tell me about the RB67

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Wayne, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. Wayne

    Wayne Member

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    I ran into a guy who has several of these, and he wants them sold. I've always been interested in MF, but its never been an interest I've scratched. I need another camera I don't use like I need holes in my head. nevertheless...I'm tempted. Hoping you'll talk me out of it.

    From an hour of googling I gather these are quite solid (and heavy) well respected cameras. But I'm not sure why I'd want one except to save on film, because its about the size and weight of my Wista 45sp. So tell me why should I want one...what are they good for, what do they suck at. One of them had a 127mm, cant recall what the other lens was, and he may have additional lenses.

    I think he'd sell them for a great price, but I dont know what that is. As point of reference he sold me a monorail Cambo 4x5 with 150mm Caltar for $100, which I gather is about 1/2-1/3 what most other people ask. I offered him $100, having no clue what they are worth and fully expecting him to decline. He did.
     
  2. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    Great cameras. Awesome image quality. Very versatile with backs and finders and lenses. Big and heavy. Between 35mm and LF as you'd expect uses more film than 35mm but less than 4x5. Do you need something in between?
     
  3. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    Wayne, I'm sure you can't use your field camera handheld or very quickly.
     
  4. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    anyway, camera,len,back and finder seem to be going in the $250-$600 range. asking ,prices. Selling at $200-$300ish.
    Pro-S bodies. Earlier are slightly less.
     
  5. Wayne

    Wayne Member

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    No I dont need something in between, but I am MF curious. Eventually-hopefully at least 15-20 years, I may need something smaller than LF. While the camera isnt smaller, no film holders and such to monkey with. I would expect to use any MF camera on a tripod, unless I got a Rolleiflex or something like that. I would probably use it mostly for portraits and macros.
     
  6. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    I had the pro-s before Hassy prices fell to attractive levels. I wouldn't go back.


    Mike
     
  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The first time I saw an RB67 it was in the hands of a wedding photographer - he had switched to them as a smaller alternative to the Speed Graphic he had been shooting weddings with :smile:.

    I shoot my RB67s usually from a tripod, but the rotating back and the appropriate Mamiya grip makes it easy to shoot them handheld with a waist level finder.

    The 6x7 negatives are really nice to print from.

    And almost all the lenses offer excellent close focus capabilities.
     
  8. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    They are amazing cameras. One of the best systems ever made IMHO.

    They aren't very good if you like fast lenses. And they aren't that good if you always hand hold (especially with longer focal lengths).

    But, I would have a hard time recommending any other medium format camera to someone who can work within these limits.

    For better hand holding ability and faster lenses, I'd go with Hasselblad, Mamiya 645, Pentax 645, or Bronica (SQ or 645).
     
  9. CGW

    CGW Member

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    I love mine and run more film thru it than my 6x6 and 645 cameras. It's plus size but easy to learn to drive. Two things are especially nice: the huge, bright focus screen that's jawdropping with the WLF and mag flipped up; and the revolving back that twists quickly between portrait and landscape while mass of the body stays stationary. Bellows focusing lets you get close without tubes or macro lenses. If you get one, study an online manual, especially for exposure comp at various distances.

    I'd get the newest body you can find, a clean Pro S is kind of a minimum. With those and Pro S or Pro SD backs, you get the face-saving double-exposure lock-outs the ancient Pro bodies and backs lack. "C" lenses are what you want; K/L lenses have updated optics and coatings identical to the RZ lenses.

    They're still fairly cheap, though I'd not shy from building a kit up piece by piece. There are lots on the market but that also includes bodies, lenses and backs that are utterly smoked. Be picky and be patient. The big negatives are addictive.
     
  10. Wayne

    Wayne Member

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    I'm looking at this mostly as an opportunity to invest in my photographic future, for when I get older and weaker and silver gets even more expensive. So if I can't get a steal of deal, I wont buy, because I really dont have much free cash. I didnt need the monorail 4x5, I just couldn't pass it up for $100. I was not in the market for MF either, I just stumbled into this guy by chance. So if I cant buy for much less than going price, I wont. I'm still an LF guy, for now. I haven't used a developing tank in 30 years, lol. But maybe I could be switched over, if I had one...

    Are prices on these going up or down? I would think down...but if they are going up that would make my decision to buy now easier.

    I'm not sure if they are Pros or Pro S. They are owned by a pro who used them professionally. They looked older so they are unlikely to be SD

    I like what I hear about the closeup possibilities. :smile:

    I do all of my shooting in natural light though, and my eyesight isnt getting any better lol so I don't know how the slow lenses are going to work. Hmm. just looked at their specs and I think they are faster than most or all of what I use now! I am going back to look at them and a bunch of other equipment the guy has next week, and I cant test them out a bit then.
     
  11. morrishilarian

    morrishilarian Member

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    I've been using Mamiya RB67 Pro S since I really fell in love with Medium Format system. I only own two cameras (Nikon FM2n & Mamiya RB67 Pro S). Up to date, I am a proud RB67 owner. It never disappointed me. I believe every individual has their own preferences. I don't mind carrying the heavy beast around; climbing the hills, walking at the streets, visiting abandoned buildings, etc. It served me well. Well built body, solid. I have a few 6x7 film backs that I can interchange accordingly; B&W, Color & Infra Red. Price wise, it's not as expensive as Hasselblads. Quality wise, they both show nothing much difference. Here's an example from RB67. Kodak Tri-X 400. Cropped.

    img208-q.jpg
     
  12. JLP

    JLP Subscriber

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    I would call that an excellent example :smile:
     
  13. BradS

    BradS Member

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    I never met a Mamiya that I didn't love and the RB67 is no exception. It is, to my mind, the most pragmatic, most versatile medium format system available.

    I have to say though...your thinking is faulty. If your eyesight is failing (as mine is), you will find the "tiny" and usually dim ground glass difficult to use effectively (when viewed through the standard wlf). I've actually had to move UP in format to compensate for eyes. I now shoot mainly (rangefinder focused)4x5 and 8x10. Even the 4x5 ground glass is getting difficult - have to use reading glasses.

    Also, as you have already correctly recognized, the RB67 is about the same weight as your 4x5 field camera....and, it isn't particularly useful hand held either - yes, it can be hand held but....you're gonna want at least a monopod....what I'm getting at is that is has no real advantage over a 4x5 field camera...for us in the "over 40...pushing 50" crowd.

    I'd have to advise you to pass...or buy and resell, or, encourage your friend to sell them here at reasonable prices....I have no hidden agenda. I dumped all of my RB kit years ago and will not be buying anymore - it just doesn't work for me anymore.
     
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  15. cramej

    cramej Subscriber

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    Buy it.

    I enjoy using my RB. I like the ergonomics of handholding with the left hand bracket and prism finder. Yes, it's heavy, but it makes you feel like more of a man when some other joe schmoe walks past with a Canon rebel and 18-55 with his jaw dragging on the ground.:D

    I use the 50, 90, 150sf and 180 and they are all fantastic. Once I got my focus screen calibrated they were even better. Buy it and don't look back!
     
  16. Wayne

    Wayne Member

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    I certainly dont think smaller is better for my eyes...But silver is expensive and gets shot less and less in my 8x10 especially and I dont see it coming down again in my lifetime, nor do I see my income going up. Plus the idea of just needing a camera and tripod is attractive-I might actually shoot more, i rarely bring my LF gear on trips anymore. I doubt if I will be TOO impressed when I look into the viewfinder the first time, coming from 8x10 and 4x5. But my eyesight isnt that bad yet-I have pretty normal eyes for my age, eg it aint getting better at 51. I'll have to look and see what I see. Mostly this is a GAS urge that I can succeed at resisting unless he will sell me one of them for say $150...then I doubt if I could pass it up. But ether way I won't be selling my LF gear until I'm incontinent.
     
  17. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Subscriber

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    I would just wear diapers, and keep the Large Format equipment !

    Ron
    .
     
  18. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I don't know, for those with only 35mm gear (or maybe even 6x4.5) I see it. I too shoot 4x5 and don't see much appeal in a beast just as big and heavy. I DO love medium format, which for me is a Yashica Mat 124, but that is a small, even tiny compared to the RB, easily hand held camera, and I find I carry and use it where I would have carried and used 35mm before. It replaces a smaller camera as my walk around easily hand held camera. If I have time to use a tripod and really think about what I'm doing, I use my Technika III.

    Maybe if I tried one I'd get it. I have really loved the Yashica though and have been eyeing either another one, so I can carry two types of film, maybe a Rollei, or a 6x4.5 system, particularly the Mamiya for the 80mm f/1.9. But I don't yet see the appeal of a medium format camera as big and heavy as my 4x5.
     
  19. morrishilarian

    morrishilarian Member

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    HAHAHAHAHAHA. Nicely put.
     
  20. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    Saying one may as well use a view camera because they are the same size is not valid. The RB is totally different in what it does and how it does it.
     
  21. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I would understand that if one were talking about a hand holdable MF camera. Ok, the RB can be, but it's awfully big and heavy for it.

    And I also understand it for SOME tripod mounted situations, maybe shooting many portraits of a model more rapidly than one could with a view camera.

    I guess I don't see what it does that *I* need or want. The OP may or may not need or want something it does better/different than what he has, or both of us might really appreciate it if we found it does something well that we didn't know we wanted or needed.
     
  22. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    In my eyes, the main problem with hand holding the RB is not it's size and weight. It is a stable camera when used against the chest with the WLF, and it is even OK at eye level. The mirror sounds intimidating, but it is actually very well damped. But you have to use it in pretty strong light to get the shutter speeds you need to hand hold it, and long lenses are pretty much out for this purpose. Focusing it quickly and accurately is also more difficult than with many cameras. It can be challenging to nail focus when shooting wide open.

    I do shoot my RZ hand held quite a bit. I use the 110 f/2.8 and 65mm f/4 for this. I have not been that successful with the 210mm lens. (I did not expect to be, but I had to try!)

    One good thing about the large frame is that you can use fast films and they won't appear very grainy or soft when you enlarge them. I use T-Max 400, Tri-X, and Fuji NPH more than any other films when shooting my RZ hand held.
     
  23. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    Hi Roger,
    The advantages of the RB over a view camera, as I see them.

    -Can be held in the hand easily (good for portraits).
    -Can focus rapidly
    -Can shoot rapidly
    -Rollfilm convenience (sure you can use it on view cameras too, but see above).
    -Prism finders can be used
    There are probably other advantages also. :smile:

    All of the above equate to general convenience and ease for me. The only view camera I use, though, is a bigger monorail so I guess I can't speak for someone using a light field camera.

    Tom.
     
  24. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    The main advantage is simple; it's an SLR.
     
  25. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I like my RB67, very verstile camera.

    Jeff
     
  26. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    400 speed films in 6x7 enlarge great. Hand holding at 1/400 works fine. My RB67 is almost always used hand held with the flash bracket grip and neck strap.