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  1. #11
    msbarnes's Avatar
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    hmmm...I'm wondering is the GS645S as rugged as the GA645? I get the impression that the build for the GS645S is a little poor, but I also feel like these cameras are more rugged than how they feel.

  2. #12
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    I found the 645zi durable so far and I haven't babied it. That said, there are a lot of electronics on the 645s and I wouldn't think they'd be as durable as the 6x7 or 6x9 Fujis since they have very little automation.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by puketronic View Post
    I just want a MF camera that I can walk around the city with.
    I have both the Fuji 645zi and the Pentax 645 (not N). The Fuji weighs 2 pounds, and the Pentax weighs more, enough to be a bother. Both of the motor winders make noise. The Fuji takes 1sec to focus, while the Pentax is full manual, and for me a little more flexible. The Fuji is a point-and-shoot on serious steroids, and the Pentax is an SLR with some beef. Both have really good lenses, but I haven't done a side-by-side test.

    If getting the decisive moment is important, don't use an AF camera like the Fuji. If you don't mind going through a tad more work to make a photograph, take a look at using a TLR. I have a Yashica 635 (6x6 and 35mm) and it's compact and weighs the same as the Fuji 645zi.

    I don't really have a definite favorite for MF cameras. They all have a niche.

  4. #14

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    I have a Pentax 645N system and a Fuji GS 645 Folder. I love both cameras and each is excellent in its own way.

    The fuji is one of the smallest cameras I have and the images it produces has a special feel to them- very sharp and great bokeh. It has rangefinder focus and a built in meter (no auto exposure) and in the normal shooting position the frame is vertical. For a folder it is very sturdy and it's portability cannot be understated for a medium format camera- can fit in my jacket pocket easily. Also allows you manual focus which the newer AF models do not.

    The Pentax is not huge but also will not go unnoticed and is pretty loud firing off a shot compared to a soft click of the fuji. It can fit into a relatively small camera bag with extra lens and accessories. The auto focus is decent but not like a quality 35mm SLR or DSLR. The viewfinder is awesome and manual focus is a real pleasure. Have many choices and high quality lenses to choose from. Handles just like a 35mm SLR and has great internal metering (spot, matrix, ect). Unlike the fuji, I typically have a more deliberate plan when taking it out- don't just grab it and go.

    In the end both could suit your needs. It depends on what level of flexibility you desire, size consideration, and shooting preference (RF vs SLR).

    I'm keeping both!

  5. #15
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    If you want a small and light unobtrusive MF camera with a wide lens for street then look no further then the Fuji GS645W. The Fuji cameras are all great as far as optics and functionality go but many of the various models have significant design flaws which are typically the only thing you hear as far as complaints go with them. The GS645W is the only Fuji that does not have crappy bellows or a poorly designed lens mount that requires a bumper to protect the lens from ripping off at the slightest bump. The GS645W has a 45mm (nice and wide on 645) f5.6 lens that rivals the sharpness of any MF or 35mm camera including Hasselblad and Leica. The GS645W is a Zone Focus camera which would scare some people off but this is what makes it practically designed for street photography. Talk to as many street photographers as you can and you'll hear a great many of them (although certainly not all of them) explain the importance of shooting from the hip in street work. Shooting from the hip is achieved by zone focusing the camera and training yourself to frame your shot and make the exposure with the camera inconspicuously at the hip i.e. not bringing it up to your face to compose and focus. In reality many opportunities to capture the decisive moments in street work would be missed if you took the time to raise the camera to focus and compose with every possible scenario. If you're not familiar with Zone Focusing you can find good info on it within the forum and all over Google. I would highly encourage you to learn about it (if you're not already well versed in it) and not rule out the GS645W simply because it doesn't have typical rangefinder or SLR style focusing. In the end you'll very likely be using zone focusing heavily in your street work.
    Francesco Fragomeni
    www.FrancescoFragomeni.com

  6. #16

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    +1 on Francesco's comment.

  7. #17

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    Hi all,
    fast question!
    What would I gain/lose in terms of lens and build quality and, mostly, life expectancy of the camera, if I choose wether a "GS" or a "GA"?

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by fefed View Post
    Hi all,
    fast question!
    What would I gain/lose in terms of lens and build quality and, mostly, life expectancy of the camera, if I choose wether a "GS" or a "GA"?
    Fuji doesnt make bad lenses. You can just eliminate that from your consideration. ALL Fujinon MF lenses are spectacular.

    None of these Fuji cameras are super sturdy so care must be taken when traveling with them. The GA series is all electronic and you know how well that can introduce problems.

    I bought a GA645 last year and it developed a problem in the selection knob. A quick cleaning fixed that and it works fine. Great camera, fantastic for travel.

  9. #19

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    You didn't specify which Fuji 645 you are looking at. The last models were auto-focus. I had the manual focus GS645 for a while. I liked it but it took a little getting used to. It wasn't easy to shoot quickly at first but with practice one could get better. One thing you should consider is that as far as I know all of the Fuji 645 rangefinders are portrait oriented, so if you want to take landscape oriented photos you have to rotate the camera 90 degrees.

    As for the SLR options, if you are OK with manual focus the Bronica or Mamiya are the most affordable. And like several others said, using a WLF should be quite helpful for street photography. I have both but almost always use the metered prism finders for convenience. But my personal favorite is the Pentax 645n. I don't bother with the AF lenses and just love everything about this camera, although I don't know if it would be the best for your needs.

    Finally, 28mm or 35mm in medium format is really wide. Are you sure that's what you want or were you taking about 35mm equivalent focal lengths? I have the Pentax 35/3.5 and the Mamiya 35/3.5 and both are sweet lenses.
    Pentax 67ii, Fuji GF670, Mamiya 6, Pentax 645N
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  10. #20

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    Look into finding a good Iskra. The camera is FSU quality, comrade, but that lens is something special. Folds up small, too. It won't fit in a pants pocket, but it'll fit in a coat pocket no problem.
    The camera is the most incidental element of photography.

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