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  1. #1
    klop's Avatar
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    I Think I Want A Fuji 690

    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. #2

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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.

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    My flickr stream

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by klop View Post
    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....
    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. #4

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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. #5

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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).
    "Far more critical than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know." - Eric Hoffer

  6. #6
    dasBlute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TareqPhoto View Post
    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.
    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 ] ?

  7. #7

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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. #8
    whlogan's Avatar
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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. #9
    Bruce Osgood's Avatar
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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. #10

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    If I remember correctly, it counts shutter activations. Divide by 8 for number of rolls shot.

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