Pentax 67 vs the boxy cameras RB67 etc.

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by RaymondC, Jul 19, 2020.

  1. I have a RB67 which I really enjoy and then I had a thought about the P67. For those situations when you are taking maybe portraiture handheld it might be quicker to use? Like to know your views on that. I guess now if one wanted all that ease and efficiency they would just use digital right. Film is more for slowing down etc and I do like my RB67. For those times with family friends going out stuff a 3 day trip etc ... using the RB67 or such camera like the Hasselblad 500CM might be slower and the P67 more efficient or in those situations you think one should just shoot digital?

    I am rebounding around and going around in circles. I guess in the film days we didn't have digital and the P67 was that only option for a efficient 35mm film SLR camera on steroids with all that familiarity but now we have all these digital tools. 6x7 to some pros also suited their publication requirement and the P67 was the only one all the way back in the film days other than going slow and big like the RBs/

    Like to hear your thoughts.

  2. As you are indicating, this is beyond logical rationalisation. The penalty of buying a P67 and selling it again, if it doesn't live up to your expectations, is very little. So why not give it a go?
    For hand held medium format, my personal choice would have been a Fuji rangefinder. That mirror slap of the P67 is like an earthquake - but it is a charming and beautiful camera.
  3. Back in the day, there were many stock film libraries/agencies that wouldn't even accept 35mm shots. So 6x6cm was a minimum requirement if you wanted to get into the stock image market.

    Half-toning for paper publication was done via a digital scan a lot earlier than most people think.

    These days, all published images - on paper or online - are digital. Therefore it makes little commercial sense to shoot film only to have it scanned to a digital file.
  4. The 67 may look like a 35mm camera but sure doesn't handle like one. It's awkward for medium to small hands and isn't something to tote around for casual, candid shooting. MLU is useless for handholding, too. Seems the obvious choice is a 645 SLR--Pentax, Bronica or Mamiya if you're devoted to 120 film. Worth a look, perhaps?
  5. After buying my Pentax 67, I sold my RB67 outfit.

    To me, the big advantages of it are that I find it somewhat better handling than the RB67(this is subjective-the RB67 handles like a giant Hasselblad, and although I love the Hasselblad the RB is quite different). It has practical prisms that don't weigh a ton, and even a nice metered prism that is coupled and overall easier to use than the metered RB67 prism I had. Don't forget that the RB67 is really a 7x7 camera(if not a little larger) to allow for the rotating back, something which adds to the size and weight considerably.

    Both systems have superb glass, but I love that the Pentax has fairly fast lenses across the board. On the downside, if you want to do outdoor portraits with fill flash, the Pentax is a miserable choice thanks to its 1/30 sync speed(the RB will sync up to its max of 1/400). There are leaf shutter lenses for the Pentax system that work around this limitation, but they are expensive and can be a bit unwieldy to use. On the other hand, the 1/1000 top speed is nice.

    I agree with the above, too, that if you want to try it, you're basically out the cost of film if buy it, shoot a few rolls, and don't like it. I paid I think $1200 for my system, which was Pentax 67 body(last version before the 67ii), both a metered prism and a waist level, 55mm f/3.5, 55mm f/4. 110mm f/2.8, and 150mm f/2.8. I also got hoods for all the lenses and a handful of other odds and ends. The 55mm f/4 is pretty widely considered a better lens and also much nicer handling, so not too long after buying(and satisfying myself of this) I sold the f/3.5. It had a Skylight filter mounted on the front, and the filters that fit that lens are unique and almost comically expensive(that was part of my motivation toward keeping the f/4-it take conventional screw in filters). Consequently, I sold the filter on it separate from the lens. After deciding that I didn't get along well with the wood grip, I sold it also. All said and done, I managed to get about $300 back. I think what I have left would likely sell for more than $900 easily if sold separately.
  6. Oh yes surely! Removing the lens and inserting an extension tube simply takes no time at all and I am sure 70+year old boys have absolutely no issue to crouch down and get up again...
    Tongue out of cheek: The close focusing distance of P67 lenses tends to suck.
    If you have issues framing with a WLF in a timely fashion: Practice! - Thats what time at home is good for. "Framing" gets overshadowed by "focusing" as a waste of time anyhow and you seem unlikely to build up a street shooters or old school journalist's zone focusing related muscle memory (if such can exist for MF at all) by hopping systems all the time.

    Personally I appreciate the chimneyfinder induced camera height loss a whole lot in portraiture.
    Neither lifting a camera to your eye level nor lounging crouching & kneeling are longterm comfortable.
    Why on earth should it? - I am admittedly no fan of reloading Hasselblad magazines, compared to a simple TLR. But adds suggested you could carry a 2nd in your pocket?
    If you were to shoot 35mm, would you pack an FM instead of an M2 to significantly speed up your shooting, by avoiding having to bite your base plate and going through the endlessly stretching ordeal of knob rewinding?
    I believe I can rewind and march or meter and march at the same time...

    What spoils a tiny kit with primes & friends or family outing for me, are the lens changes. No big issue in 35mm; you add a 2nd body. MF? - pretty much doomed. - I used to carry a collapsible RF with 75 and my TLR with 55 & 135mms but can't see myself hiking with 2 TLRs and with less than 3 Leicas I would see a speed advantage for a single Nikon behind the 24-120.
    Practice with your box SLR if you really need a prism: Buy one and add the grip. That should be cheaper than an MF system change. And even if you change systems, odds seem high that you 'll curse the new one too and get a nice contemporary eye-AFing MILC next... (or spot another dead horse to beat in between).

    I only handled a P67 shortly, decades ago. It was long enough for me to realize: "This is not for me". I am sure it can take pictures but so can my C33(0)s and the Pentacon. - I like the TLRs more.

  7. Pretty good deal. On eBay a P67 the 6x7 version with MLU goes for $400US body alone with a unmetered prism. The 104mm F2.4 lens alone the modern version alone goes for $800US, the older one goes for maybe $350US.
  8. Oh wow. Mine is the last version-as much as I like the lens I might be tempted to swap it out for an f/2.8 was the lens that was on my body when I bought it.
  9. What's the possible relevance of "deals-I-got" to this thread? Baffling...
  10. Looks like I really underpaid for this...I'd forgotten what all I got with it...

  11. What purpose does a post like this serve? I know you like to come along and crap on pretty much any thread in which you participate, but prices were discussed so I was providing information.

    I'm always amused too by the fact that you seem to follow threads where I've participated and drop snarky, useless comments like this but never mention me by name.
  12. Silent Street

    Silent Street Silent Street Photography AUS

    The Pentax 6x7 and 67 are better used for portrait with the 2 leaf shutter lenses, the 90mm f2.8 which allows mirror lock-up (not really practical for hanheld photography) and/or the 165mm f4 LS (which by engineering design does not allow mirror lock-up, with the same comment about handheld portraiture). Both LS lenses allow supplementary studio flash to be synced at any Tv rather than the native 1/30 of the Pentax cameras (however, the FP shutter must be set to 1/8s or slower in order to sync with the LS lens in use).

    The P67 is a heavy camera, rather like a supersized K1000, and any heavy lens on the front will magnify that weight; in a nutshell it can be very tiring handholding the camera in a shoot over extended periods.

    And no, the accessory wooden grips hinder dexterity rather than improve it.

    If there is an enduring MF portrait camera that is still favoured by experienced professionals, it is the Hasselblad with WLF, particularly the 500C/M and typically the (ordinary) 80mm Planar. True, the P67 also has a chimney or WLD finder (the two are differennt by design), but the 6x7 format means a lot of switching over from portrait to landscape orientation — another thing that is tedious, but far less so when the camera is tripod-mounted.
  13. Silent Street

    Silent Street Silent Street Photography AUS

    In very skilled and experienced hands and the best of the lenses, it does more than "take pictures".
    It makes them.
  14. Silent Street

    Silent Street Silent Street Photography AUS

    Que? This is the first time, ever, I have read of somebody describing these excellent LS lenses as "...a bit unwieldly to use."
    Come on, the only inconvenience is to switch either lens to LS mode, cock the LS shutter and set the FP sync on the camera side. Then fire. Wind-on, recock the LS and repeat. That... is unwieldly?
  15. Personally, film is to enjoy film... developing, darkroom, wet prints, etc.
    It doesn't make sense (to me) to shoot film in order to have digital files. Any digital camera will do it better. Shooting bigger will give you better digital files, but still bad in comparison with a current digital camera.
    Back in the eighties I had a Pentax 67, I now keep a RZ. For those "times with family friends going out stuff a 3 day trip etc" I just take a 35mm film camera, maybe a folding 6x6, 6x9... or a digital, but never a studio camera like the RZ (or a P67 if I still had it).
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2020
    Jochen likes this.
  16. WJT

    WJT Moderator

    Everyone is going to have their own opinion on this subject. For many years I shot with a P67 and also the much improved 67II and scanned the film with my Minolta Dimage Multi Pro. The digital files were printed large using a Chromira printer, usually on Fuji Crystal Archive Super Gloss. Allow me to say that I usually (but not always) got exceptional results with this system, but it took a lot of effort. I almost alwyas used these cameras on a good tripod but did hand-hold when necessary. I had wooden handles on both of these bodies and found that, for me, the handling was much improved. By the way, the handles also have a flash shoe whereas the bodies do not. The P67 had a focal plane flash sync terminal if one wanted to use focal plane flash bulbs. These would sync at the full 1000th/sec of the camera. But again, a lot of effort was needed here.

    But that was in the past. I am now transitioning to the Pentax 645Z system though I still do some shooting with the 67II because I like the look of Fuji Velvia for some subjects. As I am not a young man anymore the convenience of the digital camera is very appealing. Also, the expense of shooting film and trying to find a qualified lab for processing and then waiting a week for the results became rather tiring. That is not to say that excellent labs do not exist, far from it. Still, the time factor will always be there with film. Regards.
  17. The handles seem a bit polarizing.

    In my case, I stuck it on the camera for a week, and used the camera nearly every day in that period for probably a half dozen rolls. I decided it wasn't for me, but plenty of other people wouldn't be without one.

    BTW, the one I had was fitted with a plain accessory shoe. I stuck a piece of tape in the bottom and mounted a flash once(by running a sync cable over to the body) but found that it made the whole combo even more unwieldy. I've used it with handheld flash since, but have used a Metz "potato masher"(60CT4) that balances a bit long as you don't mind slinging a battery pack over your shoulder.
  18. Unwieldy was a poor choice of words. A few more steps than not using the leaf shutter would have been better(it's not seamless like using a Hasselblad or RB67 where all lenses have leaf shutters).

    But, by your own admission, they are not really hand-holdable lenses, while I can do fine in a lot of circumstances with the 105mm f/2.4 or 165mm f/2.8(with the latter provided I can use a high enough shutter speed).

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