Plaubel Makina 67/670 as a "street" camera

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by alkos, Aug 31, 2006.

  1. I've been shooting for ~2 years with manual Pentax 35mm gear, and eventually
    I've decided to switch to 6x4.5 / 6x7 medium format rangefinder camera.

    I'm willing to spend about 1000euro for used one, so the three most serious
    candidates are Mamiya 7II with 80/4, Bronica 645 with 65/4 and Plaubel Makina
    67/670 with 80/2.8. (If style matters in this decision - look at for some examples ;-)

    The 3rd one is most appealing - it has larger format than bronica , is smaller
    than mamiya and - last but not least - has faster lens than both, with veeery
    pleasing bokeh :)

    Now, the questions :)

    1. How rangefinder compares to Mamiya 7II's / Leica 4MP's? I've handled these
    for couple of times and had very positive experience - only the mamiya's patch
    seemed a bit too small. What about ease of focusing with "thumb wheel"? Is the
    base long enough for 80/2.8 in close focus?

    2. How about "rugedness" of the camera with lens open? Can it be carried in hand
    in daily use (hoping for no serious hits ;-) ?

    3. How about shutter loudness? Comparing to Mamiya 7II?

    4. What is the functional difference between 67 and 670 models, except tht the
    latter is a bit ugly? ;-)

    Thanx in advance :)


  2. I can't really answer your questions but I recently got a mamiya 7 and have been using on the street with good success. You are right about the rangfinder patch. 10 shots on a roll is a bit limiting and I wish 220 was still easy to get hold of. Carrying it around is no problem really but it is heavier than my nikon fm. I often use it zone focused with tri-x shot at 1250 dev'd in diafine.

    The lenses are apparently better on the mamiya 7 than the Plaubel Makina.
  3. The Optics on the Makina are EXCELLENT. The Focusing patch on the Makina is much
    more Leica-like than the Mamiya.

    The shutter isn't as quiet as a Leica.

    The controls take a bit of getting used to. You have to reset the Lens to Infinity before you
    collapse the body. Batteries last a long time.

    The camera is very rugged but you do run the risk of damaging the bellows.
  4. Thank you!

    Can you post some photos from Plaubel, possibly wide open and close focused, in "high-res"?
  5. I have both camera's. The Mamiya 7 with 65mm is the most used one. The Makina 67 I use just for the 2.8 Nikon lens, which has a very pleasant bokeh. The Mamiya 7 is easier to use.

  6. Ben - "The Mamiya 7 is easier to use"

    What do you mean? The most important factor for me is focusing and RF clarity/quality - speed and aperture setting much, much less :)
  7. I also have a Makina 67 and a Mamiya 7ii. I find the Makina shutter noise to be more meaty than that of the Mamiya, but there's not a lot in it.

    The 670 takes 220 as well as 120, and it has a better back lock. The back lock isn't really an issue, because if you thnink that the back of the 67 is too easy to open accidentally the catch can be covered with a short piece of electrician's tape.

    I really like using the Makinas - I have the W67 as well - but repairs can be expensive, if the parts are available.

    Best, Helen
  8. I only have one Makina shot scanned but it is Wide Open at close range.
  9. I found the PM I had to be relatively dainty and easy to fall out of alignment, but I may have had a bad camera.
  10. I can believe it. I've had the opposite - my Mamiya 7 rangefinder is flaky, but at least it is easy to check and eay to adjust. Just goes to show, huh?

    While we are on the subject of problems: The bellows on the Makina is actually the least of your worries. They are easy and cheap to replace, and the replacement may be better than the original.

  11. I actually found one more. I don't think this is a testament to the action-shooting capabilities of the Makina as much as I was really lucky. I panned the camera as I shot.
  12. I cannot answer the specifics but Martin Parr sucessfully used a Plaubel Makina W67 (55mm lens) for much of his work until quite recently. Most of his stuff at that time (Last Resort etc) involved getting up very close to people in public places so I suppose it could be considered a 'street' camera.

    After the Plaubel Makina W67 (plus Vivitar 283 fill flash & Agfa Ultra 50 film before it was scrapped) he moved onto a Mamiya 7.
  13. I ended up buying a Fuji GA645 Pro "crash bar model" for travel with a 60mm sort of wide, It is light and Sturdy and well made at $350 USD it is a great buy. Just stay away from the Bellows model they suffer from light leaks.

  14. I second John's response. I have both the Fuji GS645S and a Mamiya 645 and use the Fuji more often. It has a great lens, is small and compact, and is hand holdable for exposures down to 1/30 s. The rangefinder is however difficult to use, so I usually scale focus. Rather than street photography, I use it for landscapes while hiking. I have made some very sharp 11x14 in. B&W prints from hand-held exposures with this camera and it has largely replaced bot the Mamiya and my 4x5 view camera for this purpose. However, I think that I might prefer a Mamiya 7 because of the larger film size. I have resisted because it is much more expensive than the Fuji.
  15. Quote Ben - "The Mamiya 7 is easier to use"

    Indeed the focusing of the Mamiya 7 is easier.

  16. Most of his stuff at that time (Last Resort etc) involved getting up very close to people in public places so I suppose it could be considered a 'street' camera.
    Martin Parr gave a lecture in Sydney in October 2005. During the Q&A I asked him about how he managed to get so close to people with a medium format camera, without them knowing or objecting. Especially in supermarkets or at the beach, where he sometimes also uses a fill-flash.
    His answer was priceless: "Lord, you don't imagine I just walk up to people and shoot them! That'd be impossible! We talk first, I take a few shots and then choose the one I like."
    So - FWIW - Parr's street MF work isn't candid as such. It just looks that way :?)
  17. How big do you want to enlarge? Because if it's not bigger than about 30x20 then the Bronica Rf will be fine.

    This is a superb camera with excellent lenses and very easy to use. Its native format is portrait, but turning it on its side for landscape is very comfortable. It has a more accurate meter than the other two and its viewfinder is just as bright.

    Great advantages are 16 on a film and automatic dark slide in lens changing. It's also quiet as a Leica with sync at any speed.
  18. Thank you all!

    Finally I've decided to hunt for mamiya 7II or - if I won't find any at ~1000e soon :) - to buy Bronica RF for 700e. Is it good price for camera + 65/4, boxed, in "mint minus" condition? :)
  19. Compare prices at
  20. Thanks.
  21. not seeing any Plaubel medium format at Am I missing something? Like how to
    search their inscrutable site?
  22. You can get the Mamiya 7 (not the //) for as little as $499 in bargain condition at and a used 80/4 lens for around $450.
  23. Here are some examples from the photo book "Written in the west" by Wim Wenders, shot entirely with the Plaubel Makina 67:

    I love his photos!

    The 670 is said to have an improved transport.

    cheers, Stefan

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