GX680 system questions/inquiry

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by DanielStone, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    Hey all,
    I'm looking at the GX680 system to complement my Hasselblad. I love the HB, but I'd like to get bigger negatives most of the time. And I like the 6x8 ratio, so (almost) no cropping vs having to crop-to 3x4 ratio from 6x6 negs. The Hasselblad is great when a small, but high-quality kit is needed, and I'm walking a good bit from the car. But for closer-distance stuff, I want BIG negatives(without resorting to LF).

    There seems to be a good bit of stuff to digest in terms of accessories and capabilities of the system. But it seems very well thought-out, and I know that Fujinon lenses are basically 2nd-to-none(I have all Fujinon glass for LF shooting. Well, save a Nikkor-SW 90mm).

    Any recommendations on the system as a whole? I've read online of numerous individuals using their systems in commercial/catalog settings for 100's of 1000's of shots, 10's of 1000's of rolls, and the cameras/systems not buckling one bit. I'm not a heavy user like that, but knowing a system is "built Fuji tough"(sorry, couldn't resist a play on words :wink:), its nice knowing your tools are there for you.

    I'm looking at a "starter" kit consisting of the following:
    1. GX680II or III body w/ WLF + AA battery holder
    2. (2) film backs (or 1 back and multiple 120 or 220 inserts?)
    3. Non-metered prism finder
    4. Polaroid back
    6. 50mm f/5.6 lens
    7. 115mm f/3.2 lens
    8. 180mm f/3.2 lens
    9. 300mm f/6.3 lens *eventually, not a "required" FL, but I like the wide-open, shallow DOF/long-lens "look", especially if photographing a person
    10. 1m cable release
    11. bellows hood *maybe, might just use my LEE hood instead

    Basically, just a kit I could pack into an unused Pelican roller case(1510?, can't remember model #). NOT for backpacking, mostly around-town/in studio.
    I've been using my HB on a monopod, and its been a great deal easier(and steadier) than a tripod(I'm not doing long exposures) or using a neck strap. I'd be planning to do the same with the GX680. Makes composition easier, and it does help steady the camera a good bit as well.

    Any recommendations/positive comments would be appreciated.

    Not looking for a "hold my hand" support group here. I'm pretty confident I want to do this, however I'd like to get some feedback from current/past users of this system.

    cheers,
    Dan
     
  2. ph.otographer.com

    ph.otographer.com Member

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    Great kit. Go for the III and definitely get the AA holder.

    I'd get more than one back. The inserts are nice but it's nicer to be able to switch from B&W to Color without having to burn a roll. Get an extra darkslide if you can find one.

    The Polaroid is great and easy to use. Last fall I took mine out and got some fun shots with it like this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/radstu/6257042187/in/photostream (that's two actually, scanned and stiched together for kicks)

    The 50mm interferes with lens movements when your focus is set to infiniti, but it's still a fine lens. I own the 80mm and love using it. The 300 is good fun too.

    I store all that in a storm case, it's easy to move around (relatively) and a great shooting experience.
     
  3. Simon Benton

    Simon Benton Subscriber

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    Great system. I prefer the 250mm over the 300mm and the 80mm over the 50mm but that is probably just a personal preference. Have fun.
     
  4. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    Have another question:
    On the GX680 V2(II), how hard is it to find a AA battery adapter?

    Thays the primary reason I'm leaning towards the VIII model, since a AA holder is readily available, and seemingly quite common.

    thx,
    Dan
     
  5. epig

    epig Member

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    Hey Dan,

    When I had a 680, I personally liked the type I body as the plastic focus knob felt sturdier and was easily to grip with my big fingers. The type III body added a spongy grip to the knob which after extensive usage would slip and require extra finger pressure to engage the knob.

    IIRC the prism is really a reflex finder, basically a mirror in a box, so it is fairly dim and not corrected L to R like a true prism.

    The type III battery holder is more readily available and can be modified to work on the type I and II bodies.

    If you get an extended WA bellows and the 40mm ext. rails and leave them on the camera, it makes it easier to use esp. with WA lenses.

    Come by the shop and we can talk more.

    Eric
     
  6. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    Stay with the III. It uses 2 cr123 lithium batteries ormthe AA holder. I have three bodies and about 10 lenses, all the finders, the AA holder. I have bought most of it from a great guy in Saitama, Japan. He has an eBay store, his handle is : astrosmith22....Probably the best eBay seller I've dealt with.
     
  7. Simon Benton

    Simon Benton Subscriber

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    Astrosmith22 (Toshi) is the best ebay dealer I have ever dealt with. Fantastic seller!
     
  8. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    thanks everyone for your help!

    I traded straight across my HB kit for a 5-lens GX680III kit this past month, and have enjoyed using it very much thus far. Despite the greater amount of bulk size-wise, the MUCH(considering a 645 sized crop vs straight 6x8, same 3x4 ratio) larger negative/transparency is a great deal clearer in both prints and scans!

    However, the other day I ran into a small issue:
    THE HOTSHOE on the front standard is "loose". It wiggles. And thusly, the hotshoe doesn't always trigger when I need it to using Pocketwizards.

    DOES ANYONE KNOW A HIGH QUALITY(as in Fuji certified) TECHNICIAN FOR THE GX680III system? Its just that one issue, but if I'm sending it in, I figured I might as well get a full checkup done on the body.

    also, some of the darkslides on the backs(IIIN ones) I got in the kit are quite warped/bent. Any idea of replacements?

    thx,
    Dan
     
  9. PittP

    PittP Member

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    Hi Dan,
    great equippment, as the others said!
    I'd stick with the III - the last model: You can verify usage (counter), has better & more convenient mirror lock-up / mirror pre-release system. The small batteries in the body and back are quite lasting and, if appropriate, save some bulk. The III supposedly needs its dedicated remote control, though. The auto-prismfinder (not in your list) is in deed versatile but imho adds an insane amount of bulk and weight. The simple finder I found too dark - I hardly ever used it. The chimney finder remained my preferred choice.
    Lenses: The combo 65-125-250 would cover your range closely, saving on one. Other than the 50, the 65 permits good movements. For portraits with the 250 you'll need the rail extensions, take the longer ones. For movements at infinity the 65 needs the short WA bellows.
    The III-back allows mid-roll changes of the cartridge using a changing bag - saving again on bulk. Never had a problem of fogged film when keeping the cartrige in its box and another carton around (never tried it without).
    Hand-held / monopod is feasable... a tripod, however, would be my preference. I suppose you are aware of the size and weight of the camera: Your HB is almost closer to a Minox than to a 680.
    (Why I talk past-tense: My system fell prey to robbers. Other priorities before replacing it by the same.)
    Wish you all the best and good light with the 680!
    Pitt
     
  10. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    Hey PittP,
    yup, I'm LOVING the GX system thus far. No qualms whatsoever. Despite the bulk, its actually a relatively easy camera to handhold. Ya, it ain't no HB in terms of size or weight, but I can HANDHOLD a pretty good 1/15 wide open shot w/o much movement present in the enlargement/scan. Its bulk acts as a "ballast" of sorts, especially if using the WLF and neck strap. Tucked into the body, it can provide a nice easy-to-handle system!

    REPAIR QUESTION:
    I called a local repair shop here in LA(Steve's Camera Repair, spoke with Mike(thanks again Mike, if you read this!) and he offered to help. Well the short of it: there are (3) screws UNDER the small "clip" plate in the hotshoe itself. I took some photos, and here's a short "DIY" fix it if you encounter the same problem :smile:

    gx680hotshoerepair.jpg
     
  11. PittP

    PittP Member

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    Greetings Dan,
    Thanks a lot in the name of many for the repair hint.
    Glad you're that happy with your courageous choice.
    Your description is quite reminiscent of this gentleman,
    Stieglitz on bridge 1905 MET s.jpg
    snapping away with his handy G...X (!!) some 107 years ago:
    Mr Alfred Stieglitz (from metmuseum.org).
    Cheers, Pitt
     
  12. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    PittP:

    I like his boots, although they're not quite my style :wink:. Personally I prefer flip-flops(thong sandals to ya'll international people :wink:), but boots are a bit more of a "universal" approach to footwear for the working photographer :D

    ya, the GX IS a beast of a camera, but it works REALLY well. A friend was selling a 645N system w/ 2 FA lenses(45-85 + 150mm 2.8), so that's essentially replaced my Nikons as my "small" format camera now.

    -Dan