More GAS: Mamiya RB67 symptoms

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Pragmatist, May 3, 2006.

  1. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    Until last year, medium format was not in my photographic vocabulary. It was all 35mm and 4x5. With those two, of what possible benefit could the third hold? An attack of GAS led to the purchase of a Yashicamat 124 for cheap.

    This little TLR put the fun back into being in the field. No more struggling with monorails, bulky Graflex, tripods, etcetera to get a frame with better definition than the 35. I was hooked! The only thing was, the 6x6 prints best in the same aspect, and a lot of cropping is in order when printing to conventional paper size. Doing the cropping on camera composition seemed to reduce the selfsame reason the negative was superior; making the central point of interest smaller in the frame.

    I have always admired the look of the RB 67 series. Back when there was no real used market like there is now, these were pricey items far outside my meagre photo budget. But no more! The bug has gotten hold of me, and I find that I covet with all my heart a Pro-S rig with prism, WLF, and 180mm C lens. The deal is not long from consummation :cool:

    My thinking is to add a 90mm C lens right away as part of the basic kit. Other primes can be added bit by bit. I have heard however, that some of these lenses have a reputation for being "soft". Does anyone care to comment on the meaning of this, and which to avoid if one is not looking for a soft lens? Please advise, as the change I have in my pocket to cure this GAS attack is burning a hole in it...
     
  2. Mark Pope

    Mark Pope Member

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    One of the forums that my wife Karin inhabits has the acronym "SABLE" - Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy. Similar to GAS, but (allegedly) less expensive.
    I think I suffer from both: with 14 cameras at the last count and number 15 pending (a LF system this time).
    Karin is bad. Very bad. She feeds my SABLE habit by buying me nice little trinkets like filters, expodisks, RF viewfinders etc for birthdays, Christmas and sometimes just because. She leaves the GAS for me. However, she's not immune to the odd attack herself...:smile:
     
  3. avandesande

    avandesande Member

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    With the prices the way they are it is an all you can eat buffet. I haven't heard many bad things about the lenses as long as they are 'C' or newer.
     
  4. jsouther

    jsouther Subscriber

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    The RB67 is a great camera design. I had to have one too and purchased the Pro-s body, WLF and 127mm "C" lens and 120 back. I prefered the 127mm over the 90mm as it seemed the 90 wasn't long enough nor wide enough for me. It was a difficult choice though, since I've seen so many sharp images made with the 90mm.

    I prefer now the Pro-SD backs. No more gummy seals as the design of these backs doesn't require them. Also they have a very convenient dark slide holder that the older backs do not.

    The next lens I purchased was the 180mm "C". A must have. Beautiful optic, just the right perspective, and sharp. Next was the 65mm. Its great...wide enough for what I need and cheaper than the 50mm.

    All the lenses I have are "C" lenses.

    I understand that the "C" designation lenses are the multicoated versions and render better contrast overall than the older, non-"C".
     
  5. jsouther

    jsouther Subscriber

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    Oh, I forgot to mention that my 127mm "C" eventually had a shutter failure and I replaced it with the later "KL" version, and I didn't notice any difference in quality.
     
  6. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    Ah those RBs are great machines. I haven't had any let me down.

    I do have 2 bodies with nice WLF screens n 2 backs I can part with real cheap. You'd need to get a lens for it as i am at a shortage of shutter parts right now. If you're interested e-me at automax1@juno.com ...Paul NYC

    Oh and that fellow that has the bum lens?... I can use the parts if you want to sell me that broken lens cheap?
     
  7. raucousimages

    raucousimages Member

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    Thr RB is a great camera but with prices low check out the RZ as well. Newer camera, some pros and cons. I learned on a hassy so winding the camera and the film back always messed me up on the RB but the RZ is is just one stroke for both.
     
  8. Drew B.

    Drew B. Subscriber

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    I recently purchased the RZ (used) and bought two RB lenses...the 65 and the 127 and I'm happy with both. All were had for a somewhat low price...! I'd go that route but make sure the RB lenses are compatable with the RZ as some of them aren't. Anyways, the RB/RZ system is great and neg size is near perfect.
     
  9. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    What could I poissibly add - I am in love with this beast! Its my next camera purchase for sure, and I think it can be objectively called the biggest bang for the buck in the used market right now: every component is built to true professional standards, its a full and flexible system, its well thought out, built like a tank (ok... well... it is a tank:smile:) and if you look at the number of pros who have used it over the years (and still do) you can be assured it gives away nothing in terms of quality to almost anything out there. I also love the bellows - both because, well... I just love bellows - but mainly because you can get in nice and close should you choose to, and the focusing is smooth and precise and very intuitive. Pick one in good shape and you are pretty much guilty of theft at today's prices.
     
  10. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    If you start with a 90mm lens, I can highly recommend the 140mm macro as a good 2nd lens. I got one with a barrel that looked like it had been through a war but with perfect glass, and I could not be happier. The 140mm focal length really works as a portrait length for me, and the close-up work that the lens is capable of is amazing.

    The one thing to remember with the RB is that nothing is light. It's all good, it's all inexpensive, it's all capable, but it's all heavy. I don't find that to be a bad thing, but it's something to be aware of.

    My next lens will be the 50mm, but I see no reason to rush at this point. Prices seem to have stabilized for now, and I doubt that they'll head up again any time soon. There is a lot of Mamiya equipment that's been dumped onto the market by pro's leaving film, and with the selling off of the camera business by the parent company I don't think we'll see any new equipment coming along to make RB's more expensive again.

    I guess this is a round-about way of saying "Go for it!" As long as the weight is acceptable, it's hard to go wrong with equipment that's this good for so little money.

    Be well.
    Dave
     
  11. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    I rented an RB this past weekend to "test drive" in anticipation of buying one. Test was successful, and - even as I write - a couple of prints from the test are in the wash. :smile:

    Yes, I have to buy one now. Alas, must sell something else though ...:sad:

    David
     
  12. Marco Gilardetti

    Marco Gilardetti Member

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    Wherever you've heard this, there's a man who needs to learn how to focus.

    Enough said.
     
  13. catem

    catem Member

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    I'd also say think of getting the RZ - you can use RB lenses on an RZ but you can't use RZ lenses on the RB. It has an added fine-focus adjustment, and I find it indispensible you can wind the film, set lens shutter and mirror in one action. If you want to do still-life work this doesn't matter so much, but for anything where you want to work a little faster (or if you're just a bit lazy) it's good. I think I'm right that the RB doesn't have this. I only have the 110 lens (standard for the RZ). (It certainly isn't soft). The RZ is also slightly lighter than the RB.
     
  14. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    The RBs are great cameras but, if you can find one, I found it well worth while changing the standard ground glass viewfinder screen with the split prism version. I am sure this is a matter of taste but I never could do quick but accurate focusing without the help it gives.

    David.
     
  15. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I just got a "couldn't pass up" deal on one of the early RBs with the 90mm non-C lens. I see no sign of softness in it (and I'm used to 8x10 contact prints). I like the fact that I can do almost macro work with the standard lens - something I can't do with a TLR or Speed Graphic.
    juan
     
  16. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    No end in sight

    Thanks to everyone who posted (almost). Curses upon those of you who recommended the RZ. Now I am plagued by doubt, and looking at these as "the next best thing". Newer and all, and oh my, it will take the Zork and other tilt/shift gizmo, and wowee, take a look at that left hand grip, etcetera.

    BAH, now I am in a dilemma. If anyone starts extolling the virtues of a Hassie, I will hunt you down and.... :tongue:
     
  17. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Well, Patrick, not me. I prefer the RB because I like to be "energy independent" (read: no battery). :wink:

    Cheers,
     
  18. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    Actually, I think that with prices where they are, the RZ doesn't make sense for me. It is probably a more refined camera and I can see the advantages, but the difference in price will cover the cost of at least a couple of additional lenses.

    I just got a 65mm in yesterday, I plan on getting out with it this weekend. I guess that the concerns about softness have a lot to do with wide angles. I have heard that some of the early 50mm lenses, basically the non C versions, were softer than some might have liked. Of course, if you are not setting the floating element to the right distance, it will be softer than it should be, so that could be part of the problem. I have been extremely happy with the quality of my 90 and 180 lenses...and I got the 180 for $100!
     
  19. catem

    catem Member

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    Sorry! :D

    In fact, you can't go wrong with an RB, it's just that if you ask this sort of question it's inevitable everyone comes up with another idea...
    The fact that the RB is completely manual and would never (nearly never) go wrong - at least be extremely fixable if it did - was one thing that drew me to it when I was deciding, and the fact that the RZ has an electronic imput did worry me slightly BUT you get the advantages of that. I also liked the fact that the standard lens is 110mm rather than 90mm but this isn't such a consideration if you're not buying a kit.

    For me also it's important to use it hand-held and the RB is sailing a bit close to the wind for that. Though everyone will tell you something different. Some people will use RB's hand-held, and some people will say you're mad to use either hand-held. The only way is to borrow or rent a couple and see which you prefer....you won't go wrong with either. (As for the grips - not worth the bother, IMHO - a good neck strap works better. Of course you can meter with an RZ if you have a prism but again, not worth the garganuan weight, expense, and bother for me at least).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2006
  20. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Definitely, 100% agreed there! Soft... wow... OK, I guess you live, you hear all kinds of stuff.

    As far as the RZ is concerned, I would say a reasonable way of looking at it is this:
    The RZ's are a wonderful deal right now - you get a LOT for your money.
    The RB's are a flat out STEAL!

    Peter.
     
  21. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    Fringe benefits

    I am still pretty solid on the RB Pro-SD. While the lighter weight of the RZ is a consideration, the point about kit expansion is really valid on two parts. First, while the RZ apparently uses most of the lenses and backs that the RB does, the dedicated lenses cost considerably more, and likely will for some time. Same for finders, motor backs, etcetera. The deal I am looking at now is for the RB.

    One thing that does interest me as I do a lot of architectural work is the tilt and shift attachments for the RZ. Is there something comparable for the RB?
     
  22. Marco Gilardetti

    Marco Gilardetti Member

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    There's the 75mm lens with shift movement.
     
  23. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    The deed is done...

    It is done. The attack of GAS has passed, and resulted in the following; RB Pro-S (prism, flip-up magnifyer), waist level finder, three 120 backs, Sekor 180mm C with Lindahl belloshade, Sekor 90mm C with Lindahl belloshade, Sekor 65mm C, split focus screen, checker screen, grip with mirror up cable release, polarizing filter, UV Filter, Opti-Pro strap. Cost: $580 including shipping....

    I feel guilty on two levels. One, this was sort of like highway robbery, considering what this stuff was worth just a bit ago, and the other part is thinking about what that money could have done elsewhere. Errrr, never mind that last part, and I am sure I can gloat over the first for some time.
     
  24. Marco Gilardetti

    Marco Gilardetti Member

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    Gee, what a bargain! I hope it's AT LEAST in "well used" conditions, or I'll hate you!

    For the last point, I usually give for benefit 10% of what I spend in photographic gear (and other stuff which may be considered consumistic or GAS-driven). I know it's a little thing, but unfortunately I wouldn't save the world if I'd gave my whole underpaied temporary salary anyway, and it's sure better than nothing.