Fuji GF670W Review
I have had my Fuji GF670 for 2 1/2 years now and it has been an amazing camera. After traveling and shooting with it for that period of time, the only problem I found with it was that the lens was not wide enough for me. So, after a lot hemming and hawing, my wonderful wife fronted the money for one and I contacted Bellamy at www.japancamerahunter.com and a brand new GF670W was on the way to me. It is a 6x6/6x7 wide angle rangefinder. It takes 120/220 film.
The camera itself is the same body as the GF670 with a different lens and lens housing (this one is fixed, the regular is a folder) and a wider viewfinder. Fuji has also added a small red light below the viewfinder to let you know you have tripped the shutter. The shutter on the GF670 is almost silent, and until I was used to it, there were times I did not know it fired; I thought there was no way to make it more silent. I was wrong. The shutter on the GF670W is more silent, it sounds like it has been dampened some how. The red light under the viewfinders illuminates to let you know you're not crazy and the shutter did fire. The shutter has the same speeds as well, 4 seconds to 1/500th, it also syncs at all speeds because it is a leaf shutter.
The lens is not a very fast lens, but it is tack sharp. with stops from F4.5 to F22 with half stop clicks, which are very smooth. It is a 55mm Fujinon EBC 10 element lens; 55mm is a 28mm equivalent. The focus is as smooth as the regular version, though the lens has two tabs with no indentions, unlike the GF670 that has an indented single thumb tab. The focus scale is in meters and it focuses from infinity to 0.7 meters; not the closest, but rangefinders are not usually close focusing cameras.
The camera itself is as ergonomic as the folder, with a rubbery cover and grip. It fits in the hand very well and everything feels in the right place. The strap lugs, which I now use, are on the side opposite the grip and hold the camera vertically, which is not part of the camera I like. I do have a leather hard case that holds the case horizontally, which makes it much better for street shooting.
The meter itself seems extremely accurate, which works well for me, as I prefer to shoot provia or another slide film. It is not TTL, but above the lens. The built in meter is a necessity for the aperture priority, which is mostly what mode I shoot the camera. On the lefthand dial, you can set the camera to over exposure or underexpose two full stops with third stop increments. The iso is also set on this dial from 25 to 3200. The camera is turned on and off with a switch next to the lens housing, unlike the folder which is turned off when the camera is closed.
The viewfinder itself is the brightest I have ever used. The patch is equally bright and contrasty. Depending on how you have the camera set, 6x6 or 6x7, framelines come up and zoom in when you focus. The shutter speeds come up in the viewfinder in red. If you are shooting in Manual mode, the shutter speed you have set will be in bold whereas the shutter speed the camera thinks you should be using will flash. As mentioned above, there is also a small red light on the outside of the camera, under the viewfinder, that illuminates when you trip the shutter.
My only quirks with this actual camera are the exact same as with the folder, horizontal strap lugs would have been nice, also a self timer as well as a wind lever instead of a wind knob. These are pretty small gripes and in no way make me dislike the camera. I have gotten a screw in self time that screws right into the shutter button. The only other issue with this camera is that it is all electronic and Fuji, in their wisdom, have already discontinued it and stopped doing repairs, but I hope this will not be an issue.
I've taken this camera on trip with me to Colombia and it performed very well. There are some slight learning curves when coming from the folder, mainly that the folder has to be set to infinity when it is closed, so when I start shooting I always start from infinity; when I shoot the wide, it is wherever I left it at last time. This is not a huge deal, just something I need to learn.
I will continue to carry my regular camera on trips, but the wide version has become my carry everywhere camera. It is a wonderful shooter that fits perfectly in my hand and has the perfect focal length (though a little wider would not hurt my feelings). I would suggest this camera to anyone.