Take an RB on vacation?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by colin_dullaghan, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. Planning a trip to Cancun/Tulum next month and debating whether to bring along "the big camera" or not. We're flying, and bringing our 2-year-old, so there'll be other stuff to carry as well, but I just love shooting with the Mamiya and hate to think of the shots I'd miss by leaving it behind.
    And really, if I take off the grip, use the waist-level finder instead of the prism, go monopod instead of tripod and decide between the 65mm and the 127, it's not *that* huge, right? Or should I be more worried about dings and jostles from the rigors of air travel?
  2. I took a Hasselblad 500 cm to Europe one time and really regretted it. It was just too heavy. I ended up leaving lenses in my room, but the film was a pain as well. I would find a smaller camera. I ended up taking a Leica on my next trip, and it was much better.
  3. I vote mono pod and both viewfinders and lens..... You don't actually have to carry everything at the same time. It will give you a choice.
  4. Take the RB! I always take mine even when travelling with a Tachihara 8x10 set up. It is not always possible to use the big camera (rainy days, hurricanes, etc) and the little Mamiya RB 67 makes pictures as good as rollfilm can deliver.
  5. I have gone to Cancun, Tulum, Isle Mujeres and Cozumel many, many times. Don't take the RB which I have by the way. Except for 1 trip when I took both a Rollie TLR and Leica M equipment, I have always taken the small Leica M and 3 lens. The RB is just too big and it will be diffficult to keep clean in the sandy windy conditions. If you want medium format go Rollei tlr which is actually a small camera. otherwis go small film or small digital.
  6. I agree with Michael. If the 500cm was a pain, I am sure I'd be frustrated as all get out with my RZ67! It's way too big and bulky, and you're going to have to make sacrifices one way or another. There will be situations where you'll have to decide whether you're there to enjoy it, or you're there to photograph it.
    If you do decide to take it though, the RB has more than enough ruggedness to handle a flight!
  7. mtk


    Hi Colin,
    As a proud owner of 2 RB's (I love these cameras) DON"T take it along. You will enjoy your trip with your family much more. You think your two year old can be a handfull, think of your RB as "your other kid". Take everyone's advice, digital or much smaller film camera..Rollei, Yashicamat, etc...Enjoy your trip and post pics when you return!
  8. Will you be paying for luggage weight on the plane? Something to consider. I took my RB and tripod to Alaska on a cruise where it was conveniently access from my cabin. I also took it to Maine and Yosemite, the last two I was driving after flying in so the camera was ready on it's tripod but laying in the empty back seat ready for off the road shots. I also took a regular 35mm camera for "snapshots" of the trip, a definite requirement. But no kids and my wife is very patient with my hobbies for the most part. Not sure I'd do it with kids due to all the distractions but everyone gets different mileage.
  9. With a wife and a two-year-old?! I would not want to bring an RB-67 across town, much less to Mexico, with that entourage. Also, if you aren't using a sturdy tripod for most of your shots, you're probably giving up a lot of what 6x7 has to offer. IMOPO, an amateur-sized DSLR and a couple of lenses is the maximum to take on vacation, and that's when driving. For a fly-there family vacation, it would be a compact digicam or else something like a micro-four-thirds or Sony NEX system.
  10. Just for fun I took my RZ on past weekend for a short hike. Unless you were looking for specific results, I`d not take this camera for that task... waist level finder& monopod, a kid... it`s sheer madness.
  11. I don't think I'd take my RB on holiday. I've been to Mexico and there's some great archeology. I'm planning a trip to India where I'll most likely take an XPAN and Nikon FM. The combined weight of these two outfits as about the same as a Mamiya 645 with a few lenses - making this a possible contender. Downsides would be only 15 shots per roll and limited abilities in modest light levels (dof considerations). Probably stick with 35mm.
  12. dlw


    I have an RB and I absolutely love it, however, speaking as someone whose logged quite a few extended out of the country trips as a USAF combat photographer, I'd say leave the RB home. In the Air Force we never traveled light and had to carry our gear everywhere we went. Oftimes I wish I could've carried less ir lighter gear and I think my images would've been better if I had. I honestly think it would be a much more enjoyable vacation if you took something smaller and easier to handle. I think the wife and kid would have a better time as well. But, whatever you do, have fun. Cheers.
  13. Hi, Colin, if, as you say, you "hate to think of the shots I'd miss by leaving it behind," take it! I took my Hasselblad 500C/M
    to Scotland and had NO regrets regarding the weight or hassle, especially after seeing the photos. For my upcoming trip to
    Ireland, I will again be packing the Hasselblad.

    It will take a lot of shuffling of stuff and maybe more planning with the baby and baby stuff, but if you feel you'd regret not
    taking it, take it!

    Pre-planning: could you pack up all the stuff you'd need for the camera and the baby, see how much hassle it will be, what
    can be left behind, see how practical it would be? Good luck. --Sally
  14. Is it a matter of horses for courses or going down the slippery slope? I have Hasselblad and RB SD outfits, and a Nikon D700. Recently, I bought a Lumix TZ65. It gets much use.
    Does the Lumix provide the sheer image quality of the others? No, it doesn't, but it still produces excellent pictures, provided I apply some manual override. Moreover, it has a 12x zoom, weighs nothing, and fits in my pocket.
    I like to think it is horses for courses rather than the slippery slope to automation and poorer quality results.
  15. I'm with Sally Mack. I have both Hasselblad and Leica M systems. I've travelled Europe, Scotland, Havana and Tulum Mexico, all with the Hasselblad and never regretted it. The Leica is a lot easier to carry and the image quality is superb but that larger negative is hard to beat.
  16. Hmm. Good points, all. I'm counting 3 in favor, 11 against, though Sally and Bill do make a compelling argument. And, as suggested, I could always just pack the minimal kit and see how bulky it really is.
    Still, if most folks who've done it before say it's a regrettable decision, I'm inclined to take their word for it. My Yashica 35mm (and the Pentax DSLR, and the Elph 300) will probably suffice just fine... especially if I make it to the shop and get some Velvia before we go.
    Thanks, everyone, for weighing in.
  17. For the past couple of years, I've taken a medium format kit on ferry-drive holidays from Ireland to France with my wife and two daughters (first aged 3 & 5, then 4 & 6). The kit has been a Mamiya 645AFD, digital back, backup film back, 5 or 6 lenses, and tripod. I left the tripod and some of the prime lenses where we were staying, and used them for night/astro shots. But I took the rest of the kit with me, on our excursion days.
    I've never taken so many photos in my life!
    Perhaps this is because my MF kit can be considered a "bulky DSLR". The RB67 is bulkier still, but more importantly is slower to operate, and film changing is another slow-down/hassle factor. It might work for you...but if you go for it I would recommend bringing a second small automatic camera, just in case.
  18. Just to add that the size&weight of a RB is not comparable to Hasselblad. Same operation and procedures, though.
  19. Meant to attach this to my last message...
    Can small kids, overseas vacations and Medium Format mix? Yup!
  20. I was in Tulum (and Coba, Chichen Itza and Cozumel) few years back. All I had was a small DSLR with one lens - got same great photos. But this year for trip to New Mexico (ancient and modern pueblos) I took Mamiya C200 TLR with just one 80mm lens and shoot exclusively B&W film. The mamiya TLR was fast and easy to use, having iso 400 film allowed me to shoot handheld (I did not take tripod nor monopod). I was also very happy with the results on film.
  21. Thomas and Ray: Absolutely. If I could make a best-case-scenario kit to bring along, a 645AFD would probably be my first choice (wait, probably a Mamiya 6 instead), followed by a nice TLR. Maybe someday...
  22. I take my RB on holiday. No problem. Body, WLF, meter, lots of film, 2 lenses and 2 backs weighs about 6 or 7kg I think. Fits in an overhead locker on the plane and isn't that hard to carry round. I never regret taking mine on holiday that's for sure.
  23. I'm in the "take the RB" camp. I've lugged mine all over the place (like Montenegro in the summer - very hot!!!) and don't regret it a bit. In fact, it's part of the vacation trade-off i make w/Mrs. Me. I get some camera-time while she watches our (not-so-young-anymore) kids then we 'trade-off' and she gets some time to herself.
    I use a 'regular' dayhike-type backpack (think largish book bag) and it easily accomodates film, camera, WLF, 2x lenses (65mm C and 180mm C), back, light-meter, etc. I've recently bought a light-weight CF tripod i can carry and it will get strapped on the outside of my pack.
    As suggested, take your 'bare-minimum kit', load it up and see how you manage (with the extra stuff young children need). Incidently, i also take a small digi p&s for the quick "group grab" shots and wifey has her dSLR for the upscale digi grabs. Keep in mind that strollers are *natural* gear carriers!!!
  24. Don't forget the forklift!
    Hand inspecting the equipment and film as carry on, not only thru the TSA, but Mexican Customs...are you kidding?
  25. Ray: Your girls are dolls. Nice shot. Alan.
  26. There is one point that nobody has brought up: how will the spouse deal with one bringing the full kit?
    When my son was no quite two we had a chance for a RV trip from Vancouver up the Rockies to Banff Jasper and then back via the Okanagan Valley. I brough my son, all his supplies and my 500CM with four lenses WLF, two backs and a spotmetre.
    After day two all that stayed in the Pelican case for sake of family peace.
  27. As Danny brought up, I think there are two very important questions to ask yourself.
    1) Is your spouse okay with you spending lots of time during the vacation taking pictures? I'm not married, but I am fortunate enough that most of them women I've dated in my life were very understanding of this. I've dated those that were not though, and like Danny said - the camera got left in the car an awful lot.
    2) Is the RB integral to the sort of pictures you take? I know that a 6x7 negative is better quality than a 35mm, but I'm not talking about the technicalities; does the RB give you something that over cameras do not artisically? If not, are you making 11x14 or larger prints? If not, leave it at home.
    If I'm travelling somewhere, I never bring my 4x5 - I bring the Hassy or the Yashicamat. I find that outside the studio, the 4x5 doesn't give me anything that is personally relevant to me, the way I shoot. I even find that the Hassy doesn't give me very much that the Yasichamat doesn't with available light either (I usually shoot around f/8-f/16 with a tripod), but I often bring it instead, since with a WLF and an 80mm lens it's only slightly bigger than the 'Mat. But if I'm going to be packing light and walking around a lot, especially during the day, I almost always use the 'Mat.
    Then again, I've made some great late-night photos with 35mm and a plain-ol' 50mm lens, so you don't always need big negs.
    So I guess you could read my answer either way. If you need it and the wife and kiddo are patient with you, bring it. If you don't need it, then don't bring it.
  28. Just a thought -- last time I flew into Mexico, I recall reading on the customs form that someone carrying more than one camera would be considered a commercial photographer and would have to pay some ridiculous fee. They also had a limit on the amount of film you could bring in. I ended up having someone else carry my backup camera through customs, and my cameras happened to be digital, so the film limitation wasn't an issue. Don't know if the body limitation is still true, but you may want to find out before you pack a whole lot of gear.
  29. I would suggest a TLR as a nice compromise. I like to bring a TLR and a P&S and feel this works out really well.
  30. ~Barry - WOW!!! If that's true its ridiculous! Such an idiotic definition of a "commercial" photographer is strictly another way to gouge tourists.
    Honestly, if that is true.... Mexico as a destination? Yea, *never*.
  31. I do not have the Mamiya- worked with it for a month but it was not intuitive enough for me so I bought the Pentax67, which is - but the 67 goes everywhere and sometimes I take a second body.
    Unless you accept snapshots for what they are- which I cannot- what you shoot is what you shoot and that is what goes with you if you are going to take photographs. The aspect ratio of 67- not to mention the film originals- is simply not replicable with a small camera.
    I am not going to settle for less than what I believe is the best tool for taking my shots. If that requires a bit of planning or inconvenience so be it. Take the RB for the massive ruins and leave the 2 year old with the grandparents! Second honeymoon.
  32. So Dennis Williams can't accept snapshots?
    Of course, it depends on what you define a snapshot to be. If it is something taken quickly, intuitively, I'll go along with that. As I said in an earlier posting, I have RBSD and Hasselblad outfits, and a D700. For what it is worth, I also have a Rollei 3.5f, a Rolleicord, a Yashicamat, and a Minolta Autocord. I also have a couple of decent digi compacts. I've taken very pleasing 'snapshots' with the latter that I would certainly not have obtained with any of the medium format cameras, and might not with the D700.
    Every time you press the shutter - assuming everything is in order with your equipment - you will get a photograph. However, you might well not get a picture.
    In the UK, the BBC runs an annual photographic contest. There are thousands upon thousands of entries, many technically superb. The twelve judged the best make-up the calendar for the following year.
    A couple of years ago, the 'very best' winning entry showed sheep struggling through the snow. OK, it wasn't critically sharp, but it was every inch outstanding. It was taken with a digi compact. It wasn't just a photograph: it was a picture. Even if someone had struggled to the location with an RBSD, I doubt they would have caught that moment.
    By all means cart RBSDs and Hasselblads around. You will certainly get some fine images, but you probably miss many pictures. As I said before, it is horses for courses.
  33. Are you paying for your chiropracter to accompany you?
  34. Ray: Your girls are dolls. Nice shot. Alan.​
    Thanks, Alan!
  35. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    Speaking as someone who hauled a medium format system with 4-6 lenses (and sometimes a Mamiya 7 as well) wherever I went in the world for a dozen years with and without my family, and who has photographed fairly extensively in Yucatan---
    You may well have a great vacation in Cancun and along that coast, including Tulum. But this isn't a destination that offers a large amount of serious photography. Tulum is not, IMO anyway, the most evocative of the Mayan sites, and to see the places in Yucatan that do offer fascinating photo opportunities you'd need to get away from the coastal resorts. Unless you're just planning to use Cancun as an entry point and drive to the towns and villages inland, I'd suggest that you think of this trip as a vacation and not as an important photo trip. That way, the question of what to take resolves itself- particularly in the context that you're thinking of emasculating the RB system anyway to manage its weight and bulk.
  36. David, thanks for your insight. (Oh, and Ray, Alan's absolutely right -- cute girls; great shot.) It's funny you should mention that about Tulum... I just got an email from Yucatreks saying we may not be able to go on that particular excursion anyway, since the place we're staying is about an hour north of their Playa del Carmen home base.
    You've clearly got a lot of experience exploring the area; if there's anyplace else you'd suggest we check out, I'm all ears. Inland, it sounds like, is the way to go.
    Also had to mention -- just got back from the grounds of the local art museum, where I hiked around with the RB, prism, grip, family and all, and had a blast. Though I did bring along a pocket digicam for, yes, snapshots, and may well have gotten better results with that than I did with the Mamiya. Time to wait for the film to be processed (I'm learning B/W processing myself at home, but this was color) and find out.
  37. I do agree with Michael and others on the weight thing, although am still listening to your ...
    but I just love shooting with the Mamiya​
    You do talk about stripping it down to basics .. good. That will make a big difference. Take the 65 and exploit it's potential. It's not worth buying alternative cameras to save a few ounces.
    Many moons ago I travelled to Australia as a lone parent with 3 yo son. The weight of the Hasselblad was not the problem, but being preoccupied with my son was. An opportunist was watching the devoted dad, and slipped the neatly packed Lowepro out from under my feet whilst ... ( blahh .. it still hurts to remember ) Ahh well, the camera was off the plane and gone whilst I was dressing the lad and tidying up our cabin luggage. Unless I'm actually using it, any camera bag is now carried inside a cheapo shopping bag. The Manfotto is harder to disguise.
    My son is soon 18 and taller than me now. He can have the Hasselblad around his neck, put me in the Billingham, and take care of both dad and camera ;-)
  38. Last trip to South Africa, via Schipol, Amsterdam from Toronto was pure compact digital. 8 Memory cards, extra batteries in case, a few in carry-on. Sheer joy!
    No of the "Sir,please stand to side!, Sir, are these yours? Sir, the film is going thru the X-Rays..Sir, You should get digital!" Yup! none of that..
    Truth! I missed my Medium Format when I did shoot..
    Take a basic box, one lens. Film. 120 film not as easily found anymore except large centers.
    PS. On way back carried my Canon Ae-1p,50mm and 35~105 zoom,28mm and tele-extender, dedicated flash,15 rolls of film. No problems at any security.. One comment!
    "Nice to see a film camera!"
  39. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    The nearest place to Cancun I know I can get good photographs is the small city of Valladolid and the route north to Rio Lagartos on the north coast. The small towns of Calotmul and Espesita were productive as I recall. Thats too far for a self-drive day trip IMO. There may be other places nearer to Cancun that I've not visited, but that's the nearest I know. Its likely that you can get a coach day trip to Chichen Itza from Cancun- it is a pretty fast and quiet road and even a day trip should get you several hours there. Chichen Itza is busy (so is Tulum) but its miles better than Tulum.

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