out of 5
The Bronica RF 645 is a medium format rangefinder that takes 120/220 film in the 6 x 4.5 cm negative size. It has manual exposure, aperture-priority and even a Program exposure mode. Focus is, of course, manual by means of a rangefinder, meaning that you are not looking through the lens, but through a viewing window. The viewfinder is turned on its side, ie., the camera in normal shooting position takes a vertical image. Turning the camera on its side for a horizontal takes five minutes to get used to.
Investing $1,400 in this camera and two lenses, in new condition is my attempt at better image quality. I could have spent the same money for a digital camera that becomes obsolete when I hand over the credit card. Skeptics would say that I have my obsolescence now. Read on, my friends.
The lenses are absolutely superb. The 65mm is the equivalent in 35mm of a 40, and the 45mm is a 28mm equivalent. Distortion is minimal to non-existent, and sharpness, in the words of photography writer Mike Johnston, "blows 35mm into the tall grass". So, for the same weight as my Canon F-1's, I get a negative 2.7 times larger. Fairly inexpensive flatbed scanners can do good scans of these negs. For what I shoot, this is just the ticket. When I need macro, a power winder, or teles, I still have my F-1's. Look for examples on my web site in the next few months, but jpeg images won't do lenses like these any justice.
10/5/2005 8:47:02 AM