I think that digital backs for the RB67 are pricey.
Having owned 2 of these beauties and rueing the days I sold both of them, I say go for it. You will find little things that you don't much like about the RB..... not much, mind you and not big stuff, but some little stuff, and you will mostly be very glad you have the camera. Get a 127mm lens. For close ups it is the best. Use it and love it. It will never let you down.
"Hand held easily" I guess depends on perspective or what one compares it to. I've seen RBs but never used one, much less tried to hand hold one. Didn't look that hand holdable. Workable, sure - so is putting an outboard on a bathtub and calling it a motorboat, but it won't compete with a cabin cruiser.
Originally Posted by tomalophicon
Seriously, I see these and other points. I'd almost be tempted to buy one and play with it and see if I liked it, if I didn't already have cameras and other spending priorities, including a lighter (and less broken - my old Tech III is workable but with some hassle factor from various bits not being quite right any more.)
This thread is strangely lacking in picture to try and inspire the OP, let me try and change that :-) If you like careful, considered photography - but with the option of far greater spontaneity than what is possible with your 4x5in camera - the RB67 is probably the best cameras system ever made, and a steal at current prices. Forgive me if I gush a bit, but few people seem to understand the greatness of this system.
I shoot both 35mm (Olympus OM, Leica), and 4x5in (Linhof Technika V) but I keep on coming back to the versatile RB67. I find the C-series and K/L-series Sekor lenses extraordinarily good, even when compared to my Zuiko and Schneider lenses. This is a camera for serious artists (as opposed to posers who buy jewel-like Swedish cameras just for the coolness factor). Mine is a very old first-series model (actually produced in the first year of production) and I just can't kill it.
If you don't mind the weight, the RB67 can be hand-held down to ridiculously slow shutter speeds because of the heavy weight, and the leaf-shutter lenses. I have very sharp images made at 1/8s hand-held, such as this one (ISO 100 film, night time):
A recursion of misplaced values
(Fuji Provia 100, Sekor-C 65mm @ f/4.5)
The C-series lenses have some kind of magic coating that almost makes them impervious to secondary reflections when you point them straight into the sun. Especially the 65mm f/4.5 is absolutely extraordinary. Because of the bellows focusing, without any special equipment whatsoever, you can take 1:1 or better Macro images with the 50mm wide angle (if you don't mind field curvature, that is!). Oh, and almost all the lenses have floating elements to correct for close-up imagery. I simply placed my camera on the beach sand for this one:
(Ilford FP4+, Sekor-C 50mm @ f/22.0, 1s exposure)
The 140mm C-series Macro is a bit rare, but not expensive, and superior to any Canon or Zeiss general-purpose Macro that I have ever used. In this image, the bright afternoon sun is shining straight onto the front element, and it's shot wide open. My ex-Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 or Zuiko 90mm f/2.0 hazes like crazy in this sort of extreme harsh light. The in-focus areas show lucid resolution and contrast, right down to film-grain level:
Undergrowth with a view
(Ilford FP4+, Sekor-C 140mm @ f/4.5)
Two more wide-angle images:
Dry and Drying
(Ilford HP5+, Sekor-C 37mm @ f/16)
JB's Corner (Melrose arch)
(Ilford HP5+, Sekor-C 50mm @ f/11)
(All the monochrome images above are scanned prints that I made in the darkroom)
While not as special as 4x5in negatives (which I inherently prefer) there is no denying that one has at least half the outright quality, on convenient rolls of 10 images each, which are pain-free to develop compared to the everlasting battle for evenness with 4x5in.
If you value your craft (and as a 4x5in shooter in this day and age, I am almost assured that you do) the RB67 is a cantankerous, charismatic, versatile maker of masterpieces. People classify it as a "studio camera" because of the weight, but if you take it out, it will show its true colours.
I purchased my kit four years ago (RB7 body, five lenses, several acessories) for about $600 - all because some pro thought a Canon digital rebel would make him happier. Then again, for commercial (volume) work, he might just be right. His loss!
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Great photos, very convincing write up.
I already own a RB 67 Pro S but you almost convinced me to go buy a second one.
Great shots and fabulous image quality philo! Very convincing.
So what should I look for when I look at these next week. I'll check the models to see if they are Pro, Pro S or Pro SD. Anything in particular I should watch out for? Whats the difference in C, K/L lenses? Based on the huge number of these I see on Craigslist now...and they don't seem to be jumping off the shelves...I dont think $150 is too insulting of a price for one of them, maybe a little more if he throws in an extra lens or other goodies. He said he'd rather they go to someone who uses them rather than someone who will just resell them or ship em to China, so he's not out for top dollar.
Agree completely with Philosomatographer.
I also find hand holding very workable, I really like a monopod with this camera. (Actually, I like a monopod with anything under 4x5.)
I have two RBs now, that have obviously seen lots of use in their lives, brassing and the like. One bought from a local guy, one from KEH.
Was going to buy the whole thing from the local guy but his shutter wouldn't fire so skipped his lens. The camera simply had not had any exercise in to many years and it froze. Body was fine with new foam, I'd plan on doing new seals and the like, they aren't expensive.
Look for non-crunchy operation, the RB requires full and firm motions. If you don't do things all the way the camera will patiently wait for you to finish. These are industrial grade machines, they are designed deliberate and purposeful operation.
When I first got the camera every problem I had was my own fault, mostly being too gentle.
Look for good fit of all the various parts. The finder and backs and lenses should all fit nicely. The RB is truly stout but also very well fit. Nothing should need to be forced to get it on or off the camera.
There aren't that too many but you gotta know the rules. For example the lenses have to be cocked to get them on or off the camera and I'm sure you've never pulled a film holder without putting the dark slide back in, but Mamiya thought there were some of us who would mis that on occasion, so the RB has an interlock that keeps you from taking off the back until you insert the dark slide.
Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR
"We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin
I'm ready to dump The 500C, and The F3 with MD4, and MF4 Back.
And get an RB67, I've always admired them from a distance, but the
ridiculously low prices are extremely tempting !