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Fujifilm GA645 Zi Professional Review

Features

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The controls are basic. The main control dial is operated by pressing down the lock button and rotating, it selects ISO, OFF, P, A, AS, and M.

IMG_0157

The secondary adjuster dial is used to set ISO, to select the Aperture on A and AS and M modes. Manual shutter speed in M mode is set by using the secondary adjuster while holding down the +/- exposure compensation button. It is also used to adjust the Data imprinting mode, to select between Autofocus and manual, and to adjust the Exposure Compensation while holding down the +/- button.

AS is a slow synchro aperture priority mode, which you might want to use at night in conjunction with the Flash. M is manual exposure mode where both aperture and shutter speed must be specified.

On the rear LCD panel you have two buttons and a light button to light up the LCD: DATA is used in conjunction with the secondary selector to change the data imprinting mode, and AF/M is used to select between AF and manual focus.

Now is that a four or a nine?

Now is that a four or a nine?

I have not used Manual focussing mode, but if I was planning to, I would probably set the camera to focus at the hyperfocal distance.

The LCD shows the film type, 120/220 (this can be changed without opening the back, by putting the camera into ISO, holding down the DATA button and using the secondary selector dial), Also shown in the LCD are Exposure Counter, whether data imprinting is on or off, and ISO. There is also a battery meter.

To the left of the LCD is a little sleeve for you to feed your film box lid, so you know what’s in the camera. The rear of the camera has a zoom button, which works somewhat arbitrarily; press and hold and it goes the whole way from fully retracted to fully extended, so if you want to move it one ‘click’ you will need to do the ‘clicking’ yourself by pressing the button and quickly releasing, the function of the zoom button seems a bit hit and miss, but as there is no detente on the zoom button it is hard to say whether you have pressed it properly.

IMG_0163

The same can be said for the main Adjuster dial. Rotating the dial from OFF to P mode should cause the lens to come out of its retracted position inside the body, but if you rotate the dial too quickly, the camera doesn’t register the move, and so the lens remains inside the body.

In this sense the camera feels old fashioned and ‘electro-mechanical’ when compared to the modern smooth and silent motors inside digital cameras. The sound of the lens zooming, focussing and the frame advance are all old school mechanical whirring, grating noises. Let’s hope the reason for the excessive noise is down to an industrial build quality which will last the ages.

The sound clip below demonstrates what I’m taking about: You can hear the lens focussing (short pips) and zooming (longer whirrs).

With the lens fully extended, the whole mechanism feels a bit ‘wobbly’ there is about half a millimetre of  free play in the lens barrel. It doesn’t feel like it is about to fall off, but I wonder how well it would take a knock.

The timer and flash buttons are to the left of the viewfinder with adjustable diopter. The built-in flash will never pop-up automatically; you need to select it (this is a professional camera, so you need to be too!)

IMG_0160

Left to right: Flash PC sync socket, Flash pop-up, timer, adjustable viewfinder deport, flash hot-shoe.

The Flash PC sync is located on the top left of the camera body near where the strap attaches, and on the right hand side is the threaded manual shutter release.

The base of the camera is metal, there is the Battery compartment, operated by means of a coin (be careful not to over tighten the plastic thread, it is fragile). The two spool lock-in buttons typical of Fuji MF cameras, and the film rewind button recessed into the base (this is a bit dodgy, as placing your camera on an uneven surface could trigger film rewind before the roll is exposed.

IMG_0166

Inside the film door is a 120/220 film toggle button, and little red buttons to release the spools when changing film. The rear door is opened by means of a catch on the right hand side of the camera.

IMG_0167

Door Open Mechanism, top left is the threaded shutter cable release socket, crack is visible on the bottom left of the photo – this is common with these cameras, and is probably a stress fracture.

 

The camera had three strap mounts which allows for a strap to be mounted either vertically, or horizontally.

Viewfinder

The viewfinder has basic shooting information inside; indicating the Aperture selected at the top left, and underneath the Shutter speed. It also indicates when the flash has been selected with a little flash symbol bottom left.

In the event that the flash is selected the camera automatically selects 1/45 of a second in P mode.

IMG_0175

f6.9, 1/45th with flash activated

 

To the right of the image is the focussing meter, with a number of points between 1m which is the nearest focal length and infinity. Due to the poor autofocusing focussing performance of the GA645Zi

If the camera is focussed on something less than 1m, the block at 1m point will flash to indicate that the shot will not be in focus. Personally I think a giant sign across the viewfinder stating “DO NOT PRESS” would be more appropriate, or perhaps a load of giant red pound signs

££££

instead you get this:

IMG_0178

f6.9, 1/3s: Notice the framing lines have come in from the top left, what it doesn’t say is that they would also like to go out of the bottom right.

The camera focus point is the yellow box in the centre of the frame. As the camera zooms, and as the camera focusses, the framing lines automatically move in and out to take into account parallax error. In reality I have found these lines to be OK, but not brilliant at parallax compensation, with a number of my shots poorly framed, despite paying them great attention. If in doubt leave a little extra room and crop your frame afterwards for the final shot.

Like most cameras, the GA645Zi

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FujifilmGA645GA645ZiGF670GF670W

agoodman@me.com' Andrew • October 22, 2014


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  • Norm Wood

    Hello Andrew, I have a Fuji GA645Zi with a failed LCD screen, did you ever get yours repaired? Regards, Norm

    • Andrew Goodman

      Hi Norm, it seemed to rectify itself and the dead pixels reappeared. Which suggested that it was a contact issue. I had contacted Fujifilm to see if they had any spares and they said not. This is a very popular replacement part and I guess they had run out of them. As long as you can still see stuff like ISO and 120/220 then it’s not too serious. Try pressing the flexible plastic around the LCD screen to see if you can ‘massage’ the contacts back to life. Some of my favourite photos were taken with the GA645Zi. Good camera. All the best Andrew