Mamiya RB 67- The monster
I recently got myself a new camera again. Yes it is a film camera again and this time it is a medium format camera. I got myself a Mamiya RB67 from Ebay. This is one of my first purchase ever from Ebay and it is actually quite good. The response time was fast as there were a few problems with the delivery but they responded quickly.
Inspiration to get into Medium format film
Anyways, i recently watched the Abstract documentary on netflix and it was the episode about the Photographer called Platon and it inspired me to explore medium format photography. Previously i was already thinking of getting a Hasselblad camera. But i knew it will not be anytime soon given the price of that piece of gem.
Another day of window shopping
I was out one day and i went to one of the local camera store that sells film cameras and the Mamiya RB67 caught my attention. It was there next to few other cameras and it was the only massive one. It caught my attention and i immediately felt that strong urge to get that camera.
When i went back home i could not stop thinking about it. The Mamiya RB67 was within my budget but i think i could get a better deal online. I then went online to do my own research about this camera. Reviews of the Mamiya shows that it is not a small camera which is quite obvious to me. Most were giving feedbacks on the weight of the camera. People were giving it names like “tank” and “beast”.
What Mamiya RB67 is all about
I found out that it is also completely manual and it doesn’t have any light meter on it. It functions without a battery. I repeat that it is completely MANUAL. So there is a good point to this. First of all is i don’t have to worry about batteries. The other side of it is that you need a light meter unless you are pretty confident in how you want to expose the film and that you know the results will be good.
The RB67 is a medium format camera and it uses the 120mm film. The 67 is referring to 6 x 7 negative film that it produces. Which means that in a single roll it gives you 10 negatives. So to me every exposure is important and i am definitely going to use some form of light metering to ensure that i got the exposure right. With experience perhaps some day i may no longer need to depend on a light meter. but for now i am not willing to take such a risk.
The genius rotating back concept
The unique feature about this camera is that it has a rotating back. You turn the back clockwise and it changes the setting to portrait setting. Turn it back to where it was before and you get landscape setting. The film back can be removed and switch to another film back at any time as they have the dark slide to prevent you from exposing the film. This is great especially if half way through you decide to switch to another film like the black and white for example and you dont have to actually finish the whole film roll and then load a new one.
It also uses bellow focusing. They have knobs on either the left and right which when you turn there is like a form of extension that allows the bellows to be extended. Reviews have said that it helps with macro photography. Focusing is easy and fast. That is one thing that i like with manual cameras.
The build quality of the camera is amazing, it is really solid. Im sure that it can take a beating. But i will do what i can to handle it with care. I received the camera in excellent condition. I am pleased with it.
The lens that i got was a 90 mm lens. I am not sure about the exact conversion to a 35 mm camera, but if i am not mistaken that is about 45 mm equivalent. It comes with a rubber hood which is pretty cool and kinda make it look even bigger when it is extended.
The beautiful thing about this camera is that it is modular and that means it is almost like a lego. You can take it apart like a gun. And you can put in different accessories. The normal ones come with a waist level viewfinder which unfortunately i don’t have it. Mine comes with a cds prism viewfinder. This is helpful when you want to take portraits. I am about 6 feet tall so they mentioned that to use a waist level viewfinder to take headshots at eye level is a little hard if you are not that tall and to use a prism level viewfinder will come in handy.
The only thing is that it adds to the weight of the camera. I estimated that the overall weight is close to 4 kilos and it is really heavy and i tried to carry and walk around the city with it. It is going to leave you with a sore shoulder. I survived while walking around with it.
I love this camera, i honestly do. It is really solid and it looks cool. I notice a lot of people were looking down at my waist area checking out the camera as it is resting right on my hip level. Build quality is good and i got my first two rolls developed. The price is right and i have gotten a chance to explore medium format photography. I hope to shoot more of this in the future and this makes a very interesting camera for portrait photography and i feel that it is an excellent camera for that purpose. If you want to carry this around, get yourself a good strap. Now i am trying out the crumpler strap. Works fine for now.You really need a strap as without one it feels like it can drop anytime and you do not want that to happen.Do take note that it needs the strap metal piece and i think they call it a strap lug. Mine doesn’t come with one so i had to hunt for a mamiya strap and take out the metal part . The metal part allows you to put on your strap. Without it you can’t.
Other than that i did enjoy using this camera. For those who intend to get this camera and if you are reading this, i hope it helps you to somewhat make a decision. Thank you for your time in reading this.
Sample photos of the Mamiya RB67