Fujifilm GA645 Zi Professional Review
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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.
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.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
The camera had three strap mounts which allows for a strap to be mounted either vertically, or horizontally.
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.
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:
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
This post has already been read 13113 times!