RB67 or RZ67?

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Arthurwg

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I've become fascinated by these cameras and wonder which would be best. I'm attracted to the RB as it is all metal, not plastic, and fully mechanical. That makes me think it would be more reliable, more easily repairable and less expensive, even if it is somewhat more primitive. The lenses are also less expensive. On the other hand, however, it would be nice to have all the more modern features of the RZ, even though the electronics might give up the ghost and become irreparable. So which would it be?
 

MattKing

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Pick up either one and you will realize that there isn't much difference between how physically robust they are - what you describe as plastic on the RZ67 is very strong and essentially exterior cladding.
The electronic control of the RZ67 lenses' shutters is advantageous, and the usability of RB67 lenses on the RZ67 is also an advantage - the reverse doesn't apply.
The RZ67 is a lot newer than the oldest RB67s, but of similar vintage as the RB67 Pro-S - their production overlapped for a fair length of time.
 

Andrew O'Neill

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Very biased comment here... Back in '92 in Japan, the local camera store (Camera Doi...sadly no longer in business) guy let me play around with the RZ and RB. At the end of the day, I went home with the RB Pro SD. Why? No electronics to worry about. No battery. I also preferred the look and feel. He thought I was crazy. He thought I should go with the new. I've had the RB since. Over the years I've added 5 lenses to the kit, 3 magazines, the prism viewfinder. If I had to do it all over again, I'd go for the RB.
 

Dirb9

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Bill Rogers (Mamiya specialist) posted a comparison: , the short of it, in his opinion, was the RZ67 is built better, but is more expensive to fix, and recommends an RB Pro SD, as it's newest (less likely to be worn out).
I went with an RZ for the ability to use the 50 ULD and the potential for aperture priority AE. Plus the RZ can use all of the RB's accessories (except for the 6x8 back).
 

ags2mikon

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I bought my first RB67 professional in 1978, a RB67 pro s in 1982 and a Pro sd in 2018, worked for a portrait photographer for a while that used RZ67's in his studio and on location. The RZ is easier to use than the RB 67's but at the end of the day you really can't tell by looking at the prints on the wall what did what. From a purely financial investment point being able to get it repaired means a lot if you have invested in a few lenses. Because if you have to buy another body because yours died you won't be able to get it as cheap as the one that died. That said the RZ had some lenses that were just not available for the RB. Over the years I have had about 10 bodies and most if not all of the lenses at one time or another. 1 lens failed my 180mm and a number of backs needed light seals replaced. They are very reliable. Both will provide good negatives.
 

flavio81

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I've become fascinated by these cameras and wonder which would be best. I'm attracted to the RB as it is all metal, not plastic, and fully mechanical. That makes me think it would be more reliable, more easily repairable and less expensive, even if it is somewhat more primitive.

Beliefs and myths are not good for humanity.

The pros used RZ67 for decades on all kinds of conditions and it was proven to be an extremely reliable machine.

Electronic shutters mean the shutters themselves are easier to service and will get consistent shutter times.

The cameras can be repaired like any other camera, just get a good technician. A mediocre technician will ruin a good camera, be it electronic or mechanical.
 

mshchem

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I've used RZ II cameras for the last 20 years, easy to use, magazines don't rely on felt light seals. I have the left hand bracket for hand holding.
One thing I love about Mamiya cameras, focusing knobs on left and right.
 

Autonerd

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I've become fascinated by these cameras and wonder which would be best. I'm attracted to the RB as it is all metal, not plastic, and fully mechanical. That makes me think it would be more reliable, more easily repairable and less expensive, even if it is somewhat more primitive.
I'm a fan of electronic shutters: If they are working, they are probably working properly, whereas a clockwork shutter is more likely to suffer from gummed-up, dried-up lube, etc. Despite what many people say, a problem with an electronic shutter may well be down to something that can be repaired (i.e. a solder connection that has worked loose). That said, if it does need parts, it'll rely on donor cameras of equal age. I do think mechanical cameras have a bit of and advantage in repairability.

Also, electronic cameras without an automatic mode can't take advantage of one of the electronic shutter's best aspects, which is the ability to set any speed between the detents.

All that said: I would consider the reality of shooting with a Mamiya 67. I have an RB67 on long-term loan from a friend, and I think I've only put two or three rolls through it. It's RIDICULOUSLY heavy (something like 6 lbs with a lens and film back) and has a very complicated system of interlocks. I can't tell you how many times I've sat there, perplexed, trying to figure out what I forgot to do that is causing the shutter not to fire. (Shutter/mirror cocked? Film slide removed? Shutter lock off?) Incidentally, one of the things *not* required for the shutter to fire is advancing the film, so double-exposures are frightfully easy. If you like spontaneous shooting, the RB is not your best choice.

Same friend also loaned me a Mamiya C330 TLR -- MUCH easier to use, and more portable, but still massive. Also, after years of shooting with a Pentax KX, the tiny "click" of the 330's leaf shutter just feels wrong to me. (To be fair to the RB67 does make the BEST camera noises ever. Voitt---KA-THWACK! Truly Don Martin-esque.)

Another friend (yes, I know, I have awesome friends!) sent me a Mamiya 645, and it's the MF camera I like the best -- much more portable, much easier to use, and the negatives still have that MF smoothness that 35mm lacks. If you aren't married to getting the biggest negative possible (and if IQ is your concern, why not just shoot digital?), that's the Mamiya I'd consider.

If the urge is just to own an RB/RZ67... well, I can't argue with that. I have to say, if you like mechanical things, the RB67 is a very satisfying piece of equipment. Fun to assemble, disassemble, play with and listen to. Taking snapshots, however, is not its strong suit. :smile:

Aaron
 

MattKing

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If you plan on using an independent light meter, why would a RZ be better?

Are the RB lens controlled by the electronic RZ for shutter release? How does that work?

The 110mm f/2.8 lens that is only available for the RZ67 is one reason to prefer the RZ67.
The shutters in the RB lenses are mechanically controlled by the settings on the lenses. There are mechanical connections between the RZ67 body and the RB67 lenses, which do tell the lens shutters when to fire.
 

MattKing

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I can't tell you how many times I've sat there, perplexed, trying to figure out what I forgot to do that is causing the shutter not to fire. (Shutter/mirror cocked? Film slide removed? Shutter lock off?) Incidentally, one of the things *not* required for the shutter to fire is advancing the film, so double-exposures are frightfully easy. If you like spontaneous shooting, the RB is not your best choice.

This really only applies to the RB67 Pro - the later models (Pro-S and Pro-SD) have an appropriate set of interlocks which deal nicely with these issues - providing your film back is of the same vintage. The latter two versions were produced for many more years the first one, and were sold in much greater numbers, so there is little reason to settle for the RB67 Pro.
 

mshchem

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One point. The RZ67 II, with the optional AE prism is very heavy. I always have used the waist level finder when using my RZ hand held. These are studio cameras. Mamiya or Bronica 645 cameras are much easier to tote about. I used a Bronica ETRSi for some time and loved it.
 

Roger Cole

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I have an RZ 67 Pro II and the AE Prism finder. It has never occurred to me to try to use it hand held even with the WLF though of course I know it’s possible. I look at it as an alternative to my 4x5 Technika without the hassles of sheet film, not an alternative to my much smaller MF cameras (M645 Pro and Yashicamat 124) or my 35mm cameras. I like it a lot, but for what it is. I don’t dislike it for what it is not. YMMV with your intended use as well as tastes, of course.
 

Donald Qualls

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My own opinions (strong preference for non-electronic cameras) aside, the only practical difference between the RB and RZ families are electronic shutter in the RZ (gives automatic long speeds and puts shutter control in the body), one-way lens compatibility (as mentioned above, RB lenses work on RZ cameras with an adapter, but not the other way), and in-body metering in the RZ vs. optional in-viewfinder metering on the RB.

IMO, the RB is a little more versatile in terms of film backs (the 2x3 Graflok mount will accommodate many non-Mamiya film backs if you aren't married to the dark slide and double exposure interlocks, and a 2x3 Grafmatic is a nifty toy -- would be more so if there were more choices in 2x3 film -- while a 70 mm back just isn't available, AFAIK, for the RZ). An RB will likely cost a little less, but isn't necessarily any more repairable -- but the shutters being in and controlled from the lens gives a backup function; if a shutter craps out while you're on a hike or photo trip, you can (possibly) work around it with other lenses, and then when you're home you have the choice of fishing for another good-working lens or sending just the lens to be fixed.
 

ags2mikon

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What Donald said about film backs is important to me because I have a horseman vh-r, Graflex xl and a Mamiya press camera that is graflok. This adds a lot of flexibility. The horseman adds lens movement capability in a small package because I can use the RB backs and the vh-r and 2 lenses the 65 mm and 90 mm. The Mamiya press 50 mm lens is worth the cost and weight and when used with the horseman 8 exp back it becomes even wider. Yes I have terminal GAS and there is no cure.
 

Donald Qualls

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I have a horseman vh-r, Graflex xl and a Mamiya press camera that is graflok.

Simliarly, I have a Century that can use the Mamiya film backs as well as the Graflex 22, 23, and RH10/RH20 backs I've accumulated (all of which also work on my RB67). Get the shutter fixed in my 127 mm lens, and I'll have about all the goodies for that camera I could want (140 Macro lens is the only one I'd want but don't have).
 
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The 110mm f/2.8 lens that is only available for the RZ67 is one reason to prefer the RZ67.
The shutters in the RB lenses are mechanically controlled by the settings on the lenses. There are mechanical connections between the RZ67 body and the RB67 lenses, which do tell the lens shutters when to fire.

That doesn;t answer my question probably because I was not clear. If someone plans on using their separate light meter, what advantage would an RZ have over an RB? Doesn't it use a built-in meter to set exposure?
 

flavio81

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That doesn;t answer my question probably because I was not clear. If someone plans on using their separate light meter, what advantage would an RZ have over an RB? Doesn't it use a built-in meter to set exposure?

For starters, it is lighter.

Then, it has more lenses available for it.

Then, it cocks the shutter and advances the film with the same lever, this one is a BIG advantage over the RB series.
 
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This really only applies to the RB67 Pro - the later models (Pro-S and Pro-SD) have an appropriate set of interlocks which deal nicely with these issues - providing your film back is of the same vintage. The latter two versions were produced for many more years the first one, and were sold in much greater numbers, so there is little reason to settle for the RB67 Pro.

I've been using the original RB67 Pro for 35 years and I still double expose. I forget what the red dot means. So what I do since I don't use it that often, is just advance the film when I pick it up to use after a long time. That often wastes a shot but is better than double exposing. You'd think that after all this time I'd know a red dot means to advance film and no red dot means OK to shoot, it;s been advanced already.

Definitely get a later Pro SD version with the latter film backs if you want the RB. I've never tried an RZ so can't tell you anything about them.

I recently checked my 4 RB lens's shutter (50mm, 90mm, 180mm, 360mm) and they all were less than 1/3 stop. They've held up very well. I do take care of them. I'm very pleased with the pictures my RB67 has taken over the years.
 

flavio81

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Are the RB lens controlled by the electronic RZ for shutter release? How does that work?

The shutter release is mechanical on both the RB and RZ. On the RZ the closure of the shutter is electronically controlled, not the opening.

Thus both shutters (the ones for RB and RZ lenses) open via a mechanical signal.
 

flavio81

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I'm a fan of electronic shutters: If they are working, they are probably working properly, whereas a clockwork shutter is more likely to suffer from gummed-up, dried-up lube, etc. Despite what many people say, a problem with an electronic shutter may well be down to something that can be repaired (i.e. a solder connection that has worked loose). That said, if it does need parts, it'll rely on donor cameras of equal age. I do think mechanical cameras have a bit of and advantage in repairability.

Also, electronic cameras without an automatic mode can't take advantage of one of the electronic shutter's best aspects, which is the ability to set any speed between the detents.

All that said: I would consider the reality of shooting with a Mamiya 67. I have an RB67 on long-term loan from a friend, and I think I've only put two or three rolls through it. It's RIDICULOUSLY heavy (something like 6 lbs with a lens and film back) and has a very complicated system of interlocks. I can't tell you how many times I've sat there, perplexed, trying to figure out what I forgot to do that is causing the shutter not to fire. (Shutter/mirror cocked? Film slide removed? Shutter lock off?) Incidentally, one of the things *not* required for the shutter to fire is advancing the film, so double-exposures are frightfully easy. If you like spontaneous shooting, the RB is not your best choice.

Same friend also loaned me a Mamiya C330 TLR -- MUCH easier to use, and more portable, but still massive. Also, after years of shooting with a Pentax KX, the tiny "click" of the 330's leaf shutter just feels wrong to me. (To be fair to the RB67 does make the BEST camera noises ever. Voitt---KA-THWACK! Truly Don Martin-esque.)

Another friend (yes, I know, I have awesome friends!) sent me a Mamiya 645, and it's the MF camera I like the best -- much more portable, much easier to use, and the negatives still have that MF smoothness that 35mm lacks. If you aren't married to getting the biggest negative possible (and if IQ is your concern, why not just shoot digital?), that's the Mamiya I'd consider.

If the urge is just to own an RB/RZ67... well, I can't argue with that. I have to say, if you like mechanical things, the RB67 is a very satisfying piece of equipment. Fun to assemble, disassemble, play with and listen to. Taking snapshots, however, is not its strong suit. :smile:

Aaron

+1

The Seiko electronic shutter on RZ lenses have a proven record of reliability on not just the RZ67 but also on the Bronica ETR and SQ series.
 
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The shutter release is mechanical on both the RB and RZ. On the RZ the closure of the shutter is electronically controlled, not the opening.

Thus both shutters (the ones for RB and RZ lenses) open via a mechanical signal.

So why would the RZ shutter be more reliable if the time it's open is mechanically timed?
 

MattKing

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The shutters open up mechanically. Then they stay open until:
1) on the RB67, the mechanical shutter timing triggers the close-down; and
2) on the RZ67, the electronic shutter timing triggers the close-down.
RB lenses work on RZ cameras with an adapter, but not the other way)

The RB lenses will actually work on the RZ without an adapter, but the adapting collar strengthens the mount.
 

Three Owls

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I had an RB67 and would go with the RZ67 if I did it again for the versatility and better glass. The film usually costs more than the gear depreciation.
 
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