TBT – Mamiya RZ67 Professional

Post by Paul Brodek our Used Equipment buyer

Well, the holidays are coming at us full throttle now, so I have to apologize if these posts are a little erratic heading into December…

What we’re serving up for Thanksgiving is a very tasty Mamiya RZ67 Professional 6×7 camera, complete with a 110mm f/2.8 Mamiya-Sekor “standard” lens. 110mm is analogous to an 80mm on a 6×6 frame, or a 50mm on a 35mm frame.

The RZ67 is a big beast, because it is built around a big 6x7cm negative, and aims to be both very modular and very flexible. It takes the best of the Mamiya C220/C330 twin lens reflex cameras and merges this with the more-modern Mamiya 645 series. It is incredibly versatile and flexible, but it does give up on being a camera that is easily hand-holdable. It’s not that you can’t shoot with it off a tripod, but if you’re not hitting the gym regularly and able to bench-press multiples of your body weight, it won’t be a lot of fun.

It most resembles the 645 family, and you wouldn’t be faulted for thinking the RZ67 is just a 645 on steroids. Single-lens SLR viewing, combined with interchangeable lenses, backs and finders, makes for a relatively easy transition from copy stand/macro work to studio/fashion/portrait to landscape. There seems to be motor winder available, which would make studio workflow smoother. The RZ67 also takes advantage of modern plastics & optics with a series of affordable and very bright focus screens.
There are a host of modern conveniences, like an electronically-timed leaf shutter in each lens, giving exact shutter timing and the ability to synch flash at any shutter speed. It’s probably worth mentioning that we’ve also got digital contacts from the lens, through the body, to the back. To start off, that means you can set your ASA/ISO on each back, and a metered prism will access that data without having to dial it separately on the finder. It’s also worth mentioning that you could dive right into digital photography with a digital back.

Where the C330 twin-lens heritage comes through is the built-in, longer draw bellows, which allows for much closer focusing. It won’t get you to macro with the standard lens, but will allow getting significantly closer to your subject. That’s a distinct advantage when shooting portraits with longer lenses, where a head-and-shoulders framing wouldn’t be possible without the bellows.

There’s a few tricks unique to the 67 series, the coolest being a built-in revolving back mechanism. Shooting a horizontal format at waist level with a big camera always poses a problem when you want to shoot in vertical/portrait mode—how the heck do you rotate the camera 90-degrees and still look through the finder? The RZ67 solves this problem neatly by allowing the camera to stay positioned while the back rotates between landscape/horizontal and portrait/vertical. One photo shows the back midway between the two.

This particular example has had both the back and lens serviced. We’re rating it Exc+, since it’s overall very clean and fully functional. It is already spoken for, but for the record a nice, serviced RZ67 Pro like this would be priced around $1,200.  

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