Consider a metering prism instead of just the WL. If you rack out at all, your gonna have to learn how to use the exposure compensation scale by the side of the bellows.
I owned the Pro-S. Loved the rotating back, didn't love the WL; I'm too short. When it came down to it my Crown Graphic was the same weight and gave a bigger neg with the ability to individualize development so the RB was sold off. If your using an RB indoors on a tripod for portraits it's a great camera. If you want to walk around with it on a shoulder strap (I've met people who have done this) I always felt it was better if you are tall with big hands. The camera is a little long tho. The common 127mm is a hell of a lens but DOF is better with a shorter lens and better utilized in suburbia.
I really want to thank everyone for helping me walk through this. I hadn't considered the "heft" of a RB, although I heard its a beastly camera. In a perfect world, I'd love to have a decent studio setup with this camera. While thats probably not going to happen immediately, I should probably rethink a little.
Motivations behind looking at this camera were:
-larger negative size (currently only shoot 35mm). I consistently enlarge to 8X10 and I thought a 6X7 negative would be ideal. I'd also like to start going even larger as well.
-rotating back a plus
-120 film backs - Having been stuck with a roll of 36 exposure film in my 35mm cameras, I'd really like a MF system of some sort that accommodates interchangeable backs. I shoot mostly HP5+, but I like using 100 ISO film for landscape and outdoor. 35mm cameras are much more compact, but all that compactness goes out the window when you start having to carry multiple bodies and lenses!
While I don't plan on hiking the Appalachian Trail with this or any other MF camera, the ability to take it out and hand hold every once and a while would probably be good.
With that said, can any one suggest a MF camera that fits decently within these specs (negative ratio is probably the least concern)?
"Why" is always an excellent question. For me it was big prints, and I can get flawless 16x20s from 6x7 even with slightly fast film (TMY2) and you can push out to 30" with some care and a fine (Acros/TMX) film. The quality you get from 35mm on 8x10, you will now get at 16x20.
Yes, 6x7 Mamiyas are large. However I haven't found that to be a problem with travelling as I can still fit the body, three lenses and a bunch of film into a backpack and carry it around all day (but I'm a large 30ish guy, you might decide differently if you're smaller or have a chronic injury). I also find that the RZ (and by extension, RB) is eminently hand-holdable if you keep the shutter speed up to 1/F. In particular with the WLF you can jam the back of the camera against your chest, support the end of the lens and have excellent stability. Or use a long/heavy lens (250 APO) with the prism (heavy++) and the moment of inertia of the camera is suddenly so large that the mirror slap no longer rotates the camera much and you can get pin-sharp handheld candid portraits if you've got enough light and/or film speed. The only hard part is nailing the focus at f/4.5 or f/5.6 as it's about one eyeball deep.
If you want smaller/lighter yet with a bigger negative, there are a bazillion 645 and 6x6 choices. I don't think 645 is a meaningful improvement over 35mm, but it's definitely a start and the ergonomics can be as good as 35mm. 6x6 is getting there unless you crop to a narrow aspect ratio, in which case it's no better than 645. All of those cameras are a lot smaller+lighter than a Mamiya 67.
If you have cash to burn, look at a Mamiya 7. Huge neg, unbeatable lenses and a tiny package... for which you will pay dearly.
While I do 4x5 and enjoy it immensely, I don't think it's in any way a replacement for a MF SLR, especially if you travel. While a 4x5 field camera and 3 lenses is much lighter than an RZ67 and 3 lenses,consider the bulk of 5 film holders (roughly 5x7x3") vs a single roll of 120 (1x1x2.5"), and how much time you're going to spend loading and unloading those holders while risking dust... all for a neg that's only half as much advance on 6x7 as 6x7 is from 35mm.
Perhaps you could hire a couple of different cameras for a weekend to try them out? I suspect though that you could easily blow your whole camera budget that way: end up knowing exactly what you want and have spent the $200 or whatever.
Thanks again for all of the advice everyone was able to give!
Just to update everyone, I ended up getting a RB67 ProS from KEH. Total price around $250 plus shipping. Pro S body, Pro S back and a 90mm lens. It came in yesterday, so I have not run any film through it.
Its huge, unwieldy and completely awesome. Actually, The whole thing assembled (only one lens so far) easily fits in my camera bag, so it will be very easy to carry around. This will by no means be a carry around camera. I can't wait to see what avenues it takes me down.
I paid $399 USD for a ProSD, 120 back, and a brand new 127mm lens. All in great shape, absolutely no marks or dings. Lens and shutter is very accurate.
Let's see your photographs! :)
I plan on shooting at least one roll this weekend! Sadly I'll only have negative scans until I pick up a 90mm enlarging lens. I'm just scouting Ebay. I've seen some going for as low as $30 so it shouldn't be too hard.
Congrats on your "new" camera!!! I love mine - it's my favorite camera (among a stable of other great cameras).
To help with carrying my RB67 Pro-S while traveling/etc, I bought a Tamrac N-45 padded suede leather camera strap from BH Photo.
I modded the "original" Mamiya RB67 strap cutting off the attachment clips with all the nylon strap up to the wider "neck-strap" part and sewed them on to the ends of my new Tamrac N-45.
What I now have is an awesome non-slip, padded, suede leather camera strap that I can wear completely over my head/shoulder so the camera rests against my hip. When I'm ready to photo something, I simply rotate the camera around in front of me. Carried this way the WLF is at navel-height for perfect viewing.
I love shooting street portraits with mine using my 50mm on it
Thanks for the tip fmajor! That sounds perfect.
I want a wide lens pfiltz, but thats the only real part of this system thats expensive!