If you follow me on Instagram you may know I have been having a heck of a time picking up a Mamiya RB67 Pro SD. I will share the journey it took to get one, and my first photos taken with it. First though, let me explain why I wanted one.
Since I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease 11 years ago, I have had several near death experiences, and this has left me feeling a constant sense of urgency. It’s become a burden to be honest. It’s this nagging feeling that I need to hurry and experience everything I can while I still can, all the while being stuck in my bed every other day because my body won’t allow it. That urgency has been no different when it comes to cameras. I just want to experience as many as I can because it is something I love.
Urgency aside, the Mamiya RB has been high on my list for a long time. It is a professional camera that shoots 6×7 with beautiful lenses. When I bought the Pentax 67 for a project, I didn’t intend on buying an RB anytime soon. Several things changed my mind.
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My decision to finally buy an RB67 hit an urgency recently when I started to realize the prices were going up and they were becoming pretty hard to find. I found in my research that light leaks with the Pro S film back tends to be a pesky issue. It’s recommended to get a Pro SD film back to save the headache. Therefore, I set out to find a Mamiya RB67 Pro SD.
First, I asked around to see if anyone was selling one. I was directed to the Mamiya RB67 Facebook page where they go up for sale often. Someone was selling a Pro SD with several rolls of Fuji Pro 400H and Kodak Portra. I didn’t care about the film I only cared that it was a Pro SD. However, I was nervous about purchasing such an expensive item from Facebook. I was happy when I found the guy was also selling it on Ebay because buyer protection made me feel safer.
In the meantime, I tried a store that was recommended. They said they had over 100 of them, and asked which lens I’d like. I trusted buying it from them rather than eBay, but then they stopped responding and they weren’t clear about when they would sell me the camera. I let them know I may have someone to buy from on eBay, but I preferred them if they could give me some info. Instead they told me to go ahead and buy elsewhere.
The Journey Continues
So I went with the guy on Ebay. I paid instantly and expressed my excitement. When he said “take care of my baby.” I assured him I love cameras and he can see proof of that from my YouTube channel. He seemed glad, but then days passed and he didn’t mail it. He started giving strange excuses as days passed. First he was too busy with work and could only mail it on a certain day. Then he’d ignore my messages. I even told him he could cancel it if he had second thoughts. Ebay said to give him two weeks.
The final day before they could step in he bought shipping. This pushed the wait to two more weeks. The tracking never updated. He said the package didn’t fit in the post office box. This didn’t feel like buyer protection. He had my money for a month before finally returning it, and I have no idea why he even sold it to me in the first place.
Next, after that very stressful experience, I went back to the previous store owner and let him know it didn’t work out, and I was still looking if they have an RB for me. He read my message and ignored me. Back to Ebay I went.
There I found another Pro SD. They claimed to be working perfectly. It was a little cheaper than the other one. When I got it I found it had a hole in the bellows so I returned it. Luckily, they were nice and immediately gave me a refund when they received it back.
Next, on another recommendation, I called another store that had a Pro SD listed for sale on their website. However, I noticed the actual photos were of a Pro S. I asked which one they actually had for sale. The guy was right away rude to me. He said he didn’t know, but either way they’re great cameras.
After a pause, I said I was looking for a Pro SD. He went in the back and found that it was a Pro S and was listed incorrectly on the site. He continued to talk down to me like I was a moron and kept asking why I was biased towards the Pro S. I never said I was; all I said was I was looking for a Pro SD. I explained that I was told there are less problems with light leaks with the Pro SD. He condescendingly said he’d been shooting for a long time and never had any issues. “You shouldn’t believe everything you read online.” I told him I didn’t read it, I was told this by several people. He was so rude I didn’t even want to deal with this store and ended the call.
Finally, at this point I was so discouraged and felt like maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. It was starting to feel like these guys just really didn’t want to sell to me. I continued to look on Ebay with no expectations until I found a new listing for a Pro SD at the price of a Pro S. The guy was really nice and I finally have a Mamiya RB67 Pro SD that is in working condition. Best of all, I got a good deal! The only issue is it has the rim of an old lens filter stuck on the 90mm K/L lens. It doesn’t affect anything, but it is bent. I tried a filter wrench and it won’t budge. I’ll probably never be able to remove it.
My First Photos with the Mamiya RB67
When I got the camera in the mail I didn’t allow myself to be excited until I shot a roll of film. I wasn’t feeling well, but I loaded it up with a roll of Fomapan 400 and sat it on my lap in the yard while Kelsey played with Frankie.
I shot the entire roll in a few minutes and I am so happy with my results. I’m also just so relieved it works. Hopefully it stays that way.
So there you have it. I finally have a Mamiya RB67 Pro SD in my collection. It is a beautiful beast of a camera. After I spend quite a bit of time with it I will have a review posted, but until then be sure to subscribe to this site and follow me on Instagram if you’d like to see future photos I take with it.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever had a crazy experience trying to buy a camera. This has been by far the worst one I’ve had.
Until next time, stay motivated and keep shooting.
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