MF for travel: GA645?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by BAB, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. BAB

    BAB Member

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    Hi,

    I'm new to this forum but not photography. Started with a Retina II given me by my grandfather over 50 years ago. I retired recently and want to do more MF work. I've used a Rollei E 3.5 Planar for 20 years, but I've developed a travel addiction, so would like something more travel friendly. For this purpose, I've gravitated to the Fuji GA645 series. But there are a few questions I have.

    First, how easy is it to use the viewfinder on the GA645s if one wears glasses? I hate having to push a viewfinder up against my spectacles as it scratches the lens and soils the inside of the lens with skin oil and perspiration. A corollary question might be where the hell does one go to actually handle a camera nowadays before buying it?

    Second, which lens 45 or 60mm? I've found the 35mm (equivalent) to be a decent compromise one-lens only, and it's about the shortest lens one can take portraits with. But I don't take a lot of portraits, and I suspect I'd kick myself for not buying the 45mm in the cathedral in Seville or the narrow streets of most European old towns.

    Third, are the improvements in the "i" models really worth another C-note or two in price? The second exposure button might be useful, but I usually rotate a camera clockwise, keeping my hand under the camera and pushing the button with my thumb.

    If I really get back into MF (a likely possibility) I'll have some questions about Hassies. Which have become quite reasonable comparatively. Most seem to be pro cameras that got a lot of use and were traded in for one of the later models. But still, I'm thinking of trading in my venerable Rollei for a camera that has interchangeable lenses.

    Thanks much for taking the time to respond,
    BAB
     
  2. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    Welcome to the forums. :smile:

    I had a GA645i with 60mm f/4 lens for a while. A great point-and-shoot MF camera. The biggest downer was the autofocus was a bit spotty. Optics are superb, images are superb. I may pick another one up one day.
     
  3. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Welcome to the forum! Oddly enough, there was a discussion about this quite literally 2-3 weeks ago. I'd do a quicky search since I think most things were hashed out pretty well there. Other than that, consider the 645zi since you can have multiple focal lengths.
     
  4. segedi

    segedi Member

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    The Bronica RF645 is quite formidable for travel. I took that and 45 and 65mm lenses and uses it much more than the 35mm camera I also brought on a 3 week trip. It is a rangefinder, so you would have to like those. As much as I love it, I might be selling soon to cure some of my gearitis.
     
  5. BAB

    BAB Member

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    Thanks, I'll see if I can find that post.
     
  6. BAB

    BAB Member

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    The Bronica RF645 is, indeed, highly regarded. As are the Mamiya 6 and 7. Rangefinders are no problem and I've used them before. I appreciate the portability. Confidentially, what might you ask for the RF645 if you were wanting to rid yourself of said device?

    Thanks,
    BAB
     
  7. BAB

    BAB Member

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    Thanks for the reference, but I noted that particular thread previously. Unfortunately, it doesn't answer any of my questions. Most important to me is the one about using the rangefinder with spectacles, since there isn't anywhere locally I can actually handle a GA645 in person.

    Anyone use a GA645 that wears those awful specs?

    :smile:Thanks
     
  8. segedi

    segedi Member

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    PM sent.
     
  9. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    I've used the lot of RF's with spectacles: Ikontas, Fuji GW690III, Mamiya 7II, just to name a handful and never have had issues. I held, but didn't use, a GA645 and found it quite appealing, and if it wasn't for my current ownership, I'd gladly use one myself. It seems to be an ideal size and "handles" well, meaning it feel natural to use. Can you possibly find one locally and lease play with it?
     
  10. rince

    rince Subscriber

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    I do own a Mamiya 7II and even though I would never call myself very versatile in the MF world, but I can tell you that I love how light and small it is and how naturally it handles. I currently carry it everywhere, every day. Something I have not done with any of my other cameras. The lenses are amazing. I can only recommend giving it a try.
     
  11. frotog

    frotog Member

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    If you can find one, a Plaubel Makina 67 or 670. I've traveled extensively with a 670, Lee filter holder, a few lee filters and ten to twenty rolls of film. Remarkably, the Plaubel with it's collapsible nikkor 80mm lens fits into a kata case about the size of a large paperback - I don't know of another 67 camera that's this small. My whole kit fits into a small Domke "reporter" satchel. With prints from 160nc film up to size 16x20 it's nearly impossible to tell the difference between this camera and a 4x5.
     
  12. BAB

    BAB Member

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    Thank you, and I do remember the rave reviews of this camera back in the ....the 80's? Unfortunately it had a lot of problems with the lens retractor mechanism and those that are in fine working order are more costly than equivalent newer equipment. A great recommendation, however, thanks again.

    BAB
     
  13. drumlin

    drumlin Member

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    I wear both glasses and contact lenses. I've never had an issue with the viewfinder on my GA645 (non-i version). Since the camera isn't technically a rangefinder, you aren't peering at an RF patch for focusing. It's just for framing, and exposure info is readout in an LED within the viewfinder. Camera handles well, is compact for the format and sharp as a tack.
     
  14. BobD

    BobD Member

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    I have the Fuji AF zoom version and I wear glasses. No problem.
     
  15. BAB

    BAB Member

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    GA645 viewfinder

    Thanks to both drumlin and BobD for the information on the finder of the GA645. Especially helpful as I have one coming to me in the mail, through a friend on the west coast who found one for a ridiculously low price while scanning local ads. No, it's not hot :smile:. He even ran a roll through it before sending it to me.

    I want to thank everyone who responded. This is a friendly forum with lots of knowledgeable individuals. I'll keep reading the forum and may even contribute occasionally.

    Thanks again,
    Bruce