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  1. #1
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Mamiya RB67 for street photography

    I have a Mamiya RB67 with 50mm and 90mm and larger lenses with waist level and eye level viewfinders and Mamiya neck strap as well as tripod. I never used it for street photography. Does anyone have some experience with this size camera and can make some recommendations when out there shooting. Thanks. Alan.

  2. #2

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    I use a 6x6 for street photograph with a 110 lens. I pick a location that would offer the possibility of interesting activities in one direction. I pre focus, meter for the scene, use long cable release, and wait for an hour or two. Bring some time to snack on and to drink. I would guess the nice thing about a a 6x7 camera you can shoot horizontal and crop what you want.

  3. #3
    polyglot's Avatar
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    I use an RZ for street photography, mostly with the 110/2.8. Your 90 or a 127 or whatever will be fine. Of course you aren't going to be taking many shots in secret but that's OK, you can still get good candid photos. I always use the WLF, some fast film (TMY2 at 800 in XTOL is good) and mostly shoot wide open.

    A tripod is a good thing to have - even if the camera is not resting on it, having the legs dangle below the camera provides a lot of damping of the mirror slap so you can comfortably shoot handheld at 1/125 and get sharp results. And of course you can shoot on a tripod quite sneakily - setup a shot focused on a particular spot (e.g. if you want to juxtapose a particular demographic with a particular sign), put the cable release on, sit off to one side and wait. Once someone comes into your frame you can release it without peering into the camera and making it obvious you're about to take a photo - people think the camera is just sitting there doing nothing until it's too late.

    Some examples (thumbnails are links):


    Edit: first two are handheld shots, TMY2@800, XTOL 1+1, subjects quite aware of my presence, very dim late evening light (1/125 f/2.8). Third one was on a tripod, waiting. Fourth one was at night, shot handheld on Delta-3200 at about 1/60, EI1600.
    Last edited by polyglot; 11-23-2011 at 07:19 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #4

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    I've used a Bronica ETRSi 6x4.5. Waist level finder, 50mm or 75mm. Sometimes an eye-level prism (90 degree) and speed grip.

    It ain't no Leica. Requires a very different approach. Much more the Cartier-Brresson thing of finding a good framing and wait for something interesting to happen. And then you'll need to be ready for the shutter delay, which always seemed longer on the Bronica than a 35mm SLR.

    You'll also have the shallower depth of field compared to 35mm.

    It's quite doable but will mean taking some time to find how to make the camera work for you, and taking the time to recognize the limits it imposes. Have fun.

  5. #5
    CGW
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    It's a challenge. Though I really prefer 645 and 6x6 for street shooting, my Mamiya RB 67 spends most of its time on tripod or monopod. I've tried it with a grip and found it awkward. I prefer the prism finder but the WLF seems to make me and the big camera less visible. Think "sniper" and you'll start to get an idea of the technique. Be patient. Find a spot or attraction that draws people or a location with dramatic light and just stake it out. Take some incident or spot readings and shoot. Your 90mm will give you decent working distance. I use it and a 150/3.5 K/L happily. It's not a bad outfit for cooler weather since it's mechanical and relatively easy to run with gloved hands.

    Re: C-B's technique. Film footage of him at work might change your mind, Dan. He just as often stalked and pounced on shots. Here he is in action:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqsOY...eature=related
    Last edited by CGW; 11-23-2011 at 07:16 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #6
    SchwinnParamount's Avatar
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    I love my RB67. Polyglot and EdwardV have nailed it. You do what they suggest and you'll do great things. I know, I do this too.

  7. #7
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Thnaks all for your suggestions. They are very helpful. It seems that if you pre-focus on a tri-pod and use a cable release, I could leave the mirror up so the shutter releases faster with less "slap" and noise.

    Do any of you shoot "on-the-fly" hand holding and if so what are the best methods, shuitter speeds, film, support, etc?

    Polyglot-those are wonderful pictures. How do you scan them>
    ALan

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    Do any of you shoot "on-the-fly" hand holding and if so what are the best methods, shuitter speeds, film, support, etc?
    Frequently. Usually f/4-5.6 with the 110mm; I try to get 1/250 if possible, and this takes priority over aperture setting. Don't bother with anything slower than 400 iso - you need the DOF and shutter speed more than you need fine grain.

  9. #9
    polyglot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    Thnaks all for your suggestions. They are very helpful. It seems that if you pre-focus on a tri-pod and use a cable release, I could leave the mirror up so the shutter releases faster with less "slap" and noise.

    Do any of you shoot "on-the-fly" hand holding and if so what are the best methods, shuitter speeds, film, support, etc?

    Polyglot-those are wonderful pictures. How do you scan them>
    ALan
    If you're going to camp a spot and use a cable release on tripod, definitely pre-fire the mirror if you're sure you're going to take the shot. I would usually wait until I see the person I want, prefire the mirror about 5-10s in advance while looking elsewhere and then trigger the shutter (pting!) at the appropriate moment.

    Most of my street shots are hand-held though, with the tripod as dynamic (using its moment of inertia) stabilisation only. I can get sharp shots at 110mm, 1/125s about 70% of the time without tripod, more with the legs dangling; 1/250 is always sharp. It usually takes me a second or two to focus though and the lens is often pretty wide open, so you can't do the 35mm zone-focus shoot-from-the-hip thing.

    The posted shots (thanks!) are scanned in a Nikon 8000 ED with Vuescan. The prints look pretty much just like that anyway (no dodging/burning was applied to these and I find it's easier to do by hand than digitally anyway), so you can certainly make a wet print, stick it in a $100 flatbed and get perfect results for posting online unless you're shooting chromes.

  10. #10
    keithwms's Avatar
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    It's a rather hefty camera for street, but certainly very capable. If you were to use the same standard street gear that everyone else uses, you'd probably feel inclined to go for similar shots, so I say good for you, trying with the rb- an unconventional choice. I would strongly recommend a monopod if you tend to wander as much as I do. Monopod plus dual release gives you a lot of capability.

    Alas the 110/2.8, which would be wonderful for street, mounts only on the RZ. You can actually mount it on the RB but you lose infinity focus...and any focus past a few meters.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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