Snapshot Voyager is about my own personal photography journey. I am always looking to try something new, inquisitive as to how it works, and to the end results I might achieve.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Medium Format Street Shooter – The Fuji Rangefinder

The camera I most regret selling is a Fuji 645GS.  It’s a very interesting a camera – a medium format rangefinder, with a distinctive protection bar that went around the front of the lens to protect it from knocks.  It was light, slightly more than a Leica M3, and only marginally taller; yet produced astonishing images due to the excellent Fujinon wide angle 60mm f4 lens.  With the negative area almost 4 times the size of a 35mm camera, amazing details are guaranteed.  It was also very quiet due to the in lens leaf shutter, perfect for street candids.  Also unusual is that it takes portrait shots when the camera is the right way up, and landscape when tilted over – the opposite to most cameras.

It is probably the best medium format street shooter you can find, and if you’ve ever tried to shoot street scenes with a Hasselblad or a Mamiya RB or RZ, you’ll know what a pain a big camera can be.
The thing I wasn’t fond of though was the faint rangefinder patch which made accurate focussing a bit of a guess.  A lot of the time I’d leave it on f8, set the hyperfocal distance from 3m to infinity and then shoot away.  This worked fine on a sunny day, but as soon as it got dark, or I wanted to use f4 and blur out the background, it became a bit harder.

On balance though, it was a gem and I wished it still sat in my cupboard.

These two shots were taken in Muskoka at a retreat camp we went to.  It’s a beautiful part of the world there and the scenery was terrific, though not everyone enjoyed the old bulldozer as much as me!

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