Thanks to a friend I've had the privilege to test drive both a Fujifilm GA645i (fixed 60mm f/4 lens) as well as a GA645zi (55-90mm f/4.5-6.9 zoom).
Both work exceedingly well, and are great great cameras to document with and subsequently make high quality prints from. The auto-focus mechanism is great for any situation except fog. Both cameras can be coerced to focus manually, but you have to practice first. The auto-exposure is also great, but I really prefer the aperture-priority mode. There is manual exposure as well, but same as with manual focusing, it takes a bit of practice as it isn't entirely intuitive.
Both the fixed and zoom lenses are incredibly sharp, exhibit high contrast, and the cameras are a joy to use. Tripod mounting for horizontal shots requires a tripod head that can swing 90 degrees or more, same as a 35mm camera, and I find that cumbersome as I'm used to 6x6 square format. But the camera has way more virtues than it has drawbacks. I recommend reading Dante Stella's review of the standard GA645 model. Link here: review
I know the Mamiya 6 and 7 have a lot of followers, and for good reason. They are fabulous cameras. So is the Bronica 645 RF. I doubt any of them are lighter than the Fuji, though. The Fuji travels very nicely and fits into a very small camera bag, because the lens retracts into the body when you turn it off.
Good luck choosing!
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera".
- Yousuf Karsh
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit".
I have the older Fuji folder (GS645) which is great when you need a camera with excellent quality and small size. Also have a M645 which is a bit clunky on a trip. Stick with a rangefinder M/F for small size/big quality.
Originally Posted by eclarke
hands down... Owned(yes, I sold it, stupid STUPID ME!), great camera. I had the autofocus-less model(pre "N" model). I only had the 75mm 2.8 lens. Great, simple, LIGHT!!! camera. Just like a 35mm slr on steroids.
Now that the digital-version of this terrific camera has hit the market(and is gaining a lot of ground), people are scooping up lenses quickly, and willing to pay a lot for them. Just 2 years ago, lenses were closer to 1/2 of their "today" market value. Stupid digital...
But I'd vote for that camera, you might just want to part with your RB67 (I owned one of those too before as well). I currently have a Hassy kit(which I love), but if I wanted a 1-lens MF "travel" camera, it'd be a Pentax 645.
Can't speak enough of it, great camera. Great meter(always ALWAYS spot-on, even when backlit(and this was with chromes(Provia)). And it takes a "standard" cable release too!
oh... it takes AA batteries too! Just another big + in my book.
If i have to ignore those Holga MF, then the lightest weight film MF cameras i have are: Mamiya 7II and Fuji GSW690III, i love both but i am planning to travel soon somewhere in Europe or USA[NYC] again to take the camera for repair, sending it i don't like the idea.
In terms of size there's no contest - the GA645 series is much more compact than the Pentax or any other MF camera. However, the autofocus can sometimes be spotty if you don't point it "just right" and manual focus is pretty tough, too. The lens is great and its meter is very accurate. Not much to think about when using it, except its autofocus. If you can master that, then it's a tough package to beat in terms of compact size and low weight.
Originally Posted by Graham_Martin
When I want a good photo, I shoot digital. When I want a great photo, I shoot film.
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Ziess folder... enough said... and they are pretty cheap.
'Nother vote for the Fuji autos. As mentioned previously, it's a little funky to get used to with the how the AF behaves, and I had an issue with the pop-up flash going off even when lowered (see this thread for details) -- but the lens is sharp as a tack and it's easy to carry. I've been very pleased with the quality of photos that come from this oversized P&S.
I'd love a Mamiya 6, but I only paid $200 for my GA645 on fleabay. Much better than the $1000+ for an Mam6.
Thanks for the great advice
Based on what I have read here I am inclined to try the Fuji zoom. If I really enjoy it and use it a lot, then I would consider selling the RB67.
Graham from St. Augustine, FL
Mamiya 7ii and if you want to go wide the 43mm not the cheapest, but when it comes to portability and quality you won't find a better MF camera. And yes I am strongly biased since I own and adore my Mamiya.
There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.
~ Ansel Adams
You are correct about the price. That's not the sort of money I want to spend at this time.
Graham from St. Augustine, FL