In 1975 Mr. Kimio Doi of the Japanese Doi Group purchased the rights to produce the Plaubel Makina from Frankfurt based German camera maker Plauble & Co. It was first shown in Photokina in 1978 and released in 1979. Mr. Doi outsourced the production of the new Makina 67’s lens to Nikon and the body to Konica. Chief designer Yasuo Uchida led the design team with assistance from Professor Udo M. Geissler of the industrial design department of the Technical University of Munich. An interview with Uchida can be seen here. The end result was an exceptionally well designed and engineered camera that is capable of producing high quality images.
The Plaubel Makina 67 is a fixed lens rangefinder medium format camera that comes with a very sharp and fast Nikon 80mm f2.8 lens. The fact that the lens can be folded back into the body when not shooting makes the camera ultra portable. It can be carried in a small camera bag or even fit into a large coat pocket. However, the Makina 67 is still quite heavy despite its relatively compact size (for a medium format camera). The rangefinder focus is done with a focus knob around the release button on top of the camera. It takes some getting used to, but focus is easy and accurate. The shutter speed, aperture and ISO rings are all around the lens, which I find somewhat more finicky than the focus knob. There is no way you can adjust these while you are looking through the viewfinder. Street photography is possible, but you will have to set everything up for zone focusing ahead of time. In general, the Plaubel Makina is more of a deliberate set up and shoot type of camera rather than run-and-gun. The fantastic lens, the ability to shoot 6×7 negatives, and its unique design make the Plaubel Makina 67 a true gem of film era cameras.
The one design flaw that the camera suffers from is that it has very thin wires for the meter that run from the lens to the body along the “lazy-tongs” that fold the lens in and out of the body. Over the years, as the lens is folded in and out, these wires inevitably wear and the meter malfunctions. Nevertheless, buying one of these cameras with a malfunctioning meter is a bonus in my opinion because you will no doubt get a discount and it is far better to use “Sunny 16” or a handheld meter for proper exposure rather than the center weight camera meter. Click here to purchase.