Shooting With One of the Most Beloved Medium Format Film Cameras

Though it was introduced 50 years ago, the Mamiya RB67 is still one of the most beloved cameras out there, widely sought after by many film photographers. What makes this camera so special? This great video follows a photographer as he shoots with it for the first time. 

Coming to you from Willem Verbeeck, this awesome video takes a look at the Mamiya RB67 medium format film camera. Introduced in 1970, the RB67 (which stands for "rotating back 6 x 7") is still sought after by a lot of photographers, with many considering it one of the most well-designed cameras ever (our own Hans Rosemond adores it). You may have also heard of the Mamiya RZ67, a similar model. The primary difference between the RB67 and RZ67 is that the RB67 is entirely mechanical. One particularly unique aspect of the camera (at least compared to the way we shoot today) is the waist-level viewfinder, providing a very different shooting experience. It is quite similar to a TLR (twin-lens reflex) in experience, but different in that it uses a mirror like a DSLR instead of employing a second viewing lens (this also allows you to change lenses). Check out the video above to see what it is like shooting with the RB67.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Bought my only RB67 in 1979; been using it since as my only 120 camera. Look, if you don't want to worry about the double exposures happening, just toggle the switch under the film advance mechanism so the red dot is covered. That prevents clicking the shutter until you wind the film to the next frame. BTW, that's the default configuration. Since double exposure for most of us is the exception not the rule, uncovering the red dot (i.e., setting the RB67 for double exposure) should be intentional.

I really like this camera. When it came out I wanted to get one. After comparing it with a Hasselblad, I found it to be more cumbersome so I opted for the Hassy. I have never regretted my choice, but - oh man - I still want one. Now that they're found for a song, I just might get one.

These are sweet cameras! I own a pair of RZ67s, and have been using them for years. Most of my images are taken from a lower perspective anyway so these cameras are perfect as the viewfinder is on the top. The RB67 is also a slightly heavier camera than mine because the RZ67 exterior body is made of plastic whereas the RB is metal. Both are fantastic cameras.