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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2014 Wedding: Sam & Chris

Wedding: Sam & Chris (Leica Noctilux Wedding)
Coventry Wedding Photographer (away in Gloucestershire)

http://www.MatthewOsbornephotography.co.uk / http://www.MrLeica.com

July 26th, 2014
Wedding Venue – Highnam Court, Gloucestershire

Leica M9 Wedding Photography

Low Light Church Wedding

Leica M9 Wedding

Facebook Cover Photo

It was my second visit to Highnam in Gloucestershire as I was there last year for Paul and Deb’s wedding.  Deb’s was one of Sam’s bridesmaids so you may recognise her!  We had the wedding ceremony at Highnam Church then moved across the field to Highnam Court for the rest of the day.

Here are a selection of photos from Sam and Chris’s wedding day.  The couple opted for a mixture of digital wedding photography and medium format film photography.

Digital Photos – Leica M9 + Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 at f1 was used for most of the day (including all group photos at f1)(excluding some 21mmf2.8 & 28mmf2 wide angle lens shots, some 90mmf2 Summicron photos for the speeches and the 75mmf2 Cron photos for detail images).

Film Photography – 1980s Fujica GS645 medium format folding film camera + 120 Fuji Pro 400H film (lab developed and scanned with an Epson v600 scanner)

645 Wedding Film Photography

Fuji GS645 Wedding

Fuji GS645 Wedding Portrait

Medium Format Wedding

Fuji GS 645 Wedding

To book a Leica wedding see here for more detailshttp://www.matthewosbornephotography.co.uk/Wedding-Photographer.html
*Medium format film photography is also available using various film cameras including Mamiya RZ67 and Fuji GF670, a choice of film formats, 6×4.5, 6×6, 6×7 and both roll film and Polaroid film

Leica Noctilux Wedding

Leica Size Fujica GS645!

The Leica Size – Fujica GS645 Professional
– a 6×4.5 Medium Format Folding Film Camera

GS645i

My latest additional to the camera bag!  A 1983 Fuji GS 645 Pro Folder 6×4.5 film camera with a EBC Fujinon 75mm f/3.4 fixed lens. This is roughly equivalent to to 50mm f2 fixed lens on a 35mm camera such as a Leica. The GS 645 is a rangefinder camera the same as a Leica however it takes 120 film rather than 35mm film for my Leica M2. One thing I like the most about Leicas are the small compact size.

Earlier in the week I took a trip to the coast so decided to pack my 6×9 medium format Russian Moskva-5 camera. Despite being designed in the 1930s it was a real joy to use. 6×9 is a bigger format than I need and the camera does not really suit portraits so when I got home I began reading up on 6×4.5 format folders. I decided on the Fujica GS 645 as it has both a hotshoe and PC sync cable port meaning I can use it with my lights. The GS645 has a leaf shutter lens with a flash sync speed of 1/500.  This is faster than my Mamiya RZ67 Pro II (1/400) and Leica M9 (1/180) so great for me to control ambient light levels when using strobe lights. Even though I love the RZ67 it is often just too big to carry around easily as a just-in-case camera, whether on a day trip to the coast or for one of my London Photography Workshop outings. (I have tried and it was heavy! Photos to follow).  By having a small camera like a Leica that fits into a large pocket I am much more likely to take it everywhere with me.  What excites me moreso is the GS645 is a 120 medium format film camera so much more detail can be captured with every photo (vs 35mm).  The lens is also well regarded as being super sharp so can wait!

gs645ii

I will get some sample images posted as soon as the camera arrives and I get chance to shoot a roll of film with it.

For those of you knowing about these cameras the biggest problems that are often seen are pin holes/ light leaks appearing in the camera bellows.  This one has had the original bellows replaced by Linhof Germany.  Another common problem is a sticking shutter but the seller tells me it works fine (for now!).  The rangefinder focus system has a smaller focus patch that a Leica so is said to be less easy to focus.  The Moskva-5 rangefinder has a very basic RF and qis uite possibly out of alignment so I always used it at f8-f11 to be safe. I will see how I get on with focusing the GS 645 wide open at f3.4 and also stopped. I now I have a love, and preference for focusing with a rangefinder system vs. through the lens focusing (SLR/DSLR).

gs645iii

Very much looking forward to her arrival!  Even though she does not have the red dot Leica badge she will be a valued addition to my camera bag and I hope also it will let me do more film which can only be a good thing! 🙂

The plan is take the Fujica GS645 to weddings for some extra film photography.  The camera is not really comparable to the Contax 645  film camera in terms of being able to create dreamy portraits due to the lens fitted however I will be sure to get the best I can from it.

If you want a visual for my expectations, I would say my Leica M9 + Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 v2 images are similar to when I used a Contax 645 + 80mm f2 T lens.  The Fuji GS645 Pro will give a look more similar to my Leica M9 + Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO where the subject can look 3D yet the background can be identified and lots of detail is captured.

Film choice – for colour film photography I have always shot with Kodak Portra 16o, 400, 800 for my 35mm and 120mm cameras.  I think my taste is changing as I now prefer the colours of Fuji Pro 400H so I plan to buy a 5 pack of 400H and see how I get on.  Fuji 400H is very forgiving in tricky lighting conditions and retains highlight detail well if overexposed.  Film is good at retaining highlight detail generally however most people shoot Portra at box speed but Fuji 400H 1-2 stops over box speed to get the creamy emulsion look of skin tones.  By overexposing highlights I can exposure for the shadows for the maximum dynamic range and detail captured.  For UK weddings light levels can often be low so this might prove very useful!

Coming soon! 🙂

http://www.MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk