6×4.5cm – it’s the ‘middle child syndrome’ of the film world; stuck between 35mm and 6x7cm, it tends to get overlooked and somewhat neglected. I require the inherent image quality of medium format, but I also like the convenience and speed of 35mm, especially 35mm compacts, such as the Olympus MjuII. Basically, I’m lazy; so what I’ve always wanted/needed is a medium format point ‘n’ shoot camera – the GA645 is that camera.
The GA645 was released in 1997, as was the Olympus MjuII; the MjuII, over the last few years, has become a must-have classic, the Fuji hasn’t reached such cult status. This lack of desirability is a good thing, though; while the new generation of film shooters have driven the price of Olympus, Yashica and Nikon 35mm compacts up to twice their original price, this medium format Fuji’s have gone mostly unnoticed. This lack of interest has kept the second-hand prices low – a GA645 in excellent condition can still be found on eBay for as little as £250.
Technically, there isn’t much to say about this camera – if I’m shooting without flash, I use aperture priority mode. If I need flash, I use the built-in, pop-up flash, and shutter priority mode – the camera works out the rest, and it does it very accurately. The best part of this camera is the lens – the Fujinon 60mm f/4 is sharper than a hand-folded Japanese chefs knife.
Cosmetically, the GA645 was dropped from the top of the ugly tree, and it hit every branch on the way down. Even with the word ‘Professional’ emblazoned on the front, the Fuji still looks like a cross between a Fisher-Price toy and a dolphin involved in a high-speed car crash.