If you were to ask me what is my favorite camera to shoot at the moment I would have to say the Mamiya RB67. Why? Heres a couple reasons to pick one up. I also included some sample images I’ve taken with this setup at the end.
Let’s not joke around, if you are like me, its one of the first things that came to mind. The camera is currently priced between $200-550 (eBay) with a lens depending which version you pick up/condition. The Mamiya RB67 (the “RB” standing for rotating back to indicate switching between landscape and portrait orientation) was released in three versions, the Mamiya RB67 Pro (1970), Pro-S (1974), and Pro-SD (1990).
Small improvements were made between the models, however, generally the camera retained the character so many fell in love with. For example with the Pro-S, an indicator was added to the view finder so that you could easily tell if you were in landscape or portrait orientation.
One of the most important updates came to the Pro-SD, where they removed the foam seals on the film back. The foam film seals on the back of the Pro and Pro-S were prone to rotting and need constant replacing. If you can find a good deal on a Pro-SD, I would save the hassle and get that version. I have the Pro-S version and have had to change the seals, its not as bad as it sounds but still a pain. I was easily able to find precut seals on eBay and swap them out.
The 6×7 Negatives Are Easy To Scan
The reason I first wanted this camera was because it was affordable for a medium format, but also because of the 6 X 7 negative. This negative is significantly larger than a 645 Negative and is much easier to scan on consumer negative scanners. I use my Epson V600 and get great results. Trying to scan anything less than a 6 X 7 negative will, in my opinion, leave you wanting more from your scanner.
It’s All Mechanical
Rarely in the modern age would you think to consider removing all electronics as a benefit. However, with these old cameras electronics easily go bad . I have heard a lot of horror stories of people buying expensive Contax 645’s ($4k+) or the like which have faulty wiring and stop working shortly after getting it. I love having the peace of mind knowing that I’m buying into a mechanical device which is a little more solid than its electric counterparts.
The Mamiya RB67 uses an interesting focusing mechanism, in that it is one we don’t commonly see today. It uses bellow focusing, the camera has bellows which can extend and physically move the lens to achieve focus. Due to the bellows being able to cover a large distance you are able to focus extremely close on subjects. I have the 65mm 4.5 Lens which is about a 35mm equivalent on a full frame and am able to focus a couple inches away. Focusing this close on a 35mm equivalent this close is pretty rare.
The following were taken with the Mamiya Sekor 65mm f/4.5 C Lens:
I hope you enjoyed this article and were able to get some information about the Mamiya RB67 and possibly persuade you to pick one up (just do it already). If you enjoyed this I would suggest subscribing to our email list as I will continue to post film/ film camera guides.