Fuji GW690ii

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 GAS1 from him. After a fair bit of reading and research, I decided I wanted to give medium format a try. I bought a Fuji GW690ii2 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

Notes

The header image is of the GW690ii in action in February 2020 during a trip to the Faroes.

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

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