Quote Originally Posted by the.ronin View Post
I finally won an auction for a medium format film camera - a Fuji GSW 690II SW for $445. I am particularly excited because I had honed in on the Fuji line of MF cameras but was always outbid. This was a little more than I was willing to pay (wanted to keep it sub $400) but my sense is, assuming this camera is in good condition, this is a decent price.

I've used strictly DSLR (Nikon D40 and now a D90) as a hobbyist but my wife started getting into film as part of formal photography classes. I researched a bit into film and was blown away by the quality larger format cameras are capable of capturing. In general, the Fuji line seemed to be the most compact and accessible and, not the least of which, far more affordable.

Unfortunately, the shipper is doing what I think is parcel post so it may take upwards of a month to get here LOL. In the meantime I wanted to do as much research as I could.

Some questions I had if anybody could provide some guidance:

1) Light metering
I understand this line of cameras has no light meter. I know I could use the meter in my DSLR set to manual but I foresee my using the MF in times when I might not even carry around the DSLR. Any recommendations on an affordable / entry level light meter?

2) Film
Any recommendations on color and BW film for the Fuji GSW 690II SW? I will likely use 120s equally for the price and the forced discipline of fewer exposures per roll. (Wow this is going to be such a change from my DSLR!!)

3) Developing
If possible I would like to minimize the cost of developing film. I would anticipate having colored film developed at a lab given how involved it is. However, I would consider developing BW at home. Any issues I should consider?

4) Scanning
I definitely would consider scanning negatives at home and saving them as TIFF (which I understand preserves the greatest amount of range in the shot). For this, I've been eyeing the CanoScan 9000F. I've read that the Nikon Coolscan scanners are of particularly great quality but just way outside of my price range. From the TIFFs, I plan to export to JPG for online publishing or print to photo paper using an Epson Artisan 710. Again, any recommendations on this setup would be appreciated.

5) Bag
How do you folks carry this brick? LOL
First, congratulations on buying this camera. It will not disappoint.

1) If you want a modern meter, I would recommend a simple incident meter like the Sekonic L-308S. I have one myself: they're cheap, reliable and easy to use (and they take AA batteries). If your budget is tight, any older model will do, really.

2) A 6x9 camera just begs for transparency film. Get yourself some of the current Fuji offerings, they're all excellent. My personal favorite is Velvia 100F. For black and white, the possibilities are limitless. I like Tri-X or HP5+ in Xtol.

3) Developing B&W film at home is much easier than you'd expect, and the results are so much better than minilab-processed film. Read around, there's a lot of good information on this forum with regards to developing your first rolls.

4) I've used the Canoscan 9000F in combination with a GW690. It's a very decent scanner with a true resolution of about 1600-2000ppi. Canon claims 9600ppi optical resolution, but that's nonsense. I scan my medium format negs and slides at 1600ppi, which is more than enough for most digital purposes. If you want to print really big, you may have to use a professional grade scanner (like a drumscanner or a Hasselblad) somewhere. APUG is not the place to discuss these things, so let me just conclude: yes, I'd recommend the 9000F.

5) The GW690 has strap lugs on the side of the camera, I don't know if the GSW690II is the same. Get yourself a good neoprene strap and you'll soon forget you have a camera hanging on your shoulder. As for bags, there is a plethora of choices. I use the (rather expensive but well worth it) F-stop Loka with a medium ICU.

Enjoy!