Mamiya RB67 ProS

Camera Gear Feature

The Mamiya RB67 ProS catapulted me into the world of film photography.

My stepdad, Paul, used this camera as a professional portrait photographer in the 80s and early 90s. (Honestly, iconic.) My entire life, I had only seen the camera once. It stat stored away in a cardboard banker’s box, forgotten from my mind. When he died in 2020, my mom gifted the camera to me: such a special gift and connection to Paul. The only downside is that I had no idea how to use it or where to begin.

Camera Use

I am a hobbyist and self-documentary-style photographer. I don’t often find myself diving into the fine details of gear but instead using what works for me and my lifestyle. I’m not going to lie and say that this Mamiya is a perfect fit, but it’s the camera I want to lean on more in my shooting.

Paul and I use the camera in very different ways. He was primarily in-studio, occasionally outside, for portrait photography. I shoot in a documentary style and have traveled with the camera, using it in various locations and environments, rarely with people as my subjects. And, let me tell you, the weight of this camera is wild. It’s not something I’ve been able to justify hiking with – even if I have wanted to use it in some beautiful locations – but I have been able to easily use it near campsites.

The camera has a waist-level finder, which can easily throw you off the first few times you use it. It’s beautiful to look through, but for uncoordinated people like myself, the camera movements can be difficult to track due to the image being mirrored in your view. 

The camera is sturdy. Yet, I’m very trepidatious in my use, knowing the significance of this particular camera. I believe in using gear to its full extent, but I haven’t been able to unlock that part of my brain for my Mamiya RB67 ProS. I have a Yashica Mat 124g that I picked up a couple of years ago, and I have been far less gentle with that camera because that camera is mine with zero emotional attachments. 

But the images are beautiful.

Until this year, my Mamiya remained in the same, nearly perfect condition Paul left it in. I made a few minor repairs to two film backs by replacing the foam seals that had begun to flake away. And I also purchased a prism viewfinder.

Favorite Image

My first attempt at this shot was destroyed by developer gone bad. (We’re still learning when it comes to at-home film development…) But if I hadn’t needed to shoot it again, I would have missed the fallen leaves… and they make it look 10 times cooler.

Lens: 90mm
Film: Lomography Color Negative 400

October 2020 • Wichita, Kansas

Quick Facts

Mamiya was founded in 1940 in Tokyo, Japan

The RB67 ProS is the second generation (1974) of the three RB67 bodies

It is fully mechanical – the little sibling to the RB is the RZ, which does have some electronic features

Weights ~6 lbs w/o lenses or attachments

Shoots 120 film