Fujica GM670 Review – the Ideal Handheld 6×7

Fujica GM670 Review – the Ideal Handheld 6×7

2560 1440 Connor Brustofski

When I was searching for a new medium format go-to camera, I had a few specific wants. I wanted a small camera exposing a big negative, interchangeable lenses, a price under $1,000, and rangefinder focusing. My options were limited. Suitable cameras from Mamiya and Plaubel are popular these days, and consequently too expensive. Older folding models from venerable companies like Zeiss Ikon are beautiful, but a bit archaic for me. And this is where the Fujica GM670 came in. 

The Fujica GM670 is just one of the cameras that make up Fujifilm’s first series of medium format, interchangeable lens, rangefinder cameras, which debuted in 1968. It’s essentially the same as the original Fujica GL690 (a 6×9 camera) with light baffles and transport gearing to instead expose 6x7cm frames. This consequently means that the GM670 allows the user to shoot ten shots on each roll of film, instead of the 6×9 camera’s paltry eight. I’m on a budget, after all. 

Although less popular than its newer, plasticky descendants (the GW and GSW series), the GM670 checks off my boxes. It’s simple, sturdy, relatively inexpensive, and offers a small suite of Fujinon lenses that I trust to create beautiful images. I know James didn’t like the newer, fixed-lens GW690, but I believe some of the issues he had with the camera are actually better handled by its predecessor. 

For example, the Fujica GM670 is a more versatile camera. It offers a suite of leaf-shutter Fujinon lenses ranging from a 50mm f/5.6 (25mm equivalent on 35mm cameras) to a 180mm f/5.6 (90mm equivalent), all glorious primes with relatively quick maximum apertures. The kit lens is the Fujinon S 100mm f3.5, and though it’s a large lens, it weighs less than the Nikon NOCT Nikkor 58mm f/0.95 or even the Sony T* Planar 50mm f1.4. The leaf shutter inside also means you could sync your flash and easily use the camera as a huge press camera, if you really wanted to. The changing of lenses is handled with an internal dark slide that’s pulled in front of the film plane via a rotating latch on the bottom of the camera. 

At 19cm wide, 12cm tall, and 15cm deep, and weighing in at 1,750 grams with the 100mm f3.5 lens attached, the GM670 is no featherweight. But compared to other 6×7 cameras, the Fujica’s downright portable. Not sure you believe me? I’ve got statistics!

The Pentax 67 with pentaprism and 90mm lens weighs almost 2,400 grams. The Mamiya RZ67 is a similar beast at just over 2,400 grams. For the record, that’s 5.30 lbs of camera where the Fujica weighs just 3.7 lbs. The only similar cameras that beat the Fujica GM670 in lightness are the Mamiya 7 (1,200 grams with the 80mm lens) and Plaubel Makina 67 (1570 grams), but both those cameras come with outrageous price tags (and the Makina can’t change lenses). 

Let’s stop with the comparisons, though. The Fujica GM670 is a wonderful camera that deserves to exist in its own right. It’s a joy to use and to own, and has produced some of my favorite images I’ve created. 

The GM670 is an all-black, all-metal beast of a camera with a large, parallax-corrected rangefinder and very little in the way of controls. All the shutter and aperture controls are on the leaf-shuttered lenses, which means that the only controls on the camera are a dial on top to indicate what film type you’ve loaded (120 vs 220), and an odd switch on the back labeled R and S. The film type switch moves the pressure plate inside, and the R/S tells the camera if you’re using roll film or sheet film. This feature was removed for newer models but (from what I gather) was used to get single photos developed more quickly than was possible with roll film. Why they’d need this feature is anyone’s guess, but for my purposes the camera will only dry fire in S mode. 

Directly above the R/S switch is the massive film advance lever that must be cranked about one and a half times for each exposure. At first this made me groan and even miss a shot or two, but it quickly became second nature. Double stroke Leica users rejoice, there are others like you. Nestled within the advance lever is the cameras first shutter button. Yes, the first one. There are two, and the other is right on the front of the body. 

I cannot emphasize enough that this front shutter is the most brilliant part of the camera. When you pick up a camera this large, getting a finger to the traditional shutter location requires that we either have giant hands or claw the camera in an awkward way that’s not conducive to balance, which you’ll need to shoot this beast handheld. You’ll notice, though, that the front shutter button rests perfectly (emphasis on perfect) underneath your middle finger. Again, it’s something that may require getting used to, but other cameras have had front facing shutters and been successful. Hasselblad, Bronica, and Topcon users know what I’m talking about. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ve only ever used the top shutter button with a cable shutter for long exposures. Whenever the camera is slung around my back I’m reaching for that front shutter. 

One interesting design choice is the massive letter G slapped onto the breech lock lens mount. It’s there, and it’s large. So if you want a camera with only a small G, or god forbid no G at all, I suppose the Fujica GM670 isn’t for you. 

The rangefinder is also carried over from the 6×9 model, aside from frame-lines, meaning the rangefinder has ample room on either side of the frame for photographers to line up their shots. 

But how does it shoot? The answer is, well, great. With the inevitable (and justified) caveat “for a 6×7 camera,” the Fujica is light, small, and easy to carry around. I have friends with Pentax 67 kits who carry entire backpacks with them everywhere, and I laugh at them. I can sling the Fujica GM670 over my shoulder for a day of hiking and shooting and not wake up with bruises covering half my body. It gladly accompanies me on my bike in the city or trekking up mountains. 

The images are crisp and versatile from the 100mm f3.5 kit lens, working well for landscapes, street photography, and long exposures. It renders color in a very realistic way, and I haven’t noticed any aberration, softness, or other things you’d only notice when you zoom in 2,000x on a test shot. I’ve been able to get some great images handheld in low-light without much fuss, something that can’t be said for the competition.

The camera, despite being large, is very discreet. I’ve only received a handful of curious passersby asking about it, and those people have tended to be other camera geeks like me. To the untrained eye used to large DSLRs with huge lenses, the Fujica GM670 isn’t really that big or bulky. It’s all black, and the leaf shuttered lenses are quieter than most 35mm cameras. The loudest noise comes from releasing the internal dark slide. Side note, from what I gather the dark slides might be the most failure-prone part of the camera. It doesn’t kill the camera to have it not work, fortunately, just be sure it’s fully retracted before using the camera or you’ll cut off some of that beautiful 6×7 goodness. 

So what’s the verdict? The Fujica GM670 is a large, all-metal, manual rangefinder with no light meter or auto exposure. Would I recommend it to everyone? Of course not, I wouldn’t even recommend it to James, although I think he’d enjoy it more than the GW he reviewed simply because of the ability to change lenses. But for those unique individuals who are interested, you’ll find a camera that punches way above its weight class and occupies a unique point on the price-to-weight-to-quality matrix. 

At the time of writing, a GM670 with a 100mm lens can be bought for about one-third the price of a Contax T3. One third the price for three times the image area? That’s a smart buy.

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Connor Brustofski

Connor Brustofski is a photographer, graphic designer, and wearer of colorful sweaters living in Tampere, Finland, where he works at Camera Rescue. He previously worked at Complete Camera Center in Vermont and has been shooting film for the past five years. In addition to photography, he founded Headwaters Magazine, a Vermont-based environmental publication dedicated to spreading the word on complex environmental ideas, science, and research.

All stories by:Connor Brustofski
  • Andrew in Austin, Texas February 24, 2020 at 9:00 am

    A tip of the hat to the images taken in subdued or evening light. Very impressive.

    • Thanks Andrew! The leaf shutter makes longer exposures super easy, and the low weight means I can bring a tiny travel tripod around with me! I got all those shots biking around Savannah, GA with my kit on my back (-:

  • Nice photographs sir!

    I learned something too. I have the GL690 with the auto-100mm lens, it has a light meter and aperture priority built into the lens.

    Due to it having a non-existent dark slide, I can’t change lenses mid-roll obviously, but I only have one lens so no problem. I had thought a few times of picking up a GM670 body, since I do not have that aspect ratio on any of my cameras, it would also save some weight! Then I divine that in fact, it is the same camera with weight added by way of baffles to reduce the AR from 6×9 to 6×7, so is actually heavier, if only by a few grams.

    But you are right, the photographs that emerge are sharp, the colours/tones are excellent and the negatives are big and beautiful.

    Superb, but still not light enough for this old bloke.

  • Stefan Staudenmaier February 24, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    Sweet little camera – easy to carry and operate.
    I have the Fuji GW690 and love to use it for sensual portraits
    when a monster like the Mamiya RB67 or Pentax 67 would
    scare away the models mood with just its mirror slap (haha).

    Funny thing that I also love my Mamiya Super23 even when
    the handling is a pain in the ass sometimes and you have to
    be focused on what you do all the time.
    The Mamiya Sekor 2,8/100 on the other side is worth suffering.
    If you go for the most „vintage“ look this is the piece of glass you
    need going for !

  • Love the pics ! What film(s)?
    The thing I prefer about the 690 version is I have one, I mean one is able to crop down to the other formats eg 6×8, 6×7, 6×6, 6×4.5 but you can’t crop up to 6×9 from 6×7! And I have one..

    • Thanks Huss! The photos here are mostly Portra 400 with one shot that’s Ektar and one that’s Ilford HP5+, all scanned with an Epson V600. And yeah, it was tough deciding between the 6×9 and 6×7 but I went with getting 2 more shots per roll. Pros and cons for sure. I actually tend to get more like 6×7.5 in my images, which I like because it allows me to crop to 6×7 without sacrificing any quality. Thanks for reading!

      • I’ve been shooting my recently acquired GF670 with the 80mm f/3.5. It’s really a dream to carry, produces beautiful images and if I’m feeling thrifty I snap it into 6×6 mode and get two more out of the roll.

  • The one of the Cadillac is so cool.

  • I have a 670 and a couple of 690s and they really are superb cameras. I did have all of the lenses, but my 50mm wideangle was stolen almost twenty years ago and I still haven’t got over the loss. 😥

    I’m a big fan of the Fuji Medium Format rangefinders, having a couple of the 645 models as well. Every time I talk about any of these cameras I always repeat the same story. Back when I used to take the slides for my exhibition prints to a bureau to be drum-scanned the guy who operated the (huge) machines would do a visual assessment of the slides before accepting the job. He’d put them under a microscope which seemed almost to be an extension of his body and always had some comment to make. I’d take in Medium and Large Format slides made with Zeiss, Schneider and Rodenstock glass, but it was the transparencies from those Fujica rangefinders where, without fail, he’d whistle through his teeth and say “Phew, that’s SHARP.”

    Sharpness isn’t everything, but those lenses are great in every other way too. Contrasty, subtle, and with those glorious Fuji colours – Fujinons and Velvia are a match made in heaven.

    I probably sound a bit over enthusiastic, but the big Fujicas really are that good.

  • Rob Moses Photography September 8, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    Awesome camera and pictures! Keep up the good work.

  • I had RB67 and Gm670 – even they close in weight comparison, they are no even near in real life when it comes to handheld. Btw comparing grams and lbs together is very Trumpish. Good article though, very good and interesting 👌🏻

  • Never having held one before, but tempted to buy, is the lens obstructing the view a little when looking in the view finder?

  • Unmentioned here, the GF670, the last Fuji medium format rangefinder, is considerably lighter than the GM at 1kg. It is of course priced like a collector’s item today, but I dare say it is at least one of the ideal handheld 6×7 shooters, especially for spontaneous reactive shooting since it has Aperture Priority and is almost silent.

    As a fan of 6×7 I considered the “Texas Leica” variants, but never got over paying the weight penalty of a 6×9 for 6×7.

  • Ok, This sounds like an excellent camera And honestly I think I’ll make it my my first medium format camera. But we can’t keep singing the praises of every camera we come across. This is why cameras that once cost $80 dollars and where thought of as useless are now worth thousands, and are only going to continue to rocket towards the sky because of articles like this; now don’t get me wrong these articles are useful and informative, I read ones like this all the time to improve my knowledge but at the moment these cameras sit at around 300usd, and it remains to be seen as to whether or not they will be rocket in price like so many others have in recent years.

  • You say that the shutter button on the front nestles “perfectly” beneath your middle finger. But that makes no logical sense, as that would interfere with your index finger pressing the shutter button; you’d have to move two fingers just to make an exposure that way. You probably meant that it nestles perfectly above your middle finger, as that would free your index finger to press the shutter release.

    You also don’t mention how anyone who wants to buy one is supposed to know how to operate it, since there are no instruction manuals available anywhere online; and if you buy one with the ‘Auto Electro’ metering module, how is anyone expected to operate that?

    We need more details than this in any camera review.

  • Yes, I was referring to the front shutter button. If it rests below your middle finger, then you’d have to move two fingers to make the exposure, which is counterintuitive. People don’t grip a camera like that, and having to reposition two fingers gripping the camera just to trigger the shutter is cumbersome and unnatural.

    • Well he said “underneath” not “below” or “under” so I take it to mean that it’s literally underneath his middle finger, as in his middle finger rests gently upon the top of the shutter release button, meaning that to fire the shutter he just needs to flex his middle finger and press the button. Does this make sense?

  • Yes, it makes sense, except that the index finger is the dominant finger, so you’d have to move two fingers that are supposedly gripping the camera in an unnatural way to accomplish what’s been described.

    • I mean, is that true? I typed this sentence and used just my middle finger for about 5% of the keystrokes.

  • It’s true. Typing is different than holding or operating a camera, so if you don’t know how to type, people either use their index finger or middle finger to type using the hunt and peck method.

    Still, your index finger is the dominant finger, just as most people are right handed for most things. With vision, the left eye is the dominant eye for most people, and most people are right-handed when they write, too. Of course, there are exceptions to all these examples, but they are in the minority.

  • I just checked on mine, as I haven’t given it much thought, and yes my long finger is the one I use to press the shutter. It falls naturally right on the button.
    It’s a brilliant camera, though despite being light compared to an RB67 or a Pentax, it’s still pretty LARGE, and I have scared off subjects occasionally.
    Good fun.
    (A small tip for those coming from 35mm to any medium and large format camera :
    Be aware of the smaller depth of field at similar apertures, say at f/5.6 for example – especially at close range.)

  • Babar de Saint Cyr December 14, 2021 at 3:40 am

    Hello to 690 and 670 owners in the world 🙂

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Connor Brustofski

Connor Brustofski is a photographer, graphic designer, and wearer of colorful sweaters living in Tampere, Finland, where he works at Camera Rescue. He previously worked at Complete Camera Center in Vermont and has been shooting film for the past five years. In addition to photography, he founded Headwaters Magazine, a Vermont-based environmental publication dedicated to spreading the word on complex environmental ideas, science, and research.

All stories by:Connor Brustofski