The “compact” medium format has always been one of the strengths of Fujifilm’s offer, the company able with the various models to propose cameras actually of small size (to be medium format) with optics of excellent if not superb quality and several features that have often transformed them into real professional tools.
Fujifilm has always had in the catalogue of cameras for medium format several product lines subdivided for the most common frame formats, from 6×4,5 to 6×9, with periodic updates of the models and similar evolutions between the various lines. This Fujifilm GA645 represents the model that introduces the autofocus in the line dedicated to the format 6×4, 5, as clearly suggests the abbreviation.
The commercial history of the model is short enough and goes from its introduction in 1995 until 1997 when it was replaced by the model GA645i and, nevertheless, enjoyed a good success even in the professional field given the rapidity of use and the excellent results guaranteed From the mounted optics and, not least, thanks also to the possibility to use rollers in 220 format at the time still very widespread. The main features of the series, however, have remained roughly those of the first model and have ensured over the years a good diffusion to Fujifilm GA645.
HOW IT WORKS
The Fujifilm GA645 is presented with a body externally made of plastic material with dimensions all in all compact, especially in depth, which immediately transmits an impression of solidity. The controls are concentrated mainly in the upper part of the back where they are, from left to right, the viewfinder, the ignition ring and the mode selector, the date activation buttons (which is stamped on the film Edge outside the frame), the self-timer and the flash.
The rest of the back is dominated by the door of the film compartment, which opens by acting on a command placed on the right side of the camera and presents at its center the pocket for the reminder of the film.
On the upper part of the shell is located the LCD display which, despite being small, provides a complete set of information on the shutter data, shooting mode, battery status, counter, type of film inserted, mode of Focus. On the side of the display we find the adjusting ring, which performs several functions depending on the mode, the Focus mode selection button (Autofocus/manual), the one for exposure compensation (-2 to + 2 EV in steps of 1/3 ev) and the shutter button. At the center of the shell, finally, the hot shoe for the external flash.
What strikes taking in hand the Fujifilm GA645 is the excellent ergonomics, despite the non-graceful shapes, favored also by the grip deep enough and the positioning of the controls that are almost all at finger’s reach.
The operation is quite intuitive, subject to some initial settings that you have to keep in mind in order to configure the camera in the correct way. First of all is the choice of the type of film used: The Fujifilm GA645 in fact allows to use both rollers 120, with which will take 16 frames, which now (unfortunately) disappeared Rollers 220 whose capacity is doubled to well 32 frames. The choice is made by acting on the pressure plate inside the back which has a slide movement at two positions 120/220 which substantially change the position of the film plane. Once you have done this you can proceed to load the roller in the machine by first turning on the release of the Rocchetta (red buttons in the lower part of the back) and then advancing the roller using the multifunction ring until the arrow is aligned On the roller’s protective paper with the red button unlock-spool on the left. Once the spine is closed, the film feed is automatic.
The sensitivity of the film remains to be selected by moving the control knob to the ISO position and acting on the multifunction ring: The selected sensitivity will appear on the LCD screen. Having done that, we are ready to shoot with the Fujifilm GA645.
The operating modes selectable by the rear bezel are P (programmed), A (diaphragm priority) and M (manual). In the two automatic modes the multifunction ring will act on the exposure by holding down the dedicated key at the same time or, mode A, for selecting the aperture value
By setting the manual mode, however, the diaphragms are adjusted by acting directly on the ring nut, while to change the shutter speed of the display will have to hold the exposure button pressed at the same time. The manual mode is indicated on the LCD display by the word “Tv”. In manual mode It is also possible to use pose B, while in the automatics the maximum time is limited to 2 seconds.
Another setting that can be changed is the focus mode: In addition to the standard autofocus mode, you can press the AF button on the top cap to switch to manual focus; The mode change will be indicated on the LCD screen. At this point, holding down the MF button located under the lens barrel will move the multifunction ring which will set a series of focusing distances (14 steps) from 0, 7m to infinity: Again, the information is displayed on the LCD display and also inside the viewfinder, where there is a small panel that replicates the information of the main screen.
The viewfinder, as you will notice as soon as you lean the eye, has an unusual vertical orientation, characteristic that has made the Fujifilm GA645 and subsequent evolution a medium format much appreciated for portraits. Inside, in addition to the small panel with red Carrateri very well defined, also presents a frame that automatically regulates the parallax error for shots with distance less than 1, 5m, very useful feature in a viewfinder that is Galilean and offset than the target.
In the use the Fujifilm GA645, familiar with the controls and with the viewfinder is pleasant thanks to the ergonomics already mentioned, the sensation of solidity and compactness; It can not be defined very light but also with prolonged use not to be affected. The results that the Fujinon Super EBC Optics guarantee are excellent in terms of sharpness and color rendition and already at full aperture (F/4) The frame is well defined throughout its surface, which should not amaze in a fixed-optic camera designed with Criterion-it is reported under some images of example, both in black and white and color.
The functions it offers are complete and allow to cope with much of the photographic opportunities; Maybe the autofocus is not very fast but still very precise. On the other hand, the use of Fujifilm GA645 in manual focus mode is quite cumbersome and will not be used.
As regards the mode of exposure, already in P but especially in a you can count on a range of operation decidedly complete thanks to the possibility of being able to stay the exposure. The only case where the manual exposure becomes important, even with its greater machininess, is when you need long exposure times over the two seconds possible with the automatic modes. The integrated flash, in spite of the reduced power (guide number 12), performs well to its task where necessary a lightening light and the exposure is perfectly compensta from the lightmeter of the machine thanks also to the central shutter. For more complex uses, the hot shoe is still available even if the maximum integration with the exposure system is with the flash dedicated to Fujifilm GA645, very difficult to find by now.
There are no particular faults to be reported, except perhaps a little too much noise when the film advances automatically after each shot or at the end of the roll, when the winding completion phase on the receiving spool lasts a few seconds.
Note: The machine is no longer supported by Fujifilm which, however, guaranteed a long life for the mechanical and electronic parts of this camera. You can check the shots by holding down the exposure correction button and turning the rear bezel to ISO: The number you will read represents the number of hundreds of shots (1 = 100 shots)
-Sturdiness and Ergonomics
-Full set of functions
-Use of 220 Film
-Parallax Error correction
-Cumbersome manual operation
-Viewfinder orientation (in landscape photos)
Model: Compact autofocus with fixed optics
Size: 6×4, 5 mm on roll film 120 and 220
Optics: Fujinon Super EBC 60mm F/4 made of 7 elements
Shutter: Electronic programmed, Central type, speeds from 2 sec to 1/700 sec, Bulb mode
Exposure modes: automatic programmed, aperture priority, manual
Focus: Autofocus from 0.7 to infinity, manual focus with 14 zones
Viewfinder: Galilean with automatic parallax correction, partial coverage from 90% to 93%
Self-timer: Yes, delay 10 sec
Flash: Built-in, manually insertable, NG 12 at ISO 100. Flash sled with hot contacts
Sensitivity: 25 to 1600 ISO
Exposure compensation:-2ev to + 2ev, steps of 1/3 EV
Power supply: N. 2 Batteries Type CR123A 3v
Dimensions: 166 x 110 x70 mm
Weight: 816 g without batteries
Availability and Prices
The Fujifilm GA645 has always been decidedly sought after and in recent years the price to which it is located has risen considerably, going along with the decrease in availability. For specimens in good/excellent condition be prepared to spend from 400 to 800 EUR. The availability is not high, especially in European shops, something more online and on auction sites.