I began collecting cameras at the age of eleven, and I have fond memories of sitting on a beanbag with an ice block in one hand and a copy of the McKeown’s guide in another. I’d flick through the pages, looking at the weird and wonderful cameras within. One of the cameras I particularly remember …
Medium Format Rangefinder
Fujifilm. The name alone sparks feelings of adoration for some and rage from others. What about you? Does it make you think of Velvia? The X-series digital cameras? Maybe it makes you mourn the loss of your beloved Natura 1600 high speed color film, or 400H, or Velvia 100…, or, if you are like me, maybe you shed a tear at the mere mention of the deathblow they delivered to the pack film community: fp-3000b anyone? Maybe the name Fujifilm makes you think of nothing at all. That is fine, too. But the purpose of this article is to set our sights on a camera that has yet to be reviewed on this lovely site: the Fujifilm GF670.
In my early film photography years (about a decade ago) I tried a few cheap medium format cameras (I own both a Moskva and a Lubitel, as well as a couple of old Kodak folders) but nothing stuck. Too fiddly, not reliable enough, etc. Obviously that had nothing to do with medium format and everything to do with the choice of cameras I tried it on (and my skill at making something of them).
A decade later, I have a lot more experience with film and with rangefinders, and in the spring I decided to revisit the issue. To be honest, it wasn’t a fully informed and rational process but rather reading and finding out about the Fuji GW690iii, a rather underlooked and underloved camera, which has the welcome side-effect of making it rather more affordable than the more renowned Hasselblads, Mamiyas and Bronicas.
Last summer I finally bought myself one of my dream cameras, the Plaubel Makina 67. You might be wondering what this fact has to do with the Mamiya 7? Well, it all comes down to a conversation I had with a chap called Anais Faraj after I shared my Makina 67 review. He wanted to loan me Mamiya 7 so I could compare these two medium format giants. Over a year later, and that’s exactly what I’ve done.
When one thinks of the Mamiya 6; an image of the well renowned 1990’s version comes to mind. However, there was a medium format, 6×6 rangefinder that out dates this model entirely. This is where the Mamiya 6 IV enters the stage, from many many years ago. I have had my eye on shooting medium format for a number of years, although the only thing that really put me off was the price of the cameras needed to shoot the format without the whole ‘lomo’ look and aesthetic.