RB67 or Nikon F5 for a student?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Markok765, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

    Messages:
    2,270
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    Ontario, Can
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I looked on KEH.com today, and a RB67 body in good condition was only $200!

    I'm wondering if I should get one, or a Nikon F5.

    I don't have a MF enlarger lens or neg carrier for my Beselar 67. It can handle the neg if I had them though.

    What do you guys think?
     
  2. keithwms

    keithwms Member

    Messages:
    6,074
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Location:
    Charlottesvi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    They are *totally* different tools. But if you are seriously debating which one and don't plan to do handheld sports.... rb for sure.

    Don't need a neg carrier, you can make yourself one. Or just make contacts until you get one.
     
  3. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

    Messages:
    2,270
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    Ontario, Can
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    What about the enlarger lens though?

    EDIT, Added: And I can't bulk load MF, so it would get expensive.
     
  4. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

    Messages:
    2,270
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    Ontario, Can
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Also, the lenses for the RB67 are very expensive. $400 for a normal lens!
     
  5. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,380
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Oakville and
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I would go with the F5.
     
  6. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

    Messages:
    1,602
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2005
    Location:
    Henrico, Vir
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    First of all, like Keith said, they are totally different.

    Second, $400 gets you the 90mm KL lens in EX+ condition. You don't have to spend anywhere near that amount of money to get a superb lens. My 90mm C Lens (bought in BGN condition) looked almost new when I bought. For less than $100.

    RB67 gear is ridiculously cheap. I bought all of my RB67 gear from KEH for less than $1000. That includes a body, metered prism, 2 film backs and 65mm, 90mm and 180mm lenses (all C lenses)
     
  7. keithwms

    keithwms Member

    Messages:
    6,074
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Location:
    Charlottesvi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yeah, $400 is inexpensive for some of the rb lenses in Ex condition. But you may as well get a kit, with the 90mm or 127mm lens. Get a full working kit.

    Bear in mind that with the rb you can shoot many different formats- 120/220 in 645, 6x7 and 6x8, and sheet film (3.25x2.25), fuji instant film, and even 4x5 sheets if you don't mind wasting the film. The lenses are very good and produce results that are credible versus LF.

    I think you have to step back and ask yourself what your longer term intentions are. The rb is a weapon for macro and normal and wide, and the shooting style is quite different from 35mm. The F5 is a weapon for rapid fire normal/tele photojournalism, a totally different beast that can take much, much faster and longer lenses and VR zooms and whatnot.

    Just based on capabilities, you simply cannot compare them point by point, they are totally different tools. So you have to ask yourself what you want to do. If you're thinking of getting into MF then the rb is a very versatile and affordable way to do that.

    N.b. in my own opinion, the F5s are now overpriced. Some years ago when the F6 came out, I sold my F5 and traded 'down' to an F100 because I wanted a smaller/lighter camera with similar capabilities and optional grip. I remember going to b&h and looking at the prices and marvelling with a clerk there at how the F5s were still costing almost as much as the freaking brand new F6! Obviously different people place different values on their F5. I definitely wouldn't dog the F5, I just... couldn't justify it's heft for my own 35mm needs.
     
  8. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

    Messages:
    2,270
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    Ontario, Can
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Keith, the F5s range from $350 in BGN to $500 in LN condition on Keh.com

    Do you think that is too much for a F5?
     
  9. keithwms

    keithwms Member

    Messages:
    6,074
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Location:
    Charlottesvi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    For ~$500-800, personally, I would seek an fm3a or one of the earlier incarnations which are far less costly. I personally have no use for a big auto everything camera with so much battery dependence and mechanical intricacy. If I were a sports enthusiast I would have kept the F5, but I'm not...

    It all comes down to your shooting style and intentions. The F5 may well be the tool for you, only you can determine that. N.b KEH will give you 7 days to try it out. Why not have them send you a few cameras and keep your fave. Maybe the bargain F5 would be perfect, who knows...
     
  10. mark

    mark Member

    Messages:
    5,262
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    No shooting on the fly with an Rb. Remember that.
     
  11. DBP

    DBP Member

    Messages:
    1,896
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Location:
    Alexandria,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Neither. I seem to recall that you already have a 35mm SLR. The obvious next steps are either medium format, a rangefinder, or both. Frankly, unless you are shooting sports professionally an F5 is overkill. And even if you are shooting sports there is a great deal that can be done with less automation. Some of the most famous sports pics ever were shot with RB Graflexes and Speed Graphics. If you want to try medium but aren't sure, I would suggest something smaller. The RB 67 is an awfully big beast, really best used on a tripod. Try a TLR or one of the smaller MF SLRs, like the Bronicas. Or you could try a MF rangefinder, like one of the Fuji models. It really depends on what you want to shoot. If you are shooting buildings or doing a lot of studio work, the RB67 makes more sense, but for anything else, try something smaller and cheaper and spend the extra money on film.
     
  12. keithwms

    keithwms Member

    Messages:
    6,074
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Location:
    Charlottesvi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You might look at a 645- a sort of philosophical compromise between the shooting speed and bumblebee compositional style of a 35mm slr and a bigger, slower MF beast like the rb67. There is definitely some advantage to 645 capture relative to 35mm, and there is also a big advanatge (along the lines of what Mark said) to a 645 versus the rb in terms of handholdability. There are a lot of supercute 645s and some pretty bright lenses for them too. The mamiya manual 645 lenses are a steal, by the way. I just bought up a bunch.

    You cannot really do available light shooting with an rb, the lenses are way too dark. The fastest lens in the rb/rz lineup is f/2.8, which is the bare threshhold of brightness if you are into nighttime street/club stuff.

    When I was getting into MF I must have gotten just about everything from KEH to try out. I settled on the rb, but in addition to that, I happily shoot a mamiya 645 and an F100 and an OM1 and some XAs. Different tools for different tasks, of course. I recently deployed the 645 for some dark club stuff at 3200 in colour, and was quite pleased.

    Along the lines of what DBP said about F5 "overkill," I agree with that- an F5 is something that you shouldn't get unless you are crystal clear what it is going to do for your shooting. The thing is weathersealed for 'nam and the AF probably develops enough torque to run a ceiling fan. The F5 is not overkill for some people... but that you are unsure whether it is right for you, means that it almost certainly is overkill. It is chick magnet though, that is for sure. So choose wisely :wink:
     
  13. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

    Messages:
    1,504
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Westminster,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    With a micro lens on an RB you can shoot a fly. Ha ha ha ha

    All depends on what you want to photograph. An RB and an F5 are to two different tools, as said early in this thread.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. f/stopblues

    f/stopblues Member

    Messages:
    204
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    Location:
    Kansas City,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I picked up a 6x7 slr (Bronica GS-1) and really love the thing! The trade off, as others have said, is portability and lens speed. However, those things don't seem to matter much when you're staring at some big ol' negatives :smile:

    As I side note, I no longer have space for a darkroom and have a Beseler 6x7 carrier and a Nikkor enlarger lens I used for it. I'd let them go for a very reasonable sum!

    Good luck on your quandary though.. I'm positive you'll have fun either way you go.
     
  16. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

    Messages:
    2,223
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    Regina, SK,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The FM3a is getting close to a grand. The F5 is a lot cheaper. The FE2 isn't too bad though.

    I like medium format a lot (I have a Bronica SQ-A). I wouldn't call it a substitute for a 35mm camera. 35mm cameras are far more flexible. Lenses are cheaper. More lenses are available. Motor drives are way faster. The cameras are handholdable. (Medium format is theoretically handholdable but you'll do far better with a tripod.)

    The way to find out if you want to shoot medium format is to get a TLR for a couple of hundred dollars. It'll have a lens already and it'll be self-contained. If you end up liking that, you'll know the answer to your question.

    My personal photographic priority is flexibility. I want to be able to shoot nearly anything. 35mm was the best way to do that. Now that I have more money and gear has come down in price, I have gotten larger format gear so that I can do some of things I can already do, better. For example, the 35mm is great at candid portraiture but more formal portraiture is far superior with the larger negative on my SQ-A. However, I could do a competent job of it with 35mm.
     
  17. keithwms

    keithwms Member

    Messages:
    6,074
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Location:
    Charlottesvi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Marko, if you were nearby I would loan you an rb or whatever and let you try it for a few weeks. Is there someone nearby who can do that? What I think you need to do is experiment, shoot some rolls, see how the camera affects your way of thinking. It's not like you have an illness and one of the smart doctors here is going to have your prescription. What you have is healthy curiosity and that is good, so feed it! Experiment while you have all that energy.

    I taught b&w photo this semester and encouraged the students to try very different cameras- ranging in size and complexity from an XA to an rb. Everybody had different results. Some had a hard time getting the rb to "do what they want" because they hadn't yet learned how to previsualize, so they were waving this big beast around all over the place like a 35mm, exploring through the viewfinder. Sore arms! Frustration! But a good learning experience. Personally, I think every different type of camera forces you to reinvent your photography... and think outside the [dark] box. So.. try a few totally different ones! And at this stage I would try to get as far from automation as possible.
     
  18. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

    Messages:
    2,270
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    Ontario, Can
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Wait, so I can test out the cameras for a week? Does it cost anything?
     
  19. keithwms

    keithwms Member

    Messages:
    6,074
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Location:
    Charlottesvi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    KEH has a 7 day return policy. I think they will refund you for all but shipping. Do verify that before proceeding, but... a couple years ago when I was trying out MF gear, I had stuff flying back and forth for weeks.

    But note that you should be able to borrow gear from apuggers in your area.
     
  20. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

    Messages:
    1,602
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2005
    Location:
    Henrico, Vir
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Actually, KEH's return policy is...
    "Returns are allowed within 14 days of invoice date"

    Even so, I think it could get quite expensive shipping to and from Canada, especially if it takes him a while to find something he wants to keep. Trying to borrow from fellow APUGers would be a much better option.
     
  21. mark

    mark Member

    Messages:
    5,262
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    Borrowing sounds like a good idea. You are in Toronto right? There has to be some Ape Huggers there.
     
  22. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

    Messages:
    2,270
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    Ontario, Can
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I'm around 100km from toronto.
     
  23. keithwms

    keithwms Member

    Messages:
    6,074
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Location:
    Charlottesvi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    What about Henry's, what have they got?

    Here's what you do, invite some apuggers to meet you at a nearby Tim Hortons and ask them to bring some gear for you to play with. Depending on your charm, you may go home with something for a while.
     
  24. Ross Chambers

    Ross Chambers Member

    Messages:
    703
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
    Location:
    Blue Mountai
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You need more than a body

    (advice to ghosts?)

    I bought a RB67 body from KEH and it was in pristine condition. It was to replace another battered one on which a lens had become impossible to remove and everything was jammed. The tech had followed my instruction and disabled the body to save the lens.

    Thus I had the waist level finder (and a chimney finder), the rotating back, a couple of magazines and a selection of lenses and extension tubes, but not a functional box to hang them onto.

    So... a body is a body: accurately described by KEH, in superb condition, but certainly stripped down and not very useful without whatever extra parts of the "system" that you are prepared to buy, or have already.

    My FAVOURITE camera!

    I hope this helps, regards - Ross
     
  25. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

    Messages:
    2,270
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    Ontario, Can
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Henry's here only has 35mm.

    Ross, how much would a system be with 1 body, 1 lens, and a back?

    I'm thinking of going to 35mm as I can bulk load then, and save a lot of money.
     
  26. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

    Messages:
    1,602
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2005
    Location:
    Henrico, Vir
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Anywhere from $296 to $898