Fuji GF670 Portraits
(Fuji GF670 vs Leica M9 + Noctilux)
I originally bought my medium format film (6×6 / 6×7) Fuji GF670 Pro (aka “Voigtlander Bessa III”) folding camera to assist my Leica M cameras. I wanted a medium format rangefinder that was both compact and capable to fit in my hand luggage for photography trips away, whether model photography / fashion, wedding photography or travelling. Since then I have bought several other medium format cameras including my Mamiya 645 Super and Rolleiflex SL66E. My main photography interest is portraiture so I was uncertain that the Fuji GF670 rangefinder would tick all my boxes. Rangefinders are not known for close focusing, fast lenses or a shallow depth of field. Nine months on and I have used the Fuji GF670 for wedding photography, travel and fashion / portraiture. Here are some sample images (some you may have seen before on other posts):
Fuji GF670 Fashion / Portraits
Fuji GF670 Wedding Photography
Fuji GF670 Travel Camera
So can the Fuji GF670 match the likes of the Mamiya RZ67, Mamiya 645 Super, Rolleiflex SL66E or even the Leica M cameras for portraits?
Yes and no. The Fuji GF670 will of course not let me focus as close as my other medium format cameras, being a rangefinder (0.9m close focus) so I am never going to be able to achieve the dreamy look of say Contax 645 portraits. That said, the lens is sharp, very sharp and it is capable of taking strong photos. I just need to think more before taking an image. Hopefully you will see a ‘slight’ improvement with the photos at the top of the portrait list vs those lower down. A nice model alone is not enough to make a good photo with this camera. Nice clothes and a good pose in a pretty place is not enough. I need to really consider strong lighting, composition, background detail and have the help of a great model. Put those all together and we start to see better results.
You may say I need all those components for every image?
Again, yes and no. With close focus lenses (even on the the Leica M cameras) the model can be pretty much anywhere in any light with any background and no experience and with a little direction and a shallow depth of field I can pretty much always get a nice image. I didn’t realise how much I rely on a shallow DOF until I no longer have it!
I guess it is a bit like getting used to a 50mm f1 Leica Noctilux lens or perhaps an 85mm f1.4 lens for a DSLR camera and then being given a standard f3.5-f5.6 kit lens and someone saying go take some nice photos. As I normally shoot portraits and weddings at f1-f1.2-f1.4-f2 I have to start approaching my photography differently with the GF670. It is not a bad thing and hopefully it will result in me becoming a better photographer but it needs to be considered.
The Fuji GF670 camera itself seems well built and has an almost unnervingly near silent shutter sound to the extent that if there is any background noise you don’t know if you have taken the photo or not! Great for quiet wedding photography photos in a church but I must admit I much prefer the big clunk of the larger camera shutters. The Fuji rangfinder is OK. I am spoilt with my Leica M3 rangefinder so in comparison everything else seems poor. The GF670 rangefinder is not up to Leica standards so accurate focusing wide open and up close is not as easy as I would like / am used to. Stopped down a little the GF670 lens goes from sharp to crazy sharp and has a very modern look (I think). I now need to use the camera to it’s strengths and see what I can get from the Fuji GF670. I have just ordered some super fine grain 120 Ilford Pan F 50 film and have some 120 Fuji Velvia 50 film to try. Coming soon!
See here my analysis and thought process before buying the Fuji GF670 (plus more technical info) – https://mrleica.com/2014/08/10/fuji-gf670-pro/