I am thinking of buying another camera and fancy a Medium format rangefinder. I have seen a couple of second hand ones in as new condition at a good price; a Fuji 645zi and a Bronica RF645. Has anyone had any experiences with either of these? Either good, bad or indifferent.
Thanks for any advice you can give me.
I have read that the Bronicas are lacking in quality. How true that is I don't know. As for Fuji, I can tell you first hand that the optics ore top notch. I like the GSW690 for landscape work. Keep in mind, the hasselblad Xpan is nothing more than a rebranded Fuji TX1
The Fuji 645zi is an auto focus/auto exposure camera. You would be quite pleased with the results, but it has some peculiar idiosyncracies to deal with.
Medium format RF cameras tend to have slow lenses, commonly f/4. The Fuji GA645Zi has a zoom lens that is even slower, especially at the long end of its range (f/6.3). For many purposes this may not be important, but might well be for others.
I have the GA645Wi, a fore-runner of the Zi, mine having a fixed 45mm f/4, plus the same auto-focus, auto-exposure, and motor winder as the Zi. As my most recent good camera, it's gotten most usage in the past 6 months. I was unsure I'd like the motor this and that (the lens also is extended and "parked" by motor), and all the automation. Well, it's ok, but does tend to promote shooting without much regard for the conditions. It's a big sharp point'n'shoot!
My first MF RF some years ago was a Fuji GS645S, which has a fixed 60mm f/4 and built-in meter but no automation or motor. It's very small and light-weight, excellent for carrying around. These are apparently delicate, vulnerable to damage, and my used one had to be repaired before it would work right. Nice little rig, though!
In MF I also have a couple of 'antique' folding cameras and two big lovely Pentax 6x7's with an array of lenses. But my best MF RF is my Bronica RF645. This camera is simply outstanding in every way. It is between the two Fujis in size, but has interchangeable lenses, and is virtually silent in operation. Outstanding rangefinder crispsness, and good informational display alongside. It has easy analog controls for manual exposure as well as Program AE, Aperture Priority, and Shutter Priority, exposure compensation and double-exposure. Very comfortable to use. As far as I can make out, the Bronica and Fuji lenses are all outstanding.
Fuji has recently discontinued all their MF RF models with the possible exception of the 645Zi. Bronica's RF645 is still a current model, but they've had to offer factory rebates almost constantly for the past 18 months or so to move them in today's market. A good time to be buying!
The Mamiya 7II is also a great choice, sort-of similar to the Bronica but in 6x7 format, and it's still a current model too, though its predecessor the 6x6 Mamiya 6 model has been discontinued. The lenses for the Mamiyas are pricy...
For help in shopping, look over this RF Forum, as there are several of us here who are active users of MF gear. Also check out the Medium Format parts of Photo.net, and search the web for other 'medium format' resources. There's plenty of data and opinions to weigh!
(Mamiya Universal with the amazing 100mm f/2.8, beautiful wide open)
Sorry for the hijack. Do continue.
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