Fuji 645 Rangefinders--opinions please!

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by andrewmoodie, Nov 15, 2005.

  1. andrewmoodie

    andrewmoodie Member

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    My wife and I are thinking of getting one since the Bronica and Mamiya MFs are just a bit out of our price range.

    Any comments from fans or foes of the Fuji 645s would be welcome.

    Thanks.

    Andrew
     
  2. abeku

    abeku Subscriber

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    Hi Andrew,
    I'm very fond of the Fuji cameras. However, my experience is limited to the elder manual ones (not the newer ones with zoom and autofocus). The first camera I used was the folder camera GS645 75mm/f3.4. For some obscure reason I sold it five years ago, but I deeply missed it a year later and I ended up buying the GS645S PRO 60mm/f4 (from KEH.com). First of all: The optics are great performers! I also like the compactness of these cameras, easy to bring along on long journeys. I also find the built in exposure meter very accurate. On the down side is the somewhat plastic finish, thinking of the grip, the advance lever etc... Of course, you're also limited to one fixed lens (but that's not a limit to me). I favor the GS645S over the folder because of the filter thread and the more robust construction. There are reports about the folder indicating it's a bit delicate. However, I never had any problems during the ten years I used it.
    I hope these comments helped you a little bit.
     
  3. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Andrew, quite a few years ago I had the folding GS645 with I think the 75mm lens. It was a great camera and the pictures were extremely sharp.

    The thing that struck me as a problem for this format was the orientation of the film frame.

    That is, the film slot will either be your friend or enemy, depending on whether you will shoot a lot of portraits, or landscapes.

    I found that for one type of picture it was perfect, for the other, the camera was always sideways.

    Close focusing isn't it's forte, but then again you don't have one of these to take micro photographs.

    I had it for a couple of years and only moved it on when a lens I had been searching for a couple of years turned up.

    Mick.
     
  4. luvcameras

    luvcameras Advertiser Advertiser

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  5. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I am the happy owner/user of a Fuji 645s. I also own a Fuji 690-III. and a 645W all are Excellent cameras, with superb optics.

    If you want close focusing/macro photography in addition to rangefinder focusing you might consider a 2.25X3.25 Crown Graphic with a 125mm Fujinon W lens (I have one of these as well (with a Mamiya 6X7 ProS 120 rollfim back).
     
  6. Will S

    Will S Member

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    I have a folder Fuji GS645. It is a great camera. If you get one, make sure that the bellows have been replaced. And knowing when the shutter was last overhauled isn't bad. It is easy to mess up things with the shutter linkage. I've had the camera about 2 years now, and I had to send it in last January to CameraWiz in Virginia to get the shutter repaired. Still don't know what I did to it. The meter seems very good and the rangefinder works well and is bright (though you have to close your left eye when using it - no floating frames). The lens quality has already been mentioned as being superb. This is a 645 camera you can keep in the pocket of your jacket and carry with you always.

    If you can get the lenshood do so, as that is the only way to use (40.5mm) filters, but I sometimes just hold a filter in front of the lens when releasing the shutter. Unfortunately the lenshoods are expensive since they tend to pop off and get lost fairly easily.

    Having said all of this, I still covet (in no specific order) a Leica M6 or M3 with a Summicron 35mm and a Mamiya 7II (or even a 6) with all 3 lenses. But, not having the funds to purchase those, I'm very happy with my Fuji :smile:

    Best,

    Will
     
  7. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    I also have the GS645S. Very sharp lens!! If a rangefinder suites your needs, this can be a good choice.

    I got it because of the Fuji reputation and have not been dissappointed.

    David
     
  8. B-3

    B-3 Member

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    I have a folder Fuji 645 GS as well. It's a fairly recent purchase for me, though I bought it used. It shows signs of use, but works splendidly. I too am very impressed with the quality of the lens, and the accuracy of the built-in meter.

    The upright orientation of the film frame was a little odd at first, especially as as I was accustomed to either a horizontal orientation or square. You can always rotate the camera, just as you can with any other.

    It seems I came to the Fuji in the same way as you - wanting a medium format RF but finding the others being just a bit out of reach. I'm very happy that I did.
     
  9. Craig

    Craig Subscriber

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    I've not used a 645 but I do have the 690 and its a very nice camera. Excellent lens, easy to focus and not too heavy. Compared to my Pentax 6x7 its a delight to use and produces excellent negatives. It's quickly become my favourite camera, more so than my Nikon F6.
     
  10. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    I have a GA645Pro. Great camera as a medium format point-and-shoot, but a pain to use manually. If you're willing to use the autofocus and let the camera make a lot of the decisions for you, it's a wonderful camera to carry around. It's hard to believe that you can get such beautiful negatives from such a small camera. (Small here being a relative term, of course.) But if you want full manual control, forget it. The manual focusing on the GA is a kludge at best, and setting both the aperture and shutter speed will drive you nuts. Aperture priority isn't bad, but you really do have to learn to trust the autofocus.

    The lens on the camera is fantastic, I've found the autofocus to be extremely reliable, and the meter works very well. I love the fact that the camera will print your exposure data outside of the frame. It's easy to load. Basically, it's a very easy camera to use if you use it as it's intended. But if you want a lot of manual control, I'd recommend looking elsewhere.

    I wouldn't give up my Fuji, but be aware of the limitations if you go for one.

    Be well.
    Dave
     
  11. Robert Budding

    Robert Budding Member

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    I snagged a great deal on a Bronica RF645 - $550 new with the 65mm lens. That price was net of the $450 rebate offered through Dec 2005. And I stumbled across an amazing price. Great camera and worth looking about for a good deal. OR buy used for about $600.

    I, too, considered a Fuji 645. But I really prefer the Bronica for it's quietness and great build quality.

    Robert
     
  12. sanking

    sanking Member

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    You ask about a Fuji 645 rangefinder so I don't know if my remarks count since my Fuji 645 is a point and shoot. It is the Fuji GA645Zi and it has become one my favorite camera of all time. The GA645Zi is basically a 645 point and shoot camera with an extremely sharp zoom lens. The range of the zoom is somewhat limited (55mm -90mm) but I find it an outstanding camera for just walking around doing hand-held shots, either in urban settings or with outdoor scenes. I considered all of the other Fuji 645 cameras, as well as the Bronica 645 rangefiner, but felt that the Zi filled a niche that none of the others did in terms of fast action and zoom feature.

    BTW, I also have two Fuji 6X9 rangefinders, the GSW690-III (65mm lens) and the GW690-III (90mm lens) and they are also niche kind of cameras. These cameras, because of the large 6X9 format and the outstanding EBC lenses, give the best image quality you can expect to see in medium format. I like to use them hand-held like big Leicas with high speed film. However, if you put them on a tripod with a film like TMAX-100 or Fuji Velvia 100 the image performance is almost at the 4X5 level for prints up to 14X20 size.

    Sandy




     
  13. 127

    127 Member

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    We've got a 645Zi and a 645Ga. My brother got a Zi on our recommendation.

    Autofocus, autoexposure, motor-wind, zoom, and even a pop-up flash! Think of them as the greatest compact camera ever built. They're so cheap, you really can't fault them. I'd agree you really don't want to be manually focusing them, and the manual exposure is a bit fiddly (as are some of the config options fidly to set), but either fully auto, or Av you can throw them around like no other MF cameras.

    The individual cameras aren't a system as such, but the price is so cheap you can just buy another one with a different lens or format. We generally keep colour in one and bw in the other.

    The Zi zoom is a bit limiting, but look on it as a bonus. It goes from slightly wide to not very long, but you wouldn't get a zoom lens for any other equivalent camera anywhere near the Zi price.

    Obviously if you need Macro or some other specialist function, then look elsewhere, but for something to tote around they're great.

    Ian