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What's Wrong With the Fuji 690 Series?
Old 07-07-2015   #1
JChrome
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What's Wrong With the Fuji 690 Series?

I really am perplexed.

I just bought a great condition Fuji BL690 with 100mm and 150mm lenses for $350 including shipping from that website that shant be named.

While I think I got a steal and am excited about it, I am just so confused. I look around and see so many used Fuji's on the market there for such low prices, why don't more photographers see the value in them? At this price, it's in the same league as the Mamiya Press, Koni Omega, Minolta Autchord etc. But I hold it to a much higher standard than those.

I've been shooting with the GW690 mkIII for about a year and just traded it for the BL690 (I want longer lenses). But I adored the mkIII. A bright and usable viewfinder and such a great lens.

I had this neg wet-mounted and drum scanned and then printed and it just sings. (Below is a flatbed, crappy scan).



So here's my list of why the 690 series is so inexpensive (in order of importance).

1) People's priority is not about printing which is where the main advantage of a 6x9 negative comes from, but rather digitally sharing.
2) The production numbers of the series was very high.
3) The camera is heavy and inconvenient to shoot with.
4) Stiff competition from the Mamiya Rangefinders (even at 4x the price). People also love the jewel-like-quality of the Hasselblad 500 series.
5) Medium format is better suited for SLRs for critical focusing in a studio situation.
6) No meter. Lack of any automation.
7) Medium format is unpopular.
8) The 'ping' noise of the GW series (which is not* due to the shutter counter btw... this myth needs to die).

So, if you've shot with a 690 and didn't like it, can you give me a reason why you wouldn't want to shoot it? I'm happy with it as my every day camera, but I may just be a nut
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Old 07-07-2015   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JChrome View Post
I really am perplexed.

I just bought a great condition Fuji BL690 with 100mm and 150mm lenses for $350 including shipping from that website that shant be named.

While I think I got a steal and am excited about it, I am just so confused. I look around and see so many used Fuji's on the market there for such low prices, why don't more photographers see the value in them? At this price, it's in the same league as the Mamiya Press, Koni Omega, Minolta Autchord etc. But I hold it to a much higher standard than those.

I've been shooting with the GW690 mkIII for about a year and just traded it for the BL690 (I want longer lenses). But I adored the mkIII. A bright and usable viewfinder and such a great lens.

I had this neg wet-mounted and drum scanned and then printed and it just sings. (Below is a flatbed, crappy scan).

So here's my list of why the 690 series is so inexpensive (in order of importance).

1) People's priority is not about printing which is where the main advantage of a 6x9 negative comes from, but rather digitally sharing.
2) The production numbers of the series was very high.
3) The camera is heavy and inconvenient to shoot with.
4) Stiff competition from the Mamiya Rangefinders (even at 4x the price). People also love the jewel-like-quality of the Hasselblad 500 series.
5) Medium format is better suited for SLRs for critical focusing in a studio situation.
6) No meter. Lack of any automation.
7) Medium format is unpopular.
8) The 'ping' noise of the GW series (which is not* due to the shutter counter btw... this myth needs to die).

So, if you've shot with a 690 and didn't like it, can you give me a reason why you wouldn't want to shoot it? I'm happy with it as my every day camera, but I may just be a nut
I can't speak to why people do NOT like the camera...but I have a Fuji 690BL with 100 3.5 and it's the only camera I'll ever need. Recently serviced, always gives me excellent results. Nothing to complain about. You're not a nut, you're like me. You like what you see, and can live with the weight of the camera (which I actually adore). Keep shooting...nice frame!
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Old 07-07-2015   #3
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From what I understand it is because Fuji no longer supports the camera. If it breaks, that's it.
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Old 07-07-2015   #4
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Medium format equipment in general is cheap - FWIW, ALL film equipment is, except for lenses that are suitable for digital adaptation and the few objects that somehow made it into the "collectible" pool.
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Old 07-07-2015   #5
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I was quite seriously thinking about getting a copy but after handling one I realised it was just way too big and heavy for me, I'm not into 6x9 enough to make the bulk worth worthwhile.
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Old 07-07-2015   #6
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I own a GL690, GM670, 65/8.0, 100/3.5, and 150/5.6.

Understand that the 150/5.6 is a Sonnar and is a very hard to find lens. Kinda rare.

The IQ is mucho high. I love the 100/3.5, and the later Fuji's with a 90 are not as good for me. I perfer the look of the 100 over the 90. This lens is a Tessar that has wonderful bokeh when shot wide open and close focused.

I find that these old heavy bodies that many people do not favor are rather durable. I had mine serviced to mostly brighten the rangefinder's.

What is not to like? Perhaps the expense of only 8 shots per roll when shooting 6x9. Also know that a friend who shoots large format once said, "With negatives like these you don't need a 4x5." I was showing some of my 6x9 negatives from my Fuji.

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Old 07-07-2015   #7
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The reasons I don't use one:

I was able to borrow one a while back to see how I liked it. I found that, in no particular order:
A: it was very bulky
B: that 'ping' was super annoying
C: it was TOO sharp and contrasty - I didn't like the color rendition as much as my Rollei's
D: it didn't focus close enough.
E: to do long time exposures it requires some Rube Goldberg-like machinations

The 6x9 neg is a big plus - under the right circumstances, they hold up on their own as contact prints. I think proportion-wise, though, I'd rather have 6x8. Less square than 6x7, less oblong than 6x9.
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Old 07-07-2015   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
The reasons I don't use one:

I was able to borrow one a while back to see how I liked it. I found that, in no particular order:
A: it was very bulky
B: that 'ping' was super annoying
C: it was TOO sharp and contrasty - I didn't like the color rendition as much as my Rollei's
D: it didn't focus close enough.
E: to do long time exposures it requires some Rube Goldberg-like machinations

The 6x9 neg is a big plus - under the right circumstances, they hold up on their own as contact prints. I think proportion-wise, though, I'd rather have 6x8. Less square than 6x7, less oblong than 6x9.
Both B) and E) could be taken care of by using the GL690. There's also a GM680 for 6x8.
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Old 07-07-2015   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
I find that these old heavy bodies that many people do not favor are rather durable. I had mine serviced to mostly brighten the rangefinder's.

What is not to like? Perhaps the expense of only 8 shots per roll when shooting 6x9.

Cal
Who services them to brighten the viewfinder? Do they just replace some of the glass in the viewfinder? I would be very interested in that!

Some people love the 8 shots per roll so they can change the film often. But I also like shooting 220 Portra 400 which gives me 16 and that's plenty.
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Old 07-07-2015   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JChrome View Post
Who services them to brighten the viewfinder? Do they just replace some of the glass in the viewfinder? I would be very interested in that!

Some people love the 8 shots per roll so they can change the film often. But I also like shooting 220 Portra 400 which gives me 16 and that's plenty.
I'm also interested in what's done with the finder, unless it's a simple open the top and clean the glass from dust

On the other hand, I have had the GW before, and I sold it due to not using it much. Reasons being: loud, not a very exciting focal length.
Now I have a G690BL and I totally love it in all respects, even with the added weight of brass. It just looks better, sounds better (can't actually tell you took a shot outside), much more rugged and the focal length is actually comfortable.

I've always opted for simple mechanical cameras, and I can see myself using this one on trips. I don't mind 6x9 and its limitations, simply because I like shooting less, but better thought through photographs.

A lot of people want more for their money, thus 6x9 isn't cost effective. They also seem to complain about weight a lot, but love their hassleblads. I hated the operational hazards of one. Go figure
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Old 07-07-2015   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JChrome View Post
Who services them to brighten the viewfinder? Do they just replace some of the glass in the viewfinder? I would be very interested in that!

Some people love the 8 shots per roll so they can change the film often. But I also like shooting 220 Portra 400 which gives me 16 and that's plenty.
J,

I dropped off my two working bodies at Nippon Camera Clinic in NYC which for me is local. At Nippon they removed the accumulated haze and the VF'ers are noticibly brighter. They are a pro shop and the turn around was about a week. I also had them CLA my lenses and time my leaf shutters.

The GM670 really has a great VF'er that is of higher magnification than my GL690.

For me the days of shooting 220 are over. When the rumour about Tri-X 320 being discontinued happened I ran down to B&H, but someone already bought all available stock. I rushed down to Adorama and then emptied Adorama of all their Tri-X 320 in 220. I shoot a lot and wish that 220 was still available.

Cal
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Old 07-07-2015   #12
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some more reasons:

1. 6x9 negative holders are hard to come by.
2. there's not much point in shooting 6x9 over the smaller formats...for most people.
3. the cameras are very utilitarian, so there's not much pride of ownership/sexiness or famous user/mythologizing going on.

that's coming from a gw690iii and gsw690iii user.
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Old 07-07-2015   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
J,

I dropped off my two working bodies at Nippon Camera Clinic in NYC which for me is local. At Nippon they removed the accumulated haze and the VF'ers are noticibly brighter. They are a pro shop and the turn around was about a week. I also had them CLA my lenses and time my leaf shutters.


Cal
I actually opened it up myself, just four or five screws and unscrew the winder with some rubber grip (i used rubber glove). The glass inside is super easy to clean. Looks brand new now.
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Old 07-07-2015   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aizan View Post
some more reasons:

1. 6x9 negative holders are hard to come by.
Every dealer I know that sells 135 archive sheets also has the 120 variety. If any, 6x7 are an issue - as far as I can make out, both varieties of oversize sheets for 6x7, which held either five strips of two, or two of three and two of two, are gone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aizan View Post
3. the cameras are very utilitarian, so there's not much pride of ownership/sexiness or famous user/mythologizing going on.
I think that is the key point. There is no choice of lenses (pretty much one in each length for the early system, and two fixed lenses for the later ones), accessories or anything else people here fret about. It won't even fit into any fancy camera bag...
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Old 07-07-2015   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scapevision View Post
I actually opened it up myself, just four or five screws and unscrew the winder with some rubber grip (i used rubber glove). The glass inside is super easy to clean. Looks brand new now.
Thanks for the insider info.

The bodies are kinda bombproof except the darkslide can get tired. On my two bodies my darkslides I find to be reliable, but on an older BL690 I owned I wouldn't trust my darkslide to fully open 100%. Oh-well.

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Old 07-07-2015   #16
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I actually feed on the notority that the old Fuji's are kinda no frills, no glamour, no vulgar cost, are unfashionable and carry no status. I like that it is a minimal approach to photography but in a supersized manner.

One clear way to make art is not to do what everyone else is doing. 6X9 for wet printing is not for eveyone and that is the point.

For 6x9 ultra wide I also shoot a Plaubel 69W Proshift. Not exactly a common camera that you see every day. 47/5.6 Schneider Super Augulon is a 21mm FOV. I have rise/fall and left/right shifts on a 120 camera. Otherwise I would own one of the Fuji ultra-wides.

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Old 07-07-2015   #17
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Quote:
3. the cameras are very utilitarian, so there's not much pride of ownership/sexiness or famous user/mythologizing going on.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sevo View Post
I think that is the key point. There is no choice of lenses (pretty much one in each length for the early system, and two fixed lenses for the later ones), accessories or anything else people here fret about. It won't even fit into any fancy camera bag...
Excellent point about the sexiness. I think the production numbers probably made them less sexy.

Also it's a great point about the famous user mythologizing. Leica has an innumerable number of famous adopters. Hasselblad as well. The Mamiya 7? Less so but I feel like they're out there. But the 690 series has none. I can't think of anyone.

@Sevo:
As far as lenses for the early interchangeable series, there's more than the Mamiya 6 or 7 and no one complains about them (or maybe they do I just don't know). There's no reason in talking about the fixed lens series here for reasons that are apparent. There aren't that many accessories admittedly so I'll give you that.

Also, it definitely fits into a fancy camera bag and fits much easier than most other MF systems.

In terms of price though, has it been only over the past 5-10 years that we've seen the precipitous drop?

Here's a thread which mentions that a GSW690 III will cost $1200 in 2008. That price is half of that now (or less).
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Old 07-07-2015   #18
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So I thought and used the opportunity to move up medium format by getting a GW690III. I took a very long time looking around the different alternatives, so I knew the market and kind of cameras for my budget (<$400).

I got it from Japan for a price not much higher for the one you quote for the G690, quite low for a mkIII, but I saw GW690's mkI bottoming at 210-220€ a year ago!
As you say, right. A 1990s, modern 120 RF camera. No alternatives IMO!

Another point related to some you discuss about is that IIRC these cameras were mainly marketed in Japan, and the US/Europe did get some imported but without becoming caché compared to other manufacturer's cameras.
This explains to me the low prices from Japan and the lack of vendors from Europe and US selling this camera.

Long story short, perhaps the Japanese keep some of the best for them.

I have to agree that I haven't used it a lot but that's not quite the camera's fault:
Weight+bulkiness, ok, BUT other MF cameras also weigh 1,5kg and much more!
And something that in a personal level irks me a bit is that I wear glasses, and those don't let me see the whole VF
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Old 07-07-2015   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevo View Post
Every dealer I know that sells 135 archive sheets also has the 120 variety. If any, 6x7 are an issue - as far as I can make out, both varieties of oversize sheets for 6x7, which held either five strips of two, or two of three and two of two, are gone.
sorry, i meant negative carrier.

i could also add that it's a rangefinder. the price of each shot has changed the logic so that people want to make every exposure and square mm count. the imprecision is ok if you get something in return, like compactness with the fuji gf670, or legendary sharpness with the mamiya 7. 6x7 is big enough, and the format has more cachet in art photography circles.
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Old 07-07-2015   #20
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Quote:
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sorry, i meant negative carrier.
I realized that's what you meant. Definately not so common. Still available new for my Besseler 23C though.

Cal
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Old 07-07-2015   #21
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Got 2x G690BL, 2x GM670, 50/5.6, 65/8.0, 100/3.5, 100AE and 180 (miss the 150). Very nice cameras but I use them less than I'd like. I do prefer them above the Mamiya Press which are unwieldy beasts but the changable backs are great as you can easily have different types of film in use at the same time. Love to find a GM680, that is a format I haven't used before.

Why I do like them a lot:
- extremely silent, the shutter is so quiet I often doubt it worked. Transport is not that quiet, more a coffee grinder.
- the slides that come out are simply stunning.
- coupled transport and shutter arming (the curse of the Mamiya Press)
- rugged! Have one that got beaten up in transport, serious dent at the bottom of the door. Works perfectly...

Why I use them not much:
- weight of a body with 2-3 lenses
- rangefinders, I'm not a fan of rangefinders, it slows me to the point I miss too much shots.
- I don't have a diopter for them so I cannot get a good view of the rangefinder
- slow lenses, sometimes even f/2.8 is at the slow side for me, even with iso400 film.
- no way to project 6x9 slides. I can't even have them scanned at my lab. And I certainly can't put up a 6x9 enlarger.
- close focussing is impossible

So I mostly use 6x4.5 gear. Much easier in use, can be projected, double number exposures on a film. Thing is if you take that monster out, then you can just as well take a Fuji 617 out. It's larger but barely heavier.
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Old 07-07-2015   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanik View Post
Got 2x G690BL, 2x GM670, 50/5.6, 65/8.0, 100/3.5, 100AE and 180 (miss the 150).

I don't have a diopter for them so I cannot get a good view of the rangefinder
Spanik,

On your GM670 you can use Nikon diopters made for the Nikon F2. If you had a GL690 the F2 diopters also work and match the thread on the eyepiece. These do not fit your G690BL unfortunately.

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Old 07-07-2015   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanik View Post
Got 2x G690BL, 2x GM670, 50/5.6, 65/8.0, 100/3.5, 100AE and 180 (miss the 150). Very nice cameras but I use them less than I'd like.
I'm currently in possession of two 150mm's.

I am thinking of re-coating a GL body with a new dark blue paint job and doing the same to the 150mm. If that project falls through (likely), then I'll sell one of the 150's.
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Old 07-07-2015   #24
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Spanik,

On your GM670 you can use Nikon diopters made for the Nikon F2
All small round Nikon dioptres - Nikon had one size from F to F3 (non HP), Nikkormats, FEx/FMx/FA. It was not until the F3 HP (and AF cameras) that they switched to a bigger size. Beware, at all times they had some cameras or finders that took rectangular dioptres...
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Old 07-07-2015   #25
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All small round Nikon dioptres - Nikon had one size from F to F3 (non HP), Nikkormats, FEx/FMx/FA. It was not until the F3 HP (and AF cameras) that they switched to a bigger size. Beware, at all times they had some cameras or finders that took rectangular dioptres...
Sevo,

It is the small round diopters that from my experience were used on the F2 and F3 non-HP. Thanks for the additions that I was not aware of and the added clarity.

I use plain glass versions to protect my eyeglasses.

Cal
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Old 07-08-2015   #26
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Quote:
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Sevo,

It is the small round diopters that from my experience were used on the F2 and F3 non-HP. Thanks for the additions that I was not aware of and the added clarity.

I use plain glass versions to protect my eyeglasses.

Cal
Awesome tip!

That's another series of camera that are an amazing bargain and wonderful... Nikon F2's and F3's.
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Vast inventory coming out of Japan BECAUSE:
Old 07-08-2015   #27
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Question Vast inventory coming out of Japan BECAUSE:

Quote:
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1) People's priority is not about printing which is where the main advantage of a 6x9 negative comes from, but rather digitally sharing.
2) The production numbers of the series was very high.
3) The camera is heavy and inconvenient to shoot with.
4) Stiff competition from the Mamiya Rangefinders (even at 4x the price). People also love the jewel-like-quality of the Hasselblad 500 series.
5) Medium format is better suited for SLRs for critical focusing in a studio situation.
6) No meter. Lack of any automation.
7) Medium format is unpopular.
8) The 'ping' noise of the GW series (which is not* due to the shutter counter btw... this myth needs to die).

So, if you've shot with a 690 and didn't like it, can you give me a reason why you wouldn't want to shoot it? I'm happy with it as my every day camera, but I may just be a nut
I love em....

But your list does not include the PRIMARY reason which I was told for the low prices.... TOO Many examples in the market, and all good condition because used and maintained highly.

Here's the story I was told. In fact this story also explains the one variant that was never imported to the US.

If you look close at the frame number selection, you will see the ability to shoot a 4 count roll. Now I've never seen a 4 count roll in the US, but they were (and maybe are) available for photographers who shot tourist images in Japan and perhaps other asian countries.

So, there appears to be a vast inventory of good used 690 "BTL"* bodies that never shot over 4 count rolls, which means the shutter count is way overstated on these bodies, since they operated by roll count x 10. The market may now be flooded with these bodies that have only really shot about half the frames indicated.

I watch these camera's all the time on eBay, and the most of them are coming into the US from Japan. That makes them a great buy, but the shipping is stiff at $55 to $65 routinely. Very little "free ship" on these.

Great Camera's Great Price. Even the GSW 65mm can be found for good prices in the first series, and the II series. Some tatty cosmetically III series can be found at $400 to $550, but generally more.

Yes, they are big... which is a plus for me... no little piddly no weight digital shaking in my hands. These babies are inertially stable, and the glass is fantastic.

None of the interchangeable lenses had the EBC coating except for the AE100 metered lens.

My favorite kit is the GL two shutter button 690 with the 100 mm lens and the 65mm lens.

OH yes, the variant never shipped to the US was the 680 model with a 6X8 frame... and I'm not talking about the GF680... I'm talking about a 6X8 Big Texas Leica.

I think the tale about the 4 frame count tourist market pretty well explains the low price because of the excessive inventory. Wonder if it's true.???
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I use my GL690 to shoot 6X17 Panorama
Old 07-08-2015   #28
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I use my GL690 to shoot 6X17 Panorama

I was itching for a Fuji or other 6X17 camera.

Then it struck me that I can do 6X17 with $500 of equipment.

I shoot 2 or 3 frames with overlap on the big Fuji. I do this on a tripod which I installed two leveling bubbles on... one at the rotational plane of the panning head and one on the top of the camera (hot shoe bubble?)

I don't mess with all that Nodal Point crap and don't feel the need for any special tripod heads because the subjects I shoot are beyond parallax problems... scenics and landscapes. I'm carrying less than $700 worth of Pano gear this way.

Get high res scans of the images, stitch with pano software. Lots of that around.

If I am careful I can simulate 6X17 and 6X24 with a good tripod and $500 worth of GL690.... I only use the 100mm lens because using the 65mm lens created problems in the stitching software with perspective.

Voila'
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Old 07-08-2015   #29
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My last point has to do with lens selection. I have seen users take one or the other of the focus helicals for the Fuji, and mount both large format or other "press camera" lenses.

One of the most interesting was a Mamiya Press 75mm from the Universal camera's mounted on the front of a Fujica focus mount/helical. That's one of the lenses I really like from Mamiya, I think a Planar formula, and very sharp. Makes a nice alternative lens for the Fujica 65MM.
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Old 07-09-2015   #30
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I would agree that prices are crazy low due to an abundant supply.

I would mention that the old Fuji's are very durable cameras that are both simple and overbuilt. I think like Nikon F3's the durability has caused a flooded market that killed pricing.

I once owned a Mamiya 6 and the 50/4.0, but I sold it and decided to keep the Fuji's for the long-long term. I kept the more durable camera and decided to go with the bigger negatives.

For the square I still have a Whiteface 3.5F.

At this point, due to unpopularity, I think owning and shooting an old Texas Leica presents itself as a cult status. Also I love great cameras that cost "no money."

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Old 07-09-2015   #31
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My last point has to do with lens selection. I have seen users take one or the other of the focus helicals for the Fuji, and mount both large format or other "press camera" lenses.

One of the most interesting was a Mamiya Press 75mm from the Universal camera's mounted on the front of a Fujica focus mount/helical. That's one of the lenses I really like from Mamiya, I think a Planar formula, and very sharp. Makes a nice alternative lens for the Fujica 65MM.
Kurzano,

Wow. Thanks for posting this. The idea kinda is making me crazy. Do you have any more info or links to supply?

Thanks in advance.

Cal
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Old 07-09-2015   #32
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Kurzano,

Wow. Thanks for posting this. The idea kinda is making me crazy. Do you have any more info or links to supply?

Thanks in advance.

Cal
+1 This idea makes me crazy as well but funnily enough I was thinking about it the other day.

Where can I get the adapter/helical!? This would open us up to a whole world of other lenses! The 50 6.3 is loads cheaper than the 50 5.6 Fuji. Also a 250mm would be divine...
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Old 07-09-2015   #33
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+1 This idea makes me crazy as well but funnily enough I was thinking about it the other day.

Where can I get the adapter/helical!? This would open us up to a whole world of other lenses! The 50 6.3 is loads cheaper than the 50 5.6 Fuji. Also a 250mm would be divine...
Jeremy,

For a ultra wide you should consider a Plaubel 69W Proshift with a Schnieder 47/5.6 Super Augulon. The bonus is this camera has shifts for perspective control. Since you are shooting color you would want to get one with the center filter.

The Plaubel incorporates a Mamiya Press back and if you have access to a 3-D printer you could kinda clone the lensmount and shift housing of the Plaubel.

You could buy a Plaubel 69W entire camera for the going prices of a Fuji Ultra-wide lens and have the bonus of perspective control like a large format camera, except on 6x9.

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Old 07-09-2015   #34
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I love em....

But your list does not include the PRIMARY reason which I was told for the low prices.... TOO Many examples in the market, and all good condition because used and maintained highly.

Here's the story I was told. In fact this story also explains the one variant that was never imported to the US.

If you look close at the frame number selection, you will see the ability to shoot a 4 count roll. Now I've never seen a 4 count roll in the US, but they were (and maybe are) available for photographers who shot tourist images in Japan and perhaps other asian countries.

So, there appears to be a vast inventory of good used 690 "BTL"* bodies that never shot over 4 count rolls, which means the shutter count is way overstated on these bodies, since they operated by roll count x 10. The market may now be flooded with these bodies that have only really shot about half the frames indicated.

I think the tale about the 4 frame count tourist market pretty well explains the low price because of the excessive inventory. Wonder if it's true.???
I agree about the abundant supply. I did mention that the production numbers were a large reason for the current pricing. Interesting idea about the quality though. Because so many were produced and they all are built like tanks, the number available that are working and in good condition is still very high and this would also drive the price down.

So with the 4 frame roll count - you are basically saying that the counter would count a roll as a roll regardless of the number of frames selected.

But I disagree with this - when I took apart the GW690 mkIII, I messed around with removing the counter on the bottom. Essentially the counter is actuated every time the shutter is depressed. There is no linkage between the counter and anything else.

Of course, they could have changed the design from the original GW690 and the Mark III but I doubt it.
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Old 07-09-2015   #35
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Jeremy,

For a ultra wide you should consider a Plaubel 69W Proshift with a Schnieder 47/5.6 Super Augulon. The bonus is this camera has shifts for perspective control. Since you are shooting color you would want to get one with the center filter.

The Plaubel incorporates a Mamiya Press back and if you have access to a 3-D printer you could kinda clone the lensmount and shift housing of the Plaubel.

You could buy a Plaubel 69W entire camera for the going prices of a Fuji Ultra-wide lens and have the bonus of perspective control like a large format camera, except on 6x9.

Cal
Cal, I would love to have a Plaubel. I adore the movements on my 4x5 and it would be great to have a 6x9 that could do the same.

That's a fair point about the ProShift costing as much as a 50mm Fuji. But I'll keep looking for deals on one of those. I saw a 65mm 5.6 sold for $250 a week ago... I should have pulled the trigger... dag nabbit!
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Old 07-09-2015   #36
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I agree about the abundant supply. I did mention that the production numbers were a large reason for the current pricing. Interesting idea about the quality though. Because so many were produced and they all are built like tanks, the number available that are working and in good condition is still very high and this would also drive the price down.
I doubt that there were quite that many built - after all, Japanese bus tours are are relatively limited market segment, at least on a global scale. But there are more being offered now than of other workhorse medium format cameras which must (if only by their greater international distribution) have outnumbered it by magnitudes.

I think the secret of the high number of survivors lies in them mostly being sold to a Japanese corporate market (group tour bus operators), with long term services contracts (that even mandated a shutter replacement at regular intervals). Both the high attention Japanese employees (used to) give to their employer's tools and the service contract will have worked well towards the longevity of the cameras.
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Old 07-09-2015   #37
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It's a cool camera, gives great results, and in fact one print from it has been in my living room for the past 3 years. Problem is it's one of the most awkward cameras to carry and shoot with I've ever used. The viewfinder is adequate but unimpressive for someone who's used a Leica. But for around $300 if someone wants to produce fine quality prints it might a great option. Small digital cameras can equal it in IQ, though the results will be a bit different. I still have my GW690ii and should probably sell it.
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Old 07-09-2015   #38
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Small digital cameras can equal it in IQ, though the results will be a bit different.
Isn't this a contradiction? In other words, "The IQ can be equalled by small digital camers but the IQ will be different".

Also, it's a bold statement to say that a small digital camera could equal a 6x9 film camera in image quality. I really would disagree.

The two biggest difference in my mind is the tonality provided by the larger format and the character of those lenses.

A good drum scan of one of those 6x9 negatives could give you a gigapixel image (overkill of course but you could do it). This is not apples to apples with a digital sensor... but it blows the doors off of any small digital camera.
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Old 07-09-2015   #39
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Not a contradiction really, they have different image rendering. Have you shot with a Leica M9 or M240? Digital is getting better all the time.

I'm not challenging your reasoning for shooting a 6x9 Fuji. It can produce some great images. If you like it go for it, I'm glad some people are still shooting these cameras. I still shoot some film as well, but just for me personally, it's finally gotten to the point that compared to what I can get out of a digital Leica M, the convenience and ability to shoot more with one of these cameras is a good choice for me.

I hope you're not worrying about what other people do, if you like it stick with it and happy shooting!
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Old 07-09-2015   #40
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Not a contradiction really, they have different image rendering. Have you shot with a Leica M9 or M240? Digital is getting better all the time.

I'm not challenging your reasoning for shooting a 6x9 Fuji. It can produce some great images. If you like it go for it, I'm glad some people are still shooting these cameras. I still shoot some film as well, but just for me personally, it's finally gotten to the point that compared to what I can get out of a digital Leica M, the convenience and ability to shoot more with one of these cameras is a good choice for me.

I hope you're not worrying about what other people do, if you like it stick with it and happy shooting!

Absolutely nothing I've seen out of those M's comes even close. I don't know where you got it are you like talking sharpness or something?
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