In my little camera bag No. 8: Mamiya RB67, upcoming redesign

Mamiya RB67
The preternaturally-huge Mamiya RB67. It’s a 6×7 medium format camera build like a cross between a Sherman tank and an airplane black box. I haven’t quite figured out how to rotate the back yet, but I’m sure Google will know. (Daniel J. Schneider)

I was all set to write about two fresh 35mm cameras in my bag this week when a Mamiya RB67 dropped in my lap. Almost, but not quite, literally.

This massive chunk of kit comes courtesy of a loan from The Post’s outgoing Assistant Managing Editor of Photography, Tim Rasmussen. Tim has taken a job working for the dark side — television (in newspaper journalism, a lot of things are variants of The Dark Side; especially PR).

When I was asking for Tim’s input on my website redesign while I still had the chance, he suggested that I should borrow this behemoth and try it out if I hadn’t shot with one before. I was nervous, but couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Tim even threw in a Polaroid back and some really expired Type 669 pack film.

So, starting this weekend, I’ll be carrying a different bag for a few days. It’s blackish, with an eye-searing yellow interior (I prefer to hurt my eyes with shades of green or orange). Aside from the Polaroid back and film, there are two 120 backs and a couple rolls of Tri-X, and a pro-pack of Velvia 50. I’ll probably get some Ektar this weekend, and I have a few rolls of Plus-X standing by.

So far I don’t know much about it aside from what I learned in Tim’s three-minute crash course in loading the backs and resetting the mirror. My first impressions revolve entirely around the size of this thing. It’s monstrous, truly. It’s heavier than my Crown Graphic 4×5, and nearly as big. I think it’s longer.

I like to joke that you could bludgeon a man to death with a Nikon F2. If that’s true, you could put a whole football squad to rest with the Mamiya RB67. It must weigh 10 lbs. (okay, I looked it up — officially it’s just a hair over 6 lbs., as appointed).

What will I shoot in the week or so I have this Brobdingnagian box? I’m not 100% sure yet. Would love suggestions in the comments below!

In addition to this gargantuan (temporary) addition to the collection, I have some other news.

I’ve been working, quietly, on a new version of my website, and I’d love some feedback.

WordPress will still power the site, but it will be moving to a new domain name (don’t worry, this one will redirect you for years to come) and the look will change rather completely.

For years I’ve slowly evolved my site from hand-coded HTML pages, to WordPress and through a variety of themes that I customized more and more over time. This time, though, for the first time, I’m building my own look and feel from scratch.

So here’s a screenshot as a teaser, and a plea for feedback. Any complaints about my current site would be wonderful, too, so I can be sure they are addressed in the update. Please, fill the comments below!

New look preview
A preview of the new look coming to my website in the next week or so. Any feedback greatly appreciated! (screenshot; Daniel J. Schneider)