Thinking about a Fuji 645 camera

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campy51

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I have been thinking about buying one of the 645 Fuji's but worried about reliability. It seems that they either have bellows problems or electronic problems and with some costing as much as $1000 it just seems like it's too much of a gamble for me. I did have a GA 645 for about a week and it took great pictures, but I thought the auto focus was slow and loud and the aperture dial was jumping and I guess it's common but at $950 I returned it. The GS645 pro and the GS645W seem to get somewhat good reviews but are they reliable? I like the size of these cameras. Any thoughts?
 

skylight1b

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I'm glad you're asking this because I have been wondering about getting a GS645 myself. I like that they're all mechanical, but I too am worried about shutter failure. I keep seeing things come up about people having problems with the shutter working half the time. Then there are others who say the only people with problems are those who forget to set the focus to infinity before closing and end up damaging the camera.
 

takilmaboxer

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I own one. Years ago the film advance jammed; $300 to fix it. One week after the warrantee expired, it broke again. Estimate came out at $500, the repair service said parts are unobtainable. Now I use it as a light meter.
Don't waste your money. Great lens on a cheap plastic body.
 

OrientPoint

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I have a GS645 Pro (the folding one) and a GS645 Wide.

The GS645 Pro gets bad press for having bellows that are prone to failure. All I know is that bellows on mine are solid and the camera has been totally reliable (I've had it for 8 years). However... I think the bellows must have been replaced, just because they're really in too perfect shape. I got it from Adorama for a very good price, so I'm not sure what they were thinking. If you're in the market, I'd recommend the camera itself - great lens in as light and compact a package as you'll ever find in medium format. But I'd say only buy one you can inspect in person, just to be sure the bellows are light-tight and the shutter linkage works properly.

The GS645 Wide worked great for a while, then suddenly the advance seized up. Frank Marshman fixed it up to perfect function for $180. He is said to be the expert on these cameras, and I don't doubt it based upon my experience which was hassle-free. The camera itself is great, although I don't know that a very wide angle "walk around" camera is something most people would want or need. Knowing what I know now I probably would not buy one today. (Anyone want to buy one? ;-)
 

OAPOli

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I got a GS645W that had a defective shutter release. Managed to fix it but it's true that the linkage is pretty complex. Unlike other fixed-lens RFs, the shutter operates from the side like a manual one. To cock it there is an ingenious system of cable and pulleys (and more...) which is quite finicky. Nice size and weight, coupled meter, good image quality.
 

itsdoable

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Any folding GS645 with bellows that are light tight have been replaced. The original plastic bellows material has long since dried and cracked. Bellows replacement is pretty strait forward, and available.

Sticky shutters come with age, those that are working have probably been CLA'ed. This is true with any leaf shutter (except maybe some Copals).

Rangefinder adjustment is also pretty common.

It's basic maintenance to keep old equipment running.
 

John Wiegerink

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I got a GS645W that had a defective shutter release. Managed to fix it but it's true that the linkage is pretty complex. Unlike other fixed-lens RFs, the shutter operates from the side like a manual one. To cock it there is an ingenious system of cable and pulleys (and more...) which is quite finicky. Nice size and weight, coupled meter, good image quality.

I had a GS645W for about 4-5yrs back when I was shooting weddings. I'd use my Hasselblad for the ceremony and the Fuji for the reception and outdoor shots. That was an excellent combo until I was shooting a wedding for the son of my employer at the time. We were outside in a little garden adjoining the church cemetery when the Fuji stopped advancing the film and I had to switch back to the Hasselblad. It seems that “ingenious” cable system let go, and I was done with that camera for the rest of the day. I was lucky because I sat down one afternoon before the next wedding and took the body off the camera to discover the cable problem. It's been so long ago I can't really remember how I fixed it, but I seem to remember "silver soldering" the cable. I shot several more weddings with it and then sold it. Took that money and bought a Fuji GSW690 and lived happily ever after. So the story goes................!
 
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campy51

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I just watched a video on replacing the bellows. It looks a little difficult but not too bad.
 

Melvin J Bramley

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I have been tempted to purchase one or the other Fuji's based upon their size and image quality reviews.
That said I have purchased too many cameras that later required repair and the Fuji's are seldom repairable.
Better to stay with an old MF folder that won't break the bank and still produces good if not excellent image quality.
I just resurrected a Mamiya 6 folder using a rusty hacksaw blade, a blacksmiths hammer and carpenters nail gun!
Try that with a Fuji!
 

Radost

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I ordered 2 folding form Japan and had to return them for sticky shutter issues.
I still look on ebay every other day but am afraid to order a third time.
I am sometimes thinking to just get the wide one that has no rangefinder and less prone to issues.
My voightlanders Perkeo II and III E are fun and the quality is great at higher aperture.But I want something as sharp and perfect as my Fuji 69 III wide.
 

GregY

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I ordered 2 folding form Japan and had to return them for sticky shutter issues.
I still look on ebay every other day but am afraid to order a third time.
I am sometimes thinking to just get the wide one that has no rangefinder and less prone to issues.
My voightlanders Perkeo II and III E are fun and the quality is great at higher aperture.But I want something as sharp and perfect as my Fuji 69 III wide.

Yes, the Fuji GW/GSW 67/8/9 is a superb camera series & the lenses are incredibly sharp
 

4season

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"Back in the day", focusing accuracy with the GS645 seemed hit-or-miss, and the camera eventually jammed on me while out in the field. Fujifilm factory service was still available at the time, and I had it repaired. The repaired camera had wonderfully accurate RF focusing for about one roll of film, and I subsequently lost interest in fussing with it any more.

But now that I perform my own camera repairs, I might like to see if GS645 could be made into a reliable performer. But not at today's typical eBay prices!
 

GregY

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with all the issues, i prefer the Mamiya 6MF...all day long
 

GregY

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Way too expansive and complicated camera.

Yes they've become expensive, but over time far they've proven far less trouble than the Fuji 645 cameras. The lenses are superb, and with the collapsible covered lens bellows they carry as easily as a Leica. You're not wrong about prices...but many cameras have risen to crazy prices.....Fuji G670, Xpan, Rolleiflex, older Leica M...
Yes the Mamiya 6 is electronic & risks becoming an expensive brick.....but how many have we actually heard about that have died?
 
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brian steinberger

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Way too expansive and complicated camera.

It is expensive but what a great camera with interchangeable lenses in 3 perfectly spaced focal lengths! To me the electronics are not scary because I have a great service guy, Bob at Precision Camera Works in TX. As long as he is around to take care of my Mamiya 6s I’m not worried and you shouldn’t be either. Mamiya 6 and 7s are great cameras, but yes prices are very high.
 

Alan9940

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I've had a GA645Zi for many years with none of the issues one sees on the interwebs. I don't use this camera all that much (could be why mine still okay), but what a great walk around camera that produces very satisfying images when the photographer (me!) get it right. :wink:
 

Prest_400

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Linking to Radost's thread about the folding 645:

Fuji had an interesting approach with the half frame 645, a set up that they replicated in digital with APS-"Medium format".

I have had a GW690III for about a decade now, solid spartan camera. Preparing a trip I have been interested in getting a 120 "B" camera which in 645 or 6x6 would be good. I've recently gotten a Super Ikonta IV which after some use is Ok, but (grain peeping) the Tessar's performance is not equivalent to the Double Gauss types of the Fujis (or Mamiyas per se) and due it's age run into some mechanical quirkyness.
Lurking the thread, either GA645 or Gs645 seem interesting for compactness but I am afraid prices have shot up quite a bit. For the GA645zi ribbon issue, there is a service center in Poland that provides fixes to the electronics.
 
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campy51

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I have a Mamiya 6 and it's a great camera but I have to plan on taking it somewhere and can't just throw it in the glove compartment like the Fuji 645 which is why I am interested in one.
 

xya

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I have had them all, GS ans GSwide, Ga, Ga Zi and GA Wi. The only one to have issues was the GS which I liked very much because of its small body, but it had issues several times. The bellows had already been replaced, I had shutter problems and aperture problems and then it jammed completely, maybe my fault because I folded it uncocked. In my opinion it's too frail, I sold it to my repair man, who had repaired it two times and he is happy with it ever since.

No problems with the others, not even with the Zi. In the end I only kept the GA Wi which I still use a lot for street photography. It's a point and shoot for 120 film, it hardly misses it, superb lens and excellent results. I would not hesitate to put a $1000 again if it ever fails and I find a reliable seller....
 

Eugen Mezei

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I have two GA645, one with the normal lens and the other with the wide angle. Never had a problem, nor have they a reputation of being unreliable. The only problem they have, the AF often misses focus in near range (up to about 4m, but mostly up to 2 m). It is not that you could not focus in that range, but you need to watch what the AF thinks the distance is (it shows in the finder). If that value is not plausible, let him focus again.
 

Radost

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I have two GA645, one with the normal lens and the other with the wide angle. Never had a problem, nor have they a reputation of being unreliable. The only problem they have, the AF often misses focus in near range (up to about 4m, but mostly up to 2 m). It is not that you could not focus in that range, but you need to watch what the AF thinks the distance is (it shows in the finder). If that value is not plausible, let him focus again.

120 film is too expansive to miss focus.
 

GregY

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I have a Mamiya 6 and it's a great camera but I have to plan on taking it somewhere and can't just throw it in the glove compartment like the Fuji 645 which is why I am interested in one.

You need a bigger glove compartment 😉. I find 99%+ of my photos are taken in landscape mode. Those Fuji and the rf Bronica drive me crazy......
 

AnselMortensen

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I had a GS645S, (the non-bellows one with the "roll bar" around the lens) back in the '90's.
Sweet camera, sharp contrasty lens, accurate meter for chromes.
I always felt that it was a bit fragile, but never had any problems with it.
Sold it to buy a Hassy 500C/M.
 
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