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  1. #1

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    RB67 vs Pentax 6x7

    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. #2

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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.
    Last edited by biggerilla; 12-14-2006 at 09:31 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Had to finish my thought.

  3. #3
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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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/re...ntax67ii.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).
    Last edited by David H. Bebbington; 12-14-2006 at 09:58 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Additional info

  4. #4

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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. #5
    keithwms's Avatar
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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/
    Last edited by keithwms; 12-14-2006 at 11:46 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: spelling
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  6. #6

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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. #7
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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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. #8

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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. #9
    Mike Kovacs's Avatar
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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?
    If it says Zeiss or Rollei, the answer is YES!
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  10. #10
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Kovacs View Post
    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?
    Pardon the question, b ut which cameras do you have personal experience of?

    Regards,

    David

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