RB67 vs Pentax 6x7

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by nyoung, Dec 14, 2006.

  1. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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    OK, I'm about to start assembling a new MF kit for those shots I want to print BIG - 16x20+ I've tried and ultimately rejected TLRs and roll backs on a 4X5 Super Speed Graphic. I think I want either a RB67 or a Pentax 6x7 and would like the readers' input as to which will give the best service and the sharpest prints. I will be using mostly longer than normal lenses (180-250mm) for landscape work. Metering and weight are not issues as I own good meters and typically carry a heavy kit in the vehicle any way.
     
  2. biggerilla

    biggerilla Member

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    Well it seems that I too have had the opportunity to weigh the benefits of both of those cameras. Infact I bought the RB on one day, and when I went back to purchase the Pentax, it had already been sold. I used the RB for 2 years with wonderful results with every shoot. The pluses for the RB kit might be that you can have more than one type of film loaded and ready to use if you have more than one film back. The heft of the thing makes you slow down and really study what you are seeing before pressing the button. A sort of self edit before the fact if you will. I've heard good things about the Pentax, such as excellant lenses (and recently at very good prices). If you are used to shooting with a 35mm, it will seem familiar yet bulky to hold. I did find that shooting with the RB was a bit different from a 35mm in that people didn't seem to notice me as much, makeing for better street shots where they just kept going about their business. Must have been because I was looking down at the groundglass instead of looking at them with a camera up at my eye. It's your choice in the end. Either is a good choice.
    My other favourite right now is a 1930s 6x9cm German foldup and a 1956 Samoca 35mm rangefinder. I think that either choice is a good one. Both models are aplenty in the used market. The RB however has a wider range of lenses available and you can shoot Polaroid if necessary. You can also fit a selection of RZ67 lenses on the RB, which opens up the choices of high quality glass substantially. Check out vistek.com, . in Canada or bhphoto in NewYork.
     
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  3. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    They are both good cameras and will give good sharpness when used in "mirror up" mode (this mode is more important with the Pentax, the RB is definitely better for shooting handheld at lower shutter speeds). Most of the factors that would make someone choose one camera of the other do not apply to shooting landscape with the lenses you envisage, Basically, people like the Pentax because it is like a big 35 mm camera and is easier to hold at eye level. Downsides are no detachable magazine, very slow flash sync speed. RB is bulkier (particularly with a prism) but not heavier, metering is integrating type only, which is why I bought a plain prism, but again this isn't a issue for you. Film wind is faster with Pentax (with RB you have to wind the shutter and the film separately). Seal against dirt and moisture may be better with Pentax, I have no experience of this factor. Pentax has been popular in the past with up-market sports photographers, so it can't be too delicate! My personal choice was RB, I'm sure either would be fine for your purposes.

    Regards,

    David

    PS: To fill in a couple of gaps in my knowledge of the Pentax, I found this:
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/pentax67ii.shtml
    The Pentax has 3 metering modes (good) but the writer of this article at least is having awful problems with vibration. He uses the term "shutter bounce" (incorrectly) to describe this, what seems to be happening is that the shutter is setting up vibration as it opens (even with the mirror up) and causing a double image. This would put me off big time! This does not happen with an RB 67, with the mirror up the RB67 has a vibration level as low as a view camera (because only the leaf shutter moves to take the picture).
     
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  4. Jerzy

    Jerzy Member

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    I used Pentax 6x7 (bought brand new with three lenses) for over a year and had problems with vibrations caused by shutter (mirror always up and tripod). After I have realized that many photos taken with my old Mamiya TLR are better I have sold it, fortunately it was quite few years ago when I could recover most of the cost. I prefer leaf shutter in anything larger than 35 mm.
     
  5. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I looked into the pentax some time ago and actually I was more enamoured with the pentax 645N series than the 67. The 67 scared me, I couldn't tell what sort of megatripod I would need to work with it... I mean you hear kawhump! when that shutter fires. Anyway I ended up buying an rb 67 pro sd. And I have even used it handheld with MLU (not recommended but doable).

    The RB is a great buy with a wonderful lens selection. I have everything from a fisheye to a 360mm and 2x TC for mine and there is also a fine 100-200mm zoom. The big attraction of the rb, to me, was the rotating back and also the great selection of affordable rollfilm backs- 645 to 6x8. For 6x8, there is a nice motorized back. I also have done quite lot of polaroid with it. Just so you know, I had my rb and used the waist level for about a year before I discovered the merit of the metering prism viewfinder, and I have used that ever since. It's much easier to work outdoors and more quickly with that.

    Recently I am not usig my rb much, in favour of a much lighter field camera, a horseman VH, which shoots 6x9 cm. I have lenses from 90mm to 360, and it offers surprisingly extensive movements. I now use the VH with an angle viewer and it also has a rotating back. In my opinion, 6x9 is very nice for landscape. The VH also takes all my rb backs, a nice benefit! Plus the VH, even with a few lenses added, weighs far less than the rb.

    You might find some useful (albeit aged) comments on this site:

    http://www.camerareview.com/
     
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  6. paul ewins

    paul ewins Member

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    Please read Michael Reichmann's article again. What he is saying is that there is a problem with shake **if you use a lightweight tripod**, he then goes on to say that switching to a heavier tripod solved the problem.

    So, no problem with shake on a Pentax 67 if you use the correct tripod. He was using a 300/4 with a 1.4X converter for that test too, which is a different kettle of fish to the 165/2.8 or 200/4 which fit in the range mentioned by the original poster.

    If you need more convincing, have a look at this little quicktime clip showing a 67 being fired with a quarter balanced on edge on it's focussing screen:
    http://s89612411.onlinehome.us/IMGP0384.MOV (I think that was done by William Robb of the Pentax list)

    I do have a 67 but as I use it for a different style of work so I can't really comment further.
     
  7. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    QUOTE <Please read Michael Reichmann's article again. What he is saying is that there is a problem with shake **if you use a lightweight tripod**, he then goes on to say that switching to a heavier tripod solved the problem. >UNQUOTE

    QUOTE MICHAEL REICHMANN <I can't give you an exact quantification of what shutter speeds and lens combinations are needed to bring this on though between 1/60th and 1/4 second are likely to be the worst culprits. As seen above, the contributing factor was the use of a much too lightweight tripod and a very vibration prone shutter speed of 1/10th second. (I was curious to see if my hiking tripod and head could be used with this system at extremes of focal length and shutter speed. It can't! Not without the help of additional tripod stabilization, as discussed above.)

    ...

    As part of my lens testing I next took this photograph of hydro towers the following day. Same set-up — (300mm lens and 1.4X extender with mirror lock-up) except this time the exposure was at 1/60th of second, not 1/10th, and more importantly I was using a much larger and heavier Gitzo 1349 CF tripod with an Arca Swiss ball head. It made all the difference in the world. The enlarged section is of one of the insulators, second down on the right of the central pylon. Perfectly sharp right to the grain level. >[UNQUOTE MICHAEL REICHMANN

    I freely admit that my experience of Pentax 67 is limited to an early non-mirror-lockcup model, but at the same time, due to very sloppy authorship, the conclusion to be drawn from Reichmann's article is unclear. He got a blurred picture with a light tripod and 1/10 exposure and a sharp one with a heavy tripod and 1/60 exposure. Sadly, he fails to do a test with a heavy tripod and 1/10! Even if this would have been sharp, it's quite a factor having to carry a much heavier tripod with a Pentax 67 than with another brand!

    Regards,

    David
     
  8. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    I use both. I find the Mamy better on a tripod, or copy stand and the Pentax better for high shutter speed, hand held work (largely air photography) and when speedy handling matters. Be aware, for landscape, that the RB67 is totally, utterly and completely not water proof, so you need to be very careful to keep it dry in damp conditions. I actually like the Mamy 7II for landscape but, as a rangefinder, it is not well suited to the long lenses you want to use, although there are lenses up to a 250mm available.

    David.
     
  9. Mike Kovacs

    Mike Kovacs Member

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    I think you are barking up the wrong tree here as both cameras are extremely capable. Do you need a leaf shutter and interchangeable backs, or a smaller, lighter package for packing out into the field?
     
  10. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    Pardon the question, b ut which cameras do you have personal experience of?

    Regards,

    David
     
  11. Mike Kovacs

    Mike Kovacs Member

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    Pardon the response, but we are talking about a question not unlike "do I need to buy a minivan or a pickup truck?" then talking about which will win a formula one race. Your response is unnecessarily defensive and is quite a rude approach to negating my opinion.

    nyoung: It is good that you have settled on a format. I think it is generally agreed that both cameras are capable of first class results. I have seen stunning work made with both cameras in capable hands. Beyond that, think about your need to shoot multiple film types and whether leaf shutters and revolving back are worth the extra bulk. You haven't mentioned a budget but both cameras are extremely affordable these days.

    Beyond that, if there is any way you can "test drive" the cameras, that will be worth more to you than the gear-obsessive's advice around here. How naturally I interact with a camera plays a big part in how well and often I use it. There are so many variables that nobody can tell YOU which will be the best.
     
  12. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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    Thanks for all the input. I think I'm going for the RB because of the multiple/rotating backs - the primary reason for my earlier fling with the speed graphic. Interesting that a poster mentioned air work, as I had forgotten about a guy I knew some 20 years ago who paid for a Cessna 172 by flying around with the left door off shooting an RB and selling prints their homes to the local farmer/ranchers.
     
  13. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    Pardon another question, but I presume your answer to my first question is "Neither"? I have owned and used RB67 for years, as I made clear, I have far less experience of Pentax 67 (just a few hours with a borrowed [non-mirror-up] example), and I can tell you that the relative vibration levels (and resulting problems with slow speeds with the Pentax, even on a tripod, unless you re-engineer it by attaching a huge additional mass) were a major factor in my deciding to buy a Mamiya rather than a Pentax. If you think I was misguided to do so, you're welcome to your opinion, even if it apparently has no basis whatsoever in your own experience. Am I undermining the credibility of your opinion? No, you are!

    Regards,

    David
     
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  15. don sigl

    don sigl Member

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    I have used Pentax 67s for about 12 years both professionally and personally. I own 3. My favoritre lens is the 135 macro. it is tack sharp and has excellent contrast. I once did a shoot where I used the 67 and a hassy. It wasn't my hassy, but the client asked me to use his as well as my equipment. The 135 macro was sharper with better color than the hassy lens. I don't remember what it was. I do know that the Asashi was brand new and the Hassy lens was about 15 years old.
    Before switching to the 67s, I used an RB for about 5 years. It too was an excellent camera. The best feature was the removable backs. I shot in the studio, and a polaroid back was essential. It was slower though.
    The pentax is great, but you really can't handhold it in the field. I used a heavy duty bogen tripod and never had a problem with it. Even when I didn't use the mirror lock. In the studio with strobe, I hand hold it all the time. no problems there.
     
  16. wilsonneal

    wilsonneal Member

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    I've shot with both. I owned an RB for many years and assisted guys shooting Pentax. I recently had a chance to buy a Pentax cheap here in NJ, and thought about it, but just wasn't interested.

    I much prefer the RB (and the RZ, even more) for the following reasons:

    leaf shutter syncs with strobe at any speed
    wider range of lenses in Mamiya
    choice of finders
    film backs to allow fast reload and mid-roll film change
    ease of hand holding steadily the Mamiya
    rental gear more available for Mamiya than Pentax
    anecdotally, I've heard more failure issues with Pentax than Mamiya (but I have no personal experience with failure)

    YMMV
    Neal
     
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  17. wirehead

    wirehead Member

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    I have an RB67. The biggest deciding factor was that the RB67 is cheaper than the Pentax, but I also kinda liked some of the design decisions behind the RB.

    The Mamiya is handholdable, if you've got the arm strength to hold it.

    Also, I find that I love the waist level finder so much that I haven't thought about getting a prism.
     
  18. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

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    I have no real experience with the Pentax so I won't comment on it other than to say a friend of mine has the Pentax 67 and he loves it. I have an RB ProS and I love it. The reasons I chose the RB is because I already had a Mamiya 645 1000s that I really like so I already had a positive experience with Mamiya. I like the fact that I can change backs in mid roll and I like the heft of it (I use a metered prism with mine so it's pretty big/heavy).
     
  19. don sigl

    don sigl Member

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    Just some comments concerning your comparison:
    1. Lenses with leaf shutters are avaiable (or at least used to be) for the pentax
    2. There is still quite a wide range of lenses available. More than I think you would ever need
    3. Several finders are available waist level would be one of them
    4. I've shot with 67s for many years and never had one fail. Although, I dropped a few, picked them up and kept shooting.
     
  20. Poco

    Poco Member

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    <<4. I've shot with 67s for many years and never had one fail.>>

    Either you're very lucky or I'm very unlucky. I've owned three of the 67s and each has suffered the dreaded fozen advance-lever problem ...including a P67II bought brand new ($350 repair bill). Yes, the lenses are sharp and the vibration issues are over-stated (and easily gotten around) but in my opinion the cameras are an engineering disaster. I'd recommend anyone staying away from them.

    Sorry, but that's from my own expensive, unfortunate and truly miserable experience with them...
     
  21. don sigl

    don sigl Member

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    I'm not sure if I'm very lucky or that you have been very unlucky. I have 3 bodies and I've worked them pretty hard. One I got new, and the other 2 I purchased used. Most recently an old Honeywell with a prism.
    In my opinion, these cameras are far from an engineering disaster. They are work horses. I've never experienced the dreaded frozen advance lever. I've never heard of it actually. My recommendation would be the opposite of yours. Especially now, when you can get a used one fairly cheap.

    Sorry your experience was so bad.
     
  22. Poco

    Poco Member

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    Don,

    Okay, "engineering disaster" may have been overstating it, although being able to advance the film is pretty critical to a camera's basic functioning. I'd seen a couple threads on this problem on pnet, but unfortunately ignored the warning when I bought my first used one. In fact, improved advance mechanism was one of the upgrades touted by the P67II and the reason I bit the bullet so hard to get one. But that one, too, froze on me.

    I don't make a habit of trashing equipment on forums (particularly my own:sad: ), and I'm sure most people's luck with the P67 has been better than mine. But I think prospective buyers should be aware that at least some have had "issues" with the P67s.
     
  23. Mike Kovacs

    Mike Kovacs Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  24. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    No bias in your recommendations Mike...:tongue:
     
  25. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    David, I crawl in the dust before you since youre able to detect the shutter induced vibration through the mirror induced vibration when firing the P67. :D
    I cant, not even with a laser penlight. Only with mirror lockup I was able to see the minor vibration caused by the shutter.
    As for tripods, its the head that matters.
    One must realize that the Pentax and Mamiya are very different beast designed for different tasks. You can handhold a M67 in the field and you can use a P67 in portrait mode in a studio but it would be easier the other way around. The revolving/interchangeable backs on M67 is a factor but so is the ease of operating the P67. As said before asking which to choose is like asking if one should go for blonds or brunettes.
    I have an old Pentax 6X7 MLU and havn't experienced any problems with that thuogh it has seen pro use before I bough it. Before I bought it I was tempted by a Mamiya RB67.
    Cheers
    Søren
     
  26. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I have a Pentx 67 MLU along with 45mm, 90mm, and 165mm LS lenses. I have lugged this kit around Africa for a total of 6 months as well as many other trips. I used mostly Velvia and printed Cibachromes up to 20x24. I used a Bogen 3012 tripod, certainly not huge. Usually used a cable release and MLU. Never had any problems with camera shake, even when using it on a monopod. All of the lenses are sharp. Never a mechanical problem. Just picked up a used Pentax 67II on Ebay but I haven't had a chance to use it much. Looks really nice.