My First Setback with the Mamiya RB 67 PRO S

Only a week ago I was singing the praises of the Mamiya RB 67 PRO-S, but that praise was cut short today by a total equipment failure.  Let me begin by saying that about three weeks ago I pieced together what I thought was a nice medium format system.  I bought an RB67 PRO-S body, backs, prism and two lenses from Keh camera. The system  looked clean and ready to take on the toughest photo assignment I could throw at it.

 At the top of my to-do list was the need to test the camera as quickly as I possibly can so I headed out to a nearby waterfall which was easy to access from the roadway.  I left for the falls about 5:15 am so as not to miss the nice morning light and longer shutter speeds this time provides.

I arrived at about 6:30am and got everything setup for my first shot.  The camera body was cocked,  mirror up knob rotated, removed the dark slide, placed my release into the side of the lens and fired the main shutter.  The mirror locked up as I expected.  So far so good, I thought to myself.  I was now ready to make my exposure.  "Click", the shutter fired or so I thought.  I released the cable release and re-cocked the camera.  The cocking lever stopped most of the way forward and it would not cock the shutter or return to its original position.  My heart sank as the light was now perfect for the exposure, but the lever would not release.  No matter what I did the camera would not cock and the lens was jammed on.  It was a total equipment failure and actually the first one I had had after many years of photography.

Disgusted and totally defeated by the camera, I headed to work.  I sat at my desk with a worthless hunk of junk sitting in front of me.  A quick search online showed that this camera was indeed subject to this type of jamming and the only solution was to push a safety pin into a hidden hole located on the front of the body to release the lens.  I finally was able to do this and release the lens but the body was a total loss.  It is totally junk.

So I am sending the body back to Keh for replacement or money back and I ordered a new PRO-SD body, hoping they might have fixed this fault in the latest manual iteration of the design by Mamiya.  I am still not convinced that the body failed at all.  It might have been the lens that caused the issues.  I did notice another problem with the body though.  The red guides in the body do not come down when I rotate the adapter to horizontal.

Stay tuned, I will keep you posted on the next trip to the waterfall and hopefully I will have some transparencies to show with the new RB body.


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