Venturing into the field of medium format cameras may be daunting for some. There are just so many choices and if you're coming from a 35 mm background, chances are you want to stick to lighter options without sacrificing image quality. This is where the Fuji GS645S camera comes in. It's part of Fuji's medium format fixed lens camera line that offers a lot of functionality for a reasonable price.
The Fuji GS645S is the last iteration of the GS professional cameras. It was introduced to the market in 1984 and shared the body design of its two predecessors, namely the GS645 and the GS645W. It's relatively easy to distinguish the three cameras due to their distinct designs. The first one in the line, the GS645, used bellows in its lens design while the GS645W had a 45 mm lens which made it more suitable for landscapes and group shots. The GS645S sports a 60 mm lens that opened up a wider variety of shooting options for the user. Couple that with its ability to capture 15 exposures in a single roll of 120 film and you have a versatile shooter that doesn't scrimp on details and image quality.
One of the main selling points of the GS645S is its lighter and more compact camera body. It's just a little bigger and wider than a regular 35 mm SLR camera, partly due to the fact that the GS645S uses a rangefinder to focus its shots. Rangefinders generally have a more sleek profile compared to SLRs because they have a different mechanism that didn't require bulky prisms and mirrors to focus on an image. This feature made the camera easier to carry around and operate compared to other bigger medium format cameras that usually required the use of a tripod.
Design-wise, the GS645S is pretty straightforward. It uses a rangefinder to focus (as earlier mentioned) and has a light meter that is powered by LR44 cells (which are praised by users for their long battery life.) Also, users won't have to worry about underexposed shots with the GS645S since it's basically a mechanical camera that functions without relying too much on electronics. That's a really great feature to have especially if you're the 'set it and forget it' type of photographer. On top of all of that, the GS645S is prized for its good image quality, thanks to its EBC Fujinon W 60 mm f/4 Orthometar 7 elements in 5 groups lens. However, it's a fixed lens system so using other lenses with this camera is not an option.
As for the looks of the camera, it really brings a utilitarian feel to photography. There are no fancy designs or trimmings to make it stand out so that actually makes it a great choice for discreet street photography. The lens guard in the middle of the camera also adds a more rugged look to the GS645S. Now if you're looking to get one, you probably won't have to burn through your budget since a quick search online will send you to sale pages that list it for $500 or a bit more depending on the condition. Not bad for a camera that's a little over 35 years old with pretty good credentials.
Photos Taken by Our Community Members
Type: 6 × 4.5 format, rangefinder camera
Film: 120 (15 exp.) and 220 (30 exp.) roll film
Lens: EBC Fujinon W 60 mm f/4, 5 components, 7 elements, 60-degree angle of view
Shutter: Copal No. 00 mechanical interlens shutter; T, 1-1/500 sec., X synchronization, provided with self-timer
Viewfinder: Double-image, coupled rangefinder; 1 m to infinity focusing range, bright frame with automatic parallax correction; 91% field of view at 1 meter, 90% at infinity, 0.5x magnification; 40 mm baseline, 20 mm effective baseline, 3 LED exposure indicators
Exposure Control: External light metering (by adjusting 3 LEDs), ISO/ASA 25-1600 film-speed setting with 1/3-step click stops, EV 4-18 coupled range with ISO/ASA 100 film, GPD photo cell (incorporated in viewfinder), two LR44 1.5V alkaline-manganese batteries, pressing the shutter release halfway down turns on power switch
Film Advance: Film advance lever on camera top, 184-degree winding angle, 28-degree standoff, self-cocking shutter, 120/220 roll film switchover
Dimensions: 147 mm W × 114 mm H × 90 mm D
Weight: 766 g (without batteries)
Accessories: Soft case, shoulder strap, lens hood
Others: Lens protector, palm grip with a tripod socket, switchable pressure plate for 120 and 220 roll film with 120, 200 indicator in-camera back