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Fuji GW690ii

The GW690ii in action in February 2020 during a trip to the Faroes.

My wife and I were out taking photos on a frosty morning at the end of 2019 when we met a chap in the woods with a boxy-looking camera with a waist level viewfinder. This turned out to be a Hasselblad 500 of some kind and I asked him quite a lot of questions about medium format film photography. He had bought his camera at Ffordes in Inverness and I bought a dose of GAS2 from him. After a fair bit of reading and research, I decided I wanted to give medium format a try. I bought a Fuji GW690ii1 from ODA-Japan at the end of 2019 for under $500 US, not including P&P, the Amex foreign currency fees, VAT, import duty and local PO handling fees, which brought the actual cost to over £500 Sterling. The camera has a fixed 90mm lens with a 67 mm filter thread.

The Fuji is on the left

Because the Fuji doesn’t have a meter, I bought a Gossen Sixtino meter on eBay for £20. There’s also an app for my iPhone that is very convenient.

I had light leaks with this camera from the outset, which was disappointing. I took it to Cameratiks in Morningside for a CLA, along with two Nikon FM SLRs, who sorted it out for me.

I took the camera for a proper outing before the CLA, on a trip to the Faroes, which was part of our honeymoon in instalments. It was pretty nice:

Huts near Vágar Airport, f/11 1/60s, hand held. Kodak Portra 160.

The camera is completely mechanical and therefore fully manual. A fixed lens, and nothing to change except the aperture and shutter: both are adjusted by adjacent rings on the front of the lens. This is neat, because once you've got your EI worked out and set a shutter for a given aperture, you can turn both rings together, keeping the exposure but adjusting for (say) depth of field.

My wife at work at the Bøsdalafossur falls, f/32, 1/4s, Fuji Acros II

  1. This medium format rangefinder is enormous, of circus clown comedy proportions. It is sometimes referred to as the "Texas Leica" for this reason. 

  2. GAS = Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Photographers get it. Guitarists get it too. 

Last update: August 2, 2022