Fuji GF670 Pro / Voigtlander Bessa III – Medium Format Rangefinder Film Camera
After recently buying a 1980s Fujica GS645 6×4.5 rangefinder camera I have fell in love with both medium format again and also the size of the folding cameras such as the Fuji Professional film camera range. I used to shoot quite a bit of medium format film before I bought my Leica M9, using cameras such as Pentacon Six TL, ARAX-CM, Contax 645 and Mamiya RZ67 Pro II. Since getting the M9 film my photography all but stopped for the first 6 months and is slowly making a come back. By having a medium format film camera that is a similar size to a Leica camera I feel I am much more likely to shoot more film.
For portraiture I find the 6×9 format of the popular Fuji GW690 a bit of an overkill. I already have a 6×9 folder, a 1930s Russian Moskva-5 and it is nice for landscapes but I tend not to use it for model photography (or weddings). I reviewed many other rangefinder medium format cameras – Mamiya 6, Mamiya 7, Bronica RF645 to name a few but I like the size of the Fuji GF670 / Voigtlander Bessa III.
Why a Fuji GF670?
- 6×6 and 6×7 film format options – I like 6×6 especially, the same as my ARAX-CM
- Accepts 120 and 220 medium format roll film – will use 120 as cheaper and more available
- Rangefinder focusing – After using Leicas I now much prefer rangefinder camera focusing
- Bright clear viewfinder with auto 6×6 / 6×7 lines – the GS645 is tough to focus wide open
- Leaf shutter lens – flash sync speeds up to 1/500 (great for strobist work)
- Size – super slimline design means I can now shoot with medium format on my travels
- Reliability – a modern film camera offers better reliability than vintage cameras for weddings
- Sharp Optics – EBC Fujiion 80mm f3.5 lens for high resolution and contrast wide open
- Built in light meter – unlike my Fujica GS645 or Leica M2 so nice to have for emergencies
- Medium format – offers superior details, resolution, tones and lattitude to 35mm format
- Leica feel – it reminds me of a big Leica M2 and will suit my style of photography
Is the Fuji GF670 a Portrait camera?
Strictly speaking rangefinder cameras are more popular for street photography, travel photography and landscape photography. That said I shoot mostly with Leica rangefinder cameras for all styles of photography, and especially portraiture, models and weddings. Yes the fixed lens GF670 rangefinder do not offer the shallow depth of field of say my Mamiya RZ67 Pro II with a Mamiya Sekor 110mm f2.8 lens attached or the popular Contax 645 but if you understand DOF and how to shoot I am quietly confident I can get some nice shallow depth portraits from the GF670. The GF670 focuses as close as 0.9m and the lens is approximately equivalent to a 41mm f1.8 lens on a 35mm film camera when shooting 6×6 film. That means it focuses closer than many of the Leica M lenses (1m) such as the Leica Noctilux and Zeiss ZM Sonnar.
The size of the GF670 means I can now carry it with me in addition to my Leica M9 for trips to London, Poland, further afield or even somewhere closer to home. Any location shoot is made easier with portable equipment. I think I will use the GF670 differently to my Mamiya RZ. The bellow focusing of the RZ67 lets me focus very close so tends to pull me into my subjects to get that super shallow DOF. This means for many photos the background of the image is completely blurred so I could be taking a photo anywhere. With the GF670 I cannot get as close to my subjects so it will suit environmental portraits with the background still being recognisable.
Sample images and thoughts coming soon once it arrives.