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View Full Version : Finally got a "Texas Leica"!



Colorado CJ
25-Jun-2017, 19:26
I've been wanting one of these for many years. I finally won one on Ebay for a price I was willing to spend, and it is in exellent condition, where most are pretty worn looking.

So, what is it? It's a Fuji G690 BL medium format rangefinder. It's been known as a Texas Leica because it's HUGE (nearly 5 lbs), almost cartoon size and it's similarity to a Leica M3. It takes 6cm x 9cm medium format negatives.


I ran a test roll through it yesterday to make sure everything was working. It seems to work at all speeds and the rangefinder is spot on. These are nothing special, just some shots from around my shop. Because of the very large negative, I only get 8 shots per roll.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4240/35496473085_e7ff1b8167_o.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/W5GGLD)G690BL Test 1 (https://flic.kr/p/W5GGLD) by Andrew Marjama (https://www.flickr.com/photos/55229792@N03/), on Flickr

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4214/35365650131_c4dbe6eeb5_o.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/VT9cEt)G690BL Test 2 (https://flic.kr/p/VT9cEt) by Andrew Marjama (https://www.flickr.com/photos/55229792@N03/), on Flickr

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4255/35496472705_ef1e47ed44_o.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/W5GGE6)G690BL Test 3 (https://flic.kr/p/W5GGE6) by Andrew Marjama (https://www.flickr.com/photos/55229792@N03/), on Flickr

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4263/35456983416_a6d9ef8cca_o.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/W2diSh)G690BL Test 4 (https://flic.kr/p/W2diSh) by Andrew Marjama (https://www.flickr.com/photos/55229792@N03/), on Flickr


Since this is very similar to an M3, handling and using it is very easy. It is the fastest medium format camera I've ever used, just what I wanted! I'll probably be taking it up into the high country tomorrow for some hiking and photography.

Merg Ross
25-Jun-2017, 21:23
Congratulations! I think you will really like its performance. Not a view camera, of course, but it makes so many things possible that you might otherwise miss.

I have the 6x7, and the lens is very sharp. Are you using it hand-held? Have fun!

chrism
26-Jun-2017, 04:12
The 690 is even good for portraits:

https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3895/14824496117_d3cfb8448d_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/ozZqdD)
Helen (https://flic.kr/p/ozZqdD) by chrism229 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrism229/), on Flickr

Mark Sawyer
26-Jun-2017, 09:42
After the past week's heat wave, you might also find a good deal on an "Arizona Leica"...

http://i55.photobucket.com/albums/g139/Owen21k/leica-damage-fire_zpsjwlpkuax.jpg (http://s55.photobucket.com/user/Owen21k/media/leica-damage-fire_zpsjwlpkuax.jpg.html)

John Layton
26-Jun-2017, 11:03
Well Mark...the ever ready case looks a bit far gone - but the camera and lens should buff out just fine!

karl french
26-Jun-2017, 11:35
I've had a bunch of them myself. Great cameras. After a number of G690 and GL690 bodies I've settled on the GM670 as my favorite.

tuco
11-Jul-2017, 22:54
Congrats. I shoot a GSW690III a lot and take it all kinds of places. Did I miss what lens the camera is sporting in those nice images?

dentkimterry
12-Jul-2017, 05:19
I bought two of these, one with a 65mm and one with a 90mm. I use them when it's too windy for view cameras. Love them.

angusparker
12-Jul-2017, 09:09
The GW690III and GSW690III have to be some of my most favorite cameras. Love the fact that there are no electronics involved. The lenses are sharp and the weight not bad considering the size of the negative.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Colorado CJ
12-Jul-2017, 15:34
Congrats. I shoot a GSW690III a lot and take it all kinds of places. Did I miss what lens the camera is sporting in those nice images?

It has the 100 mm f3.5 lens.

It's sharp wide open.

This is quickly becoming my favorite camera, well, second to my Zone VI 4x5 anyway!

Here are a few more shots from it.

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4258/35514519505_d726b53c5c_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/W7ickP)G690 BL Roll 2- 2 (https://flic.kr/p/W7ickP) by Andrew Marjama (https://www.flickr.com/photos/55229792@N03/), on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4282/35417610670_e82648f349_o.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/VXJvHQ)G690BL Roll 3 - 1 (https://flic.kr/p/VXJvHQ) by Andrew Marjama (https://www.flickr.com/photos/55229792@N03/), on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4290/35806156615_fe1e4d22d1_o.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/Wy4UTR)G690BL Roll 3 - 2 (https://flic.kr/p/Wy4UTR) by Andrew Marjama (https://www.flickr.com/photos/55229792@N03/), on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4237/35806156465_5a5a8d6b62_o.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/Wy4URg)G690BL Roll 3 - 4 (https://flic.kr/p/Wy4URg) by Andrew Marjama (https://www.flickr.com/photos/55229792@N03/), on Flickr

Jac@stafford.net
12-Jul-2017, 15:47
My objection to the GSW690III is that it is not really wide.
.

karl french
12-Jul-2017, 16:16
Find yourself a G690 or GL690 and the 50mm f5.6.

tuco
12-Jul-2017, 16:28
I find the 65mm on my GSW690III plenty wide for a fixed lens, general purpose sight seeing camera. For me the focal length is good both for people and some scenery. Too much wider of a lens and it starts to become more special purpose. Of course everyone's milage will vary on that.

People and scenery

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4175/34689344845_7de94fdf44_o.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/URnXEv)
Vineyard (https://flic.kr/p/URnXEv) by tuco (https://www.flickr.com/photos/yo_tuco/), on Flickr

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8200/28684748423_a4a33e9e73_o.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/KGLQkZ)
Mud and Muck 2016 (https://flic.kr/p/KGLQkZ) by tuco (https://www.flickr.com/photos/yo_tuco/), on Flickr

And one I just posted

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4285/35717759211_2d57cf4234_o.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/WqfRqF)
Fort Rock, Oregon (https://flic.kr/p/WqfRqF) by tuco (https://www.flickr.com/photos/yo_tuco/), on Flickr

Peter De Smidt
12-Jul-2017, 16:43
I'm with Tuco:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/o7p5g29ra2gg7zc/London%20Eye%20Framed.jpg?raw=1

Roger Thoms
12-Jul-2017, 18:25
Peter, that's really cool, where you take it?

Roger

Peter De Smidt
12-Jul-2017, 18:33
Thanks, Roger. That's the London Eye from about 12 years ago now.

Colorado CJ
12-Jul-2017, 19:05
Great, now I'm going to have to go look for a 65mm lens! :D

Some really nice shots there guys.

mpirie
13-Jul-2017, 05:17
Likewise, i have the 65mm (GSWIII) and 90mm (GWIII) versions and love them both.

Beautiful negatives and lovely lenses.

Bill_1856
13-Jul-2017, 07:00
For me, "only 8 shots on a roll" would be a blessing.

Colorado CJ
13-Jul-2017, 07:55
For me, "only 8 shots on a roll" would be a blessing.

Yes it is. Coming from shooting large format, having to get through a roll, even just 8 exposures, is hard some times.

I usually set my shots up and don't just snap away. 8 exposures is ideal, any more would be too much.

Greg Y
13-Jul-2017, 08:09
I've had a bunch of these over the years & also for a stretch had both the 65 & 90mm versions. The 65 with asa 400 film, focused at hyperfocal distance is a wonderful point & shoot. The lenses are contrasty & sharp. The Fujis spoiled my darkroom experience w/ 35mm, even with Leica lenses & were my gateway to 5x7. I just bought another one; a GW680lll with a 90 for an upcoming trip to the Dolomites. The 50% increase in negative size over my much-loved Rolleiflex does make a difference on big prints.

tuco
13-Jul-2017, 08:42
... 8 exposures is ideal, any more would be too much.

When I'm at an event shooting people pictures, 8 frames is not much and I'm constantly loading film which is an issue sometimes.

Greg Y
13-Jul-2017, 09:46
Tuco, I found the same for aerial work. I've still got a few pro-packs of 220 HP5.

Jim Galli
13-Jul-2017, 12:47
Had one, ran a single roll of film through it, liked it, never picked it up again, and lost it in a horse trade. I can't think of 8 things to take a picture of these days.

tuco
13-Jul-2017, 13:08
Had one, ran a single roll of film through it, liked it, never picked it up again, and lost it in a horse trade. I can't think of 8 things to take a picture of these days.

Damn, that's kind of a sad story.

Jim Galli
13-Jul-2017, 13:29
Damn, that's kind of a sad story.

Not really. Just means 8X10 is probably the correct fit for me.

tuco
14-Jul-2017, 10:02
Say, since this seems to be a good thread for Fuji Rangefinder talk, I have a question about shooting long exposures and the T-Mode on my GSW690. Over on the medium format thread, I posted a Fireworks shot (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?109274-MF-(6x4-5-6x6-6x7-6x9-6x12)-B-amp-W-film-images-sharing&p=1398810&viewfull=1#post1398810). Here I used the T-Mode on this camera for the first time while taking the picture. It was a surprise and unexpected behavior. The shutter stayed open and didn't close on the next press like I assumed it would.

So how do you take long exposures without grabbing the lens to rotate it off of T-Mode or advance to the next frame to close the shutter? The fireworks shot shows you need to cover the lens before advancing the frame.

Peter De Smidt
14-Jul-2017, 14:50
Put the cap over the lens and use the film advance lever.

Jac@stafford.net
14-Jul-2017, 15:01
[...] I used the T-Mode on this camera for the first time while taking the picture. It was a surprise and unexpected behavior. The shutter stayed open and didn't close on the next press like I assumed it would.

The shutter is broken, or your release cable has too much throw and does not retract fully which is not unusual.

karl french
14-Jul-2017, 15:18
Nope. I believe that is how it's supposed to work. Rotate off of T is how it is described in the instruction manual.

People have complained about this for a long time.

http://www.cameramanuals.org/fuji_pdf/fujifilm_gw690_iii.pdf

Peter De Smidt
14-Jul-2017, 15:21
Karl's right. It bothered me a bit st first, but the workaround is ni problem. If it a really long expisure, just advance the fim winding lever.

Chauncey Walden
14-Jul-2017, 15:23
On the Fuji pressing the shutter release on T only locks the shutter open. To get the shutter to close you either have to change the shutter speed or wind on (in most cases it would be advisable to have something covering the lens before touching the camera, of course.)

tuco
14-Jul-2017, 15:42
Okay, I wasn't sure if this convoluted procedure is how Fuji expected you to do long exposures on this thing.

BetterSense
14-Jul-2017, 18:50
Does anyone know of a similar camera that is not so big? Other 645 rangefinders all use batteries. I guess if the GW690 is too big I could jump to a TLR.

B.S.Kumar
14-Jul-2017, 21:30
The folding Zeiss Ikonta cameras are quite good, but no wide angle lenses.

Kumar