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120 RF's 120 / 220 format rangefinders including Fuji, Koni-Omega, Mamiya Press, Linhof 6x7/6x9 cameras, Mamiya 6/7 among others, but excluding the 120 folders and the Voigtlander 667 cameras that have their own forums.

View Poll Results: Should I...
just keep shooting the gear I've got and be done with it! 7 10.94%
get a GW690 53 82.81%
aim for another folder (Iskra, Super Baldax, Certo Six, or some other?) 4 6.25%
Voters: 64. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-04-2012   #26
randomm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuzano View Post
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
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Old 02-04-2012   #27
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Personally I adore the 6x9 size and format and GW690 is maybe the number one camera for that format. However, one thing that holds me back from buying a 6x9 Fuji is the unfortunate fact that I will never have room for big enough enlarger. Scanning a 6x9 neg is of course much better than scanning a tiny 35mm but I'd really like to print my best shots. So after a really long and thorough consideration I've come to the conclusion that perhaps 6x6 or 6x4.5 format is better for me in the long run. Your mileage may vary, of course

There is a Japanese seller by the name 'astrosmith22' on the *Bay who usually lists a selection of Fujis. The older and cheaper II version is particularly tempting.
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Old 02-05-2012   #28
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Okay, so I pulled the trigger on a GS645 with new bellows and CLA last year (according to seller). I figured that as GW690s seem to be pretty much always available on the *bay, but working GS645s (not the model S but plural ) not so much, I'd start this process this way around. If I don't get on with the vertical framing, or have other problems with using the camera for my needs I'll sell it on and get the GW690 instead.

Another factor that played its part in this decision was that I realised which camera I'd be able to take with me more often, having two small kids in tow.

Thanks to everybody for this conversation, it really helped.

Now, next thing on the agenda is thinking about a macro lens that I can attach to my Canon dSLR to digitise the 645 negatives as my scanner just won't do for such small negatives, hmm...
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Old 02-05-2012   #29
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So you bought the one from Italy? I have sent the guy a question, but the camera was gone before I got a reply The BIN price was very reasonable for a camera with full CLA.

The advantage of GS645 is it's size and weight. It is about as large and heavy as Mamiya 6 body (no lens).
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Old 02-05-2012   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matus View Post
So you bought the one from Italy? I have sent the guy a question, but the camera was gone before I got a reply The BIN price was very reasonable for a camera with full CLA.

The advantage of GS645 is it's size and weight. It is about as large and heavy as Mamiya 6 body (no lens).
That was the one... Lets see how it turns out to be.
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Old 02-05-2012   #31
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Good luck with the GS645. I think you'll like it. Mine also has the original bellows (I believe) and thankfully, they are still light tight. The folding procedure is quirky, but you get used to turning the lens to infinity pretty quickly.
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At the risk of repeating myself (which I so love to do)
Old 02-07-2012   #32
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At the risk of repeating myself (which I so love to do)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matus View Post
So you bought the one from Italy? I have sent the guy a question, but the camera was gone before I got a reply The BIN price was very reasonable for a camera with full CLA.

The advantage of GS645 is it's size and weight. It is about as large and heavy as Mamiya 6 body (no lens).
When I found that the GA645Zi was only slightly larger than my GS645 folded, I immediately switched to the Zi. I gained Zoom - 55-90mm, Autofocus -extremely accurate, Exceptional metering, etc. Out of about five of the Zi's the only repair I needed was replacement of the LCD on the camera back which when it quit working did not "bench" the camera. The camera was so quiet, I often had to look at the counter to see if it shot and advanced the film - so very unlike all of the GS series 645.
Also seems to be a ready supply in the used market.
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You did not look at that image closely...
Old 03-26-2012   #33
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Smile You did not look at that image closely...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbielikowski View Post
you know, its big... really big. I was about to buy but this photo made me think twice: http://www.flickr.com/photos/blueone33/4067962830/
In case you did not notice, it's pretty clear that the guy holding that Fuji is a Hobbit.


Seriously, that image is heavily distorted. If you made your decision to NOT buy a Fuji because of that image, you are way off base. That camera lens is 5-6 inches closer to the taking lens of the shooter, and a very short distance forward from there. The camera, as a result, looks far bigger than it truly measures.

I've been using the old interchangeable lens Fuji's happily for years, with no concern about size or weight. The Pentax 67 is heavier. The GW and GSW cameras are a bit bigger than a Pentax 67 because of the format, and considerably lighter.

One should never consider size a serious factor on ANY camera without putting a couple of rolls through and having them processes. That seriously ranks as "shooting oneself in the foot".

In addtion, I would never buy a GSW (65mm) before I had a GW (90) or G (100) in the bag. I use the Fuji's to shoot two frames and stitch for 6X17 panorama. That is best done on any camera platform with a normal lens AOV. A wide angle lens on any format, creates difficulties with the stitch for panorma.

Best and lightest combos in Fuji if you must have two focal lengths is a GL690 body with a 100 and a 65 lens, or two of the lighter fixed lens bodies, the GW and GSW. Both combos are about the same weight and can be had for similar prices. Advantages of the lighter GW/GSW two camera combo is EBC coating on the lenses, and can carry two emulsions of film without midroll changing.

I've had all the early bodies and the III series bodies of GW and GSW, The early bodies with the 100 and the III series bodies with the 90 all deliver the easiest frames to stitch to long pano's.

Also, the Fuji's have always been the most reliable, least fiddly of all the MF I have tried...

Mamiya SLR and Press, Bronica 645 and Square, etc. I will also never likely shoot an MF frame smaller than 6X9 again. Dislike square, 6X7 too close to square. 6X8 (as in) GW680/GSW680)... why give up the 1 cm.
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Old 03-26-2012   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuzano View Post
In case you did not notice, it's pretty clear that the guy holding that Fuji is a Hobbit.


Seriously, that image is heavily distorted. If you made your decision to NOT buy a Fuji because of that image, you are way off base. That camera lens is 5-6 inches closer to the taking lens of the shooter, and a very short distance forward from there. The camera, as a result, looks far bigger than it truly measures.
I have to disagree on one point at least.

1) I am not, in fact, a Hobbit. I am mostly an average sized person... I'm confident that your comment was in jest (no worries), and "Hobbit" isn't the worst thing I've been called.

That being said, The camera is big.

I think maybe the shadowy bits of my left hand in the image make it look a little wider than it really is, but it measures nearly 7 1/2 inches at any rate vs the 6 1/2 inches or so of my entire head. It is not quite as deep (Nor nearly as heavy) as the Pentax 6x7, but it is almost exactly the same width. (I measured my Pentax 6x7 at right around 7 1/4 inches wide.) After measuring the camera in that image viewed at whatever the large size flickr image is, with my trusty tape measure, and a doing a little algebra...I agree.

By my back-of-the-envelope math, the camera appears to be about 20% larger than it really is...with relation to my tiny head.

Thanks for pointing that out....I hadn't really thought about the distortion at that focus distance before. I just knew it was BIG, saw that negative after I scanned and thought "look, here's my proof...that camera is enormous".
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Old 05-15-2012   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randomm View Post
Yeah, saw that earlier. It does look big, but at the end of the day it cannot be that much bigger than my Moskva-5 folded out. Hopefully slightly easier to focus, and luckily I have big hands.
LOL
never had a Moskva, but... it's about the double of a 6x9 zeiss ikonta.

That thing is a friggin monster.

That did not stop me to haul it around on holidays or work trips to Spain, Greece, Brazil (twice) and some more. My friend was making jokes that his digital toy would fit in completely into my camera (and still would have place for film).
In this sense, it IS portable. Not in a pocket, but it's OK on a shoulder. Not too heavy and it is ergonomically well made for shooting.

You won't go unnoticed with it, though.

What does bug me a bit is, 8 frames per film on BW is a bit low... 220 slides though were nice to use in it (and to look at end result).

And it's reliable&precise, very well made.
I have the ii version.

I'd say go for it and see how it works out for you.

EDIT: ok i see you succumbed for its little brother. You'll regret it :evil:
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Old 08-13-2014   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuzano View Post

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.
To bolster Kuzano's comments and your courage in the future -- I found switching to an Op-Tech strap really made carrying the original Fuji 690s (interchangeable lenses and heavier than the later fixed lens ones) much more comfortable. I think it was the E-Z Comfort model from looking at their online catalog; they also carry a pro model.

Giorgio
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #37
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Giorgio, can I ask which Op-Tech strap you bought? I just received my Fuji GW690 and bought a Crumpler Public Discrace strap but it's probably going to be to narrow around the neck. It's fine on a GA645zi. I have one on mine.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #38
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Yeah, it's big. So what? I use an Optech Pro Loop strap on the lugs on the left top and bottom, the end of the side with the door hinge. Throw it over a shoulder and it hangs straight down, nicely out of the way. Good camera. I often tote the III and my GA645 together.

Kenny
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curt View Post
Giorgio, can I ask which Op-Tech strap you bought? I just received my Fuji GW690 and bought a Crumpler Public Discrace strap but it's probably going to be to narrow around the neck. It's fine on a GA645zi. I have one on mine.
Curt, it looks like the Super Classic Strap with Pro loop, but you might also look at the S.O.S. strap (Save our shoulders). I wear it over the shoulder, not around the neck.

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