Thinking of buying a RB67 - what to look/ask for

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by edcculus, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. edcculus

    edcculus Member

    Messages:
    272
    Joined:
    May 13, 2012
    Location:
    Greenville S
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've been looking to jump into MF for a while. Among some TLR's I've been eyeing, the Mamiya RB67's really have me for some reason.

    I found a local craigslist ad for one that seems like a really good price. Seems to be about equal for what they go for around here, and much less than the Bay. Here is the ad:

    The ad does not include pictures.
    l'm wondering when I call, what I should be asking? Also, is this a good price? Would I be insulting him if I tried to haggle?

    Thanks in advance for the help!
     
  2. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

    Messages:
    4,252
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It's a scary good price. In fact.... it's a bit too low.

    Other than general, does it work? kind of question,
    Questions I'd ask:

    1) What exactly is the model, Pro, Pro-S, or Pro-SD?
    2) Are there any light leaks? (backs are notorious for light leaks - also bellows can leak)
    3) When you extend the bellows all the way out, is it solid or wobble a bit? (supposed to be rock solid)
    4) Are film frame spacing even?
    5) Are shutter speeds accurate? (shutters are in the lens, not the body)

    I'd add more as I think of it....
     
  3. ColdEye

    ColdEye Member

    Messages:
    879
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Sold an outfit like that for a bit more so I think it is
    not to low. But I think that will show signs of heavy use or shutter speeds might be a bit off. As stated above, ask what model it is (Pro,ProSetc..). You can meet up to take a look and if you don't like it, don't buy it.
     
  4. juan

    juan Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,745
    Joined:
    May 7, 2003
    Location:
    St. Simons I
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ask if the owner knows the camera's history. If the owner has had it since new, what did he do with it? If he was a pro, wedding photographer, etc. the shutter may have a lot of miles on it. If an amateur, the camera could well be a steal even if it is the early Pro model. That said, I bought a Pro from someone who used it for wedding for a while and as an amateur for most of its life, and it has been a very good camera for me.
    juan
     
  5. edcculus

    edcculus Member

    Messages:
    272
    Joined:
    May 13, 2012
    Location:
    Greenville S
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    All great stuff! Keep it coming. I figured it was a great price, just wanted to get it from

    So is the age progression Pro (oldest), ProS (middle), ProSD (newest)?
     
  6. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    16,799
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes - and the Pro-S was available the longest.

    The biggest practical difference between the Pro and the ProS/D models (for film use) is in the interlocks - double exposure prevention is very valuable!

    If it is a Pro, and it, the back and the lens is otherwise in good shape, $200.00 will get you a very useful camera. You can always replace the body and back later.
     
  7. arealitystudios

    arealitystudios Member

    Messages:
    226
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2008
    Location:
    Portland, Or
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I would say that is a great price if the camera is functional.

    Light leaks and accurate shutter speeds are your biggest concerns. Both can easily be repaired though so even if things end up not being perfect you can get the camera fixed or just replace the individual piece that isn't working. That is one of the great things about modular camera designs. When one part fails the camera isn't a total loss. I would also bring a roll of film with me and run it through the back just to make sure it advances smoothly and doesn't seem to "slip" which would result in overlapping film frames.

    Any obvious light leaks can be inspected with a flash light and a dim room. I once met up with someone on craigslist to buy an old folder and I ended up taking the camera into the coffee shop restroom, turned out the lights, and inspected the bellows with a key chain flash light.

    Overall the RB67 is one of the most reliable camera systems ever made. If this camera was owned by someone who just used it as a hobby camera it probably has a lot of life left in it.
     
  8. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

    Messages:
    6,930
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    Richmond VA.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The price seems good but check it out.

    Jeff
     
  9. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,595
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Location:
    DFW, Texas
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Just to be clear, the RB67 is not a "TLR".
     
  10. Jeff Searust

    Jeff Searust Member

    Messages:
    361
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    Med. Format Pan
    Remember the shutter is part of the lens-- so even if the lens/shutter is junk, $200 for a decent body and a couple working backs is a good price.
     
  11. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

    Messages:
    4,252
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Just as a point of reference....

    On KEH right now:
    Pro body is currently available at 99 dollars (EX)
    120 back is available at 79 dollars (EX), and $39 dollars (BGN)
    127mm lens in BGN is $53 dollars.

    So for 191 dollars, you can get a set with 6 months warranty....

    Your CraigList find may be a good deal. I'm just suggesting OP to not jump right in because apparently, the price of this stuff has fallen recently...
     
  12. edcculus

    edcculus Member

    Messages:
    272
    Joined:
    May 13, 2012
    Location:
    Greenville S
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes. I could have been a little more clear. I've been eyeing some TLR's, BUT I've also been eyeing this system (not TLR)
     
  13. edcculus

    edcculus Member

    Messages:
    272
    Joined:
    May 13, 2012
    Location:
    Greenville S
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Thanks, thats a good point you have there. I'll check out KEH too. I've never bought from them, but I have heard good things.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. edcculus

    edcculus Member

    Messages:
    272
    Joined:
    May 13, 2012
    Location:
    Greenville S
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    One more thing - can all backs go on all bodies? All lenses too? Lets say I got a cheaper Pro body from KEH, but in a few years wanted a nicer one. Would all the backs I have still work, just without the double exposure interlock?

    Also, if you were to own 1 focal length lens, what would it be? 90mm is "normal" for MF correct? I'm planning to give some portraiture a go if that influences
     
  16. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

    Messages:
    4,252
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I bought most of my RB-SD kit from there. I went through several backs to find one that doesn't leak light and everything works as it should.

    Buying from KEH doesn't exclude you from having problems but when you do, they will exchange it or give you a refund. They actually DO follow though with this promise. Many of them are getting pretty old and some of them were heavily used. Also, older RB backs are notorious for leaks.
     
  17. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

    Messages:
    4,252
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    All backs fit all bodies.

    Most lenses, except for a few will fit all bodies. I think APO lens and shift lens do not fit earlier bodies like Pro and Pro-S.

    There are 3 "normal" lenses. 90, 110, and 127. Take your pick....
     
  18. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    16,799
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You can put a newer back on an older body - you just don't get any better interlocks than those provided with the backs that "match".

    So if you have a Pro body, you can put ProS or ProSD backs on it. It won't offer double exposure prevention interlocks or exposure with dark slide still in prevention interlocks, but if you later get a ProS body, then the interlocks will function.

    If you do get later backs, make sure the dark slide is of the same generation as the back.

    Technically the backs come in two parts - an "insert" and a back shell. But unlike some other cameras, the back shell doesn't have much in the way of functioning mechanics - everything is in the inserts. Your back shells and inserts (and dark slides) need to be of the same generation for things to work.
     
  19. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

    Messages:
    4,252
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  20. edcculus

    edcculus Member

    Messages:
    272
    Joined:
    May 13, 2012
    Location:
    Greenville S
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You guys are awesome!
     
  21. polyglot

    polyglot Member

    Messages:
    3,472
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Location:
    South Austra
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Questions to ask: "Maybe I should buy an RZ67 instead?"

    Seriously. Price isn't much different, the shutters are much more-accurate and reliable, and you get access to a few lenses like the 110/2.8 and 50 ULD that are not available on the RB. They're lighter to carry and you can have an A-mode metered prism.
     
  22. edcculus

    edcculus Member

    Messages:
    272
    Joined:
    May 13, 2012
    Location:
    Greenville S
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You know, I was just browsing around KEH, and wondering the same thing...so should I?
     
  23. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

    Messages:
    4,252
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Here we go again.... I went through the exact thought process myself. Good luck in your decision!

    Here's what helped me decide.

    Make a list of what you want now (realistic list, please) and price it out for RB and RZ.
    Make a list of what you want in near future and price it out for both.
    Make a list of what you could want in a few years and price it out for both.

    RZ is lighter than RB but not that much. 7 pounds per kit or 6 pounds per kit. Does it make any difference to you?
    RZ has more plastic than RB but does it matter that much? Probably not? They are both professional level equipment.
    Sure, RZ can accommodate a metered prism but can you afford it? I decided I don't want it.
    Everything else is just preference. Except for 50mm, you can pretty much get the same lens for either body.

    Good luck!
     
  24. edcculus

    edcculus Member

    Messages:
    272
    Joined:
    May 13, 2012
    Location:
    Greenville S
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yea, I'm really leaning much more toward the RB over the RZ. Its hard to not get sucked into "the next best thing" attitude. In reality, I'm not a pro. I don't make my living off of photography. I don't have a full studio where I will be doing portraits.

    I think overall, the RB fits my style more than the RZ. The 35mm cameras I own are a Nikon F2, Canon F1, FTB and Voigtlander Vitomatic IIa. Very old by todays standards, but extremely well built all mechanical cameras.
     
  25. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

    Messages:
    4,252
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hey, let me ask you this....

    Why do you want a medium format in the first place? What's your goal? Adding a new format to your current line up is a bit of commitment. You'll need different reels and enlarger lens, etc, not to mention a whole new set of lenses and accessories for your new gear. Then there is a choice of 645, 6x6, 6x7, and for RB, you can even go 6x8 with later bodies. I know this thread started with "found an RB on C/G for $200!" but is the price a prime motivator or do you have something specific in mind? RB and RZ are seriously heavy camera for hand-holding use. 645 is a lot easier. I don't want to further confuse you but I think this is an important consideration - your goal.
     
  26. Alan Klein

    Alan Klein Member

    Messages:
    712
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Location:
    New Jersey .
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The RB67 is not a TLR (Twin lens). It's single lens. You look through the same lens that exposes the negative. Good luck with the RB67 if you buy it. I've found it's a very fine medium format camera system.