Think Of A Mamiya RB67

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by wjlapier, Jan 23, 2018.

  1. wjlapier

    wjlapier Subscriber

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    So, I'm thinking about maybe buying a Mamiya RB67. I've read some stuff but I'd like to hear from some of you who have one or did what you think I should be looking out for in the used market. I don't want to put too much money into the camera so I'm looking for the body, one lens, a WLF, and back. I'll shoot mostly in landscape orientation so the rotating back isn't necessary unless the price doesn't increase too much by having it. Lens-wise, Maybe 35mm equivalent, or something mid-tele--85-100 equivalent. If I can find one here in the states that would be great, but I don't mind buying from Japan--I often do. Oh, I like to shoot polaroids so a polaroid back would be cool--how much of the film is exposed?

    Anyway, LMK what you think.

    Thanks!
     
  2. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Read more stuff ... :wink:
    https://rb67.helluin.org


    That's what the "RB" stands for. Doesn't cost extra.

    As for the lens choice, for a 35mm equivalent, get the 65mm. For the 100mm, get a 180. The 180's are plentiful, since that was the usual portrait lens used on these cameras in the studio.

    It's my main MF camera. They're (IMO) unbeatable.

    Good luck. Cheers,
     
  3. voceumana

    voceumana Member

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    I recommend the RB67 Pro SD, as it is the latest version and so likely to not need service as soon as older models. The rotating back comes standard with it.

    With Polaroid, you get a 7x7 approx image. I'd stay away from zoom lenses for MF--they tend to be very expensive, and not as common as for 35mm. Some of the older lenses need an adapter ring for the Pro SD model, but that's not too expensive (it was about $30 new).

    Lenses: base your choice on the focal length you want.

    Just so you know, this is a very heavy camera and I recommend it only for tripod work. Some people hold them by hand, but I certainly don't have the strength to do that.
     
  4. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Your best bet for a trusted seller who will refund, repair or exchange any cameras or lens hassle free is www.keh.com
     
  5. ewbank1

    ewbank1 Subscriber

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    I recently acquired an inexpensive RB67, it was inexpensive because of known problems with film winding and I was willing to take the chance. Using it is a bit frustrating and so far I have not taken on the task of disassembling it to see if it is fixable. Based on that one experience, I would definitely buy from a place that has a good reputation for being able to return equipment.
     
  6. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

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    I have two RB67 Pro S models - they are robust. One thing to check for on the interchangeable backs is to ensure the light seals are in good shape.
     
  7. Questor84

    Questor84 Member

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    I bought a RB67 ProS from Japan. Other than light seals which were deteriorated ( not uncommon and easy to replace) the camera and a Mamiya Sekor C 127mm lens, WLF, and a 120 back were almost like new. I used Jon Goodman's seals ( listed on rb67.helluin.org site above). I got hooked and now have a pelican case full of lens and 3 backs. Some from US and some from Japan. Almost all are just like new 9+. Don't get fooled into buying a 220 back as the film is not manufactured any longer. Great camera.
     
  8. Questor84

    Questor84 Member

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    Remember on the lens that the 35mm film lens focal length equivalent is arrived at by multiplying the RB lens focal length by 0.48 so that a 65mm RB lens is close to 35 mm lens focal length. (31.2 mm)
     
  9. film_man

    film_man Member

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    I owned a RB67 ProSD. The reasons for going for that was the the ProSD (newest model) is not that much more expensive than the older Pro or ProS ones but will be newer. I think the plain Pro has none of the interlocks so you can keep firing it with the dark slide and what not, I like to have a bit of security with these things. Also, the SD backs do not have foam light seals so that's one less thing to worry. You can use the SD backs on older cameras though.

    Finally, consider that the SD can take the 6x8 back as is (though that only works in portrait orientation). Don't know if that makes any difference. Finally, the KL and non-KL lenses will need a rubber adapter apparently depending what body you have. Basically KL on SD is fine. Apparently KL lenses are generally better, I've only had KL lenses so can't really compare.

    In the end, these are mechanical cameras, do the usual checks (shutter speeds, everything winds on ok, seals, etc) so if it works ok it's ok. They are amazing cameras, especially on a tripod.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    wjlapier

    wjlapier Subscriber

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    I was wondering about the lenses. I like sharp photos so I wonder how good are the older lenses. Pre-C lenses. While looking at lenses on eBay I'm thinking the 180 would nice but maybe the 90 first.

    I already own a Fujifilm GX680IIIs and I have shot it handheld and at times on a monopod. It the RB67 heavier than that camera.
     
  11. M Carter

    M Carter Member

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    Non-C RB glass seems just as sharp to me as my C-lenses - they're usually the same optical design. The non-c doesn't mean they're not coated at all; the C-lenses have more advanced coatings, maybe nice for color shooting, but I did lots of commercial work with a non-C 180, E6 and prepress scans for catalogs, and it was always magnificent.

    I imagine the RB is much lighter than the Fuji, that thing is a beast. Shot below was handheld (with the L grip), 180mm non-c lens on EPP. The RB is fairly hand-holdable below the 250mm lens, might not want to make a full day of that though.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. OP
    OP
    wjlapier

    wjlapier Subscriber

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    I looked over many bodies and kits on eBay last night and saved quite a few in my watch list, but in the end I went with one from KEH. I called them and they said the ratings for the bodies were more about wear and not about condition of bellows or light seals. Returning a camera in the US isn't as bad as returning one to Japan. I returned a Leica M6 once to Japan and the seller was very apologetic and quickly refunded my money, but it cost me $60 to ship it back. Two nice RB67's from Japan in my watch list sold over night. Nice prices too. The sellers did reply to my questions about bellows and light seal condition, and overall working condition.

    So, now I look for a lens.
     
  13. pthornto

    pthornto Member

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    It's a great system! I have the 127mm k/l lens and the 65mm C lens for my RB67SD. I find the 65mm to be really great for use in the field as it has a bit more DOF and is more forgiving in focus than the 127mm. I also really like the way it frames. My 65mm lens has the floating element for correction of field flatness in the corners but for most shots this is not critical to use. I find the 127mm good for subject isolation even if I'm shooting f8 and the subject within a few meters. I try to frame to fill the field (the neg prints very well to 11x14 or 8x10 without much loss of the frame) but the negative is so big that even cropping it in half (i.e., turning a landscape into a portrait orientation with a crop) still leaves lots of room for enlargement. Really they are too easy to print...
     
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  15. WilmarcoImaging

    WilmarcoImaging Member

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    Congratulations! Now to enjoy it by shooting film and build out your system with lenses, finders, etc.
     
  16. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    You're in fine fettle if you got an RB Pro-SD. I had a Pro-S body that had some quirks to it that was deemed beyond economic repair by most service techs because the cost of another Pro-S body was so low (not that it couldn't be serviced). I have since gone to an RZ for a number of reasons. If you're looking for a portrait lens, I'll put in another vote for the 180 - an outstanding piece of glass. I never shot with anything wider than the 90 on the RB, so I can't offer commentary on wide-angle glass for it. I did also get the motorized 6x7 back for the RB (an absolute godsend!) which adds a good bit to the weight (not just a motor but also 4 AA batteries!). And to address the naysayers who claim the RB/RZ is not a hand-holdable camera and demands a tripod, I took my RZ with three lenses (50, 110, 180) to Mexico City with me and ran all over the city shooting. It is heavier than a two-Rolleiflex plus Lomo Belair outfit (my other medium-format travel kit) but not so much that it deterred me from carrying it/shooting it. And the weight comes in handy when doing certain shots, like this:

    [​IMG]

    That was hand-held at 1/15th at f4.5 with the 50mm lens.
     
  17. OP
    OP
    wjlapier

    wjlapier Subscriber

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    So, regarding lenses. Original and C lenses require an adapter to use on the SD Pro so I've read. How do you know the lens has the adapter? I'm still considering a 65mm lens, maybe the 90mm, and the 180mm:

    Edit: Compared a KL to C and see what the lens adapter ring is. Interestingly, the manual says the C lenses came with the adapter ring, but I see many lenses without it.

    "Lens
    Original

    The original lenses were released along with the RB67 Pro in 1970. They only have a single anti-reflective coating. Requires an adapter to mount to RB67 Pro-SD cameras.

    C

    The C lenses were released with the RB67 Pro-S in 1974. These lenses are multi-coated. Requires an adapter to mount to RB67 Pro-SD cameras.

    K/L

    The K/L lenses are a slightly newer design with better coatings than the C lenses. The K/L is a code to indicate which bodies the lenses are compatible with. K indicates the Pro/Pro-S bodies and L indicates the Pro-SD bodies. These lenses mount directly to RB67 Pro-SD cameras without an adapter. Mounting on RB67 and RB67 Pro-S cameras require removing a ring adapter from the back of the lens."

    Thanks for the help thus far. Reading the manual now and researching glass.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
  18. WilmarcoImaging

    WilmarcoImaging Member

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    Adapters are not required to use non-C and C lenses on a Pro SD body. Adapters are preferred, but not required. The Pro SD lens throat is larger than Pro and Pro S bodies, to accommodate a small number of lenses designed in the KL and APO nomenclature. non-C, NB and C lenses function normally on the Pro SD with or without the adapter. The adapter is a simple round plastic/rubber ring with metal inner and outer diameters. It centers the non-C, NB and C lenses in the Pro SD throat. The breechlock mount is unchanged among the body generations.

    I use C lenses (50, 90, 180) on a Pro SD body regularly, with no adapter.

    Read the butkus and helluin sites extensively. 99% of your questions will be answered.

    I am partial to KL lenses because of low mileage and smoother shutter and aperture operation, and a simpler mirror-up procedure. However some say they are more plasticky, which I can't argue with. The build quality of KL lenses has not been an obstacle for me.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
  19. Wayne

    Wayne Subscriber

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    220 backs can work fine with 120 film, although they can feel "tight" when you wind them and they won't tell you to stop shooting after exposure 10 so you have to remember there's no more exposable film at that point. But you can sometimes get them cheaper than 120 holders, which is why I ended up with a couple.
     
  20. Marco Gilardetti

    Marco Gilardetti Member

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    Wayne is correct, Mamiya RB 220 backs are perfectly fine with 120 films, you just have to remember to change the roll after the 10th shot as the back will not alert you. Although this point has been repeated over and over in countless topics, still many people don't know it and skip 220 backs. So, as you pointed out that you would like to save money on this purchase, a 220 back would be a perfect choice for you as it sells generally cheaper at auctions.

    Another point repeated over and over again is that the key to photograph handheld with the RB 67 is to make a smart use of the neck strap, which has to be kept short, so that most of the wheight will be held by the neck while the hands will just have to balance the camera and operate it. I do it all of the times and I'm not Houdini or Copperfield, it's definitely quite easy to do.
     
  21. film_man

    film_man Member

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    About shooting handheld, beyond the weight I found the whole shutter/mirror firing on the RB to be extremely smooth. With a 90mm lens I had no problem shooting at 1/15 handheld.
     
  22. paul ron

    paul ron Subscriber

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    get the manual n read it! butkus has the manuals.

    your initial jaw drop when you see the mass of this thing will wear off as you get acustom to using it. its a love afair once you get to know eachother. knowing shes a bit slow, you become patient and hold that extra second after hitting the fire button. gently wind your film instead of your rapid 35mm camera habit. make sure to cock the body and advance your film. rember to mount and un mount cocked lenses on a cocked body. it can be used hand held once you become familiar with it.

    but most of all......

    never force it if it refuses to work!

    stop and double check everything. forcing it will damage internal parts.
    9 out of 10 reasons are always user error.

    if you post a problem here... there are at least a dozen experianced people that can help you.

     
  23. Trail Images

    Trail Images Subscriber

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    +1 on this point.
    Seems to be an issue with folks if they're not up to speed in using the units. Mostly around cocking lenses and bodies when mounting and dismounting lenses from the main body and such. I've had the SD for years and have run TONS of Velvia 50 through it to date. Although I've had a couple sticky lenses needed CLA over the years the stuff is bullet proof with a little understanding of use and TLC too.
    All of my lenses are the "C" units and I have the spacer collar or adapter on all of them for ProSD usage. I've bought items directly from Japan without one hitch to date. Just be sure to read the protection & return policy to make sure you have enough time to test drive it. KEH has always stood behind any item I've ever bought from them over the years, so, for me no issue there at all.
    Good luck and let us know how things go.
     
  24. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    OP should keep in mind that 135 is an 'overly long' aspect ratio at 3:2 (or 1.5:1), so equivalency is often based upon comparison critieria that are not too valid when changing format to one like RB67 at 1.24:1 (or the 8x10 format at 1.25:1) The problem is that many of these common lens conversion FL fail to provide a 'similar Angle of View', making the resulting photos too different from one another!
    1. 135 format is typically a 50-55mm 'normal lens' (depending upon timeframe and manufacturer) while the RB67 has 90mm; the simple ratio of the two is 1.8:1 (or inversely, 0.55:1)
    2. If we ratio the frame diagonal (due to the over long 135 format) we end up with 43:89 or about 0.48:1 (the number suggested by Questor84 to keep in mind) or inversely 2:06:1
    3. If we relate FL to the short frame dimension, so that we ignore differences of aspect ratio (and relate everything to a common aspect ratio -- the print size! -- we arrive at these equivalences
    • then the manufacturer lens FL for UWA is 24mm (1.0*vertical), while the UWA for RB67 is 56mm...and both lenses give both formats IDENTICAL FOV at the identical camera position relative to subject!
    • then the manufacturer lens FL for 'moderate wide' is 35mm (1.46*vertical), while the 'moderate wide' for RB67 is 82mm...and both lenses give both formats IDENTICAL FOV at the identical camera position relative to subject!
    • then the manufacturer lens FL for 'normal' is 50mm (2.08*vertical), while the 'normal' for RB67 is 116mm...and both lenses give both formats IDENTICAL FOV at the identical camera position relative to subject!
    • then the manufacturer lens FL for head and shoulders portrait is 100mm (4.2*vertical), while the head and shoulders portrait for RB67 is 233mm ...and both lenses give both formats IDENTICAL FOV at the identical camera position relative to subject!
    ...In all cases when employing #3 as the rule for equivalence, both lenses give both formats IDENTICAL FOV and identical 'perspective' (relationship of surrounding objects to the subject) at the identical camera position.
    A different issue in the 'equivalency' is the fact that the different FL lenses available for the camera are not made available by the manufacturer (or third party) so we are forced into 'inequality' in the FOV created with the available lenses.
    But true 'equivalency' is resultant from #3, where the short dimension of the frame can be fit into 8" tall prints and the captured FOV is identical (and the horizontal FOV ultimately is determined by the print horizontal and not the shape of the framed area in camera)
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2018
  25. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    +2
    But....
    Cocking the shutter and winding the film on a Mamiya RB67 does require a certain amount of effort - a firm but smooth push in each case.
    If you are used to itty-bitty 35mm film cameras that work with a gentle wind, you will need to adjust your expectations.
    One further point: it is possible to make an incomplete attempt to cock the shutter or wind the film. If you do that, the camera won't work until you complete the actions.
    I usually encounter this if the neck strap has somehow got in the way of the shutter cocking maneuver.
     
  26. Nokton48

    Nokton48 Member

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    I know you are planning to use 70mm Rollei 400s in these cameras, I think that is a very cool idea.

    I used RB67s (the original one) twenty five years ago, and it was great. Yes it is HEAVY compared to some cameras but I don't care about that myself.

    Good Luck and have fun. KEH is always a good way to go. I'm waiting to return something from them right now, never a hassle.

    Agree get the original manuals and read up all you can before the cameras arrive,.
     
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