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Tuesday, 31 March 2009


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Ooooo, pretty.

Very expensive too. But pretty.

I miss using these old folders. Dad bought a bunch of MF folders from his overseas trips, and I think at least one was a genuine Zeiss! Ah, the memories.

Has photography somehow now transcended into a hobby for the rich? I don't know how much a body like that cost to make but I used to work in both plastics and robotic assembly programing at one time and have learned that the cost to manufacture mass produced widgets is grossly overstated. Most of the costs even in limited run items are in the markup of the handlers in the food chain This is sometimes 100 percent several times. In the recent decades I think this markup (greed?) is what brings these unrealistic prices. Unrealistic? Well that is hard to define, right? That depends on who is buying, but over two thousand on an item that they could manufacture for $180 dollars in the right volume it seems these boutique prices are destined to set photography to be a pastime akin to sailing - only for the rich or foolish.

This is a body likely less complicated to manufacture than the Bessa. Why the gouging price then? Is there a pricey computer inside like on a $600 dollar digital slr? Rare materials? Made on the moon with rare martian mineral glass in the lens?
This should be a $600 dollar item for those who see the merit in film. But greed, more than the march of technology is what is killing the viability of a new film body here. And it is short sighted.

At this price, this is going to be a fine trophy on lawyer doctor photographers shelves. What a shame - this could have brought many to the wonder of film. I would have brought one if I didn't feel like someone's Leica-snob-like sucker. Instead I will pick up that mint (and I mean mint) Hassy 501 CM with three lenses for a similar price.

Rich man or flea market used buyer. That is the state of film in the boutique world of photography.

If a 6x9 is divine, then a 6x7 is just like heaven.


I'll bet the last new 6x7 or bigger folder came out of China. But among "brand" names, probably the Plaubel Makina 670 (also made in Japan under license).

I'm sure you could get a nice Zeiss or original Voigtlander folding camera for 1/10th the price being asked for this knock-off. I love folders, but they are simply not boutique cameras. In fact, they are the opposite - an everyman camera.

Crap, that is about $1000 more than I am willing to spend at the moment. I would love to have this alongside my Fuji GW670iii :(. I'm not as surprised as Pavel about the price though, new film products are priced pretty stratospherically, but I do agree with him. There seems little reason for the large price. I guess I can live without a folder.

I think the Plaubel Makina 67 came on the market in the late '70s / early '80s. It was made by a japanese company called DOI. This 6x7 camera had an 80mm Nikon lens. Later Plaubel introduced the Plaubel Makina 67W with a 65mm Nikon lens.

Huh? For 2200 - no winding lever? Focusing on the somewhat locked(?) lens not on the body? A delicate rangefinder mechanism?

That's not a camera but a fashion must-have.

When is the digital model due?

Price Whingers Need an Update!

Check the the price of a new Mamiya 7II with 80mm lens ($3700.00).

Then have a look at a new RZ with 80mm Lens (Ya I know...not the same type of camera...but...it is a system oft cited by price whingers) - about $3700.00.

Just to cap it all off - check the price on a properly restored Bessa II with a 100mm f/3.5 Lanthar ($1500-3500).

If you want to shop in the New MF market don't expect to find AGFA Record prices!

If the Bessa III lives-up to its promise, this price will be a bargain!

Cheers! Jay

Was hoping to fondle the Japanese version of this camera, called the Fujifilm GF670 Professional, when I go to Tokyo mid-April to visit my daughter. Was supposed to be in the Japanese camera stores around mid-March. Latest word, however, is that it's delayed until the end of April. Maybe that's good - it'll keep me from spending money I don't have (but my daughter was salivating at the possibility of a big bump in points to her BIC Camera rewards card!).

i really, really, really want this camera, even though it's really, really, really expensive. the us price of $2250 is an improvement over ¥230,000/$2320 for the fuji version, especially if you don't go for the hood and case (¥11,466/$115 and ¥9,555/$95, respectively). is it worth paying up to $2530 for this camera instead of getting something else? consider it in the presence of these alternatives:

nikon d700
leica mp/m7
50mm summilux asph
nikon s3 + 50/1.4 limited edition set
14-35mm f2 zuiko
hasselblad swc/m
hasselblad h1 kit
linhof master technika
linhof technikardan 45s
arca swiss f-classic
various 4x5 ebony field cameras
fully restored deardorff 8x10

these are available either brand new from a dealer or like new off of the auction site. i'm not even mentioning the many items that are available for well under $2000. some of these look awfully tempting, but the fuji/voigtlander is still at the top of my list.

Boy, that lens sure looks like the Fuji GS645. The markings, and the focus "bump" seem identical. Of course the bellows looks about the same too, but that's not surprising.

I can see the gearing for a wind lever for 6x7 might be an issue -- might need to be double-stroke, at least, to avoid being unreasonably stiff.

I had such high hopes for my GS645, but it kept springing holes in the bellows, ruined several good pictures, and generally discouraged me, and I finally sold it off years later with about 5 rolls of film through it.

I agree with Jay Frew, above. Decent new medium format cameras aren't cheap.

Although it makes sense to consider the opportunity cost of buying the Bessa III, I don't think it's fair to expect Voigtlander/Fuji sell a new camera for the price of a comparable used camera.

I won't be able to afford it but the price didn't surprise me.
Until I did some Googling to put it into perspective with the 1953 price of a Franka Solida 6x6 folder in the UK (where imports were discouraged at the time).
Franka was 1.89 weeks average wage.
Bessa will be 3.5 weeks average wage.

In defence of Cosina & Fuji, it must be very difficult to predict the likely demand for such a niche product and juggle the cost versus savings over a larger production quantity.

Cheers, Robin

They should call them retractable or collapsable cameras. I have zero interest in this.

Just sayin

At $1000 this would be attractive (and I spend way too much on cameras as it is).

With the Cosina reputation for providing gih quality at low prices, this seems really steep. In 35mm, they compete in quality with Zeiss and Leica at a fraction the price. Their RF cameras are less than half the price.

So why, on that basis, is this one so expensive.

I could expect it from a boutique-price marked company but not CV.

I was excited with the original announcement, that price has killed all my enthusiasm.

How can this be expensive? These things are hand-assembled folks, not stamped out on an automated assembly line. Parts must be hand-fitted and aligned to extremely precise tolerances by expert staff. Also, if I remember correctly it was going to be a limited production run.

Of course production can only begin after the entire system has been designed from scratch, dies made (dies are very expensive widgets, by the way, especially for a limited production run like this), production machinery and factory space have been allotted and assembly staff trained.

Oh yeah, and let us not forget testing and quality control, which eat up another large chunk of production costs.

Fuji/Voigtlander are not expecting to sell more than a couple thousand of these cameras. If they do and the demand continues we might see a new model and/or price reduction, but I wouldn't count on it.

Expensive? I really don't think so.

Am I going to buy one? I really don't think so.

>>Fuji/Voigtlander are not expecting to sell more than a couple thousand of these cameras.<<

The Japanese press release for the Fuij-branded GF670 notes a production run of 5000. It's not clear whether that includes the Voigtlander-labeled version.

I love how the comparisons are to completely dissimilar products. You could buy a Hasselblad for that price. Or a Mamiya 7. Or a D700....

For that money or less, can you buy a 6x7 camera with a meter that folds compactly for carrying?

Why does no one say Leica is "gouging" for an MP? A camera designed 40 years ago?

Did someone say you can get "better performance" with a different camera? Has anyone tested this one yet? Is that just speculation? Does anyone already know that the rangefinder mechanism is "delicate?" This is a "knock-off?" Of what? The closest thing is the Makina and that hasn't been in production for quite some time. It's like saying a Porsche convertible is a knock-off of a Ferrari convertible. Or, a D700 is a knock-off of a 5D. What's the point, even if it were true?

It's not a cheap camera. Should it be? "$600?" Seriously? A completely newly engineered medium format folding camera, manufactured in teensy numbers should cost the same amount as the company's Bessa 35mm rangefinder? In what world?

About the only problem i can realistically see in the product itself is that it wasn't made available three months ago. They announced it too far in advance, and then with all the waiting in the absence of concrete release dates and pricing, i bought something else instead....

Cross tonight?

I think plenty of people have said Leica is gouging for an MP. I've gotten into trouble for saying it my own self.

Weren't you cheerfuller in the movie? It's been a long time since I've seen it....


I've tried to resist the temptation all day, but I finally have to respond to Pavel's comment: "these boutique prices are destined to set photography to be a pastime akin to sailing - only for the rich or foolish." Sorry Pavel; although sailing CAN be and often IS a "rich man's game (often likened to standing in a cold shower while tearing up $100 bills), it certainly doesn't have to be. Lots of retirees on fixed incomes with small budgets and other adventure-filled souls with limited cruising kitties are enjoying the simple pleasures of wind-powered craft. The $2250 quoted price of this 6x7 film camera would by a perfectly adequate, used, West Wight Potter 15, one of which has been sailed to Hawaii and another to Alaska. Maybe it's more of a question about how you want to spend your hard-earned dollars rather than if the object of your desire is "worth it" or not. If it buys your dream, then go for it!


Plus, look what's happening to sailboats and their owners:



If they haven't sold out by such time as I can justify the expense, I'll buy one.

I've owned a number of folders, and this one looks like an improvement over even the Bessa II with Color-Heliar that I owned for a while. I eventually sold it, because the ergonomics didn't work for me, and I think all the old folders are prone to film flatness problems, because they pretty much all have stamped metal film gates. As fancy and expensive as some of these cameras were in their day, much like the more recent high-end fixed-lens 35mm and digital compacts, the folders of the 1950s and earlier were for the most part tourist cameras.

Medium format cameras in general are notorious for film advance problems (Mamiya 6, Pentacon 6, Bronica S, and others), so I don't see the knob wind as a big drawback here. A reliable lever wind requires a much heavier, bulkier mechanism. The single-stroke lever on a Linhof Super-Rollex back is 3.75 inches long.

The folder that I use regularly is a Perkeo II, because it is compact enough to carry everywhere, even when I'm not going out with the main intention of making photographs, and 6x6 has better film flatness among cameras of similar design than 6x9. Here's a photograph that I made when I was in Chicago for a couple of days to give a lecture, and had an hour or two to go exploring with the folder--


I have other medium format cameras--Bronica and Linhof, but a folder fits in a coat pocket or the front pocket of a briefcase. That's the attraction.

I would love one but it's too expensive for me.

Not generally too expensive, just too expensive for me.

Steve Smith,
Me too, alas.


I have no issue with the price what so ever. Will it ever need a firmware update? Will you ever have to send it back to the factory for a sensor cleaning? Will you have to exchange it because your computer can't locate it?

Give me a break. This is going to be an amazing camera and I will buy it before I buy anything digital.

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