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I was really lucky to find a compete RF645 outfit with 3 lenses. This is a great camera, but the film advance is prone to problems. My
camera arrived with faulty winding (the advance lever would sometimes slip or get stuck in mid-wind), so I had to send it to Tamron for
repair. It cost well about $200 to fix it, and the camera has worked great since. So if you have an RF645 with a similar problem my
advice is do not hesitate to send it to Tamrom. Still, this faulty winding is something to keep in mind if you are in the market for an
RF645. How prevalent is the winding problem? I'm not sure, but after purchasing the 135mm lens I bought a used body with 135mm
framelines (my camera has framelines for the 100mm lens) and it had the same winding problem! (I returned it as the seller wouldn't
give me a partial refund and the camera was quite expensive). So, I'm two for two on that score. I actually lost heart and sold my
135mm lens (which is pictured above right, in back of the 45mm and 65mm lenses). The 100mm is one of the finest lenses I've ever
used, so I'm more than content with "just" that lens and, in fact, it's the only lens I've used on my RF645 for over a year. All the photos
of Japan below were taken with the 100mm lens (in Osaka and Kyoto). As you can see, there's some sense of telephoto
compression, and the lens helps me see selectively and pull smaller scenes out of the environment. In my opinion, it's one of those
rare lenses that palpably heightens your enjoyment of photography.
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The RF645 is bigger and heavier than even a large 6x6 folder (the Ansco Super
Speedex, in this example), but it does have a lot more features. In my opinion it is
still a small package when you consider the quality of the images it can produce.
Bronica RF645
with
Zenzanon RF lenses
Finally, a horizontal photo. What can I say? When I use a camera with a vertically oriented
viewfinder, I tend to see vertical images. (As you can tell from the longer aspect ratio, the top and
bottom of this photo were slightly cropped.)
The 135mm and 100mm lenses at their closest focusing distance. I did
some focusing tests of the 135mm lens on my 100mm-frameline body
and at the widest aperture and closest focusing distance images were
focused about 1-inch in back of where the rangefinder indicated. It was
accurate enough for general photography, but not perfect.
A point in favor of the 100mm lens is that although the closest marked
distance is 1.8 meters (5.9 feet), it actually focuses down to about 1
meter and, at least on my camera, does it accurately.
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Update: I ended up selling my sweet RF645 set. I hadn't used it in almost a year, and when I finally picked it up again and was all psyched to
take photos with the 100mm lens, I found that the film winding had the same problem as when I bought it! The fact that I have 50-year-old
cameras that have never felt the cold touch of a repairperson's tools, and work just about as good as new, makes it seem ridiculous that this
modern camera should need service twice in a couple of years. Yes, I know, modern cameras are a lot more complicated, and I hate to react
emotionally, but it just kinda pissed me off... And, yes, I treated my RF645 gently and it was working fine the last time I used it before putting it
away. I've told this story to a few other RF645 owners in my acquaintance and, unlikely as it sounds, I'm not the only one who has found that
the RF645 film transport system does not like to sit idle for extended periods. So if you own one of these it will probably be best to use it on a
regular basis. Given all the cameras I have that wasn't likely to happen in my case, so I'm glad to have sold it to someone who will keep it
exercised. I have a few more bits of RF645 gear for sale
HERE.