Mamiya RB67 Questions

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by snegron, May 25, 2006.

  1. snegron

    snegron Member

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    I am in the process of buying an RB67 ProS with a 90mm 3.8 C lens (includes two ProS 120 6x7 backs) from a friend and he let me borrow it for a few days to see if it was still working properly. I shot two rolls yesterday and I will find out over the weekend how they turned out. I have never used an RB67 before, only 645's, so I have several questions.

    1. Why does the mirror stay in the lock up position after I snap a picture? (Yes, I found out that it returns back to the normal position after I push the small crank or handle on the side of the body) Is this normal?

    2. It currently has a waist level finder. Can I purchase a finder with a built-in meter like the ones available for the 645 models? If so, any suggestions on a model number?

    3. The camera is lighter than I expected but is somewhat awkward to hold while focusing, film advancing, shutter cranking, and composing the shot. Are there any decent handles (other than a handle mount flash setup) available for the RB?

    4. Are the lenses, backs, finders, and other accessories compatible with the RZ67 line?

    5. I am getting the camera with two 120, 6x7 backs. I have seen several different types of backs for the RZ67. Other than the 645 backs, poloroid backs, and 220 6x7 backs, what other types are available?

    6. Can I fit newer non-C lenses on this body?

    7. The camera is over 20 years old and the rubberized areas are starting to peel. Is there any recommended glue out there I can use?

    8. Are there any split screen focusing screens out there to make focusing easier?
    Thanks for any help you can provide. This is a cool camera and the lens seems to be near mint (no spots, scratches, fugus, or imperfections noted).
     
  2. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Hopefully others with more knowledge will chime in - but here is what i know:

    1. are you using the shutter release on the body? Or a cable release on the lens? Is the mirror set to lock?

    2. There are waist level, chimney, non-metered prizms and metered prisms. None of them will give you any auto-exposure ability, just so you know.

    3. There are handles, although I have only seen ones that facilitate flash mounting as well. With this camera, I suggest a good strap to use with the WLF, and a monopod or tripod is your best friend if you find the camera on the large side. With the revolving back, you don't have to flip the camera, so it can always remain upright, making all this that much easier.

    4. Yes and no. I am prety sure the backs are not. RZ lenses will not work on the RB, RB lenses will work on the RZ - so for your purposes, no. RZ finders can be made to fit the RB - I don't see the point though. see here for one such case

    5. There is some dispute as to the 6x6 backs existance, I have it on good authority that it does exist. There is a 645 back and a motorized 6x8 back as well.

    6. I believe the C lenses are the newer lenses, the C standing for "coated" as far as I know. If you mean the RZ lenses, then no, you can not. Again, I don't see why you would want to - the RB is a very complete system.

    7. try the cameraskins website - I think they have some info on this - or search here on APUG in the camera repeair forum, its an often adressed question. Inspect all the light seals - they too may be detrirated, causing light leaks. Examine the bellows too.

    8. There is a full range of focusing screens, including split-screens.

    That's what I know - hope other's correct me if I am wrong on any of these, but unless otherwise indicated, I am fairly certain of these points.

    Enjoy the camera - I know you'll love it!

    Peter.
     
  3. snegron

    snegron Member

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    Thanks for the info! I like the idea of a 6x8 back. So far I like the camera. I have always wanted a 6x7, can't wait to see the results!
     
  4. Sandeep

    Sandeep Member

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    KL lenses are the best optics you can get for the RB, they are completely redesigned lenses which are equivalent to the latest RZ lenses with the same optical formulas. They are quite rare on the used market but you do see them from time to time. There is one 180mm KL on ebay now. As mentioned you can use RB lenses on RZ's but not the other way around.

    I would forget about grips, prisms, etc. and keep it simple. The modular prism/winders that you see on many 645 cameras is not something you should try to do on a RB or RZ. Start adding that stuff and your RB will weigh a ton and not be any easier to use or carry around, this is based on my experience with my RZ. The waist level finder also offers a brighter and larger image making it much easier to focus than a prism. Get a nice small hand held incident/reflected light meter and you are all set.
     
  5. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Subscriber

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    Here are some answers that I think I can provide:

    1. I am not sure why, I suspect that it has something to do with the dampening that the the camera uses, but the mirror is indeed supposed to stay up until you wind the film. Says so in the manual which you can get at http://www.mamiya.com.

    2. There is a metered prism and I believe a metered chimney finder. No idea about the model numbers. I think for the kind of shooting I do with my RB, an on camera meter is really unnecessary.

    3. Mamiya makes (made?) a couple of left hand grips that are nice. I am planning on getting one. I have used one on a friend's camera and liked it quite a bit.

    6. All RB lenses work with the ProS. The K/L lenses are very nice and pricy as
    Sandeep said. Pre C lenses will also work, but they are not multicoated and some are of older optical designs with poorer reputations.

    Also, check KEH if you haven't yet. They have screens, backs, prisms, grips, etc.
     
  6. Marco Gilardetti

    Marco Gilardetti Member

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    Hello Snegron.

    1) This is exactly as it is supposed to work, please disregard previous posts which say the contrary.

    2) It is called "PD prism finder". Heavy, bulky and unnecessary if you ask me.

    3) Yes it is called "Flash Bracket RB". Very unnecessary if you ask me.

    4) Not in general, and forget it as RB stuff is much cheaper.

    5) Sheet film holders.

    6) Yes.

    8) Yes it is called "RangefinderSpot/Microprism"

    Cheers - Marco.
     
  7. snegron

    snegron Member

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    Thanks again for all the responses! This is one of the main reasons I enjoy being part of this forum community! I did log on to KEH and noticed that they had plenty of lenses and accesories for the RB. One thing I noticed that I probably forgot to mention was the weight of the RB. For some reason I was expecting it to be heavier, but I think it weighs about the same as my old M645J with PD Prism and handle. The overall balance and weight distribution of the RB is fantastic. I was actually more tired after using the 645J than the RB. Then again this could be attributed to the excitement of using an RB for the first time. :smile:
     
  8. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

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    Personally, I like my metered prism. It does add considerably more weight, but to me it is worth it.
     
  9. erickson

    erickson Member

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    Exactly! There is no mirror lock-up on the RB67. It has a similar mirror pre-fire feature. Set the shutter selector on the lens to the "M" ("M"irror-up, not "N"ormal) position. The button on the camera body will cause the shutter to close, aperture to stop down, and mirror to move up. Next, you fire the shutter with a cable release screwed directly into the M/N selector on the lens. Once you're done with the exposure, cranking the right-hand side lever will reset everything (but not advance the film) for the next shot.
     
  10. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    Snegron, here are a couple recent threads that might be of interest to you:

    http://www.apug.org/forums/showthread.php?t=27838

    http://www.apug.org/forums/showthread.php?t=27426

    Travis & I have had a few exchanges there, and agree on the fact that this is one of the most versitile and hot value MF camera's out there. I am astonished at the sheer number of items that are available for them on eBay any given day. Give it 12 hours, and several dozen more are listed. Great values, wide variety.

    Try the left grip. It has a shutter release button, and a shoe for flash or accessories. In one of the threads, I have posted a picture of my Gossen Digiflash meter anchored to it. Very convenient, even more so than a metered prism. Mine came with a non-metered series II and a magnifier. Great stuff for tripod use. You may find that the waist level finder or a chimney is more suited to handheld use.

    An optech B strap is a great help too. The leatherette does shrink somewhat. Mark at Cameraleather.com has a wide variety of materials to replace with, although they do not have an already cut kit. I am measuring mine out, and can provide a little later the dimensional sizes of sheet necessary for recovering. In the alternate, you can send him your camera body and he will do it for you. I am going to recover mine in an Indian Red kid skin. Should look super sharp when done.

    The C series lens is multi-coated, while the regular Mamiya Sekor is single coated. Not too great of an issue with BW, and a lens hood to cut down on spurious light sources. A Hoya multicoated UV filter is a big help with this also, and provides much protection for the lens. Stay away from the Green series, for it will cut about 15% of your transmitted light out. Also, try to shoot for the SD series film backs. They do not use the foam seal system the others do, and are of a better and lighter design. The oldest series, while cheaper (Pro, and newer Pro S) require the foam seals and they get really gummy in time. Unless you are reasonably good at such things, its not worth the hassle in savings.
     
  11. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

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    I was really happy with my RB67 until Patrick started talking about cameraleather.com. Now I want to get mine recovered, too. Thanks a lot Patrick ;-) The Indian Red is really sharp, but I also like the Granite.

    I have the 65, 90 and 180 lenses (all C lenses). I had the 127 originally, but it was always either a bit too wide or too long for my taste. The decision to get the 90 was made for me when I dropped the 127 and it had to be replaced.

    I've said it before in a few other threads, but I'll say it here again. RB67's were not made to go underwater. Just a little helpful advice.........
     
  12. snegron

    snegron Member

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    I just noticed the gummy seals on the film backs. Does this mean that unwanted light will get into the film back or does this mean that the film back is not as well weather sealed as it should?

    I finally got my film back from the lab. This was my first time shooting 6x7 frames and I was impressed! I did notice a couple of things though. First was user error on my part, I double exposed one shot because I forgot to rewind the film advance lever on the film back after cocking the shutter. I did notice something strange though. I loaded film in each of the two film backs and I noticed that there appeared to be light streaks on two frames. These light streaks were vertical and were on the left side of two frames. They were only visible on one roll of film. I am sure it was not done prior to or while loading the film into the film back. I wonder if that particular film back has a problem with stray light comming into it through one of the gummy seals? The damaged frames were not next to each other and I did not rotate the back before or after any of the shots. The stray light is about half an inch wide and runs vertical.

    I was also very happy to see how sharp the images were! I will be shooting a few more rolls tomorrow to do more testing with this RB.
     
  13. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    When you say that the streaks are "vertical", do you mean they run vertically in the image? Also, which way was the back oriented when you shot those frames...that is, are they vertical images or horizontal images?
     
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  15. Marco Gilardetti

    Marco Gilardetti Member

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    Though accidents may happen, the rubber seals are OK most of the times. The weak point is the seal along the hinge of the back (engineers were probably drunk when they draw that stupid thing without a light trap). Inspect it: it should be made with a strip of sponge, but after some years it turns into a black glueey blob. In case, have it replaced with a (far better and long lasting) black velvet seal.
     
  16. snegron

    snegron Member

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    There is only what appears to be a strip of flat gummy substance where the hinge is. How do I replace the gooey stuff with a black velvet seal? Where can I get a velvet seal?

    I appears that both of my film backs have that gummy substance instead of a seal.
     
  17. snegron

    snegron Member

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    The streaks run vertically on the image. The image was shot with the back in horizontal mode. My guess is that the streak was caused by a bad seal near the hinged side of the film back. Problem is that it only apperas on two frames.
     
  18. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    Unfortunately it would be hard to replicate everything that happened with the film and camera as you were exposing it, but is it possible that those two frames were taken after you had moved to a new location or after you'd rotated the back on the camera? It sounds from your description of the seals that the hinge-side seals need to be replaced (the single most common issue I've heard about with old Mamiya backs). I'm wondering if something might not have put pressure on the back of the camera, causing the seal to be broken momentarily. Although built like tanks, the RB backs can twist a bit under pressure. (I found this out when I bought my RB and the rotating back needed some attention. It took some force to rotate the back, and I could feel the back flexing a bit as I turned it.)

    Best of luck tracking this down...but I'd bet that if you fix the seal you'll never see this again.

    Be well.
    Dave
     
  19. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    Repair Stuff

    One source of light baffle material (closed cell foam) is:

    http://www.micro-tools.com

    Curt Fargo has a great selection of tools and supplies for a wide range of camera repairs. A good general kit is the LBMM-KIT-2. There is enough foam sheets of different thickness to do several cameras as well as a number of film backs. Do a search for LBMM once you get to the site.

    Cutting the thin strips requires some coordination, a flat metal ruler, and a really sharp exacto knife. A dental pick is really helpful in feeding it correctly in the slots... Cleaning out the old seal is the hardest and messiest part. Use the thicker material for the hinge seal.
     
  20. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    Sorry Travis, I guess that I am just an instigator.... :tongue: :tongue:
     
  21. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    Glad you cleared that up. It will save me trouble in the future :wink:

    So that is what that was! Exactly what I discovered in one of my backs. Here I thought someone was testing the water seal capacity in a swamp or something. Or maybe it was how t_nunn knows that they are not meant for underwater photography...

    If you can replace this gunk yourself, I recommend it. The two places I inquired, estimated $100-150 (CDN) min, $10 just to look and said it would be at least 2 weeks.
     
  22. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I am not an RB user. I am an RZ user. The meter prism can be very useful in three different ways. To take exposure readings, to allow a higher viewpoint when using the camera, to eliminate the left/right reversal offered by the waist level finder. The prism will reduce the magnification compared to the waist level finder and make both focussing and depth of field preview less exact. The image will be somewhat dimmer. The camera will be heavier. The framing is less exact in that it covers a bit less of the viewing screen.
    I do not know if the RB prism allows for auto exposure as does one of the RZ prisms.

    One of the biggest benefits of the 6x7 compared to the smaller 120 formats is that the larger ground glass offers easier composition which can be as useful as the larger negative.

    I believe that to get the most out of the camera that it spends the majority of its time on a suitable tripod. But this is true of virtually every camera.
     
  23. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    Well, that may be pretty comparable, but in my book it is close to highway robbery.... I regularly do backs and cameras (MF, 35mm Bulk, and Graflex accessories) as a sideline. Cost for RB backs, including refinishing the winder arm (if the paint is worn) with hard black krinkle is $50-55 US, not including postage. Turnabout time via USPS Priority Mail is about 3-5 working days from receipt of the unit. If interested, PM me...
     
  24. Joseph Allen

    Joseph Allen Member

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    I wonder if the foam seal kits that Jon Goodman (aka "interslice" on ebay) sells would have suitable material for resealing it yourself? You could look up interslice on ebay and email him about it to see if his kit woudl work. He's very nice guy & would probably be able to tell you exactly how/what to do for your RB.
     
  25. Marco Gilardetti

    Marco Gilardetti Member

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    Though I've never tried it myself, I've seen it recommended many times by other users.

    I still think that a cotton velvet seal is much better and durable than every plastic material. I don't know where to buy some, though, I limit myself to ask for that specific seal to my technician...
     
  26. kwmullet

    kwmullet Member

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    Speaking of prisms, I'm looking around for a prism for my Pro-S. I have no desire for an in-camera meter, so any meter features don't matter to me. I would ideally like a prism finder that I could use at 45-degree angle most of the time (holding up to my face level, but looking slightly down) but could adjust to be at a 0-degree angle (eye-level like a 35mm SLR, or 90-degree difference to the waist-level finder) if need be. I see there's nearly as many prism finders out there as there are lenses, so does someone know if there's anything out there that would fit the bill?


    -KwM-​