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  1. #1

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    Mamiya RB67 Problems

    I just got an RB67 today from a camera shop used, with a Polaroid back, 120 back, and 90 3.8. When I got home, I loaded up some FP-100C in the Polaroid back and made an exposure.

    Came out really bright. Way too bright to be a metering problem; it was almost totally white.

    I took the camera inside and made another exposure of the coffee maker, camera sitting on the table. Again, really bright, except for the half-inch border on one side that isn't exposed at all.

    I took the back off to inspect what was going on. Apparently the lens was stopping down, but the leaf shutter wasn't engaging at all. The lens stopped down and the shutter never opened or closed; so until I cocked the lever again the film was being exposed. I fired some test shots without the back on and the shutter never opened or closed, unless i was shooting above 1/60.

    Apparently one of those test shots blew it all, since now the mirror is stuck up and if I press down the cocking lever it gets locked down and won't pop back up unless I forcefully press it all the way down.

    The lens is locked on; I can't remove it. The mirror will not pop down. I've wasted a roll of Portra 160 and 2 shots of a FP-100C pack.

    What can I do, besides take the camera back Monday? Anything I can try?

  2. #2
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Yes the cocking lever must go all the way or it won't come back that's normal. The camera must be cocked before the lens can be removed or installed.

    The first 90mm lens I ever tried to buy had a bad shutter. Simply had set on the shelf so long it froze. I took it back and bought another lens.

    The lens may also be fully or partially in mirror up mode. Check it's position, you may need to push its button with a cable release or paper clip then make sure it's in "N" not "M" position.

    There are other interlocks that can beat you too. The rotating back may be turned slightly, the dark slide not pulled out (at least far enough to see the triangle), the locking ring around the shutter button, .........
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  3. #3

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    I've used RZ67's before and I've never had a problem like this. The damning thing about this current lockout is the lens is stopped down as if it is making an exposure. Assuming I was in time mode when I was firing off test shots, I can't get it out of Time mode for the life of me. Tried using a cable release in the lens, turning the Mirror Lockup knob, turning to different shutter speeds, etc.

    The shutter may be bad on this lens, I don't know. The body is in good shape, but if the lens is stuck on what good does the body do?

  4. #4
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Bummer
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  5. #5

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    It is, isn't it? Such a beautiful camera. I'd certainly get it fixed, but as I have a return window I'll get it swapped. They have a case full of them; the worker said wedding photographers used to bring them in 2 at the time at least once a week. Now they've all either retired or switched to digital, so their supply of RB67's is dwindling.

    Had a really sweet C330 as well, and a Pentax 645N. I was tempted by the 645N, but wanted a larger negative. Don't care too much about autofocus. It was much lighter though.

    This does bring up an interesting question though...seems like most RB's were rode hard and put away wet, as wedding wars cameras. I wonder of the long-term reliability of them? Certainly they were built with weddings in mind (and indeed it does seem they are overbuilt to a degree), but how long could I rely on the camera, as long as I can get it swapped Monday? Should I keep looking for a newer camera, like the 645N?

  6. #6
    Chrismat's Avatar
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    I used to own an RB system so I am used to using them. When the lens was attached to the body, was the mirror down? Before attaching a lens the mirror (and the baffle in the rear of the body) have to be in the down position. I think there are posts online on how to unlock the lens in this situation. I think it involves removing part of the leatherette.

  7. #7

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    If you can get a good deal on the 645N...go for it. I have an older 645 (Two bodies, five lenses) and I love it. Great camera and 15 shots on a roll of 120 as apposed to 10 on the RB. I got the 645 to replace a Pentax 67 and never looked back. With today's films the difference in negatives is not that great. You can also use the older MF 645 lens on the 645N and it has a nice focus confirmation with manual focus lenses. What are you planning on using the camera for? If it is for studio then try to get another better RB if it is for any thing else, look elsewhere. Back in the day, I used an RB for weddings and it was a great camera with the right setup of handle and flash, but by the end of the day my left arm would about fall off ;-) . BTW, I had a 50mm RB lens that had a bad shutter and it would stay open like yours.

  8. #8

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    I am mostly looking for a good landscape and architectural camera. Basically I'm trying my best not to buy a Chamonix or Shen Hao, but I can definitely see that in my future. Portraits I get "good enough" results with Portra 160 and my LX.

    4x5 is in my future; I may even be there now. I was hoping medium format would be a good replacement or at the very least stop gap. I will return the RB on Monday, and either get a refund or look at their 4x5's. Doubt I'll get another RB. They had a Crown Graphic for $500....seems a little high to me. The RB was $175 for the body, 120 back, Polaroid back, and 90 3.8. I thought that was a good deal.

  9. #9

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    Take it back, your camera sounds like it needs some work and for a new used camera, you should at least get a working one.... unless you got it for nothing.

    Lots of RBs were used heavily but they are built for that kind of work. It's when left alone for long periods they really suffer.

    Professioanl cameras of this caliber are suposed to, or use to, be maintained on a regular schedual as these were money makers, like servicing taxi cabs whether they need it or not. Your livelyhood depends on it. Amatures aren't as dependant on em and often neglect servicing till they don't work. At todays prices it's cheaper to get another than to repair, shame because there are so many stored in closets in repairable condition that can still serve for another 30 good years with very minimal care.

    .
    Anyone can make a Digital print, but only a photographer can make a photograph.

  10. #10
    Curt's Avatar
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    I have an RB lens that was rode hard but kept well. When I bought it they said it was "engraved". When I received it the engraving said Miami Herald on it. That was news to me. It still works exactly as intended. They really did build them to last.

    Used they are inexpensive. New would have been for working professionals. I'm lucky to have a system like this. If you can get a replacement you should. If architectural is in your future then a view camera is a way to go.

    I recently bought a Fujifilm GA645zi 645 camera. I've developed the dozen rolls of film from a trip to Italy and they are sharp. I have owned a Mamiya m645 since 1975 and it's still accurate. I bought it new and have only replaced the seals.

    The screen orientation on the Fuji is portrait when the camera is held like a 35mm. When turned on the side it's landscape. Great for portraits, easy to frame and expose. The RB67 is easy too, just turn the back but on a long trip by air the Fuji is much lighter. There is a big difference in negative size though.
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

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