Finding my father's old Mamiya RB67 camera

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by JCM, Oct 7, 2017.

  1. JCM

    JCM Years ago, I was an angry young man Thread Starter

    Columbus, Ohio
    Once upon a time my father was a studio photographer and it was his whole life. He died very young, age 43. I'm coming up on my 42nd year myself. It has now been 30 years since my he passed (Feb, 1987).

    I guess it's nostalgia or whatever but I'm suddenly motivated to try and find his beloved camera. See, after his passing, my mom decided to sell most of his photography equipment off. Which I completely get.

    So here I am with a list of Serial Numbers, which she thankfully kept. Is there some sort of photography enthusiast site or maybe, even better, a Mamiya RB67 enthusiast site that I could try and really make an effort to hunt down the body and lenses, etc?

    This might be a totally futile effort but I at least have to give a go, for my own reasons.

    Here's a stock images (and review) of the camera in question:



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  2. hanleyp

    hanleyp Forum Resident

    I wish you the best of luck, that is a cool camera.

    The only help I can give you is to bump the thread back up to the top of the list and then maybe someone else can give some advice.
    JCM likes this.
  3. JohnO

    JohnO Forum Resident

    Washington, DC
    You could try for a forum with a huge userbase. You can try, they are probably the largest seller of used film and digital still cameras. There is also National Camera Exchange for used cameras, and in NYC have extensive used departments, but they probably may not be inclined to help in a quest like this as much as the above.
    Google "mamiya forum" to find several real enthusiast forums, with not large memberships.
    Good luck on your quest. You just might find the exact units, but you could consider getting the identical models with nearby serial numbers.
    JCM likes this.
  4. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    There's a few camera enthusiasts here.
    Just giving your thread a bump.
    JCM likes this.
  5. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer

    The West
    There's a Facebook group called Vintage Camera Collectors. It's a closed group so you'll have to send a request to join. It's populated with some crazy obsessive and knowledgeable camera nerds, and a lot of people who regularly buy, sell and trade. Might be worth a shot.
    Log into Facebook | Facebook

    dan c
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  6. strymeow

    strymeow Forum Resident

    Panhandle, FL
    A noble moonshot cause!

    If I were you I might make a one page website/blog/tumblr with a couple heartfelt paragraphs about your dad's story, a couple pictures of the two of you together (better yet with the camera), a sampling of some of his work, the info on the camera, and a way to contact you. Then I might post the URL and a teaser to some of the communities above as well as on Reddit, etc., in an effort to get some viral momentum. People like a happy ending to a good story, and it doesn't cost them anything to share/up-vote. Maybe you'll get lucky, and at worst you've had an opportunity to reflect and tribute to him in the process.
    JCM, Dan C and somnar like this.
  7. Gretsch6136

    Gretsch6136 Forum Resident

    Also do a post on Facebook and ask people to start sharing it. If its similar in content to what strymeow describes above, people all over the world would share it I'm sure.
    Solaris and JCM like this.
  8. somnar

    somnar Forum Resident

    NYC & Amsterdam
    Great idea!
    JCM likes this.
  9. JCM

    JCM Years ago, I was an angry young man Thread Starter

    Columbus, Ohio
    Thanks for all your suggestions. I'll get to work on them.
  10. arley

    arley Forum Resident

    That's a great camera. I've used medium format for a while (Rollieflex 2.8 twin lens reflex) and it can give you excellent results.

    The bad news is that the value of most film cameras has diminished as digital has gotten so good so quickly. The flip side of that, though, is that you should be able to pick up used accessories for that camera more cheaply than you could have 15 years ago. Unless you have a great camera shop in your town, you probably will have to order film online. B&H Photo in NYC ( has a good selection. You'll probably have to send the film off for processing unless you have your own darkroom.

    One option is to get a digital back for the camera; that setup would combine the great Mamiya optics with the convenience of digital. Unfortunately, those digital backs ain't cheap--you're talking several hundred bucks at least, and some are much more than that. Unless you were planning on using it a lot, it would be cheaper to shoot film (I like Fuji Provia) and have the transparencies scanned.
    longdist01 likes this.
  11. stereoguy

    stereoguy The King Of Stereo Mixing

    Jason, thats a terriffic idea, and I wish you the very best of luck. I will tell you one thing.....since you have the serial number, and with the power of the actually have a decent chance of finding your dads camera. I hope you do!
  12. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    New Orleans, LA
    Those things are built like a tank. I've used one before and they produce beautiful images. You really feel like you're operating a true photographic machine when that shutter goes ca-chunk. I think sharing on social media is a great idea. Lots of photography groups on Facebook, and with the story attached it should spread quickly.

    If you get it back and plan to use it, invest in a sturdy tripod. The RB67 is not only built like a tank, it's as heavy as one!
    JCM likes this.
  13. Burt

    Burt Forum Resident

    Kirkwood, MO
    The RB and RZ Mamiya was THE studio camera after the Graflex and Crown Graphic fell out of favor. Heavy, but durable and reliable.

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