Originally Posted by kuzano
Three GS645 chronic fail points:
1) Bellows-synthetic bellow (the camera was only produced one year because of this.) The bellows is not patchable, it develops pinhole light leaks everywhere, pretty much over a short period of time. Those that still have a working bellows have not been used much.
2) Shutter linkage weak and failure prone, which is why the rules on the cocking and setting to infinity. Not doing so breaks the linkage.
3) Shutter hangs in extreme cold weather. If you are a winter shooter there is no cure for this problem.
Get the "crash bar" non folding GS645S... wonderful alternative to the folding model.
I will only buy an original GS645 (regardless of how good it's supposed to be) for no more than $200-225. I will then send it to Frank Marshman and for about $200 (last one I did) will have it serviced, add his shutter linkage fix, and a new bellows. Then I have a decent folding GS645. I must still follow the rules on the cocking and infinity setting upon closure.
I will also still have the cold weather shutter problem, but I don't go out in the cold with a camera.
I've had four of these, and after the first one, which I paid too much for, because "it was in excellent condition", I bought the next three with known bad bellows for $200.00 and as soon as I got them, they were immediately mailed to Frank.
I now shoot the big 690 models. Most of this thread has given the Big Fuji's heat for the size and weight. What a bunch of garbage. They are still smaller than large format 4X5 which the next routine larger size.
And for me the 645 doesn't cut it when you want to print really big.
Further more on the weight and size, the GW and GSW models are really no heavier and bigger than the professional full frame DSLR's.
And for the "why would you want one of those behemoth" comment. I use them to outshoot anything you are using that's smaller. If you're shooting large format, then say so, because you can't get anything like the image quality of the Fuji 6X9 EBC lens with any 35mm you want to throw up against it.
Lastly, and I have personal experience with this as well, if you are still willing to settle for 645 on your way to big negatives, consider the GA645Zi. This camera adds Autofocus, with manual override, Zoom from 55-90, Excellent focus and superb Image Quality. It outshoots any of the GS models, and is only slightly bigger than the folder you are considering. I've had two of the GA645Zi models alongside Mamiya's and Bronica's. If I was still happy at all with 645, I would shoot the GA645Zi over all other 6X4.5 format camera's.
These are all very good points to know, thank you.
Do you happen to know what fails with the camera in cold weather? Could it be a matter of shutter lubrication or something that could theoretically be remedied? What most puts me off most is would I always remember the bellows closing procedure.
I do shoot in varied conditions and it is -18 degrees Celsius outside right now