I just picked up a used Mamiya RB67 from a friend and am looking forward to getting back into film and my first foray into medium format photography after years of having finally gone digital.
I used to shoot a lot of B&W 35mm and did my own developing and some printing with a friend with whom I shared a darkroom way back when.
Equipment I have so far consist of a power wind film back, a 180 C lens and waist level viewfinder. I am also currently bidding on a 56mm C lens and have ordered a 120 manual film holder. I have a ton of questions but will start with a few basic ones here.
First though let me state that my main areas of interest in using this camera will be for landscape, nature, esp. pictures of old logs, fallen trees, dead still standing trees where capturing the grain (of old, fallen trees) and patterns/form (such as of bare trees against a high contrast background (sky, clouds) ) along with architecture, esp. old buildings, barns, abandoned structures and details of same are my main interests with a side interest in some color photography, mostly close-ups of flowers, plants etc.
From what I have gathered it seems that developing has as much to do with final results as the choice of film, so, having done 35mm darkroom work (in the dim past) it seems that I should look to doing my own processing. I donít plan on printing photographically but will be scanning most of the film and processing images using digital tools.
Now for my questions:
Film: what brand and processing do you all use and why.
Lenses: besides the 180 and 65 mm lens what else would recommend and why
Other viewfinders: Iíve noticed that on bright days sometimes the waist level finder can be hard to see or in low light focusing can be tricky, any other viewfinders one could recommend:
Scanning: I have an Epson V700 that goes up to 6400 dpi and was wondering what are good starting settings. From what I have read so far it seems the dpi setting should be determined by the expected final image size you want. But what about scanning for digital display such as on the web?
So thatís it for now and thanks in advance!
I have the RB Pro SD and the 180mm KL and 90mm KL lenses. The next lens I will add would be the 65mm. Most of the lenses for this system are a little slower than 35mm gear so I think that 400 speed film makes a lot of sense. For conditions with a lot of light, I really love the look of Plus-X, but 120 Plus-X is discontinued and getting hard to find fresh.
I use a 50mm and a 90mm both for landscape and are very capable even in used condition. The 50mm seems to give that open spaces feeling. I use these in combination with a Rokunar 2x tele adapter for 100 and 180mm tele effects and although there is some fungus in the 2x tele adapter images still come out pleasing.
With practice the 50mm is sharp to the edges with careful consideration of the floating element. At f.32 everything should be ludicrously sharp.
The 90mm seems quite suitable also for Landscape in what feels like a more formal framing of any subject, not too much not too little.
Filterstacking on the 50mm in 6x7 format will present annoying Vignette in all of your images, but in 6x4.5 should not be a problem, while filter stacking on a 90mm will have few issues.
The 50mm is easy to lens flare at high angles of incidence so you will need to pay attention at the edge of the frame through the viewfinder looking just for it (unfortunately it is more noticeable in your images than on the viewfinder).
Big slow lenses reward for longer exposures but any flaring will be more pronounced, a linear polarizer will greatly reduce flare but on the 50mm pay for the thin ring version it is worth it, and mount it under/behind the hood to get as much of the shading benefit as possible.
The Waist level viewfinder out of all of the rest lets the most light through,(prism finder for this camers is rather dim with a good deal of light falloff from the glass diffusing inside the housing of the prizm, this is before nanocoating technology) there are fixed versions of the WLF that block out more light but they make the camera more bulky to carry. The newer plastic version of the prizm finders seem to let more light in than the older models it could be worth looking at. A small towel over your head could help this, I find that a hat also helps immensely.
scanning for Web display is surprisingly Low DPI, printing at 300DPI is standard for documents, web is more like 120DPI, which is why you have to laugh when people export a 2500x2500 image and then downsample it to a web Suitable format and still call it high resolution, yes the image is large and appears sharp but it is simply a larger area in a lower resolution. My software allows for export for a large PC screen which is what you could expect for filling up the monitor with your image but still see a good thumbnail.
In dim light with light on the subject I would be tempted to remove the WLF and compose direct from teh focusing screen without a shade.