Fuji GF670 Review: 11 Reasons Why You Should Buy!
Fuji GF670 Pro / Voigtlander Bessa III – Medium Format Rangefinder Film Camera
Looking to buy a medium format rangefinder camera? Here I detail why I bought the Fujifilm GF670 Professional and 11 reason to buy one! Awesome camera!
1. Medium Format Rangefinder camera (Fuji 6×7 Rangefinder)
After buying a 1980s Fuji GS645 rangefinder camera I fell in love with the combination of medium format film offered in a compact / folding camera design such as the Fuji Professional film camera range. My earlier film cameras such as the Pentacon Six TL, ARAX-CM (Kiev 88), Contax 645 and Mamiya RZ67 Pro II were all less portable. When I got my Leica M9 camera I started to enjoy the smaller camera setup but I missed shooting film. By getting a medium format film camera that was similar in size to a Leica camera it seemed to tick all my wishes!
For portraiture I find the 6×9 format of the popular Fuji GW690 a bit of an overkill (too wide and a bit of a waste of film almost if I can say that!). I already had a 6×9 folding camera, a 1930s Russian Moskva-5 camera and it is nice for landscapes but I tend not to use it for model photography (or weddings). I reviewed many rangefinder medium format cameras – Mamiya 6, Mamiya 7, Bronica RF645, Makina 67 to name a few but I like the size of the Fuji 6×7 GF670 (also sold as the Voigtlander Bessa III). The Fuji GF670 seemed the best 120 folding camera for my needs.
2. 11 Reasons Why You Should Buy a Fuji GF670!
Fuji GF670 Specs:
- 6×6 and 6×7 film format options – Works as a 6×6 rangefinder and 6×7 rangefinder camera! I love 6×6 format especially, like a Hasselblad!
- Accepts 120 and 220 medium format roll film – 120 film is cheaper and more readily available
- Fuji GF670 Rangefinder focusing – After using Leica cameras I much prefer rangefinder camera focusing. This Fuji 6×7 rangefinder is like a high power Leica!
- Bright clear viewfinder with auto 6×6 / 6×7 lines – can focus for portraits with the lens wide open
- Fuji Leaf shutter lens – flash sync speeds up to 1/500 (great for strobist work)
- Compact Fuji GF670 Size – super slimline 120 folding camera design that will fit in a large jacket pocket – perfect 6×7 travel camera
- Reliability – a modern film camera offers better reliability than vintage cameras for weddings
- Fuji GF670 lens = Crazy 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/M3/M4P so nice to have for emergencies
- Medium format rangefinder camera – Fuji 6×7 (& 6×6) formats offers superior details, resolution, tones and latitude to 35mm format
- Leica feel – it reminds me of a big Leica M camera and suits my style of photography
(Left: Fuji GF670 / Right: Leica M9 – Size Comparison)
3. Fuji GF670 Portraits?
Strictly speaking rangefinder cameras like the Fuji GF670 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 you 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 50mm. I have included a few sample Fuji GF670 portraits throughout this post but to see more portraits there is a link at the end of this article.
4. Advantages of a Small Medium Format Camera
The Fuji GF670 size means I can carry it with me in addition to a digital Leica camera for my usual overseas trips to Poland and Budapest (and for shoots closer to home!). Any location shoot is made easier with portable equipment.
5. Fuji vs Mamiya
5.1. Fuji GF670 vs Mamiya RZ67 Pro II
Probably not a common comparison but I will use the compact Fuji GF670 differently to my Mamiya RZ67 Pro II. 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 Fuji GF670 I cannot get as close to my subjects so it will suit environmental portraits with the background still being recognisable.
5.2. Fuji GF670 vs Mamiya 7
A more popular comparison is the Fuji GF670 vs Mamiya 7. Both cameras offer the 6×7 film format and both are rangefinder cameras. I am lucky enough to now own both cameras and I much prefer the Fuji GF670 (see the Mamiya 7 article linked below). The folding camera design of the Fuji makes it far more portable and it will fit into a large coat pocket. The Mamiya 7 camera itself is quite lightweight but with a lens attached it is a more bulky setup. The Mamiya 7 is often regarded as the best film camera optically but I would argue the micro-contrast or actual sharpness of the Fuji GF670 lens produces better / sharper looking photos to my eyes. One advantage of the Mamiya 7 is the interchangeable lens design. Specifically if you want to capture wide angle 6×7 photos the Mamiya 7 is the camera to get. The widest lens available for the Mamiya 7 is 43mm. I use the 50mm and 65mm lenses as I can use them without the added bulk of the additional hotshoe viewfinder (needed for the super wide Mamiya 7 43mm lens).
5.3. Fuji GF670 vs Mamiya 6
As the Fuji GF670 also gives the option of 6×6 film format (my preferred format) you could compare it to the Mamiya 6. The Mamiya 6 is a 6×6 rangefinder and it packs down smaller than the Mamiya 7. (The Mamiya 6 lenses retract into the camera body). To me the Mamiya 6 is perhaps more rugged and robust camera so I do often use it instead of the GF670. The advantage of the Mamiya 6 vs the GF is it offers 3 lenses (50mm, 75mm, 150mm) to give a wider variety of shots vs. the fixed 80mm lens Fuji. Carrying multiple lenses for the Mamiya 6 does mean more to carry though so it is always a balance!
5.4 Fuji GF670 vs Hasselblad 500
It might sound like a strange comparison, Fuji GF670 vs Hasselblad but both cameras can shoot the 6×6 square format. For travel the Fuji GF670 wins hands down as it is a folding camera so packs easily. The Hasselblad is better for portrait photos and has numerous advantages such as interchangeable lenses and film backs. The main to advantages of the GF670 is the size and that it offers both 6×6 and 6×7.
6. Fuji GF670 User Guide (2 Common Qu.)
6.1. Fuji GF670 Battery?
The Fuji GF670 camera requires 1x CR2 Lithium battery (*you can’t operate the camera at all without it)
6.2. Fuji GF670 – How to load film?
If you have used a Mamiya 7 or Mamiya 6 camera the film loading mechanism and process is near identical in many respects. Here is an old Steve Huff video I found that helps provide a visual aid to Fuji GF670 film loading (@1min10) + lots more useful info.
7. Fuji GF670 for sale?
If like me you’ve now realised that you want to get yourself a Fuji you may have noticed that it seems nearly impossible to find a Fuji GF670 for sale! When I was looking to buy my GF670 I found the most plentiful supply was actually eBay, specifically Japanese eBay sellers. If you have no luck finding a Fuji GF670 used in your local camera store try eBay!
More Fuji blog posts + Related articles
- Mamiya 7
- Mamiya 6
- Mamiya RZ67 Pro II
- Fujica GS645
- Fujica GA645
- Fuji GF670 Wedding
- Fuji GF670 Portraits