I haven’t written anything on my Blog since February and much has happened and my photography world has expanded. Not so much for digital, but analogue. This may seem strange, but I have become smitten by film again after 12 years of abandoning this genre.
Earlier this year I blogged about my acquisition of a Rolleiflex 2.8f, see here Since then I have been busy buying a collection of more medium format cameras. These include a Rolleiflex T, one of the very last of the production in mint condition. A Rolleicord Vb, also one of the very last produced and again in mint condition. Both cameras work perfectly with no shutter or other issues. I also bought a Rolleiflex Baby Mk2 grey 127 (4×4) film camera. Unfortunately this will be retained as a display camera only as soon after purchase the shutter jammed and the repair is cost prohibitive. An Agfa Isolette folding camera was a gift and works well. Here is my line up.
From left to right Rolleiflex 2.8f, Rolleiflex Baby, Rolleiflex T, Rolleicord vb, Bronica rf645 and the Agfa Isolette.
Oh, I forgot to mention the latest addition, a mint Bronica rf645 with Zenzanon RF 65mm F/4 lens. Much more about this later.
I wrote an article on my film photography and this was released in the Winter edition of our Postal Photographic Club on-line magazine. This was a review on why I returned to film photography and can be read here (page 39).
Anyone who has a history of film photography will appreciate why the Rolleiflex/Rolleicord are icons of film photography and much used by journalists and Street photographers. Diane Arbus, Cecil Beaton and of course my personal favourite Vivian Meier Maier’s massive body of work would come to light when in 2007 her work was discovered at a local thrift auction house on Chicago’s Northwest Side. From there, it would eventually impact the world over and change the life of the man who championed her work and brought it to the public eye, John Maloof. It certainly had a massive impact on me.
As most readers know I am a keen Street photographer inspired by the use of Fuji X cameras which are discreet, however I now also use the Roleiflex which is anything but discreet, but that’s the camera people walk up to me and want to talk about.
A little later I’ll discuss why film photography has become so important to me. Now, I’ll take a look at my latest acquisition, the Bronica rf645.
Bronica rf645 Rangefinder medium format camera. The medium format rangefinder that everyone forgot about.
One web article says “There are some cameras that just rock my world, and the Bronica RF645 is one of them. I don’t know what the allure is, but it is a very handsome camera. It also seems to be a camera that everyone seems to pass by”. Read more here
The Bronica RF645 is a medium format rangefinder with interchangeable lenses made by the Japanese company Bronica. It captures 6×4.5 images onto 120 or 220 film. This camera has been introduced in 2000 and discontinued in 2005, with Tamron contined support until 2014.
The camera was awarded Camera Press Club’s “Special prize” at the Camera Grand Prix 2001, EISA award for professional camera in 2001-2002, and TIPA’s best professional photo product for year 2001-2002.
The camera looks not unlike the Fuji X-Pro 1 which shares it’s Rangefinder credentials in style alone.
Unlike my Rolleiflex’s the Bronica rf645 offers an electronic exposure meter with the speed and exposure which can to be seen in the viewfinder.
The odd issue!
Unlike most film cameras the film transported mechanism will only allow vertical (portrait orientated) images when the camera is held the horizontal position. Landscape orientated images are captured with camera held in the vertical or portrait position! That caught me out, perhaps reading the manual was a good idea after all! The viewfinder includes a useful electronic grid to assist framing the picture and avoids loosing subject out of frame. Another comparison with the Fuji X – Pro 1 optical viewfinder.
I use mainly Kodak Tri-X ISO400 or Fomapan 1 ISO400 for B&W work and Fujifilm Provia ISO100 and 400 and Velvia 100 and of course 50 for transparency film.
Fujifilm Provia 100Fujifilm Provia 100Fujifilm Provia 100Fujifilm Provia 100Fujifilm Velvia 100
Fuji Velvia 100
So, there we are. I finally caught up with 2015 with only a day to go before the new year. 2016 hopefully will contain a concerted effort to update my blog more often
Until then may I wish everyone a happy new year and a photographically good one whether throgh the medium of digital or film.
Richard – December 30th 2015