Fujifilm GW-690III Medium Format

GW-690III

6 x 9cm format rangefinder camera, standard 90mm f/3.5 EBC Fujinon lens.

User Reviews (16)

Showing 1-10 of 16  
Jytzel   Professional [Jul 03, 2004]
Strength:

lightweight.

Weakness:

Lens, lens, lack of B-mode.

I agree with the previous review, the lens contrast is horrible. I do a lot of B&W and I find that such lens destroys the subtle tonality- very critical for my B&W work. I think the reason this lens is haighly rated as razor sharp lens is because of its contrast; this is the anti-Zeiss kind of lens (for Zeiss users to understand what I'm talking about). One more serious drawback is the useless T-mode. Practically you can't go longer than 1 sec. shutterspeed on this lens. I sold it as new for half the price; never going back to any Fuji products (even in Large format) I'm moving to Hasselblad

Similar Products Used: Pentax 67, Rolleiflex, Mamiya
OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
2
Tom Kinkel   Expert [Oct 15, 2003]
Strength:

The GSW690 111 with 65mm lens is a good camera,nothing better than that.

Weakness:

Lightweight construction with a very poor viewfinder on top of a shutter that feels and sounds very Cheap.

I can't come to terms with the minuses of this camera .It seems to me that most fuji products that I own and get to play with have a superficial quality that seems to wear thin eventually.I find the lens contrast and the way it posterises the detail even on neg film,leaves me feeling the camera is technically well designed but lacking any depth of character.I own a lot of gear and feel this is a trademark of this highly succesfull company in general.And for all the people that have asked me why I don't like the camera and have become very indignent at the thought that I may say to them I am not unhappy to recommend the purchase of one.I can only say they are plentifull second hand.

Customer Service

The agents are not interested in customers in Australia

Similar Products Used: Hasselblad Expan,Leica M3
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
2
Tom   Intermediate [Jul 16, 2003]
Strength:

The images.

Weakness:

A clunky camera in just about every respect, but that's OK. This camera makes you slow down and think about what you are doing. I ordered mine from the UK as it seems medium format is one of the few photo niches where the UK is cheaper than the US, saved several hundred $$$, but it's still rather expensive for what it does. Just checked B&H and Adorama for a current price. Neither have them listed. Fuji didn't discontinue it, did they?

Fun. I have shot some negative film but mostly Provia 100, which produces huge wonderful slides. Good way to get the quality of medium format without investing in a 'system.'

Customer Service

Haven't needed.

Similar Products Used: Nothing quite like this.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Jerome Yeats   Professional [May 11, 2003]
Strength:

Beautiful, sharp 6x9cms transparencies, flash synch at all speeds, all metal (discontinued) body.

Weakness:

clanging shutter,dim viewfinder, idiotic T instead of bulb - just guaranteed to ruin a long exposure unless you employ a black cloth to cover the lens first. The really crazy design is the built in lenshood which makes it impossible to use square filters

I have the 690W, the 65mm wide angle version and the previous all metal model. This camera could be great but has some serious flaws which have been repeated in the newer models! I understand these models are being discontinued. I will certainly hang on to mine

Customer Service

Haven't needed it, touch wood

Similar Products Used: no medium format rangefinders. I dislike the feel of a Mamiya 7
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Dave Morrow   Intermediate [Nov 02, 2001]
Strength:

Great lens INCREDIBLE image quality Great neg size 90mm lens and neg size are a perfect match Simple film loading Light enough to get razor-sharp handheld shots and carry anywhere

Weakness:

Viewfinder partially obscured with Lens hood. Rangefinder focusing takes a while to get used to after SLR Body is a little bit on the plastic side. But this keeps weight down

The strengths of this camera far outweigh the weaknesses. I use this for ALL my photo needs now - landscape, portrait and even general snaps (I am considering taking it on a skiing holiday this year). It has most of the conveniences of a manual SLR but with the big advantage of a fantastic lens and negative size.The best camera I have used. The best camera I have played with. Simply the best camera around

Customer Service

N/A

Similar Products Used: Yashica MAT 124G Nikon F50
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Hernando Gomez Rueda   Expert [Sep 23, 2001]
Strength:

Incredibly sharp lens, perfect color rendition, ideal focal length for the format (similar to 35 mm in 35mm format). Perfect focusing system, better than any SLR in 35mm or 6x6 & 6x7. Vibration-free shutter. Easy, fast handling: simple controls, two shutter releases, convenient lock, this camera is somewhat like a big Leica.

Weakness:

Funny sound of the shutter, but that doesn''t really matter. Lack of exposure meter is the only serious a drawback, also the lack of B setting on the shutter. The film advance is two stroke, and has an unpleasant noise although that is not important.

I use the camera for landscape and archaeology (monuments, excavation,etc.) and I can''t imagine something more convenient, this camera has the best format size/image quality/weight/price ratio of all the medium format cameras. If you can live with one lens, no interchangeable magazines, and no polaroid back, this is THE camera. This is the largest format in 120 rollfilm, big enough for high quality photography in serious publications like art books, etc. I have used it for serious proyects on documentation of ancient monuments and art. Slides are breathtaking, and the big negatives a joy to enlarge. If you use a sturdy tripod (I use a surveyor''s tripod) is a real advantage, but you can use it as a handheld camera, much better than most of other medium format cameras.

Similar Products Used: Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta 4.5x6 Kiev 88 Hasselblad 500 Large format 5x7, SLR 35''s, etc, etc,
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Shama/Zeus   Professional [Aug 15, 2000]
Strength:

size for the format, lens, price

Weakness:

no built-in meter, can't see spirit level through the finder, no bulb setting,just T (timed exposure)

I had the opportunity to use one on a recent trip and I own and have used just about everything in the industry. It was a very enlightning experience. The camera is easy to handle given the large neg size, the optic is outstanding, and the rangefinder was better than anticipated. But I do have a wish list for improvements for this camera, first some kind of meter would be nice for hand-held shooting where you may not have time to guess or use a hand-held meter. Second, a spirit level in the finder would be handy. Third, give me a bulb setting, I hated using the T setting for long exposures because you have to turn the ring on the lens to end the exposure, that is unacceptable. Fourth, it would be nice to make it feel less 'plastic'. I know that last one would make it more expensive, but part of getting to love the gear you work with is how it feels in your hand and lasts over the years. Having said all this, the camera is a bargain and if you can get 6x9 printed reasonably cost effectively, it will reward you with amazing image quality. It will not replace your other cameras, though it may replace a 4x5 field camera that you may not be using because of weight and bulk. For landscapes, this is a tough camera to beat on any budget.

Customer Service

Don't know

Similar Products Used: Mamiya 7, XPAN, Hassy, Rollei, Leica, Canon, Nikon, Linhoff,and more
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
5
Austin Jordan   Casual [May 10, 2000]
Model Reviewed: GW-690III 6x9 Medium Format Camera
Strength:

I have the GSW690 III model. The 65 mm lens generates fine images on b&w negatives. The contrast blows away everything(!) I did with a Canon AE-1 and f/2.8 28 mm lens. A simple side-by-side comparison of contact sheets revealed that immediately. (Keep in mind that I didn't know anything about manual scene metering until I got the Fuji.) Wish I'd had this baby to haul up Mt. Whitney last year.
The focusing ring is wide and turns smoothly.
The spirit level has a bright greenish fluid which is easy to see.

Weakness:

Here are things that I want to add to the comments made by other reviewers:
For handheld shots, it would be nice if the spirit level were visible within the rangefinder frame. It's hard to know if the camera is level without it. I'd also add another level for vertical shots.
When lens shade is retracted, it obscures the aperture and shutter speed rings.
The aperture and shutter rings are a little narrow.

This camera is great for a novice landscape photographer like me who isn't satisfied with 35 mm. The large 6x9 negative size blows away 35 mm, and the 65 mm lens yields tack-sharp images with great contrast. The price is also hard to beat. I wish that I had bought this camera three years ago when I first read about it in Petersen's.

Customer Service

No experience yet.

Similar Products Used: In my dreams.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Ken Schuster   Professional [Apr 28, 2000]
Model Reviewed: GW-690III 6x9 Medium Format Camera
Strength:

The 65mm lens produces extremely sharp highly saturated color images as tested with Fujichrome Velvia. Compared equally to 60mm Zeiss on Hassie, but with much larger image area. Despite bulk, controls fit my hands comfortably.

Weakness:

As someone else mentioned, the lens blocks a significant portion of the rangefinder viewfinder image. Also, as someone mentioned, I too discovered the only defense against fogged film is to keep a finger on the supply spool as you advance to the arrow when loading, and definitely unload in as dark a location as possible. I don't know how the camera is capable of such beautiful images without a film tensioning system in conjunction with the pressure plate, but more than three bricks later, it's still sharp as a tack.

This is a primitive, basic camera built around an outstanding lens. It sounds, feels and looks like a big plastic toy, but produces serious results. For critical work that requires you to see exactly what you're going to get, I don't recommend it. For scenics and other things more than 30' away, it's great... once you get used to seeing part of the lens in the viewfinder. Despite the wide angle of view (on the 60mm), there's relatively little apparent distortion. If you have an enlarger that handles 4X5, you can fashion a cardboard carrier for it if you don't want to buy another metal one. Or, you can put the strip in a 4X5 carrier (or use a 4X5 glass carrier, if you have one) and mask your paper with an adjustable easel or cardboard.

Customer Service

Haven't had the need, yet.

Similar Products Used: Hasselblad, Bronica, Mamiya, Rollie.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Don Farra   Expert [Apr 05, 2000]
Model Reviewed: GW-690III 6x9 Medium Format Camera
Strength:

* super sharp negatives
* light weight 6x7 camera
* dead on focusing
* bright viewfinder
* good value
* not dependant on any batteries
* built like a hocky puck, solid feel

Weakness:

* as with any medium format camera loading and unloading film
* non interchangeable lenses
* non interchangeable backs
* no self timer
* would not recommend using 220 rolls on this camera

* Best bang for the buck
* 6x7 format renders sharper prints than any 35mm "period"
* Perfect for travel or backpacking

Customer Service

* never needed it

Similar Products Used: * GSW 690
* GW 690
* Mamiya 7
* Mamiya RZ67 II
* Leica M6
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 16  

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