The RB67 and Graflex 23 Back
Recently my dad gave me his Mamiya RB67. Since then I’ve been doing lots of research about what parts fit which system. It’s not as straight forward as you might expect. In the decades since the first Mamiya RB67 there have been lots of variations and a few more modern models. Some parts are interchangeable. Some are not.
When looking for a budget film back, I came upon a forum hinting that the old American Singer/Graflex backs also fit the RB system. And while I was at Looking Glass in Berkeley, I saw one of those backs for just $20. And it so happened I had the RB in the car.
So I tried it on. And indeed it fit. However, while in the shop I couldn’t figure how to get it off. The sliders that release the back wouldn’t budge. Guess I’ll be buying it I told the gal at the register.
So the back appears to work fine. But there are some quirks. First off, I found how to release the back: there are two little metal tabs opposite the lock that holds the back in place. Press the tab and simultaneously push the slider and it will unlock.
In testing the back I’ve found a few other quirks:
- It is possible to click the shutter even with the darkslide in place
- There is no multi-exposure prevention, so if you don’t move the film forward, it will multi-expose
- It is possible to wind the film backwards!
- The back is meant to make a 6x8cm negative, but the camera will likely obscure part of the image as it’s designed to only work for 6x7cm at the largest size.
So for $20 I think I did OK.
I have two Mamiya RB67. One with the 6x8 mask foam and one which is a regular 6x7.
Basically I can mount a 6x8 back onto one of them, but finding one for sale in India is difficult. Buying one online is expensive because of customs and all that.
However, I found a Graflex 23 for sale and I'm really keen on trying it out. You did mention it works as a 6x7 back but since I have the 6x8 mask at the back, would it work as a 6x8 back? Found one of these for $35 here in India so I am tempted to pick one up.
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