Fuji GW67II/III and GW69II/III opinions
I just came across an ad in our local photo forums selling all four cams: GW67II, GW67III, GW69II and GW69III.
The following information has been fetched out of the seller:
Most of the cams are in very good condition, very clean except of 67II (or was it III ?) that has flash shoe replaced. All are equipped with 90mm/3.5 lens of course. The GW67II appears to have the largest number appearing on its counter (arround 500), the 69III appears to have the least leap (counters show about 100).
I'm not familiar personally with these cameras, although have read through lots of online reviews on these and mostly the opinion is held up for all of these, particularily for 69II and 69III models. Optics is reprotedly top-notch except of their bokeh loosing to Zeiss counterparts.
I would be glad to read personal opinions about these cameras, such as hands-on experiences, what is good and what is bad...
I'm aware about the system specifications (rangefinder, no switchable film backs, of course, fixed, although leaf shutter lens, purely mechanical (no powering is necessary, however no metering is available either). What is the number shown on the camera's counter ? Is that amount of frames (i.e. shutter actuations) done so far or amount of film rolls through the camera ? What are the average life span of GW 67II/III and GW69II/III shutters ?
To put the things into proportions I must tell that I'm MF SLR user, shooting with Bronica GS-1 (6x7) system right know, however thinking of adding a kind of rangefinder for hikes and when weight/size are a considerable issues.
The prices as asked by seller ranging from 550$ for 67II to 800$ for 69III. Are they fair prices for these models bearing the condition described above ?
Any additional help is highly appreciated.
Originally Posted by Alexz
Yes, I think these are fair prices. I have a GW690III and a GSW690III in EX condition and I would not sell either of them for $800.
In terms of image performance there is nothing in the medium format world that will beat these cameras. The lenses are superb and the very large negatives, either 6X7 or 6X9, just simply can not be beat by 6X6, not even by the best of Hasselblad. And for the size negative these cameras are relatively light, at least the III models are.
Of course, there are disadvantages to large rangefinder cameras, though the lack of a built-in meter is not one of them. The major problem, compared to a SLR is that the viewfinder does not show exactly what you will get on the negative, especially if you are working close with the GSW and its 65mm lens. The other problem, compared to a view camera, is that you have no movements so you must rely on depth of field to get everything in focus. Lack of movements also means no perspective control, though you can do lot in this arena with Photosho if you scan the negatives.
Much appreciation Sandy for your fast response.
In fact, I work with 6x7 kit, not 6x6 (Bronica GS-1 is 6x7 SLR system). I guess the main usage for 6x9 rangefinder would be landscapes, right ? That prescribes quite intensive usage of filters (at least polarizer and GNDs), so how it hanldes with GW69III bearing its rangefinder nature ? I would be glad to hear your personal experiences.
Also, what is shon on the counter ? History of the shutter activations or films ran through the camera ? What is the average life span for their shutters ? (what would tell you numbers of 100 or 500 on the counter ?)
I own and still use the Fuji GSW111 65mm and the GW111 90mm. Both these cameras are superb basic no frills work horses. The lenses I have found are well up with the leading high quality manufacturers. I have used them for landscape and other work where it is impossible to get my field cameras. They are built like a tank, not very pretty but very reliable, the shutters are noisy but I have found them well up to the job. The format is very much to be desired for landscape work and large group shots. The numbers on the cameras bear little relation to possible condition or how the cameras have been used, they should be considered as just a record for logging. I have not used the other Fuji cameras. Suffice to say, I would not consider parting with either of these cameras. The price being asked is very fair. Go for it!
'Determine on some course more than a wild exposure to each chance' The Bard.
Good Afternoon, Alex,
I have only the 67 version. If I could afford to do so, I'd immediately also buy both the 6 x 9 and wide-angle versions. The Fuji RF is, as noted so well above, an absolutely excellent performer. I paid $750 for my 67, which had had only about thirty rolls through it and is in essentially mint condition, if that's any guideline for you.
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I have the Fuji gsw 690 III. It's a fantastic machine and for my travel and landscape needs it's perfect. I would seriously consider waiting for the 6x9 65mm lens version if I were you.
If you don't mind me saying, it probably wouldn't be worth your while buying yet another 6x7 format when you already have a good system outfit. And personally speaking, the 6x9 and wide angle combination will be a better complement to your existing kit (I also have the mamiya 7II outfit).
Last but not least, and forgive me for saying, because I'm not familiar with your style, but THE WIDER THE BETTER! I'm confident that you would prefer the w-i-d-e-r option and that you would always regret not being able to get enough in the frame.
By the way, this link might be a source of both information and inspiration!
Thank you all for your contribution.
Few questions hasn't been answered though:
what is shown on the counter of GW69II/III, number of frame (i.e. shutter activations) or number of rolls passed through the camera ? What is average (or at least officialy advertised) life span of the shutter ?
And finally, how do you handle filter usage for landscape work bearing in mind that this is rangefinder ?
Hi Alex. I also have the GS-1 and have been looking at the Fuji Rangefinders. The number shown is supposed to be the number of rolls. I've heard that when the number gets to 1000 it should be sent to Fuji for service, I don't know if that is a shutter replacement or not. As to the filter, you just have to remember to include that in your exposure calculation. Since they don't have meters, you just meter through the filter first, then put it on the camera.
My major use of the Fuji GSW cameras has not been for landscapes but for hand-held work in urban environments, using the camera in much the same way one might use 35mm rangefinder. For landscapes I use it on a tripod whenever possible, often with a yellow or orange filter.
Originally Posted by Alexz
The number on the counter, as best I can recall, indicates 10X the number of rolls of film through the camera.
Sandy is right about the counter... 10x the number of rolls of film run through the camera.
I have been using the GW670 II for about ten years, not sure of the number of rolls I have put through it though. I did have the focusing repaired on it... my younger daughter jumped on it when she was little and...
I really like using this camera. Several images in my personal gallery here at APUG are from this camera.
I picked up a used GSW690 III a couple of years ago. This is also a fine camera, love using it. The weight difference between the II and III is minimal, not enough to worry about.
The pricing you mention is fair. And like Sandy, I would not part with either of these two cameras for that amount.
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