View Full Version : Which 645 Rangefinder ?
Hi all ! Have only just discovered this site, and registered as a member. Used Leica RF and various SLRs, but now eager to try the "big negative" in a reasonably convenient package. Like solid, sturdy, mechanical cameras, rather than the light, plasticky, fragile ones. Heard great things about the Fuji 60mm EBC f/4 lens. Don't mind (prefer ?) manual focus and winding. Narrowing down to a few --- GA645/GA645i/GS645S, or the Bronica RF. Mamiya 7 too big (and plasticky ?), while Mamiya 6 too pricey. Or should I try a larger frame Fuji ?Looking for opinions to help me decide...
all of those are excellent choices, actually. go with whichever you like the best.
the mamiya 7 is covered with plastic, but the body is metallic. I fyou want 645 go with the bronica.
Welcome to RFF, Subhash! Having begun medium format long ago with a Pentax 6x7, the 645 format rangefinders all seem light and compact in comparison! I have four; they are all different and all have their strong points: GS645S (60mm f/4), GA645Wi (45mm f/4), and two Bronica RF645 (one with 100mm lens framelines, the other with 135mm). I think the Bronica is the most versatile, solid, Leica-like. The GS is very small and plastic-light with a great lens and a fairly traditional user interface with controls and settings around the lens barrel. And a noise-maker built into the shutter release. While the others take 16 shots on a 120 roll, this one gets 15. I like it, but find I don't use it as much.
The GA is entirely automated, like a giant point'n'shoot, complete with motor wind, autofocus, popup flash, etc., but it too has a great lens and excellent build quality. It has buzzy little motor noises to extend/retract the lens and wind film.
I like the GA's 45mm lens (it comes as a 60mm version too, and a slower 55-90 zoom) and dedicated viewfinder with frame-size correction as well as parallax compensation. The AF is both a strength and a weakness. But I think Iike the Bronica best, for its crisp bright viewfinder and RF spot, manual and AE modes, quiet manual film wind and quiet shutter.
Each of these has something for a user to prefer, though. And they all have that extra something in the film results common with medium format...
I recently faced the same decision and opted for the Bronica RF645. I wanted a well-built, quiet camera without buzzy little motors and with interchangable lenses. And the $450 rebate now offered on a new Bronica didn't hurt, either. So when a new RF645 with 65mm lens showed up on KEH, I jumped. The price after rebate was just a bit under $550, including shipping. That's probably the best deal I've ever made on a camera.
I have a GA645Zi and it is a MF compact. Takes great pictures but is basically a pocket camera for a giant. I like it, but if you want manual focus and easy manual control (it's a little slow to set manual apeture and speed on the camera, easy to do apeture priority) then maybe it isn't a good choice. I'd like a Bronica RF645 but it would mean selling the GA645Zi and I am not sure I want to do that either. My problem is getting my hands on a Bron 645 to see if I actually like it in use. Wish I could get that $550 price, they're selling out around that in pounds sterling in GB.
The Bronica has multiple lenses, the Fujis, except for the the zoom, have fixed lenses. Does this narrow your choices. If you are happy with just one lens, then look at all of them. The Fujis are older, except for the zoom, the Bronica may have a warrenty, if that is important to you. I have the Fuji GS645S, a folding camera with an exceptional 75 lens. I don't think you'll be unhappy with any of them. By the way, welcome, but if you don't want to buy more equipment, run because this will give you the green-eyed envy and a desire to buy more stuff.
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