Mamiya RB67 Lens Questions

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by apconan, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. apconan

    apconan Member

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    Hi there, thinking about picking up an rb67, I have a couple of questions.

    1. How are the lenses for portraits? Photos that i see from pentax 67s always look like they have a lot of depth, with nice transition from sharp focus to out of focus areas. How are the mamiyas in this regard? I don't find searching flickr to be indicative of the actual image, so any first-hand advice would be great.

    2. Is the only difference between the non-C, C, and KL the coating/contrast [besides the shutter I think in the KL]? Or is there a difference in sharpness/resolution as well?

    Thanks very much.
     
  2. loman

    loman Subscriber

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    They are great for portraits. My experience is that all the lenses are great, but I would get C lenses to get the most out of your money (they are newer so less likely to need service).
    The mamiya is a great camera, and don't let anybody tell you you can't hand hold it, it's actually quite easy, although I wouldn't recommend doing it for hours on end unless you want to gain muscle mass!

    Regards
    Mads
     
  3. thisismyname09

    thisismyname09 Member

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    The C and non-C lenses are more or less the same with the exception of the coatings. I think some of the K/L lenses are changed from the original designs. I know for a fact that the 90mm and 140mm Macro differs between K/L L and Sekor C.
     
  4. Maris

    Maris Member

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    The Mamiya RB 67 lenses are particularly suited to portraiture because the camera offers bellows focussing for close-ups with longer lenses. For example the 180mm lens focusses to less than a metre which permits a tight face portrait. By way of contrast the wonderful Hasselblad 150mm lens, the ideal portrait focal length, can't get close enough without an additional extension tube.
     
  5. eddie gunks

    eddie gunks Member

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    the c and non c lenses have better shutters than the kl.....

    awesome camera BTW
     
  6. thisismyname09

    thisismyname09 Member

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    That's interesting; how did you find this out?
     
  7. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    The RB lenses are super for portraiture, the transitions are typically very smooth.

    The newest KL lenses have, in my opinion, better colour neutrality. I suspect that it's more than coatings that distinguish the KLs- I think they are better colour corrected. And note that if you shoot b&w, dispersion does still matter.

    I'd advise going with the newest pro SD body and KL lenses if your budget permits. The price difference between new and much older (and probably heavily used) RB gear is typically small (at least compared with their main competitor, the hassies).

    The standout lenses, to me, are: the 65 KL, the 127 KL, the 150 SF, and the 210 KL apo, the latter being quite possibly the best all round lens in the system.

    Consider getting a motorized 6x8 back as well. And if you aren't familiar with bellows factor, a metering prism will be a welcome tool. The RB is such a weapon for closeups, and a metering prism really speeds you along.

    P.S. I've had no issues at all with the KL shutters, and I don't see why I should expect any. The RB system remains the most rock solid system on the market, bar none.
     
  8. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    Keep in mind that the RB67 was developed and "hard used" as the standard workhorse of studio photography. There is no question as to its place in portraiture right up to its displacement with digital systems.

    Pre-C lenses are certainly a bargain--and fraught with possible issues. One of the common ones is separation of the cement in the lens elements around the periphery--and problems with much slower performance at the highest speed of 1/500. Rarely are they worth the cost of reconditioning due to the current exchange values. The coating issue also presents--and can make for real problems if the camera is taken out of the studio environment.

    The KL series requires an adapter--and rarely will one actually note a difference in performance with the C series. This latter series is affordable, a huge performer, and less likely to be subject to problems as the non-C lenses. The coatings match well to standard studio lighting solutions and also work well with field usage.

    Of course, a lot of RB bodies and lenses have been beat to death and hung up fairly useless. The best venue is through a retailer such as KEH who vastly underrates the condition of a lens, and provides protections to the buyer that are not available in such places as Fleabay.

    IMHO, if you leave the comfort of the studio and attach a grip with release, a prism is a sheer nuisance. Field use off the tripod is best accomplished with a waist level finder and a good depth of field. Nothing really beats a quality handheld meter either inside or outside the studio....:smile:
     
  9. eddie gunks

    eddie gunks Member

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    my buddy repairs them. say s the kl shutters use plastic where the others do not.

    that being said, i am sure all work fine but if you are unfortunate to have one that has been ridden hard in the studio this is where the difficulty may lie.

    i have been using my very old and well used C lenses for many years with no problem. i would love the KL lenses for sure but i have too many RB lenses now.

    eddie
     
  10. danegermouse

    danegermouse Member

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    i highly recommend the rb system as possibly the best value for money going around. the bellows focus is great for portraiture and the depth of field is very shallow rendering out of focus areas with great tones. the 140mm macro is a surprisingly good portrait lens and has some of the nicest bokeh of any lens i have used. i have a non-c 90mm that has quite low contrast for outdoor b/w but other than that it performs quite well. i personally see no reason why the newer, more expensive sd model would be better but at the end of the day, buy what you can afford and then buy all the film that you can't.

    dane.
     
  11. photoncatcher

    photoncatcher Member

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    Amen to all these posts. I've been using my RB for many years, and the glass is as good as it gets. The 180 is a fantastic portrait lens, and as stated, the bellows focusing is a huge plus. I would also suggest a good lens shade for out door work. The camera also lends it self very well to just about any other kind of photographic genre from landscape, to product type shots. Definately a great bang for your buck.
     
  12. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I've been using my RB67 for a few years and really love it. I only have 3 lenses(50,90180) all are the c type but still great pictures.(I'm a cheap SOB!:D)

    Jeff
     
  13. CGW

    CGW Member

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    "The KL series requires an adapter"

    For what? KL lenses come with an adapter to snug up the fit on the large throated RB67 Pro SD body only. Non C and C lenses need the adapter for the SD body only. The adapter slips off, allowing KL lenses to fit the older Pro and Pro S bodies--no issues.

    Recently got a NOS RB 150/3.5 KL--killer!

    It's a great system. It's far more flexible than many think and a relative bargain now. Shoot a roll of 120 slide film and you'll be hooked.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 22, 2010
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  15. eddie gunks

    eddie gunks Member

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  16. smallfooties

    smallfooties Member

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    i just picked up a mamiya rb67... just waiting for it in the mail... this thread has gotten me all excited about it. I was also comparing it with the hasselblad 500cm... but it's way too expensive for me at the moment... :D
     
  17. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    Hands down, the RB system is the best MF SLR for the money today. If/when you get bored with traditional uses, you can make a mount for your 4x5 camera (that you will buy, sooner or later), as well as mount a rotating back on the camera and get full movements while still shooting 120 roll film and using the RB lenses and their shutters. Think of it as Flex Body on acid...
     
  18. rulnacco

    rulnacco Member

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    The difference is that the earlier lenses (C and non-C) had nearly all metal parts, which could be replaced individually if necessary. According to what I have learned online, the KL-L shutters not only contain more plastic, but they are installed as an integral unit. If one goes bad, it cannot be repaired--you have to replace the whole shutter unit, which can be a good bit more expensive proposition.

    I've gone with all C lenses for that reason--as I've bought all mine used (from KEH) and I don't know their provenance, I wanted to have the ability to get them back up and working quickly and affordably if something did go wrong. And, as good as KEH normally is, I have had to address a few problems along the way.

    In terms of bang-for-buck, the C lenses are great. The KL-L lenses might actually be better in terms of optical quality, but I believe you'd be hard pressed to see it under normal circumstances. My 90 and 127 C lenses are both razor sharp.

    Right now, at the prices the RB67 and the C lenses are available for used, this system might be the best photographic bargain in existence! (I just ordered a 140 macro lens in bargain condition from KEH: $139!!! Crazy.)
     
  19. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    Yep, the RB67 system and accessories are too cheap to pass up right now. I'm thoroughly enjoying mine.
     
  20. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Both non-C and C lenses aren't axiomatically better than KLs, especially if they're hi-mileage units--all that metal doesn't last forever. Besides, fixes cost money and time. I do see better contrast from my KL lenses than my Cs--not huge but obvious under under some lighting conditions. I think anyone venturing into the RB67 system needs to be aware that much of this gear was heavily used, regardless of the "workhorse" label that somehow implies immunity from age and use-related failure. They shoot horses, right?
     
  21. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    Hi Eddy n Errie.
    The problem with reapiring the older RBs n lenses is I lose customers for a real long time between visits. They never come back because the lenses n bodies are so reliable n well made.... or maybe they just tossed the cameras in the trash with prices so low? :whistling:

    Perhaps I should buy a ton of the cheapo plastic KL shutters n make a fortune on repeat reapirs?

    Ed are still using some of the stuff I did for ya? :munch:
     
  22. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    Paul,
    Look for a few lenses coming your way soon, I've segregated the herd into those that get frequent use and those that don't.

    The infrequently used ones will all need attention of some sort, the others will come to you later.

    erie
     
  23. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Here's what I don't know, having only the RB67 ProS, the camera was made for portraits, the KL is the best, I like the C lenses best, I don't like the backs, they are made cheap and you have to watch the seals which go to goo in no time. The back can leak, the lens can jam, cock the shutter, fire it off then cock the shutter and advance the film; fire, cock the shutter, advance the film. There is no battery and that's the best part.
     
  24. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    If you use good quality foam, and velvet on the hinge side of the outer body, the foam should last at least 10 or more years.

    Any back can leak without proper maintenance. Try using an A12 back without changing the darkslide seal every year or two.

    I've never had a single lens jam, in over 25 years of shooting with RB's.
    Part of the problem is the perceived need to ignore maintenance, properly maintained and cared for, an RB will likely outlast most, if not all of us.
     
  25. kodachrome64

    kodachrome64 Member

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    I couldn't agree more. I think they're on pretty equal footing. I recently switched from my RB67 with C lenses to the RZ67 with Sekor-Z lenses (supposedly the same designs as the KL lenses, but without the mechanical shutter). I had seen many people dis the Z lenses because of they weren't as good as the metal-shutter variety. I have not found this to be the case and couldn't be happier with my RZ setup.

    The reason I mention this is because it showed me that I had no idea how far off the shutter was on my most-used C lens until I compared it with the shutter on my RZ system. I had never had them CLA'd because I didn't have the money. The older lenses may be "workhorses" but they are a gamble if you don't plan to have them serviced. Who knows how I ever got the great photos that I did out of that lens. I would never buy one again without planning to have a CLA done on it right off the bat.

    Don't let the reputation the RB67 has fool you into believing that they will run forever no matter what. The all-mechanical, solid construction may make them easier to repair and maintain, but they're still going to need it just like any other piece of gear.
     
  26. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    Exactly correct, all need service regardless if you expect em to preform as designed.

    As for electronic shutters... maybe time better, but can't do the test of time. Ah but maybe you won't have it that long anyway.

    BTW: anyone tossing their old C n Non C lenses in the trash can toss em my way anytime.