Feeling a bad case of GAS coming on: square formats
Has anyone tried the Fujifilm GF670? I'm not lacking for kit, but I'm interested in adding a square format to the camera bag. The downside, it's pricy, and it's bound to have the rangefinder issue of not being able to get particularly close to your subject. I would love to know how it compares in size to a Mamiya 7, for example. I like that if folds up, and becomes more compact.
Next option... maybe a Yashicamat 124G or some such. Way affordable. Pretty compact... not much of a downside...
I have a Holga, and though I like it fine, I'd like to have a bit more measure of control over the lens. Ideally, I want a slightly better lens on a Holga!
Thoughts anyone? TIA
A friend of mine has the GF670 and I have used it a fair amount. It is smaller than the Mamiya 7, which I own, and when folded is a very tidy package indeed. It carries very well using the shoulder strap. The lens is at least as good as the 80mm Mamiya and I really like being able to choose either 6x7 or6x6. I don't remember how close it focuses, but one nice feature is that the framelines move as you focus so framing is a bit more accurate. It feels very solid and well built. If I didn't have a Mamiya 7 I would think very seriously of getting the Fuji, or Voigtlander version.
GF670 is not likely to be square format... or was that part of a different thought? [edit: after reading Richard W's post I might have to stand corrected... and ignorant on the GF670 format capabilities.]
Originally Posted by SuzanneR
I LOVE SQUARE FORMAT, but it is as much a state-of-mind as it is equipment. Anything can be shot with the intent to crop square.
But it is wonderful to work with a real 120, MF, square-format camera. Whatever you do, don't get the "cheaaps" and push yourself into frustration. For many years I shot with a Rollei TLR and had a great time. I think the principal reason I had a great time is that the lens is decent and good quality photos can reasily result. But also because I spent enough money to get a "low mileage" example of the latest model and had it serviced befroe I started shooting.
Now I shoot with a Hassy (a big investment but well worth it) and rolll film backs (including a 6x6) on Graphic press cameras.
Those are my thoughts for you to consider. Good luck and have fun!
Suzanne.... I think Sandy King has migrated away from the Mamiya 7 to use the Fuji GSW670 (super-wide) as it's so compact. If you are testing the waters, why not look for a used 6x6 folder from yesteryear? ie a Super Baldax, Agfa Isolette, or Ikonta?? They will be similar to use as the fuji (although the RF might be dimmer than the Fuji), but they will have more control than a holga, and not anywhere near the cost of a new Fuji GF670... That way, you can at least try it out?? Also, some of the older folding RF lenses have some funkiness to them (sharper center, and fall off at the edges. The lenses are usually relatively low contrast which is great for B&W film. Some are single coated, and some can be VERY sharp depending on the model/lens combination. If you go the route of the Yashica 124G.... Add the Wollensak Ciroflex to your list, or Ricoh, super ricohflex. These can be had for a steal, and produce wonderful results.
Brian, it's my understanding that the Fuji gives you the option to shoot 6x7 or 6x6. I prefer to shoot the format I ultimately want, rather than plan to crop, just how my brain works. One of the things that attracts me to this camera is the fact that you can choose either format. I have the Mamiya 7, and love it, but would also like something that can pack up a bit more compactly than the Mamiya, and take it to, say, the pool with the kids. Fold it up, put it in the pool bag, throw in a few rolls of film, and not carry a separate camera bag like I feel I have to with the Mamiya.
And Richard thanks, just the kind of information I'm looking for.
Thanks, Andrew... I had thought about older folders, but didn't know all the names. Are they generally a square format? I'd prefer it, but if not, that still might be a way to go for the compactness of it all.
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If you like square you might prefer the Mamiya 6 to the Fuji and Mamiya 7. The 6 is great camera with great lenses and just a little smaller than the Fuji. In TLR Land I personally prefer the classic plain yashicamat to the jazzed up 124G it might not have a lightmeter but it is better built, another option would be one of the Tessar Rolleis not much more expensive than the Yashicamat but better parallax compensation and construction.
Suzanne, they are usually 6x6, but do come in 645, 6x9 as well. I have a Balda Super Baldax which is 6x6 and has an 80mm f2.8 Baltar lens (rebadged Schneider Radionar!) and it's a great user camera. Super light, and VERY compact. I believe it is one of the smallest, most compact rangefinders out there.
The Yashica TLR's are nice and light, albeit not as small as a folder. It sounds as though you are looking for some modern conveniences like a biult in meter, MC lenses, etc. I love both folder and twin, with the nod toward TLR's, an old relationship with Yash's especially. I'm not familiar with the Fuji, as to interchangable lenses, the down side to the Yash. I've used auxillary glass on my Yash, not to fond of them. They have an unmistakable look, appeal, and charm that most older folks recognize and smile at, and ask about.
I've handled the GF670 (unfolded) and Mamiya 7 next to each other, and while the Fuji is definitely smaller, it's still a very substantial camera---to me it felt much bulkier than I expected from looking at pictures of it, or than any of my ancient folders. IMHO, it would be good to get one in your hands before committing to it (especially at the price).
There are quite a few 6x6 folders around, some with rangefinders (the Super Ikontas (Ikontae?) are generally thought of as the cream of the crop), but most are scale-focussing with triplet lenses. That's not particularly damning for certain uses---I've taken a lot of photos I liked with low-end folders---but it obviously puts them in a whole different class from the expensive modern rangefinders.
Originally Posted by SuzanneR
I don't think there are any old folders with useful built-in meters or MC lenses, though there are some very good uncoated and single-coated lenses out there (mostly Tessar types, but Voigtlaender folders sometimes came with Heliars).
San Diego, CA, USA
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Yes, that was my misuderstanding about the Fuji. I edited my post, and am just getting over the embarassment.
Originally Posted by SuzanneR
I think I understand you better now. I tried similar with old MF folder -- Kodak Six-20. It (or something like it) showed promise as an easily transportable MF camera. I was also intriqued by the (albeit 645) vertical format since I was interested primarily in portaiture. Ran into a few problems with using an older folder: respooling onto 620 is easy but has to be planned ahead or one gets into the field without enough film; Estimating range (the Kodak is range-focus, not RF) isn't as easy ans I imagined; and the ruby window leaks if one doesn't use slow film or keep it shaded. Other than that, if I could find a 120 MF folder I'd try it again. I look forward to your conclusion because I might just do whatever you decide to do!