I Think I Want A Fuji 690

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by klop, Aug 9, 2014.

  1. klop

    klop Subscriber

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    I Think I Want A Fuji 690, which model I have no idea. The 6x9 format I am very interested in. I am using a Horseman 985 right now but its ponderous when carrying around. From what I have read on the internet the Mamiya Press wasn't well made. I am concerned about service and repairs. Should I be convinced "Go for it or No for it" and Why? Opinions Please....
     
  2. rbultman

    rbultman Subscriber

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    I love my GW690II but I haven't shot too many rolls with it. I just got it back from KEH this week for a CLA and they did a bang up job. It had a lot of backlash in the focus which is almost completely gone. The focusing spot is very small. This makes it difficult for me to focus but it might become easier with experience. It is loud when winding and shooting a feels very clunky, but very solid. The controls (really just the shutter buttons) are easy to operate. Setting the shutter speed and aperture is simple. I did have issues with the T setting due to my not reading the manual. Closing the shutter when in T requires that you wind on the film. A strap can be attached in one of two position to allow the camera to be carried in portrait or landscape orientation. The only thing I wish it had was a built-in TTL meter. The attached pictures show the GW690II next to a Bessa R3M with 40mm lens. Compared to the Bessa, the GW is simply massive.

    IMG_20140809_082345.jpg IMG_20140809_082531.jpg IMG_20140809_082643.jpg
     
  3. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    It's a pretty mechanical camera. Not much to break down and still repairable. Not terribly expensive either so I'd get one if I wanted one.

    I used to own a GSW690 12 years or so ago. Traveled to Asia and across the US with it. Very nice results from those gorgeous slabs of film.
     
  4. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

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    I have GSW690III and i love it, it is almost my favorite RF film camera i have, even i may prefer it over my Mamiya 7II.
     
  5. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    I have not heard of the Mamiya Press being prone to failure. But the older Seikosha shutters no longer have parts available (expect from cannibalizing another lens). Of course, that's probably a common situation now with all film cameras that are long out of production. And the Mamiya Press line goes from the very early Press standard to the much later Mamiya Universal. I've had, over the years, the standard and the Super 23, I certainly consider the later Super 23 and Universal well made. And when you think about it, not much to go wrong. They're essentially a box with a rangefinder.

    The Mamiya press also has the advantage of interchangeable lenses and backs. But also require a separate film wind and shutter cocking action. That may or may not be a factor for you. But they are probably larger than your Horseman when it's folded (the Fuji is probably larger too).
     
  6. dasBlute

    dasBlute Subscriber

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    that's a pretty strong statement, what qualities of the GSW690III do you prefer over the 7II - [in addition to the stack of cash you saved :smile: ] ?
     
  7. gzinsel

    gzinsel Member

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    I had a horseman VHR, sold it for a fuji gw690III. I have not looked back once! MY fuji is great. I love it. However, for some people, it does not deliver(in terms of complete package). All cameras have their good and bad qualities. for me, this plays out as: I like the lens, nice rendition, nice contrast. I like 6x9 over 6x7, If I need 1:20 ratio, I crop. I do not like 6x7 sleeves,neg holders. petty but. . . something to consider. Fully manual. has two shutter release front(face) and top plate. I like the slightly wide 90mm. a.k.a 40 mm in 135. I do mostly cityscape landscape. I like to not worry about changing lenses. the camera also allows a strap to be used sideways, I prefer that.
    o.k.not so nice part: 5 elements in four groups, not bad, but 6/4 is better, a nice lens, but. . . non interchangeable. I ping or loudish click is heard when pressing the shutter release. rangefinder is not 1:1, but .75, or .72, I can not remember. some people have a hard time loading film, keeping it tight, for as to have even spacing through the roll. ???? i do not understand that? I have not had problems, so go figure.. . . . . no double exposure option? the camera is kind of heavy. you do see the lens in the rangefinder, it does cover some portion of the frame. some people do not like that.
    over all, its a very easy camera to use, user friendly, a good lens, and good negatives, for the price. but thats where the rub is. For some they want more, and are willing to pay more for the design, say a mamiya 6x7 or a blad,! just sayin' for about 500 USD, you can get a medium format rangefinder, which will do about 70-90% of your photographic needs, maybe more, maybe less. however, I thinks a good deal. for what it is.
     
  8. whlogan

    whlogan Subscriber

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    I took a pair of these beauties, normal and wide angle, on an extended trip to Glacier Park some years back and they were simply super and my 6 by 9 negatives clearly rivaled my compatriots 4x5s. that dear friend has now gone on along to the darkroom in the sky but we went over the negs when we came back and the 6 by 9s did the job and the Fujinon lenses on the Texas Leicas rivaled his large negative lenses. These guys are horses all the way. I love 'em.
    Logan
     
  9. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    I'd like to ask about the 690 counter... what does it actually count? I've heard it counts rolls of film shot, the number of times the shutter has fired and even the number of time the back has been opened and closed. I've heard it is an indicator as to when the shutter needs repair/replacement.

    Does anyone have a defenative answer?
     
  10. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    If I remember correctly, it counts shutter activations. Divide by 8 for number of rolls shot.
     
  11. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    I have the GW690III. Love it. The counter on the bottom goes by 10, so if it says 500 there's been 5000 shutter activations.
     
  12. ruby.monkey

    ruby.monkey Member

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    On the GW690 it counts every time the shutter release button is pressed (each press advances the counter by one tenth, so ten presses advances the count by one). Usually that will equate to shutter releases, but if you open the back and play around then you may add phantom counts to the total.
     
  13. gzinsel

    gzinsel Member

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    this is what the manual says:

    1. Using the shutter actuation counter.
    Your camera is provided with a 3-digit shutter actuation counter in the bottom which will tell you how many times the shutter has been used so that you will know when the camera will need maintenance. It counts 10 shutter actuations as 1: that is, if it shows 150. the shutter has been actuated 1,500 times. after reaching 999 ( 9,990 shots) it will return to 000 with ten more shots.
     
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  15. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    Thanks, I left 35mm for 4x5 a couple of years ago and love it except for toating a tripod everywhere.

    Im considering the 690 for the 6x9 neg and the ability to hand hold it with a medium speed film, maybe 400.

    Thanks
     
  16. Texsport

    Texsport Member

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    I have several Fujica 690 cameras, as well as the 670 model.

    Mine are the older, non-fixed lens models.

    Along with my Linhof 617, the Fuji 690 is one of my go to landscape cameras.

    The 690 + 100/3.5AE + Auto Up lens is also one of my portrait camera choices, along with a Rittreck 66 + 80/2 lens.

    The Fujis are very easy to use, reliable, and very good optically.

    Texsport
     
  17. klop

    klop Subscriber

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    Very, very appealing........ Looking........ Anyone have a situation where a 690 could not be repaired because of lack of parts? Big concern of mine......
     
  18. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I'm someone who used one and was not thoroughly enchanted with it. It is MASSIVE - this is not some toss-in-the-pocket rangefinder. The shutter makes this weird pinging noise when it actuates- instead of a quiet 'snick', it goes 'Pping!". And unlike my Contax G2, the lens barrel intrudes noticeably into the viewfinder. It takes some getting used to. Run some color film through one if you can borrow one before buying and see how you like what it does - I found it to be too contrasty a lens for my taste. These are just personal observations, so take them as such- the opinion of one individual. Your mileage may vary - you may love it, be indifferent, or even loathe the camera. I'm largely indifferent - it does produce nice big negatives and the lens and the overall build quality are excellent, but I found it to be unsatisfying ergonomically to use, and too big to carry around practically on a daily basis.
     
  19. Prest_400

    Prest_400 Member

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    I own a GW690III and am quite pleased with it. Simple and selfcontained RF that shoots 6x9 negs.
    It is one of the few options of modern 120RF with a larger MF (6x6+) without breaking the bank.
    People compare it to the Mamiya 7 but it is unfair as the M7 has a much higher market price. For a M7 kit you could get 2 Fujis or just spend the differential on film and gear!
    I got it for a good price so I am ok about the peculiarities the camera has.

    The points you mention are a very objective observation. Whether it breaks the likeness of the user depends of the particular person.

    I find particularly amusing the size issue and how different groups perceive it. Some (think LF users) are very pleased because it is like a P&S. Others (35mm people) say it is brutally huge.

    Ergonomics wise, initially I gripped my left hand as I do with 35mm cameras, but it was awkward... Until I found a way of holding it which is quite comfortable and fits well. I don't know how to describe it in written word however.

    I haven't used it yet around much people but it does take a lot of attention. Practicality of the size limits mobility indeed.
    I saw an ad of the Fuji where it was described as a "portable large format" camera, quite adequate definition.

    Hopefully this next week I get to do a day trip with some friends so I can burn the loaded Portra. And I have found a nice bandolier bag that seems it will go well for carrying it on this kind of ocasion.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2014
  20. aRolleiBrujo

    aRolleiBrujo Member

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    Don't forget to consider buying from ebay and from Japan, I have seen many great deals!
     
  21. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    I know someone who is selling a 690III, 90mm lens, excellent, clean camera, lo miles. PM me if you are interested.
     
  22. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I think part of my objection to it is that it really handles like a large medium format camera, like an RB67 or something else that would prefer to be on a tripod, yet the design encourages hand-holding for fast street use a-la 35mm rangefinder. It's a camera caught between two identities.

     
  23. RattyMouse

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    I had no problems with the GSW690 while I owned one and traveled across the US and Asia with it. However, the idea of carrying around that camera on a *daily basis* is absurd. It is really large! Only if that were part of paying work would I ever consider that a daily camera.
     
  24. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Now I don't carry my Rolleis on a daily basis when I'm at home, but I DO carry them (at least one, if not both) pretty much all day every day when I'm traveling. I looked into borrowing one of the Fuji GSWs when I took my Paris trip last year, but just stuck to the Rollei. It would barely have fit in my admittedly tidy camera bag (plenty of room for both Rolleis, two or three pro-packs of film and an iPad in the main compartment, a meter, Rolleinar close-up sets and some other odds-n-ends in the front pocket).
     
  25. Texsport

    Texsport Member

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    I can't agree with the idea of a Fujica 690 being unreasonably big or heavy.

    I'm looking at a Norita 66 with 80/2 lens, a Canon EOS3 with 70-300 zoom, and a Nikon F5 with a 135/2DC lens attached in comparison to a Fujica 690 with 65/5.6 lens:

    * F5 and EOS3 are much heavier when loaded with batteries than either MF camera.
    * F5 and EOS3 are taller than 690 but the same as a Norita
    * F5 is the same size front-to-back as the 690 - the Norita is shorter - EOS3 with zoom is bigger.
    * 690 is widest of the 4 - the only dimension it is larger - but it gives you that 6X9 negative!

    Certainly compared to a small SLR 35mm camera, the 690 is bigger, but not compared to professional 35mm film cameras or some MF cameras.

    I'll take the 6X9 negative, which is a better quality image than any digital can produce. Note - I take pictures to create candidates for wall display in larger sizes.

    Texsport
     
  26. trythis

    trythis Subscriber

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    This is why I dont understand people wanting or suggesting a Nikon F5. Ok if you are shooting 6fps for sports, but that's just where digital makes sense 99% of the time.