Fuji GF670 or Rolleiflex 2.8FX-N
I started photography digitally but in the last few years I tried my hand in film which I enjoyed tremendously. I have been using a Leica M3 with a 50mm lens which was fun but now I am bitten with the medium format bug.
There are two cameras that I have been eyeing.
I like the Fuji because of the following reasons
1. Rangefinder style which I am comfortable with.
2. Compact and can be hand held with low shutter speeds.
3. Aperture priority exposure
4. Take both 6 by 6 and 6 by 7 format
I like the rolleiflex because
1. I believe it is made to last a lifetime and I like that a lot.
2. 2.8 aperture
3. Close distance focussing to about 55cm
4. Beautiful classic.
If I were to choose with my heart it would be a Rolleiflex but I have never seen one TLR camera in my life let alone handle one. There is none available here in my country. My main concern is the focussing. Is it easier to handle a Rollei or the Fuji. Can I focus faster and more precise with Rollei or Fuji. Handling is a big issue for me. I want something easy to use.
At this point in time, from my own Internet research, I feel as though rangefinder is easier, faster and more accurate. I take mostly family vacation photos. I am going towards Fuji but the Rollei is something i have a heart for. I don't know how to say it, it is just like my Leica M3 which is pure mechanical wonder. But at the same time I don't want to spend so much cash on a Rollei and end up not using it.
If any of you have experience with these two types of camera I would really appreciate your input and also to all who don't have, I would like to hear your thoughts as well.
Thanks for reading my post. Much appreciated.
I have never use a FX-N, but I currently use a Rolleiflex GX, and think it's fantastic.
I have also used a GF670, and that's probably one of the best cameras made in the last 10 years.
For me, the GF670 is easier to use and easier/quicker to take shots with. As you say, you're taking family vacation photos, so you want quick and easy I guess. For me, the GF670 is quicker and easier. I find focusing a range finder a lot easier than a TLR or SLR, but everyone is different. Remember a TLR screen is reversed left to right, and it still sometimes catches me out.
Both are beautiful cameras, but I think in terms of sheer classic design and stunning workmanship, the Rollei wins it.
For walking around, slipping a camera in and out a bag, GF670 wins. For tripod work, I'd probably go Rollei.
I would say out of those two, there are no bad decisions to make, both would be delightful cameras to own.
If think if I've got time on my hands, I'd maybe rather walk around with a Rollei, if I'm slightly hurried around as we often are on vacation, then I'd go GF670. But they are both so lovely, it's like saying if you'd rather have week in Kauai or Maui, both would be great.
I own and use both a Fujifilm GF670 and a Yashica Mat-124G TLR. I am the original owner of both cameras.
In my opinion the biggest handling difference between the two is that with a TLR you can put your hands all over the camera without having to watch out for anything other than the lens. With the GF670 there is the constant need to be careful where you put your hands because of the exposed bellows.
If you are already comfortable using a bellows style camera (many of my cameras have a bellows, so care in handling already comes second nature to me) then you won't notice anything much different. If not, it may take a period of time to adjust and become accustomed to being a bit more careful.
Another moderate difference is the focusing regime. TLRs have those nice big fat knobs on their sides that are easy to locate, grasp, and micro-adjust. The GF670's focus ring is further away out on the extended lens. For me I must cradle the camera in my left hand in such a way as to not crinkle the bellows. Then from this position the most natural finger to fall onto the focusing ring is my left thumb.
It took a while for me to become comfortable focusing with my left thumb only. Using any other additional finger and I must then support the weight of the camera entirely by grasping it with my right hand, and this is not always a steady configuration. I should also mention that I have very large hands. (I can pick up and hold a basketball with one hand.) I'm not sure that if my left hand were any smaller that I could effectively support the camera, not touch the bellows, and thumb-focus, all at once.
I love the GF670 and wouldn't trade it for the world. But I would suggest that if you can find a way to do so, it would be to your benefit to handle a GF670 before you buy one. Just to know a little better what you would be getting into before spending your money. It is a bit of a different beast.
Best of luck in your decision.
"When making a portrait, my approach is quite the same as when I am portraying a rock. I do not wish to impose my personality upon the sitter, but, keeping myself open to receive reactions from his own special ego, record this with nothing added: except of course when I am working professionally, when money enters in,—then for a price, I become a liar..."
— Edward Weston, Daybooks, Vol. II, February 2, 1932
Thanks gman and Ken for the quick reply.
Gman, how would compare the lens characteristic between rolleiflex and Fuji in terms of sharpness, contrast and the bokeh?
Ken, i have never used a bellow camera before. I have small hands. Is the bellow easily damaged? When focusing, can we support the camera with the palm on the bellow? What I mean to say is it fragile?
Hi - I have owned several Rollei cameras in the past including the FX. I now have the Fuji GF670. I would say that in bright conditions the Rollei focusing screen is easy to use, but as the light dims is increasingly more difficult to focus. The Fuji has a beautiful bright viewfinder/rangefinder and will be more useable in low light. The Fuji is well made and not difficult to hold once you get used to it. You can not support the camera by its bellows, but will rest the front metal cover on your hand. You can then focus with your left thumb. Here is a quick cell phone snap of what I mean.. The Fuji lens is outstanding, as are the Rollei lenses! Regards ---john
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Thanks John. Great help.
Looks like there is nothing really not to like about the Fuji. This time I really have to decide with my head. My wife would be pleased.
I love my 35mm rangefinders. Medium format rangefinders are a different animal, however, especially once you get beyond the 6x6cm size. Perhaps it is because they lack any automation that you can get in the 35mm cameras (meter, auto-exposure, etc), combined with the parallax issues, I didn't really cotton on to the 6x9 rangefinder I had use of. I do love my Rolleiflexes, however. I would dispute what someone said earlier about needing a tripod for the Rolleiflex - they are pre-eminently hand-holdable, and I regularly can pull off 1/4 second or 1/8th second exposures hand-held. I've even gotten away with some 1 second exposures hand-held if I exhale and then hold my breath and exert proper tension on the neck strap. If the price tag for a new Rollei FX-N is a bit galling, consider a late model F or a GX, which will be at most 1/2 the price of the FX-N. I have a pair of E models that cost me about $500 USD each to buy, and even with professional overhauls were less than $1K each (the first one got a complete overhaul for $350, the second one is going in soon to have the film transport adjusted, which should be cheaper than a full CLA). That said, there are some advantages to the FX-N that might weigh in its favor (closer minimum focus, new in box with warranty). You'll have to decide that for yourself.
In all honesty, I don't know, I don't pay much attention to these things. I'd say both are extremely sharp, but I couldn't comment on contrast as I get my film scanned, and by that point contrast is at the behest of software. For bokeh, I generally shoot stopped down, so I wouldn't see bokeh, but what I do see is pleasant enough to my eyes on the Rolleifex.
Originally Posted by mingaun
I have had a Rolleiflex and currently use a GF670. For me, the rangefinder is superior because it is much quicker and easier to focus. In the 100 rolls I've shot with the GF670 only a handful have been out of focus, and that's been due to error on my part. With Rolleiflex and Hasselblad, I found focusing far more difficult. Most importantly it has the 6x7 option which I use 99% of the time. It is a considerably larger neg than 6x6 (56x56mm vs. 56x69mm). If I only (or mostly) did portraits, I think I'd be more inclined to go for the Rolleiflex, but for everything else the rangefinder wins as far as I'm concerned.
As far as lens characteristics go, I don't know much about the Rolleiflex, but the GF670 has a great lens which draws a smooth and pleasing image at the wider apertures whilst becoming razor sharp when stopped down a little. I tend to use between f/3.5-8 for portraits and f/8-16 for landscapes.
If you want to see examples of Rolleiflex bokeh, look in my gallery at some of the portrait work I've posted lately, like