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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Mamiya RB67 Pro - Early Impressions

I now have in my possession a Mamiya RB67 Pro S which I recently purchased from Keh Camera.  First, let me begin by saying that when I was entering the profession of photography back in the 90s these cameras were untouchable for the average, just out of college photographer, but due to the recent onslaught of digital cameras, these babies are being sold off by pros looking for the digital edge.

All of this is of course is good news for those like me who can buy a complete setup for under $200 bucks. That's right, this once untouchable camera is now a relic and can easily be obtained on eBay or Keh.  I have been like a giddy child at Christmas for a week now as the new parts to my camera system are delivered one by one.  To add to my excitement, film is also still readily produced for these cameras by companies like Fuji, Rollei and Ilford.  Fuji even makes a instant film for using the RB's Polaroid back.

OK, so on with my impressions.  The body for this camera is very sturdy and completely manual.  No need for silly batteries that always go dead on you anyway.  Perhaps one of the greatest features of the body is the  standard bellows which are attached to the focusing knobs.  This bellows unit instantly turns any lens into a macro lens.  No real need to buy expensive macro lenses. Next, attached directly behind the body is the rotating back hence the designation "RB."  This device is pure genius.  Simply rotate the back to either horizontal or vertical compositions and leave the body exactly as it is.  Finally, Viewfinders and prisms come in a variety of styles and are easily attached to the top of the body. Rotating the back also changes the marks in the viewfinder so one can better see how to compose the image.

The last piece to this photographic puzzle is the lens.  First, Mamiya lenses are known for being tack sharp. Secondly, the lens contains a leaf shutter mechanism so flash syncing can be done at any speed. The lens also contains the pc flash input and a place to attach a cable release.  Finally, the lens also has a button for mirror up photography.  Simply move the button to the mirror up position and those mirror slapped, blurry images will be a thing of the past.

The bottom line here is this camera has every pro feature you could ever want or need at ridiculously low pricing right now. So go out there and buy a old medium format camera and have a blast.

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