View Full Version : First Thread on Fuji GS645!!
Who's the lucky soul here who possesses one of these cameras? I know someone here has one... Is that you, Doug?
It just happens that my long lost lust for these cameras came back to life after my discovery of a couple of 120 film propacks and some loose rolls more. When did I get so much of the stuff?
Anyway, what's the charm of this camera? :confused:
I'm the guy. I had one for several years, loved using it and sold it in a fit of stupidity. After about 6 months without it I started haunting the famous auction site till I found another good one. The charm of the camera is it's excellent lens in a focal length that I'm comfortable with, a very good meter and it will fit in a jacket pocket for travel. The bad news is that the VF/RF is not very good compared to most 35mm rangefinders but still very usable, a weak bellows and the chance to do real damage if you fold it improperly. Just today I ran a test roll through mine after a couple of months of letting it dry out after a soaking in San Francisco over Thanksgiving. My patience was rewarded with 15 perfectly exposed chromes.
I'm the guy, too, Gerry! Or, actually mine is the GS645S with 60 f/4 with "cow catcher", not your original GS645 folder with 75 f/3.4. And I agree with your assessment.
I got mine used at a camera show, and several hidden problems surfaced. Incautious buyer! The meter was ok in bright light but non-linear, such that it underexposed in less light. The rangefinder prism/mirror pivot was sticky, and when in for service on these items he found some plastic lens mount parts broken. All this eventually got fixed, but at first I'd been advised RF & meter repair was infeasible.
During that "hopeless" period I got a new Bronica RF645 with three lenses, a wonderful camera. The 45mm turned out the most-used lens, but there were no framelines for it in the viewfinder, it takes an external finder.
So, combining this with a curiosity about AF, I got through eBay a Fuji GA645Wi, motor/auto-everything and fixed 45 f/4. I'm still learning how to run this one. It may not have a "bumper" around the lens like the GS, but its lens retracts when not in use, and a motor extends it when the main switch is turned on. In a crowd I could jostle elbows by poking the lens out!
The GS645S is smaller and lighter than either of these. Pretty much all plastic, and the lens guard hints at delicacy in the mount. But it works very well now,and I don't bang it around. As you mention, the RF is a disappointment with a low-contrast fuzzy edged RF spot. Nowhere near as nice as Leica etc. On the bright side, the framelines both move and change size while focusing.
I find the GS a little slow to use both because of the RF and all the controls clustered on the lens barrel. I've often resorted to setting it from occasional glances at a separate incident meter, and zone focus in good light.
The lens is a honey! The 60mm focal length gives a similar angle of view as a 40mm on a 35mm camera, a favorite and very useful one. And the camera is remarkably small and light weight. Handy to carry. There's also a wide-angle version of this, but note the lens is 45mm f/5.6 and zone-focus only; no RF.
I think you could find a clean GS645S for around $400.
I have also have been looking at these cameras on ebay, just to see what they go for. The GSW690 has cought my eye, but they are selling in the $800 range, too rich for me. The GA645zi seems like it would be a fun little walk around camera. Sorta a 120 Contax G1 with a zoom lens.
After foolishly selling my first one, I found another 645 on ebay. Lovely little critter!! The bellows seem to have survived very nicely. Quieter than my 645zi, too!
So it seems their advantages may compensate for their mechanical problems, right?
I was really close to buying one two summers ago... but then, I went the 35mm rangefinder way instead. They're still commanding some very rich prices, although, after reading some of your posts, I wonder if a 645S (not with bumper) would be such a good deal if the bellows, lens mount or meter are that fragile... :(
I was very sold on the 645zi... I never thought of it as a Contax G in medium format but I guess the analogy is correct. You only find good things about this one on photographyreview.com.
Don't let us give you an impression of fragility. The folder's original bellows were the camera's weak spot but they can be replaced with a higher quality unit and Fuji will sell you one for $60.00 the last time I checked. Folding it is just a matter of using the camera properly and all but the very first have lockouts that don't let you fold it if the shutter isn't cocked and the lens isn't at infinity. And as I said in the first post, mine got a good soaking and just some time off and judicious use of a hair dryer took care of the problems.
By the way, the 645 variations are as follows:
GS645 Professional. This is the folder with the 75 f3.4 lens.
GS645S. Rangefinder camera with fixed 60 f4
GS645W. Viewfinder scale focusing camera with 45 f4
GA645S. Autofocus camera with 60 f4
GA645WI. Autofocus camera with 45 f4
There are probably variations that I've missed that covers the major differences.
Just a couple of teeny adjustments, Gerry... The GS645W's 45mm lens is f/5.6.
And I belileve there's no "S" on the GA645 with 60mm.
Both the GA645 and GA645W (with faster f/4 lens!) had slightly improved versions indicated by a small "i" tacked on the end... Mine is a GA645Wi.
And then there's the final and I think still current model GA645Zi... :-)
Oh, I was going to add that all the GS645 variants share the same basic body... I think even the folder?
And the GA645 and GA645W have the same body, but the GA645Z is a complete redesign, it appears. And a different finish, not black plastic but a "titanium" look.
The zoom lens's range of focal lengths could be useful, but there is a penalty in weight and maximum aperture. I'm doing a lot of interior environmental portraits with ambient light and ISO 800 film. As it is, I'm running wide open at f/4 nearly all the time, and if I get a shutter speed as high as 1/60 I feel lucky! The slower zoom would add exposure difficulties for me, but in better light it could be useful.
Methinks I'll be running to the Candy Store sometime soon and handle one of these creatures. I just don't want to trust my imagination when it comes to their real size.
I once had a Mamiya 6 in my hands. Are these Leicas-on-steroids about the same or larger?
Just wondering... :)
Thanks for the clarification. I was going on memory, a dangerous thing at my age.
I've got my Fuji and Mamiya 6 sitting next to each other on my desk now. With the Fuji folded and the Mamiya with the 75 mounted but the mount collapsed the Fuji is about 1 3/4" thinner front to back, 2 1/8" to 4 7/8". With both lenses extended the Fuji is only about 1/4" thinner. The Fuji is about 1/2" narrower side to side. They are both very close in height but the Fuji has a Bessa like step for the rangefinder so it looks a little shorter. They feel very close in weight with the Fuji possibly a little lighter.
Francisco... I have my GS645S and Leica M2 side-by-side, with a pre-ASPH Summicron 35 and 12585 hood mounted. The two cameras have the same size baseplates, and the 'cron's hood extends to the front of the GS's crash bars. The only significant difference in size is the body height, 1.5" taller for the Fuji. They feel similar in weight too.
I am reminded of a nicety about the Fuji, that its f/stops, speeds, and distances are engraved in large letters easily readable without peering closely; much larger than the Leica's. The worst for that must be the shutter speeds on the Kiev 4a!
Big dilemma... sometimes these Fuji run for prices similar to those of Leica's long lenses (I'm talking Tele-Elmarit and some 'crons in the 90mm focal length). It's going to be a close contest by the time I get the money ready. I guess it's time to save twice as much!
Yesterday I took my Zeiss Ikon for a walk. It was so cold my hands felt like burning, but let's see how the results turn out. I've been playing with my Mamiya in the cold too... Good thing: no batteries to lose.
I could take my Leicas for a walk too... All I'd have to do is take out the batteries and take a metering through the window before leaving the house and make adjustments once out there... but it's time to air out my MF gear now. The other stuff has already some mileage. :)
Are these cameras metered? Because I know one of them, probably the GS690, is not... Thanks!
Originally posted by SolaresLarrave
Are these cameras metered? Because I know one of them, probably the GS690, is not... Thanks!
All the 6x4.5 Fujis have built-in meters, AFAIK. The GS are manual exposure and the GA series has auto exposure as well as auto-focus.
I'm pretty sure the GA has manual exposure control too, but I'm so new to it I had to look up how to load the film the other day!
As an aside, the Bronic RF645 has program auto exposure, full manual, aperture-priority and shutter-priority auto, with matrix metering.
Below shot with Fuji GS645S, 60mm f/4
I have a Fuji GS645 folder with sharp 75mm f3.4 lens and am interested in sellling it. Note: It needs a new bellows, otherwise a great camera. It's been in my closet for about 15 years and all it needs is a new bellows. Anyone interested?
we have a classified section, your camera might get more notice there.
I'm interested in your GS645.
Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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