Bronica RF 645 ?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Dave Wooten, Dec 21, 2004.

  1. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    Are there any users of the Bronica RF 645...if so could you coment on the quality, reliability and your impression...
    Thanks
    Dave in Vegas
     
  2. Jeffrey A. Steinberg

    Jeffrey A. Steinberg Member

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    I don't own this camera so take my comments accordingly:

    I never understood this camera. While it is cheaper than a Mamiya 7, if you are going for a MF rangefinder, why not get a 6x7 format camera? It also has a funny orientation that I have never understood--to get a landscape photo you have to hold the camera in its vertical aspect (and visa versa).

    With Bronica exiting the medium format SLR business how long will they support this camera.

    I own and love the Mamiya 7. I think for the price of a new Bronica 645 (there are not that many used ones since its relatively new), you can get a nice used Mamiya 7. And the Mamiya with the 43 or 50 mm lens is amazing.
     
  3. fingel

    fingel Member

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    I've never gotten 6x7, why turn your camera at all when you could shoot square like God intended... :wink:

    I haven't used the Bronica either, but I'm sure it is a solid camera just like their SLR's. The only problem that I can see is lack of available lenses (I've only seen three) but they are reasonably priced, even the wide lens.
     
  4. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    There are reasons to go for the Bronica. In the UK it is still half the price in all respects, whether it be kits or lenses. It is slightly smaller and lighter and arguably more solid (my opinion) and certainly ergonimically superior IMHO. The vertical orientation suits people and place photography just as well as the horizontal, but admitedly not landscapes so well. If there is a lot going on 16 frames gives you less time changing films and the integral darkslide thingy is a big improvemnt over the Mamiya. 645 gives you the chance to show grain too, using fast films. 6x7 is going to look creamier, which might not be what you want for street photography

    I would seriously consider one for travel/reportage. Most shots would be mono and printed to moderate sizes only and as many would be vertical shots as horizontal. For the price of a M7 plus 50mm plus 150, you can get RF645 plus 45 plus 100 plus flash, filters etc plus a great used 5x4 outfit! I love the idea of the M7 but I think the lenses are crazy money. Perhaps the RF645 could be characterised as leaning towards reportage and the M7 towards landscape?

    Tom
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Looks like a nice compact MF rangefinder with good lenses, and fairly reliable from reports I've read. I'm not a fan of the 645 format and would probably lean toward the M7II, if I were buying such a camera, but I can see the attractions of the Bronica.

    The reason for the vertical frame orientation is that horizontal frame orientation would require vertical film travel.
     
  6. craigclu

    craigclu Subscriber

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    I've had one for a quite a long time. It's a nice, light alternative to my 6X7 slr gear and tends to actually be with me instead of sitting next to the 6X7 stuff at home! First class optics, very fast to operate and it is a gratifying nice piece of gear to own. I seem to get pulled into wedding projects and people-oriented (my company magazine) sorts of things that the vertical format is ideal for. Albums and magazines seem to flow better with vertical orientation so it seems tailor made for this duty. Every medium format camera has its advantages and they're basically all good image grabbers. The 645RF has its place in some folks' bags and would be used little by others. I use the 6X7 gear if I know I will likely be making large prints but I've gotten some very stunning 11X14's from the little Bronica, too. I think that the Mamiya 7 may be a better system to buy into and likely expect a future with. It's not much bigger, its optics are said to be the best available and you'd get that nice, big negative to work from. They don't have the tactile feel of quality for the price they command but I think I could get used to that plasticky, hollow sounding rig if the results are there!
     
  7. rmann

    rmann Subscriber

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    I have owned both Mamiya 7 and Bronica RF645 - I have kept the Bronica and sold the Mamiya. The Mamiya was OK, but I liked using the Bronica so much more - (auto dark slide, viewfinder info, grip, controls on back). I found that most of the time I was doing vertical shots which the Bronica is designed to do. The auto functions/metering on the Bronica are also a notch up from the Mamiya and while the bodies are about the same size there is a big differece in the size of the lenses. I use the wide alot, the normal some, and the short tele rarely. Also, here in the US the Bronica with two lenses and the matching flash cost just a little more than a Mamiya body with normal lens. However, there are more lenses in the Mamiya line to customize your set up. I found the quality of the negitives from either camera to be top notch - you should be able to do very nice work with either of these. Best thing to do is to hold each of them, and see which feels better - especially when you need to rotate them out of their normal position.
     
  8. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    thanks so much for the input so far...I have held the RF 645 Bronica and loved the quality feel as well as the balance in hand.....I have not as of yet met or seen another actual user of the camera....it seems to be a good pack around camera for street and "street studio" work, I actually like the vertical orientation of this camera, the shutter is exceptionally quiet, I have never used a leica so don't know how to compare there, the lens of course will not be as fast, f/4, but most of my street stuff is daytime and I am not afraid at all to pop on the flash.

    It also takes 220 without modification, the 45mm set up seems too cool, I might go for this 3 lens set up....any more users out there! Thanks again apuggers
    Dave in Vegas
     
  9. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    Well said! :tongue:
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    PS--If you're wondering what a MF rangefinder camera with vertical film travel would look like, here's a page on the 6x7 Linhof 220 (which has both vertical film travel and vertical image orientation, since it's 6x7, but if you imagine it as a 645 camera, it would have horizontal image orientation)--

    http://www.marriottworld.com/stock_pics/rollpics/linhof220.htm

    The design, which resembles a 1960s broadcast microphone, never really caught on.
     
  11. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    Interesting camera Dave, thanks, also thanks for the tulilps in December!
    Dave in Vegas (flowers still blooming here but no tulips)