What should I pay for a Mamiya RB-67?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Cybertrash, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. Cybertrash

    Cybertrash Member

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    I've been meaning to buy a Medium Format SLR for quite some time after discovering the joys of MF with my Yashica Mat-124G. I recently put out an ad and recieved a reply from someone wanting to sell his Mamiya RB-67. However I'm not sure how much I should pay for it.

    He is selling the camera "as-is" (no guarantee of function), but claims to have tested the shutter and body. He also says that the shutter in the included lens (a 250mm) is slow, and probably in need of repair, he doesn't mention a film back but I assume it is included. He wants 2200SEK for it, which is roughly $340 (including shipping). Would you say this is a fair price, or would I be better off picking up something on the proverbial auction site?
     
  2. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I don't know about prices in Sweden, but in the US I would think that is too much, particularly if it is the original version. I paid $135 for one with the normal 90mm lens and got to inspect it and try it out before buying. It also had a back and the waist level finder. I have a 250mm lens, but I find it less useful than the two more normal lenses - the 90mm and the 127mm. Also, there are several versions of the lenses, some considered better than others. I'd recommend you do some more research. There is a US outfit on ebay that sells a lot of RB67 stuff. Also you might try keh.com. I don't know if they ship overseas, nor how much shipping would be, but keh is a very reputable company.
    juan
     
  3. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    A guy had his RB on Craigslist recently here in St. Louis, Mo. in the United States. He wanted $200.00 U.S. and claimed it was professionally used in his studio since new. The camera worked perfectly and looked close to new. The camera came with an eye level finder and a 180mm lens.

    It sounds cheap to me but I hate buying something that was professionally used.


    You can check Ebay's past sales on RB's to give you an idea what they are going for.

    I would say your friend is high but that would be here in the U.S. I don't know what would be a fair price in Sweden.
     
  4. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I will not buy something like that.

    If he tested the body why would he sell it as-is? Also, if the lens need servicing, are you going to get it done? That'll cost you quite a bit... Also, don't assume there is back, or finder included if he doesn't tell you so. Even if the kit is fair price for the condition, doing ANYTHING to it and having it professionally done will put you in a price range where you could have bought a much better kit with guarantee of function.

    I don't deal with Ebays... I only buy from known APUGer or other places that offer known good guarantees.
     
  5. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    Really? Why? My best used purchases are usually from pros. 1- when your income is dependent on the condition of your equipment, you usually treat it better, and make sure it gets regular maintenance. 2- they know the equipment's functionality. None of the "as-is", "it looks like it works", "I can't test it" stuff you'll see on many sales.
     
  6. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    I'd start calling local photographers just to see if anyone has any MF gear that they might have been thinking about selling since they have moved to digital capture. I suppose I can understand the hangup because you might think it has been overused. But I agree with eddie in that you will be purchasing something from a professional and I would hope they would be less likely to rip you off.
     
  7. Marc B.

    Marc B. Member

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    There are three (3) different models in the RB line. The 'RB Pro,' the 'RB Pro S,' and the 'RB Pro SD.'
    The 'RB Pro SD' is the latest and probably the most desirable.

    Lenses for the RB line were also available in about three (3) different levels.
    Early 'non-C' lenses with very little or single coatings, the 'C' lenses with multi coatings,
    and then the best/latest, the 'K/L' lenses.

    If I were starting a RB kit, I don't think the 250mm lens would be a desired focal length, early on.

    A 120 film back will be more useful to you then a 220 back.
    As mentioned, do ensure a view finder, WLF preferred, and focus screen are included.

    RB manual:
    http://www.butkus.org/chinon/mamiya/mamiya_rb67_professional/mamiya_rb67_professional.htm
    RB Pro S manual:
    http://www.butkus.org/chinon/mamiya/mamiya_rb67_pro-s/mamiya_rb67_pro_s.htm
    RB Pro SD manual:
    http://www.butkus.org/chinon/mamiya/mamiya_rb67_pro_sd/mamiya_rb67_pro_sd.htm
    Old RB accessory manual:
    http://www.butkus.org/chinon/mamiya/mamiya_lenses_accessories/mamiya_lenses_accessories.htm

    Check prices at KEH Camera, Georgia, USA.
    http://www.keh.com/Camera/format-Medium-Format/system-Mamiya-RB?s=1&bc=42&bcode=RB&bco=556&

    Prices from KEH, minus about 30-40 percent will give you a fair average of the value of used camera gear in the USA.
    (Odd...as of this posting, KEH does not show any RB bodies on hand/in stock).

    Marc
     
  8. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    I find pros to be a lot more realistic when it comes to pricing, too. They've made money off the camera, written it off their taxes, and know what used stuff is worth.
     
  9. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    I'm not a pro photographer. I come from construction (Sheet Metal Workers Local 36). I have owned and used many of my own tools as well as the bosses" tools. I have always taken care of all the tools that I used because like you said my income was dependent on my tools. I also wore out a lot of tools.

    To a professional photographer a camera and lenses are tools whether they belong to him or his boss. I'm sure they are taken care of and most of the time properly maintained. The problem is they are used up. For example there are a lot of 4x5 Sinar P monorails on Ebay with a lot of slop in them from just being used to death. I would much rather buy a Hasselblad from an amateur then from a pro. Even with a CLA every few years normal maintenance, there are a lot of mechanical parts inside the camera to wear out.

    I try to buy my gear in great shape from knowledgeable amateurs. :smile:
     
  10. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Here's something I can offer....

    When it comes to used equipment, expect nothing. I always buy with return guarantee of some kind and check everything before it expires. You can try to profile the seller but it IS a used equipment you are buying. Despite the best intent, things can go wrong. (and does sometimes) This is awfully important when you are tight on budget. If something IS wrong and you are stuck with the gear, your options are extremely limited.

    I always wonder why, when seller says he/she checked the gear but still offer no guarantees.
     
  11. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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  12. kb3lms

    kb3lms Subscriber

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    $350 sounds like a lot for an RB-67. I feel that used pro gear CAN be a good bargain if it was used properly and cared for. At my level of usage, high mileage gear in good shape could have a lot of life left in it, but for professional use it might be shot.

    On a related topic, I recently bought a Mamiya 645 1000S. What is the proper series of Mamiya lenses for this camera. I'm becoming confused! I received an 80 and 45mm with the kit and would like to add a 150 or 210mm.

    -- Jason
     
  13. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Jason:

    This seems like a great subject for its own thread - one that might attract 645 users (I'd be happy to chime in there).

    On the subject of professionally used RB67s, I would point out three things in their favour:

    1) they are built like tanks to start with;
    2) many were used exclusively in the studio, and were therefore not exposed to the elements and other hand-holding dangers;
    3) the RB67 system is designed to be repairable; and
    4) as the RB67 is highly modular, and generally different versions of the component parts are compatible with older and newer versions, so it is relatively easy to replace just the portion of the system that is worn out, while continuing to use the rest.
     
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  15. kb3lms

    kb3lms Subscriber

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    OK, New Thread!

    Jason
     
  16. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    Jason, If you personally know the pro photographer then you may be right. The problem is that when you buy gear from a pro that you don't know, you really don't have any idea how much life is left in it. It's kind of like buying a car that the body looks great but the valves are close to worn out in the engine. Maybe it's not smoking yet....
     
  17. kb3lms

    kb3lms Subscriber

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    Agreed. Unless you REALLY know how it was used, buying used gear is always a crap shoot. Fortunately, in my experience, I have found that most cameras have been reasonably well cared for and the vast majority of sellers have represented their items fairly. But, caveat emptor (spelled right? IDK!) always applies.

    -- Jason
     
  18. Cybertrash

    Cybertrash Member

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    Hm, so general consesus would be to pass up on this one I guess, or try to get some sort of guarantee out of the seller?
     
  19. mablo

    mablo Member

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  20. TheAZGolfBum

    TheAZGolfBum Member

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    No, pass on this seller regardless of his guarantee.
     
  21. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    If I were going to do this, I would insist on 7 day return guarantee with full refund (less shipping) for any reason. If the seller does not agree to that, I'd skip it. Just one thing go wrong and you'll be spending additional few hundred dollars.
     
  22. Cybertrash

    Cybertrash Member

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    I was at the camera store today and I asked the gentleman behind the counter what he thought of the price. He said that it seemed cheap, but that one ought to be careful, as there's no telling what a repair of the shutter might cost... That does indicate that it might be difficult to find a camera for cheaper however, and if the body/back is in good condition... Obviously I'd still want the possibility to return it if something turns out to be wrong.
     
  23. Marc B.

    Marc B. Member

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    It is very difficult to give anymore real advice, since the OP has not identified exactly which
    model of RB camera body, series of lens, or whether a film back and WLF finder is included.
     
  24. Ric Trexell

    Ric Trexell Member

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    My story about a RB purchase.

    I bought two RB67 Pro S cameras and here is the story of what I got. I bought both on ebay and the first one came from a company that rents pro equipment, so I knew it was used by a pro. At this point I didn't know squat about medium formats and less about the Rb system. By the way, I spent $300 for each camera and sold one on ebay for $120. Ouch! Anyway, the first one looked in perfect shape and as far as I can tell the shutter is working great so far. I have only run about 10 rolls of film through it. There was a problem with the (I can't think of the name of the thing) but anyway it is the thing that prevents you from tripping the shutter when something isn't right. While shooting some family shots, it would not allow me to shoot in the horizontal position. I sent it in and got all the problems fixed and now have what looks like a brand new camera. The other one had a slight flaw on the bellow, but it was not a light leak. I only shot one roll of film through it and it was fine. The aperture blades did stick a little after the exposure was made, but moving the aperture ring a bit would free them up. It would be the hardest camera to part with of all the cameras I own. The pictures are super sharp and you feel like you are using a real camera. My 35mm equipment is great (two X-700's) but if it were not for the speed of use and the lenses I have, they would be sitting on the shelf. I also have a digital Nikon DSLR, but don't even get me started on that. I didn't mention that the RB that I have now that had to be fixed cost about $125 I think. So I have about $425 in it. I'm not sorry though. Each camera came with WLF and 127mm lense, 120 back. Had I known I was only going to get $120 for the one I sold on ebay, I would have kept it. Ric.
     
  25. EKDobbs

    EKDobbs Member

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    I bought a RB-Pro S for $450 in awesome mechanical condition and relatively good aesthetic condition. Only issue it's ever had is that the back occasionally does't recognize that an exposure has been made, and I have to stop, put the darkslide in, release the shutter, and it usually rights itself. This has led to maybe 1 accidental blank frame every 3-4 rolls. I realize I might have paid a little much, but I immediately fell in love with it.
     
  26. Cybertrash

    Cybertrash Member

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    This turned out to be an original RB-Pro, so I think I might give it a pass, pick up some additional LF gear for the money instead.