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Fuji GS645S Medium Format Film Camera Review by Jennifer Stamps

Camera Front View - Fuji GS645S Medium Format Film Camera Review on Shoot It With Film
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Written by Jennifer Stamps

Fuji GS645S Medium Format Film Camera Review
Fuji GS645S Medium Format Film Camera Review

Medium format is kinda my thing. What can I say? I like being able to finish a roll of film in a day. I also love to travel and was looking for a compact-ish medium format camera I could easily carry with me when I wanted something other than my Holga

I have a Mamiya 645 1000s which I LOVE, but it’s massive and not fun to travel with. I also didn’t want to spend more than $500 or so. Imagine…medium format, compact, under $500? Does such a camera even exist? If you aren’t afraid of manual cameras with manual lenses, yes – they very much do exist! 

Camera Front View - Fuji GS645S Medium Format Film Camera Review on Shoot It With Film
Camera Top View - Fuji GS645S Medium Format Film Camera Review on Shoot It With Film

My search results lead me to two Fuji cameras: the Fuji GS645 and Fuji GA645 (note: a working, good condition GA645 will cost more than $500, but less than $1000). Having not shot either of them, I went with the GS645 for one main reason: mechanics. The GS645 doesn’t need a battery (note: it does take a battery for the light meter, but that’s it). 

Find the Fuji GS645S at KEH Camera or on eBay.

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The Fuji GA645 vs the GS645

Whenever I talk about this camera, people picture it’s more popular younger sibling, the Fuji GA645. The GS is not to be confused with the GA. The Fuji GS645 is a mechanical, manual camera built in the 80’s that doesn’t need a battery. The Fuji GA645 can be shot 100% auto or manual mode – much more modern. To further the confusion, Fuji made three of these GS cameras: GS645 – 75mm folding bellows lens; GS645W – super wide 45mm lens; GS645S – f/4 60mm lens (this review is for the Fuji GS 645S). 

Fuji GS645S Medium Format Film Camera Review on Shoot It With Film

The Size of the Fuji GS645S

I said I wanted something compact, right? So how big is it and how much does it weigh? It’s just over 1.5lbs and a little bigger than a Holga 120. That’s pretty compact in the world of medium format.

Size Comparison - Fuji GS645S Medium Format Film Camera Review on Shoot It With Film

The Elephant (or Cow Bar!) in the Room

Or rather cow bar in the room… Yes, the lens has a cow bar around it. In Texas, we see them on trucks, but on a camera is something totally new to me. It’s rumored to protect it’s very fragile lens, but the bar isn’t attached to the camera – it’s attached to the plastic, attached to the camera. So it really only protects against gentle bumps. Just embrace it as a quirk and not an invitation to bang it around. 

Lens Closeup - Fuji GS645S Medium Format Film Camera Review on Shoot It With Film

Lens

The Fuji GS645S comes with a 60mm f/4 lens. The lens is manual focus and super smooth, almost too smooth. You have to focus on your subject slowly, because it’s easy to skip right past the focused subject and start to unfocus again. To help you focus, you get a ghost image in the viewfinder – meaning you see a slight ghost or outline of your subject that aligns with your subject as you focus your lens. 

On the lens, you’ll find an aperture ring, focus ring, and ISO ring. Yep, you set your film speed through a ring on the lens itself. 

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Shutter Speed

This is probably the biggest downfall of the camera, it only goes up to 1/500, so pick your film wisely. I have yet to shoot 800 ISO film in this camera for that exact reason. 

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Light Meter

Yes! If you put a battery in it, you have a simple light meter. Just point your camera at your subject, gently place your finger on the shutter-release button and press it half down. You’ll see a “+” or “-” or “o” to help you get your aperture and shutter speed correct. Pretty simple and easy to use.  

Fuji GS645S Medium Format Film Camera Review on Shoot It With Film

My Thoughts on Shooting the Fuji GS645S

The GS645S is a lot of fun. It’s probably not for the professional photographer at a wedding who needs to get quick shots, but it is a joy to shoot. And, yes, easy to carry around in just a normal purse or bag. I’m pretty sure it’s the first camera I picked up after my 365 toy camera project. It’s one of those cameras that every time I pick it up, I’m reminded why I love it. It makes me ask myself why I don’t shoot with it more often. There are tons on eBay in Japan in next to perfect condition. So if you are in the market for a lovely, compact, medium format camera, I’d highly suggest looking into the Fuji GS645S. 

Palm Tree - Fuji GS645S Medium Format Film Camera Review on Shoot It With Film

Thank you so much, Jen! Jennifer is a regular contributor here at Shoot It With Film, and be sure to check out her other articles, like Awesome Tips for Traveling with Film and Intro to Scanning Your Own Negatives. You can also check out more of Jennifer’s work on her website and Instagram.

Leave your questions about the Fuji GS645S medium format camera below in the comments, and you can pick one up for yourself at KEH Camera or on eBay!

Posted on 2 Comments

2 thoughts on “Fuji GS645S Medium Format Film Camera Review by Jennifer Stamps

  1. Great to see some love for the GS645S! I hated mine intially, but it’s slowly become one of my favourite cameras, despite it’s broken light meter, torn hood, the light leaks, the loose lens, slow rangefinder (the list goes on). It all means I’m not too precious about it when I take it on hikes.
    Not sure about you, but I wish the bulb mode was less fiddly too!

    1. Ha! Sounds like yours is well-loved. Sometimes you need that in a camera so you aren’t afraid to take it around (ad you mentioned hiking). For me, I really needed something that didn’t cost a small fortune that I could travel with. And it fit the bill. Cheers to loving this camera and all it’s quirks.

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