Fujifilm GA645 Professional

Fujifilm GA645 Professional

                         ..Like an noisy ugly slightly overfed Leica!

July 2015

Matthew Osborne Photography

Fujifilm GA645 Pro

Fuji GA645

The latest addition to my camera bag – a 20 year old Fuji GA645 Pro medium format film camera.  Released in 1995, the Fujifilm GA645 Professional is a 6×4.5 format autofocus medium format film camera. The GA645 is fitted with a fixed lens, a Super EBC Fujinon 60mm f4 with a minimum focus distance of 0.7m.  The camera has a leaf shutter lens that operates at upto 1/400 with apertures of f4-f9.5 and at 1/700 with apertures of f11-f22.  The camera takes photos in a portrait orientation when held in the standard horizontal position.  The GA645 has a pop-up flash, LCD display for camera settings, autofocus, auto film advance and auto rewind, auto exposure with centre weighted metering and imprinted data of camera settings onto the film.

Basically the Fuji GA645 is a heavyweight medium format P&S (Point and Shoot) camera!

For anyone that has followed me for a while might be thinking, the list above is everything I said I don’t like in a camera.  For example I sold the Contax 645 as I said it was too ‘DSLR like’ and too automated.  That was almost 2 years ago.

So why did I buy a GA645?

I am still in search of my holy grail camera.  As my photography matures my desires list changes.  In the past I would be attracted to the fastest lenses with the most shallow depth of field possible.  For example the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 lens.  I did not consider camera size, the film format, the speed of the camera use, the reliability and to an extent the cost if it was of good quality.

Today the most important aspects of a camera for me are compact size, maximum resolution, sharp lens, speed of use and reliability.  Tomorrow this may change.

Compact camera –

Leica cameras are compact hence I love them but I want a larger negative for maximum resolution in an image.

Maximum resolution –

The Mamiya RZ67 Pro II 6×7 and Rolleiflex SL66E 6×6 have sharp lenses but they are too big to take on my trips overseas.  The Fuji GF670 is a folding 6×6/6×7 camera so is compact but I wanted 645 format.  To me 6×4.5 format is the perfect mid ground between being 3x more resolution that a 35mm Leica film negative and giving 15 photos per roll of film vs, 50% less resolution than a 6×7 negative that only gives 10 images per roll of 120 film.

Sharp lens –

Many of my cameras are said to have sharp lenses but when a camera has a fixed lens the lens sharpness is a must have.  The EBC Fujinon lenses are well regarded for their sharpness even wide open.

Speed of Use –

The more I do model photography and fashion photography the more I realise that as a creative team we just don’t have time to work at a slow pace such as with my large format cameras, Pacemaker Speedgraphic and Sinar F2.  This was one reason for buying the autofocus Nikon f4 SLR 35mm film camera.  I want to shoot film but do it at the pace of a modern photoshoot.

Reliability –

Reliability has two meanings.  The perhaps obvious one that is mechanical reliability and the camera continuing to operate as designed during a shoot.  I cannot afford to take a camera to Ukraine for a week only for it to stop working on the first day.  Luckily this did not happen but I have a growing pile of film cameras needing some attention and are therefore not suitable to take away on trips.  The second meaning and one that bugs me a little is reliable photo taking.  I might have the perfect model in the perfect setting and the image looks focused through the viewfinder yet when I get the film back it is mis-focused due to a misaligned rangefinder or other camera related issue.  My Mamiya 645 nearly always mis-focused beyond a certain distance and even up close the hit rate is not acceptable regardless of the lens.

Fuji GA645 – Recap

So to recap the Fuji GA645 is very compact considering it is a medium format camera so perfect to fit in my hand luggage.  The lens is sharp and it has autofocus and auto film advance to allow me to work quickly if needed.  The 60mm f4 lenses is roughly equal to 35mm f2.8 on a 35mm camera such as a Leica.  With my recent film photography I often stop the lenses down to perhaps f5.6 to get maximum sharpness and also try to back up more to get an environmental portrait in my location rather than a tight head shot that could have been taken in my garden or studio.  If I am to travel to these different countries I need to help myself in capturing some of the city in the photo and a 35mm lens is better suited to do this than my usual 50mm favoured lens choice.  A good example of this was my model photography workshop in Zurich where I tried to capture the model within her environment for some photos.

As mentioned I already own a Fuji GF670 camera but I prefer the older Fuji GS645 camera due to the 645 format.  I love the GS645 but the shutter often sticks so I decided to buy the more modern more automated Fuji GA645 that is a similar size and same format, but with a 60mm f4 lenses rather than the 75mm f3.4 lens.

Creativity with an F4 lens

An easy way to take a beautiful traditional portrait is to use a very shallow depth of field.  The Fuji GA645 will not give me this so it will make me work harder for my photograph.  I need to consider the background as the detail will be visible in the photo and then I need to somehow make the picture interesting without using shallow DOF.  It will make me chose my light and composition more carefully and how they interact with the model .  I think at worst an f4 aperture lens can only improve my photography and my work may benefit when I am using fast lenses on other cameras.

Time will tell

I don’t really enjoy taking photos with the Fuji GF670 as it is so quiet and soulless.  That said the photos produced can be beautiful.  In contrast the Fuji GA645 is very noisy so I just hope it is a little more engaging despite being so automated.

Size is key

Even though I am mainly a Leica shooter when I come to pack for model photography trips in Europe I find I have to pick my very smallest Leica M lenses.  I like to take both a film camera and a digital camera.  Film is for me and digital to give something to the models for their time.  I hope to be able to take the compact Fuji GA645 on my next trip and return with high resolution sharp in focus images of stunning models in the city they live in.  That’s the plan anyway!

Test photos coming soon once the camera is shipped.

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Featured: MOTW – Gina

Featured Model of the Week (“MOTW”) : Gina

MatthewOsbornePhotography – Model Photographer
This is a new feature to share some of my favourite model photography/ fashion and beauty images from a selection of the best models I have had the pleasure of working with over the last few years, both here in the UK and overseas.  Photos have been captured with various camera equipment and you can see the details by clicking on the images.
Model – Gina
Location – Coventry UK
Gina lives locally to me so we have shot together on many occasions and with lots of different cameras / lenses.  See if you can spot the Leica images (and if you are really smart what lens I used!), the Nikon images and those shot on film rather than digital!  Enjoy!
Recent photos taking during a 1-2-1 portrait photography workshop last weekend

Modern Classic
Classic Portraiture
Leica Summicron 75 - Studio Portrait
Polaroid by www.MrLeica.com

Older photos (mixed)

Love This :) Gina
Gina with Contax 645
Gina with Contax 645
Gina in the Snow
Gina
Leica M8 Studio Portrait
Zeiss Planar
Model Photography
Lencarta Elite Pro 300
D800 Fashion Photography
Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii
M8 Fashion
Samyang 24mm f1.4
Lumix G3 Fashion
Leica M9 Portrait
Leica M9 & Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 ii
Gina with Contax 645
Nikon D800 Fashion

And finally a few photos in colour..

Leica M9 Fashion
Leica Fashion Photography

Leica Fashion

Leica Noctilux Fashion

I hope you liked them?
Look out for my “MOTW” blog posts for more model photography photos going forward!
Thanks
Matt

Discussion Shared from LinkedIn – Can Lenses Be To Sharp For Portraits?

LinkedIn – BridesView Group

Discussion – Can Lenses Be To Sharp For Portraits?

LinkedIn Original Discussion Thread

I just replied to the above thread and I thought you may find the topic of interest and the details below of potential use.  Here was my reply:

“As for sharp lenses for portraiture, I specialise in female portraits and have used some of the best and sharpest lenses for Nikon, Leica and medium format Contax 645, Mamiya RZ67 and more.

A point was raised above Can a lens be too sharp for a flattering portrait? Answer Yes I think so. I aim to get my photos correct in camera so rarely airbrush a pimple unless a one off special photo. If you pose and light them well initially you can normally cover most of the imperfections. I also do not have time to remove every wrinkle. I cringe when I see a pore free texture free airbrushed portrait. They can look awful if done badly.

So back on topic.. lenses being too sharp. Yes they can. Even though I work with the majority of models aged 17yrs to 30yrs some of the lenses I have used will make a face unflattering unless the model has porcelain skin when I can then go all out for sharpness.

List of lenses that can be too sharp for portraits:
Samyang 85mm f1.4 @f1.4 (sharper than Nikon 85mm f1.4D BTW at f1.4)(Great lens!)
Example standing further back, Ukraine
Innocence?
Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro lens – very very sharp but not fast enough (sold)
Early example with my old Nikon D700
Magdalena (2)
Zeiss ZM Planar 50mm f2 T (on Leica M9)
Example standing further back. F2
Leica M9 - B&W Film Look
Nikkor 35mm f1.4G – super sharp
Example on D800, high key Poland
Aga (2) SOOC with D800
Rollei Planar 50mm f1.8 (Great little lens)(Same as a Zeiss Planar 50mm with different badge)
Example on Nikon D800
Katie, as shot

Lenses for non-perfect skin:
Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AI-s (fantastic lens that gives a dreamy look shot at f1.2 but still sharp)
Example on Nikon D800
Alice SOOC
Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.4 (on Leica M9)
Example
Leica M9 B&W Portrait
Lensbaby Edge 80
Example – Kodak Portra 35mm film / Nikon FM
Film Photography Fashion

Lenses that do it all:
Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s (sharp at f2 yet flattering as shallow DOF)
Example on Nikon FM – 35mm Film photography
Film is NOT Dead - Model Photogaphy
Zeiss Planar 80mm f2 T (on Contax 645 medium format film camera) (very sharp+shallow)
Example – film photography wedding portrait
Contax 645 Wedding Portrait
Mamiya Sekor 110mm f2.8 (on Mamiya RZ67 ProII)(sharp yet shallow DOF)
Example – 6×7 medium format Kodak T-Max film
Film Fashion Photography
Zeiss Pancolar 80mm f1.8 (M42 mount)(Great for portraits)
Example up close on D800
Katie with CZ Pancolar 80/1.8

If you want to see more examples see my blog or Flickr. Many examples of each combination and 99% of the photos on there have not been airbrushed so what you see is what the lens provides”.

Join me – LinkedIn

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – UK Leica Wedding Photographer

Gallary Content Page

Related Pages  – Shared Photos From my Flickr.com Sets

Wedding Photography

Film Photography

Model Photography

Misc

Camera Gear & Lenses

http://www.MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk

Contax 645 B&W Wedding Photography

Sonia & Raman’s Wedding

Here are a film photography photos from Sonia & Raman’s wedding. I covered their wedding day with my Nikon D800 camera but I also managed to shoot a roll of black and white Kodak TMax 400 film on my Contax 645 medium format film camera. Film was hand developed, stand developing in Rodinal before scanning with my Epson v600 scanner to convert to digital.

Contax 645 Asian Wedding

I think for future weddings, such as Craig and Josie’s that I shot a few days ago, I will shoot some medium format colour film and let my Leica M9 provide the black and white images for the day. See here for Leica M9 Wedding Photography. The Nikon D800 has become a backup camera for my wedding photography but is still my main camera for model photography. See my thoughts and test on Leica M9 Model Photography.

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk

Stopping down the Samyang!

Anyone who has seen my Flickr photos will know I like to shoot lens wide open. That being, at their widest aperture.

My most used 3 lenses for model photography on the Nikon D800 are the Samyang 85mm f1.4, Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AI-s and the Nikkor 200 f2 AI-s. I also use a 35/1.4 and 24/1.4 amongst others.

But.. after all of that I think my taste is evolving.. I stop down the above lenses to meter light for some of the medium format film camera like the Contax 645, Mamiya RZ67 ProII and the Moskva-5. Some of the medium format lens are f3.5 or f4 widest aperture. In this photo I was using the 65mm f4 WA Mamiya Sekor leaf shutter lens so had shot the Samyang at f4 also.

Because medium format lenses give a greater shallow DOF I find myself stopping them down to get extra sharpness yet they are still super shallow.

I think this habit is now transferring back to digital and I find myself shooting the Nikkor 50mm f1.2 at f2.8 or f4.

Another example of model Nella shot with the Samyang 85mm f1.4 at f2.8:
Model Photography

Here Nella with Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AI-s stopped down:
Nella!

It will be interesting to see how my stream looks in 6 months from now..

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk

Bridal Photography on Film

Bridal Photography on Film
Photo by MatthewOsbornePhotography_ on Flickr.

Shot with Contax 645 for the The Bridal Room, Broadway on Fuji Neopan.

More B&W Film Bridal Photography examples from the day –
Film Photography - Bridal Shoot
B&W Film Photography - Bridal Shoot
Bridal Photography on Film (2)
Film Photography - Bridal Shoot (4)

I’m looking forward to my first B&W wedding photography wedding in July shooting medium format film and B&W digital with the D800. See website for more details – http://www.matthewosbornephotography.co.uk/Wedding-Photographer.html