View Full Version : Bronica RF645's curse
It seems that every camera has kind of internet paranoia floating around it.
The advance on Mamiya 6, the focus shift on the Nokton 35/1.4 and so on.
I'm considering the Broni, cause it's a nice mix of size and quality, but alas, I keep reading about the film advancing curse.
So the question is, should I be really worried about it? I plan on buying from reputable dealer (keh or ebay). How fragile is this advance, and what's the risk on happening on a good/ex body?
Sending it to Tamron somewhere in central Europe might be an option (did you guys in Europe did this?), but I'd rather pay more for a good body to be on the safe side.
Also, please share you experience with the 100mm lens, is it hard to focus? Harder than the Mamiya 7?
I bought the RF645 being fully aware of the curse. Its a fantastic camera system nonetheless and a great value now. I do have to fiddle with the film rewind lever once in a while, but nothing that gets in the experience of using a nice MF camera. Usually I am shooting still subjects and not in a mode to catch action when I am using MF anyways and I don't mind the oddities. The 100mm lens is super nice and its not as difficult to focus with as you might think. The camera has a solid feel and the lenses have characters that are different from Mamiya system. If you are already sold on it, just get it and enjoy it. If the rewind lever goes kaput I am sure I can find some one to fix long after Tamron stops servicing it, thats just my 2 cents.
CK Dexter Haven
I bought one not knowing about the 'advance curse.' This is the first i'm hearing of it.
But, mine 'died' of an electronics issue. And, similar problems have been mentioned within this forum. If there is a Bronica RF645 "curse," i'd be more afraid of that. An advance mechanism? You can just baby it. But the wires and guts- you have no control whatsoever.
My Bronica was bought used, in mint condition, in 2006. This year it developed a minor rough spot on the film advance. Knowing of Tamron's support deadline (this month?) I sent it for repair ($190). Works perfectly again. So in my experience, yes, the winder is a weak point.
On the plus side, it is quite astonishing just how cheap these cameras and lenses are going for now. I have the 100mm lens and it is easy to focus and use. Great lens. You will read of complaints that it is expensive (it was, but no longer) and hard to get. Expensive? Try Mamiya 7 lenses. Hard to get? they are not common, but often sit unsold. If you find a camera in good condition I wouldn't hesitate to buy it.
so much happy users. you're making it really hard on me now :D
what about the 45mm, can you compose using the whole viewfinder?
and one more thing, how do I know if it has the 100 or the 135 framelines (without having it in my hand). should I ask for a picture from the viewfinder?
I never use the external finder for the 45mm lens. It only frames, doesn't move with focus, and is huge. The entire viewfinder is pretty close, and I've found it good enough. I have all 3 lenses and use the 45mm the most. I'd get that over the 100mm lens; it's cheaper and easier to find. However, I like wide angle.
You can tell which lens your finder is made for by the camera body serial number. I can't remember what the ranges are but you might find it somewhere by searching.
You'll be hooked like everybody else if you get one.
KEH are great to purchase from because they have a nice return policy. I only once had a return on a Speedlight, but it went really smoothly.
I own a Bronica RF645 with the 45mm and 65mm lenses, and I use it on commission shoots. Quick mention on the 45mm: up close the external shoe viewfinder helps with framing, but otherwise the main viewfinder window is fine. Originally it was my back-up camera, but in the last year I have used it as a main camera on some projects. The ergonomics are better than any camera I have ever used, and I've used a ton of cameras.
The only quirk I notice is that if I shoot Kodak film I need to use a Kodak spool, and if I shoot Fujifilm, then I need to use a Fuji spool. Perhaps this is the advance issue, though it operates super smooth with the right spool in place. Just remember it is not like a 35mm camera where you can go fast flicks on the advance lever to move the film, because it will jamb if you do that. Go too fast and the shutter will not reset and you will be unable to take the next shot. Smooth and steady, then it works great.
I have to agree with Gordon - use correct spool and it works smooth; nevertheless I know about the problem with film advance in some cases from the forum but not of electronics;
I own two of these cams and both are fine, SerNr beginning with 1xxxxx means, it's a 100 frameline;
oh - I use the 4,5/135 lens sometimes and have no problems with correct focus, so the 4,5/100 should be easier to use
I have two of them also, one from new with 100mm framelines and one used one later from KEH, since I liked the first one so much. I had never heard of wind/advance problems until recently. I think there have been a couple complaints on RFF about misaligned RF spot, and one of mine is a little off vertically. But these are certainly my favorite MF RF cams, so well-designed and compact. I only wish there were 45mm parallax-corrected framelines in the viewfinder, though using the full window does serve ok. I don't use the supplied external VF. I do like using the 100mm, though I would have made a bundle had I sold it at the peak of the frenzy!
anyone knows about a good service for this in east or central europe?
Thats funny, I didn't even know it had a crank issue when I bought it. Never had any issues with it other than the lens hood rotating slightly on occasion and the exposure compensation dial banging my hip and switching to a + or -. Other than that its been fine.
I bought my RF645 new, and in less than a year the film advance started to act up. It was repaired under warranty, which was good. But it started to act up again less than a year after the first repair. So I sold off the entire kit, including my 100mm lens, and bought a Mamiya 7II. I did really like the Bronica, but I didn't trust it. I'd never had film advance problems with any other camera that I've owned. YMMV.
I plan on buying from reputable dealer (keh or ebay).
ebay is a gamble, not a reputable dealer!
Never had problems with 120, with 220 the winding gets tougher when you reach the final frames.
maybe the old batches had the advance problem and the newer ones with 100mm framelines didn't. hmm...
I purchased one with the 45/65 combo from a forum user about 9 mos ago. Still getting used to it, but it feels great in your hand, and some of the pictures are amazing. No winder problems but I follow the "spool" advice and wind smoothly as opposed to the wild racket of the 35mm days. I'm looking for a 100 and the flash now. Some of the prices are still crazy. Good luck.
Never noticed any issues but I don't use it that often either. Love the ergonomics of the camera but the very limited lens choice makes it a bit underused.
anyone knows about a good service for this in east or central europe?
Had mine send to Tamron (by means of their importer/distributor) to align the viewfinder as I had a vertical mismatch and change the framelines from 135mm to 100mm because I have a body with the 135mm framelines and only the 100mm lens. Got it back with a 270 euro invoice and nothing changed... YMMV of course.
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