Friday, October 21, 2011

Mamiya RB67 update

Time for a little update. How are my adventures with the RB going so far?
Let me tell you it is an eye opener. A real wake up call if you ask me.

The whole reason behind my purchase of the RB was that I want to get more conscious about my photography and I want to print my own images in my future darkroom. But first step one. Film testing and finding a rhythm for the camera.

Finding a rhythm is a real interesting experience. Instead of grabbing the 5DmkII, composing and letting the camera determine exposure time (reviewing the instant preview and go from there). This time around I need to figure it out all by myself BEFORE I take the shot. Let me tell you. I've wasted some film so far. But so far I always know when I did something wrong.

Just as an example, the RB rhythm goes something like this.
  1. Setting camera and tripod up. You want to get this right.
  2. Opening the viewfinder and cock the camera and lens. 
  3. Decide on the focal length of lens you'd like to use. If necessary change out lens. Fire shutter on detached lens and put that away. Pull out dark slide until arrow shows, advance little lever on the 120 back to multiple exposure, fire the shutter and re-cock camera. Now I'm ready to shoot with the new focal length.
  4. Attach cable releases (be sure to use mirror up more).
  5. Focus and compose.
  6. Measure light.
  7. Set desired aperture and exposure time.
  8. Look at bellows and double check to see if bellows adjustment factor is going to alter exposure.
  9. Advance film.
  10. Remove dark slide.
  11. Re-measure light if necessary.
  12. Press mirror release.
  13. Press cable release.
Those are 13(!) steps I need to check and double check before I can take a shot (ONE shot). Throw in some changing light and I'm F'ed!

It is definitely a challenge and it makes me very humble. A lot of people call themselves 'professional' 'skilled' these days but don't have a clue how to operate a camera like this. Do they still sell film?


  1. Fun isn't it ? To get even more of that type of experience, maybe try large format where my procedure has 20 steps

  2. One step at a time QT.
    Once I master this I'm stepping up to 4x5.. :)
    But I'm loving it so far!!!

  3. While I am going to stick with digital I am interested in what images come out of this project. I think anything that forces one to slow down and think carefully about the process frequently results in better photos. Sometimes with digital we can just take shot after shot very quickly without as much thought.

  4. DUDE this is so cool and can't wait to see the results... Have fun, keep shooting, and see you in February!!

  5. Jeremy we will go out this winter and take her for a test drive for sure!

  6. What is film again? I seen some on my pudding before ;)