $800.

    Now that I've had it a few months, I've learned a few things. It is capable of taking amazing photos. And not just super sharp, highly saturated velvia slides. It really works well for polaroids. In fact, I have enjoyed shooting with the polaroid back so much, I purchased a Land 250 and sent it to Jason Wolffe to refurbish. But it is also heavy and it is no replacement for large format. In fact, I often find myself thinking "why didn't I just use my Shen Hao for this shot?". Well the reason is I can get my 120 film done cheap and local with excellent results. Getting my 4x5 film developed is a pain in the ass and expensive. But should I be thinking this? I never have that feeling when I'm shooting my F100. Usually I'm thinking "why can't every camera be this awesome!" I guess bottom line is that while I am enjoying the learning and I am making the best photos of my life, I don't know if the RB67 is going to win me over long term. I guess only time will tell, but I do know this - I just ordered a bunch of 4x5 film.
     
  13. polyglot

    polyglot Member

    Messages:
    3,472
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Location:
    South Austra
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Ignore the first half of this! A Mamiya 6x7 is made for using wherever you can take it - my RZ took a lap of the globe with me.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,176
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2009
    Location:
    Washington,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yesterday I took my RB67 out into the great outdoors. I used it with a tripod and a few shots hand held. If you cannot do the same thing, you aren't trying very hard.
     
  16. fmajor

    fmajor Member

    Messages:
    259
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I chose my RB67 primarily for how modular it is, but equally for the excellent quality, durability and reliability it offers. I love the interchangeable and rotational aspect of the Mamiya RB67 film magazines - i can carry one magazine loaded with color film and another with b&w and be ready for about anything i'm going to photograph. That Mamiya Sekor lenses are superb was my 1st criteria, but the overall photographic experience the RB67 offers combined with the other "boxes" it checks made it a "no-brainer" medium-format camera choice for me.

    I've not tried any slide film (yet), but your (OP) results look very good. It's hard to tell from just seeing the images on a computer monitor, but they certainly look good enough for 16x20 print size without too much loss.

    For me, the additional hassles of sheet film and large-format system requirements simply weren't enough to overtake the benefits of the larger negative real estate.
     
  17. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,997
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You Aussies

    You Aussies are tough. I was going to take my RZ to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, but I wimped out. Americans are trues victims of comfort and can't handle all that weight traveling. My hats off to you! If you give me permission to brag a bit, I did go on a 3 mile hike in Yosemite with my RZ with 2 lenses. With my girl friends's help :wink:
     
  18. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

    Messages:
    5,480
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You may just have the wrong camera. Any 6x7 camera is big for handheld use - I didn't say impossible, but you're not going to forget you are carrying it. And the RB, with it's revolving back, is sized more like a 7x7 camera would be, by necessity.

    I'd suggest if you like squarish and think the 6x6 might suit that a 6x6 camera is likely to be far more hand holdable and agreeable for that kind of shooting, probably out of proportion to the seeming actual size difference. I've considered getting an RB system myself, but to use instead of my 4x5 to get around the hassles and costs of sheet film. Used like a 4x5 it's capable of almost the same quality, albeit without movements (except for shift lenses which are expensive and still don't have nearly the movements of even my Tech III.) I've never been tempted by it as a handheld camera. I have a 645 Pro and, while it's a great camera, it hasn't supplanted much 35mm as I expected it to because even it is just too darned big and cumbersome much of the time. My Yashicamat 124, OTOH, is a joy to walk around and shoot with, but that gives up the interchangeable lenses and film backs.

    If you really want to make MF fun to shoot handheld and don't want a rangefinder, a Rollei or Yashica or other fixed lens TLR is really sweet, but you will be stuck with one lens and no interchangeable backs though.
     
  19. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,997
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Not so fast, here's a pic of Herb Ritts holding his RZ. With a prism may I add :D HerbRitts5.jpg
     
  20. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

    Messages:
    5,480
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I never said it couldn't or shouldn't be done. But I mean to say I understand why one might not enjoy it much. I like shooting hand held with my 645 Pro but not so much the walking around with it. For that I'll take my Yaschicamat any day.
     
  21. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,997
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I agree. Besides, you probably don't have assistants like Herb Ritts.
     
  22. polyglot

    polyglot Member

    Messages:
    3,472
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Location:
    South Austra
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The best thing about travelling with an RZ (other than the image quality), is that when your wife loses you, she can mime "bald man, BIIIIIIIIG camera" and all the locals and other tourists point the way. I have a lot of photos of other tourists (mostly Japanese) posing with me and the RZ; apparently I am more interesting than both Angkor Wat and the Forbidden City.
     
  23. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

    Messages:
    5,480
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yep. A better question might be "why not just carry a tripod too and be done with it?"

    That's really what determines where I shoot 4x5 or 35mm/medium format. If I'm out looking for photos, of relatively still subjects, as my primary activity I'll probably take the 4x5 plus tripod, or possibly the 645 Pro with or without tripod. If I'm doing something else but think I might find something nice to photograph I'll take 35mm or the Yashicamat.
     
  24. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,049
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    RB67 + 2 lenses + bag with meter and film + tripod with quick release shoe makes for a nice photographic walk in the park :wink:
     

    Attached Files:

  25. David T T

    David T T Member

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2012
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hello everyone, just joined and making my first post! Greets from Philadelphia!

    I walk for fun and exercise, and many times walk up to 20 miles at a time. A few weeks ago, having just gotten back into to 35mm film, I picked up an RB67. It's a brute to use, but I have grown to appreciate what it's done for my photography, and the images are as good as I am that day. Getting to the point, I went out by public transportation to the NW boundary of Philadelphia, and shot with the RB67 in Fairmount Park, walking 20 miles back to my house, shooting 3 rolls in total. That's with the RB, the 65mm Sekor C I keep on the camera, the 90mm just in case, my tripod, a Canon 35mm for metering, film, water, and a big lunch I ate halfway through the day.

    I was much more tired after this walk than when I have no gear, that's for sure! It was not impossible though, and I'll be glad I lugged that little piggy around when I get my film back. :smile:
     
  26. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,049
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Welcome to APUG!

    Always happy to have more "good examples" join :D