There is almost nothing better than having the benefit of a small rangefinder camera body and the large negative area of medium format film. While this isn’t available yet in a digital edition, lots of photographers want it. But those who want this also know how incredibly good lots of the medium format film rangefinder cameras are.
Indeed, most folks talk about the SLR cameras because they’re cheap; but there are lots and lots of film rangefinders that would possibly make you put down your digital camera and keep it in a box somewhere to gather dust once you see the incredible quality that these cameras are capable of.
Bronica has a very decorated history. The company was owned by Tamron and so you already know that they had a great command of lenses. Their SLR cameras were wonderful and the RF645 is the rangefinder camera that is often overlooked. Japan Camera Hunter states that their wider angle lenses command more of a price, and overall the system pretty much holds its own value.
This camera shoots in the 645 format–which is the smallest medium format option you can get but also the simplest to work with. The camera won lots and lots of awards but never really took off because of when it was released back in the year 2000. Still, it’s one of the better medium format rangefinders that you can find.
Mamiya 7 II
Mamiya made a couple of film rangefinders. There was the 6, 7, and 7 II. Of all the ones made, the 7 II was the best and is still made today. This camera has an incredibly good selection of prime lenses that all offer some of the best image quality that you’ll get when it comes to the medium format camera world. It can only be bested by the newest Leica and Schneider lenses.
The Mamiya 7 II was used by photographers from all backgrounds: photojournalists, landscape photographers, portrait shooters, studio photographers, and many more. Take it to a wedding and you’ll experience a shutter so quiet that you’ll wonder if the camera actually fired or not.
No, we’re not kidding.
The camera also incorporated a leaf shutter–which means that the shutter is in the lenses and therefore has a faster flash sync. But even today, the camera and lenses are very expensive and its quality rivals that of many digital medium format systems.
Fujifilm GW 670 III
The Fujifilm GW 670 III is a fixed lens rangefinder camera with a 90mm f3.5; which translates into a very wide angle and a very wide aperture when translating it into 35mm speak. The 67 format was originally designed for landscape photographers but there are lots of shooters that use it for portraits and so much more because of the lack of distortion and how beautiful the images look due to a combination of a wide field of view and a very wide aperture.
Think of it as a camera that can shoot the Brenizer effect with every image.