FUJIFILM GA645

 

 

The Fuji GA645 is generally a capable camera, specially considering the lack of options there are in medium format; however, here are some limitations that shooters should be aware.

presentation2

Above is a roll of Velvia from a recent trip. My GA645 is an early model that produces 15 frames from a roll of 120. Fuji changed the electronics in later models which includes all the GA645W to allow for 16 frames. You can tell the new models from the old by a little ridge that sticks out where the AF button is. Anyways, apparently up until the early 90’s 645 systems regularly only produced up to 15 frames per roll of 120, so can’t fault the little GA645.

As you can see from the sample above, the camera winds exactly an extra frame in the very beginning of the roll. It makes me cringe to see that the conservative people at Fuji told an otherwise smart camera to do something so stupid as to waste the first frame. Considering the price of film nowadays, pay the minute difference (if there is any at all), and get a later GA645 model or get an or a ZI and get 16 frames for your money. Later models should give a couple more years before going hay wire as well.

Two of the shots I got back were under exposed significantly. It happens when you point the camera towards the sun. The meter gets fooled. You’ll have to know that’s what the camera will do, and check the exposure readouts before fully committing to the shot. Basically asking yourself, “Is this really a f19 1/400s at ISO50??”

Another thing to check is the focusing distance. It doesn’t like low contrast situations and feels more off than not. The distances options are infinity, 15m and 5m for the far side (i’m not too sure if there was a 10m).

I never had a GS645, but I understand that apart from the better lens design with less fall off, the biggest reason to get a GA645 is the automation if offers. The primitive auto focus auto exposure of the GA645 is like that greenhorn that kinda knows what he’s doing, but will definitely do something that will get you killed the moment you turn your back on him. Coupled with the tendency for the circuit board to go (to be fair some of these units are 20 years old and the components are naturally at the end of their service lives.), may be the more manual GS645 isn’t that bad of a choice (although if you look around forums, the GS645 has its fair bit of problems as well..)

Conclusion:

  • Buy a late model GA645 to conserve film
  • Know the limit of the meter
  • Know the limit of the autofocus
  • Know the limit of the electronic components

P.S. my unit’s motor started giving this high pitch winding sound instead of the lower pitch grinding, which goes away from time to time. I am literally just waiting for it to die so I can hopefully get the motor replaced….

Posted in Fujifilm GA645, Photo Equipment | Leave a comment

Polaroid 120 on Instax Wide ポラロイド120 チェキ

img_b380img_b379

The Polaroid 120 is worlds apart from the INSTAX WIDE toy cameras. The fun is in getting the exposure right. The Instax is not forgiving, neither does it ever get sharp. The film is only rated at 10lines/mm, which is under 300dpi depending on how you want to calculate it, as oppose to 160+lines/mm of the Velvia.

With that said, the FC100c only gives 15lines/mm and it looks great…

Posted in Photo Gallery, Polaroid 120 on Instax Wide | Leave a comment

Polaroid 120 Instax Wide Conversion ポラロイド120 チェキ Part 2

img-20161226-wa0039

Rubber band is an excellent temporary solution, especially when Fuji is coming out with a new square Instax in April and I want to retain the 120 body for future compatibility.

Posted in Photo Equipment | Leave a comment

Polaroid 120 Instax Wide conversion ポラロイド120 チェキ

If you get yourself a Polaroid 120, to shoot Fuji Instax Wide film, you need to get yourself one of these Belair 612 instant backs.

img_20161221_181132

This is pretty trivial. Everywhere you look online, they will teach you the same thing.

What they don’t tell you is what to do with the back…

img_20161221_181800

Take the metal plate with INSTANT BACK printed on the corner to expose three screws.

img_20161221_181909

Unscrew and remove. You’ll get to here. To get to the other end of the wire, remove more screws.

img_20161221_182059

Then you get here. You’ll see the rollers. Be very gentle around the roller housing, the counter gears and that extraction lever thing.

img_20161221_182152

remove the rubber plug from the crank handle. You’ll see the yellowish foam above. there’s a Philips head screw underneath there. Unscrew it with a screwdriver. Nevermind the foam. You can crush it.

img_20161221_182242

The handle comes off .

img_20161221_205232

Unscrew some more and the back with the cover door comes off. You need that off to get to some other screws… I forgot what though, but it is an unavoidable step. The picture above shows the back (to the right of the picture) already off. I’m taking off the bottom piece that’s towards the front that will eventually get in your way of mounting the back.. and you expose some stegosaurus blade like shapes underneath …

img_20161221_205015img_20161221_205021img_20161221_205030img_20161221_205050

This is the guts. note the springs holding the rollers in place. those are *very important* and are anchored to some very weak looking plastic. Be very gentle and careful with those.

img_20161221_205308img_20161221_205312

The back cover and hinged door thingy that you had separated from the *guts* img_20161221_210803

You can put the back cover back onto the *guts* part. See the stegosaurus blades i’m talking about. Those will come off..

img_20161226_000442

You want the back *flat* against the back of the Polaroid 120. Hack off anything that’s sticking out. Add material to anywhere that caved in. See the stegosaurus blades gone, and the top ridge now rests on the white plastic strips. if you note the top right, you’ll see that I’ve hacked some of the corner sticking out off.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Photo Equipment | Leave a comment

Karon Beach GA645

img913

Velvia50 f16 – 1/250s ISO50

People tell me slide tolerance is terrible like digital, but this photo turned out pretty good. the GA645’s meter is pretty capable too, and also, no sun star even though it was at f16…

Posted in Fujifilm GA645 | Leave a comment

Nikon L35AWAF ピカイチカリブペイント

IMg881

Nikon L35AWAF with Fujifilm Press 400. Contrast and saturation turned up.

218925c

The Nikon L35AWAF was rated for 3.0m when new. I discounted that figure a bit, given it is more or less 30+ years old. Underwater, focus is manually selected at 0.7m, 1.1m, 1.6m and 3.5m. In Japan, it is known as the ピカイチカリブペイント  a.k.a. the Pikaichi Caribbean.

img848_org

On land, it is basically the L35AF, so sharpness is not an issue. You do lose some functions such as ISO selection and that little backlight button that makes the camera over expose.

img848_org2

Zoomed in on the cat. Original scan at 4800dpi

218955c

Overall, it is a superb little camera. My old man keeps finding them at thrift stores for 4.99. I got mine off a lady selling garbage on the streets of Sham Shui Po in Hong Kong for 40 dollars. The film counter is broken, so instead of winding until film 1, it shoot the moment you close the back and gives you 39frames a roll. The other thing I realized is that the film advance is not connected to the film counter, so the film advance spacing is kept. Think about it, every stroke of film advance lever should not wind the same length of film, especially when the spool is getting thicker and thicker as more film is advanced!

 

Posted in Nikon AWAF, Photo Gallery | Leave a comment

Rawai Landing Pier

img903

f9.5 1/125s ISO40

Posted in Fujifilm GA645, Photo Gallery | Leave a comment