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  1. #1

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    Adapting 4x5 lenses for Mamiya RB67

    I have recently acquired an older RB67 set without any lens longer than 90mm. I already have a 4x5 Technika with a 380mm Wollensak that should work adequately on the RB67, but could use some suggestions on how to acquire or make a lens mount adaptor.

  2. #2

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    The first order of business is to buy a lens that you can take the glass out of and use as a shutter. -- I have a Rodenstock 200mm mounted in a Mamiya 180mm shutter.

    The other thing is that I have taken the front off a Mamiya RB and mounted it to a 4x5 lensboard so I can use the Mamiya lenses on the 4x5. This is actually the more often done camera bashing, and I believe there is a website that describes how to do it.

    Mamiya Lenses are really cheap up to the 250 or so. So you might just want to acquire a couple to play with.
    * Just because your eyes are closed, doesn't mean the lights in the darkroom are off. *
    * When the film you put in the camera is worth more than the camera you put the film in... *
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  3. #3

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    Think in terms of film plane to Nodal point of the lens.
    Possible to use an extension tube to start. If you're not using telephoto designs you're going to have a reallllly long tube out there.
    Easiest out wold most likely be the Telephoto.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  4. #4
    keithwms's Avatar
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    I think you're really passing up some seriously awesome lenses if you try to mount an LF lens on there. The mamiya 210, in particular, is spec-freaking-tacular. Frankly, you'd be better thinking about this the other way around: using the rb lenses on 4x5 for closeups. They are superb and have oodles of coverage. 4 or 5 oodles, in fact.

    Most non-tele LF lenses are going to require too much bellows draw for routine use on an rb. I did once mount a nikkor 360 tele on my rb, just for kicks, but it was no better than a cheap-as-dirt old 360mm mamiya lens. I did eventually sell my mamiya 360 just because I rarely used it, but I know that there are plenty of fine used samples out there.

    If you absolutely must mount an LF lens on there because you really like the look or whatever, then just get the extension tube set with caps, get an extra cap, drill a hole in there, and off you go. But why not just mount an rb rollfilm back on your LF camera.... Remember there is a 6x8 back for the rb and I think a Chinese company (shelro) makes or made adapters; in any case an adapter would be easy to cook up, or you could just get a 6x9 back...
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  5. #5

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    Thanks very much for the suggestions. Perhaps I could make this project easier by adding some technical details. The 380mm is a short tele design (1960s) with a large older-style leaf shutter (all in super condition), a rear element small enough to fit easily within the RB67 lens mount, and a 77mm diameter front element/filter size (like my RB lenses).

    I definitely plan to find used Mamiya lenses asap (when affordable), but I already have the Wollensak, which should make a decent stopgap. On another occasion I hoped to acquire opinions on the several longer RB lenses I do not yet have, but welcome advise on this subject also.

    My Technika III has a 6x9 roll film back, but a deficient viewfinder for framing. Composing upside down (under a black cloth) on the ground glass with a magnifier, then replacing the glass back with the film back, etc is really awkward (for me at least), and I was never able to find a reflex hood for the Technika. So, in my case the RB67's remarkable reflex viewers still evoke wonder... Plus, the older 4x5 lenses seem very good optically, and deserve more use than they have received.

    If I read your initial suggestions properly so far (correct at will), my best shot should be to attach the tele lens to a sawed off extension tube, adjusting the position of the cut to achieve infinity focus at minimum bellows extension?

    I also was hoping eventually to get around to using Mamiya lenses on the Technika, to employ its lens and back movements, but presently only have a 50mm and a 90 mm, the latter not hugely different from the very good 135mm Schneider lens it already has. I was also unaware RB67 lenses had adequate "coverage" for much use of lens and back movements, and so do appreciate your insights.

  6. #6

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    So what does the shooting process look like? After focusing, you first press the shutter release on the body, to get the mirror out of the way and then press the shutter release on the lens? Or is there a better way?

    I ordered a RB67 without a lens from KEH, and was planning on using a 10.5cm apotar from a folder until I can afford a Mamiya lens.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by manfromh View Post
    So what does the shooting process look like? After focusing, you first press the shutter release on the body, to get the mirror out of the way and then press the shutter release on the lens? Or is there a better way?

    I ordered a RB67 without a lens from KEH, and was planning on using a 10.5cm apotar from a folder until I can afford a Mamiya lens.
    Mamiya makes a double cable release for the rb67 to make using the mirror lock up easier. I assume you could buy one of those, attach the first cable to the shutter on the body, then the second on the lens's shutter. That way, when you push the shutter, the mirror goes up, followed by the shutter on the lens firing soon after. Seems easier than having to use both shutters.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by thisismyname09 View Post
    Mamiya makes a double cable release for the rb67 to make using the mirror lock up easier. I assume you could buy one of those, attach the first cable to the shutter on the body, then the second on the lens's shutter. That way, when you push the shutter, the mirror goes up, followed by the shutter on the lens firing soon after. Seems easier than having to use both shutters.
    Thanks! I'll look into that!

  9. #9

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    I am following up recent suggestions about RB lenses and backs that would be more practical than trying to use LF gear with the RB67, and suggested uses of RB lenses on LF cameras.

    These lead to more questions, like (a) where one can actually find 6x8 and 6x9 RB backs at moderate prices, (b) whether medium and 'long' RB lenses like the 250mm can be used as high resolution macro versions with extenstion tubes etc, and (c) how RB shutters can be controlled by cable releases after their placement on conventional LF lensboards?

  10. #10
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    Your resource on the last question is Erie Patsellis, a member here. Do a search and you will see how he did it. But basically, if you want to keep it simple you could simply cock the rb lens, leave the shutter open, and hand shutter... particularly when doing macro, your exposures will typically be quite long anyway so in practice I find that a shutter isn't needed. But anyway search around here and you will see how Erie did it.

    As for the other questions, (a) KEH, but the 6x8 backs are indeed pricier than the 6x7s, esp. the older ones; n.b. there are no 6x9 rb backs. And (b) yes, sure, you can get excellent results with these lenses via extension tubes, but note however that Mamiya does offer lenses with floating element designs that will offer better corner resolution at close focus. But for medium format macro, honestly I am not sure the 'macro' lenses are really all they're cracked up to be, in terms of practical usage, because one often stops down to f/22 or beyond when doing macro, just out of necessity. (The only way to get out of that is to use a view camera for macro and try to introduce more DOF effectively via movements) So... I am not sure that a dedicated macro lens at f/22 is going to be meaningfully better than a non-macro design at f/22 at close focus... and like many rb users, I use whatever the heck for macro, from the 37mm fisheye to the 360. No problems getting the results I want. That the camera bellows focuses is a very nice feature for closeup/macro.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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