An alternative is a Horseman (sp?) 6X9 with 3 lens kit and cams for the 3 lens and a couple of backs. More movements than a Fuji. Other option is a Mamyia Press with 3 lens, but an old press is very heavy, my 4X5 Crown is lighter than my Mamyia Universal.
I just sold 3 of the model IIIs. In the last few weeks. Two with the 90s and one with the 65mm. Great cameras, but they had played their part in my work so I unloaded them. The biggest limitation for me was simply the rangefinder style of shooting with a camera of that size. Works for me with a leica...but there was something about the bigger camera and piece of film where I preferred working off the ground glass of a hassy or 4x5, and usually with a tripod. But that's personal, and it took me a few years to figure it out myself. The film out of the fujis though was always such a nice surprise though, really nice negs to print. If you want a big hand held camera then there's nothing better.
I'd look for a III. And one thing to watch for or ask about buying used is how the frame spacing is. I had one, that even with 100 on the counter, would get sloppy spacing and overlapping. The cameras are pretty simple and solid other than that. I suggest KEH personally for these...not a lot more $ than ebay, and a much easier buying experience.
On that note, if you need one rebuilt, I suggest Nippon Photo Clinic in NYC. They do a great job with these cameras at a fair price.
I have the GSW 690III and really like it. It's easy to use and the large negatives are great. I carry big cameras so I don't find it too much of a burden. Never had any problem with frame spacing, light leaks or what have you.
For me the biggest drawbacks are the rangefinder (I find it hard to use, although it is the only rangefinder I own) and the crappy retractable lens hood which can be really annoying.
Many years ago, I used a 4x5 system to take photographs of large groups of people, interior and exterior architectural subjects, and commercial still-lifes. After I stopped shooting architectural subjects, I sold my 4x5 system and relied on my Mamiya 6x6cm TLR system and my 35mm system to deliver the images I needed.
Years later, when I needed to replace my worn-out Mamiya 6x6cm TLR system, I was very disappointed to learn that Mamiya no longer produced or supported the system. I briefly considered replacing my TLR system with the Mamiya medium format rangefinder system but did not for two reasons:
1. It exceeded my budget limitations.
2. I was angry a Mamiya for abandoning my beloved TLR system.
Instead, I replaced my TLR system with the Fuji GW670III rangefinder with the 90mm f/3.5 lens and the Fuji GSW690III rangefinder with the 65mm f/5.6 lens.
I have been very satisfied using these two cameras to shoot weddings, posed group shots, full-length portraits, scenic shots, and the architectural shots that do not require the perspective and depth-of-field adjustments provided by large format view cameras.
My only regrets are:
1. There is no telephoto version for shooting head and shoulder portraits.
2. Shortly after I purchased them, Fuji abandoned the production and support of these rangefinders.
How about the Fuji G690BL? 150mm, 180mm, and 250mm lenses! See here:
Originally Posted by narsuitus
A question for you on the 6x7 version of these camera: It appears that the viewfinder system is the same as the 690. Is the overall view masked to a 6x7 ratio (with outside room as typical on rangefinders), or does it simply have a 6x7 bright line on the 'stock' 6x9 viewfinder? Just curious how they dealt with the format differences.
Originally Posted by narsuitus
Although try to find one of the long lenses for that camera! The 150 and 180 show up from time to time, the 250 almost never, and same with the 65 that they made. You'll spend WAY more for the lenses than you will for the camera.
Originally Posted by rich815
Yes the GW670 II's rangefinder is masked for the 6x7 format.
Originally Posted by Dan Daniel
I have a GW670 II and a GSW690 III and I love using them. I have lugged them and a tripod up and around Rocky Mtn Nat'l park and have some wonderful negs to print from. But because of my tiny darkroom, I only print up to 11x14. The results are quite nice.
I once saw the 65mm lens set at buy it now on the bay for $125. No joke. Debated for a second and it was sold. Still kicking myself every time I see one or it mentioned.
Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera
I've got the earlier G690BL which I bought with the standard lens, then added the 65mm f8 a little while later. I ended up getting the kit for less than one fixed lens 65mm camera. Thing is, I had the luxury of time....
I didn't get the accessory viewfinder with my 65mm, but using the whole viewfinder approximates the field of view well enough. I also had the option on one of the longer lenses (I can't remember whether it was the 150mm or 180mm), but having shot a couple of nice portraits of my young son with the 100mm lens, I decided I really didn't need it (can't believe I actually said that!).
While I've not fired the interchangeable G alongside a later fixed lens camera, I get the impression than the older camera is quieter. People only seem to notice the size, and the is usually only after a double-take (camera : person proportions look wrong :p ).
They're easy enough to carry around for several hours at a time. I find it easy to shoot mine hand held, but obviously that is not making the most of the excellent lenses.