I want to preface this first impressions by letting you know my writing is based on how I feel about this camera for street photography. Being a wide angle, fairly compact, medium format camera I think it would also make a great landscape or travel camera, but as of now those are not my focus.
6×6 medium format is probably my favorite format for taking pictures. I’ve used a rolleiflex 75mm 3.5 but found it difficult to get focus in a streetphotography situation. After the rolleiflex I tried a mamiya 6 with the 50mm lens with more pleasing results. There are only a few other cameras that can take 6×6 images and have wide angle lenses. SLR medium format cameras are out of the question for street and the other options just didn’t appeal to me. I even tried to make cameras out of mamiya press parts as well as graflex xl parts. These were ok, but not as functional as a camera that was mass produced. The GF670w wasn’t exactly massed produce, being difficult to find even used, but I think it fits the bill for what I’m looking for. My reasoning; the GF and voigtlander Bessa III line of cameras have the quietest shutters I have ever heard. When I first tested the 80mm variant I thought the camera had bad batteries and wasn’t working. At 500th of a second it is incredibly difficult to hear the shutter go off. This can feel strange at first, not knowing whether you got your shot or not. On the other hand, if I didn’t know the shutter went off, then people around me also wouldn’t know…
Related to the shutter; at first I thought this camera was capable of double exposures. When no film is in the camera you can press the shutter a number of times without winding the film advance. Once you have film loaded, though, this is not an issue. The shutter can be pressed as if to take a double exposure but lo and behold no double exposure.
The first roll here was shot in 6×7, mostly to have less pictures to take when testing. When I actually use the camera it will be in the 6×6 format, but having the option is nice. Note though, that you cannot change the format mid roll. That being said in 6×7 corner to corner looks sharp, so 6×6 should be even better.
The camera is nicely weighted with extremly simple controls. I don’t like the two lugs for straps being on the same side.
Eye relief for the finder is fine. I dont find it difficult to see the meter information as long as i position your eye properly. I do not wear glasses but I don’t think it would be an issue if you did. It can be a bit tricky to see the meter information. After using leicas for a long time I have learned to position my eye in a certain way, and that position isn’t the best for seeing the GF670ws meter information. Hopefully with a lot of use of this camera it won’t be as awkward to use.
Metering looks good, most exposures were on auto shutter and retained shadow/highlight details nicely.
The only thing that was a bit annoying was the focus tab on the lens. Unlike leica lenses the ring rotates clockwise from infinity to 0.7m. at Infiniti the tabs are horizontal and at 0.7m the tabs are vertical. In practice it is easy for me to focus from 0.7 to infinity but focusing from infinity to 0.7m feels awkward. In the end though this might not be an issue for me. For street the camera will probably be set to 3 meters and it will be fine.
Skip to the end:
-ALMOST silent shutter on both the GF670 and 670w
-Beautiful modern Fuji optics.
-Great first impressions, it makes me want to ditch the mamiya 6.
-I prefer this design. No bellows means less fiddling to start shooting.
Luis Mora @35mmmora on instagram. http://www.35mmmora.com