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GFX with Bronica PE 100-220mm

Discussion in 'GFX 50S, GFX 50R' started by mountainpix, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. mountainpix

    mountainpix Well-Known Member

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    Given the wait for lenses longer than 120mm in Fuji's GF lens lineup, last spring I went looking for a lens in the 180mm to 250mm range to adapt to my GFX, specifically for landscape work. In the course of my research, I encountered the late-1990s vintage, Tamron era Bronica 100-220mm f/4.8 for the ETR series 645 cameras. It was a very modern, aspherical, internal focus design (focusing as close as 39 inches throughout the zoom range) with built in hood and tripod collar, that cost about $2,000 when it was released. I generally don't expect all that much from adapted film-era lenses on high-resolution digital cameras, but adjusted for inflation, the 100-220mm can be found online in pristine condition for about 10% of its new price. It had to be at least worth a try, right?

    In terms of specs on paper, there were some downsides:
    • It's heavy
    • The filter thread is 95mm
    • The only practical way to use it on the GFX is to put a piece a tape (yes, a piece of tape) on the lens'sstop-down lever so it is always in stopped down mode at whatever aperture you care to set it.

    I decided to give it a go, and picked up a lens and an adapter for it.

    One thing that I realized very quickly, was that to get sharp images with this beast, the GFX's electronic shutter was the way to go. With the lens collar's foot mounted to my Arca-Swiss D4 geared head, the camera is positioned relatively high above the tripod base, and that big shutter curtain is cantilevered out away from the balance point, so the shock of the mechanical shutter will definitely introduce blur due to camera shake (something that wouldn't have been a problem using the optic's internal leaf shutter on a Bronica body).

    However, using the electronic shutter, a remote release, and good tripod technique, this lens surprised me. It isn't quite as sharp and contrasty as the GF 120mm f/4 (how many lenses in the world are?), but it performs far, far better than expected, and I'd recommendit to those who can work within its limitations. I've attached two images. The first is a panoramic stitch made with the 100-220mm on my GFX, and the second is the "pixel peeper's" 100% crop. The exposure was 1/6 second, f/13, ISO 100.

    You be the judge.

    Note: Posting the images here degrades them noticeably. Both images look much crisper in Lightroom.
    180111-_JBG6613-Pano-3.jpg View attachment 121076 180111-_JBG6613-Pano-Edit.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  2. Shadowside

    Shadowside Good Glass is Forever...

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    Hey @mountainpix I agree, the results are quite impressive especially considering what you have is actually better than what we can see :) The top image shows great contrast and sharpness, I find that my legacy glass lacks in micro contrast compared to newer optics, but to my eye the Bronica seems to hold up quite well.

    Question, i don't have any experience with Bronica systems, is there no way for you to utilize the BTL shutter on that lens?

    Thanks for sharing :)
     
  3. mountainpix

    mountainpix Well-Known Member

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    It would be nice if we could use the leaf shutter in the lens, but it is electronic, so it takes a ETR body to fire it.
     
    Shadowside likes this.
  4. JimFenner

    JimFenner Premium Member

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    Love your Bryce shots! Looks kinda cold ...
     
  5. beakhammer

    beakhammer Premium Member

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    Looks good. I have been using Mamiya 645 lenses with my Fujis and with a Pentax DSLR and have been very impressed with them. These lenses lack a leaf shutter and are probably a bit more compact than your Bronica. With my Fuji cameras I am shooting very high resolution shift-stitch images (up to 8 16mp images shot through the lens without moving the lens, and then stitched together) and the Mamiya lenses hold up very well.
     

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