Non-buyer's remorse on a Fuji rangefinder

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ntenny

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Well, I didn't buy a Fuji GW690, and now I'm having a little bit of non-buyer's remorse.

I'm in Tokyo this week for work, so I dropped by Map Camera in Shinjuku and spent far too long salivating over the display cases. I'd thought I might look seriously at one of the Fuji 6x9 rangefinders---I love the 6x9 format, especially since it's big enough for contact printing, but all my 6x9 cameras are either scale-focussing folders or large-format cameras with rollfilm backs---nothing that can be used with reasonable ease and reliability when I want to go "Oh, look at that!---click."

The thing is, I really didn't appreciate how darn BIG the Fuji RFs are. I got one of them in my hands (a III, I believe), dry-fired it a few times to see how it would feel, and it was like driving a delivery van when you're used to a passenger car---everything *works*, but you're just moving so much mass around all the time, the feedback is so different, the scale of everything is so different, that I apologised to the salesman and explain "It's too big; I don't think I would use it", and we bowed at each other and said "arigato gozaimashita" a few times and I moved on to another floor.

But now I'm having second thoughts. I mean, geez, a 6x9 negative with a camera that I can bring to my eye, cock like a 35mm camera, and shoot---even if it *is* a behemoth that takes some getting used to, that's still a pretty compelling scenario, isn't it? But then again, great *heavens*, that thing was big. I'm afraid I'd drop it on a sidewalk and break the sidewalk.

Oh, I just don't know. What's a person to do? Can I just have one of everything, and shoot the ones I feel like, when I feel like it? But seriously: Has anyone lived through a similar experience with these cameras and decided to get one anyway? If so, how did it work out? Do you eventually get used to carrying around a camera with its own gravitational field?

-NT
 

Barry S

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That's why they call it the "Texas Leica". :smile: Honestly, it's not that bad to carry around. I used to carry mine in a Domke Camera Satchel--and that's a small bag. You don't need room for extra lenses. It's also not that heavy compared to the bulk. Try out a Pentax 67II and Fuji will will feel light. Disclaimer: I sometimes carry around an 8x10 camera with a huge Petzval lens.
 

papagene

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I have relatively small hands and I don't feel that my Fujis are too big to comfortably handle. The size and weight make for steady and comfortable handling. I use them for about 40% of my photography... the other 60% is split between my 5x7 & 4x5.

Go back and buy it!! :D

gene
 

PBrooks

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Having used both the II, III's and the I, I much prefer the I for the removable hood and B instead of the T. I use all cameras on a tripod though.
 

eclarke

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How do you crop your prints from 6x9? Maybe a 6x7 M7II would do the job...Evan Clarke
 

André E.C.

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I have the Fujica GW690, true it's not small, yet it's balanced and that optic, just rocks.
Go and get one, you're not going to regret it.:wink:
 

narsuitus

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I own and use a Fuji 6x9cm and a Fuji 6x7cm rangefinder. Neither camera is too heavy, too big, or too bulky for me. In fact, these rangefinders are about the same size, weight, and feel as my Nikon F2 with a motor drive. However, the image quality is superior to anything my 35mm F2 can produce.
 

luvcameras

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Here is my Fuji 6x7 and 6x9 Guide: Dead Link Removed

Here is my Fuji 645 Guide: Dead Link Removed

I'd recommend the Fuji 6x7 as a good compromise on size,weight and neg size...but I prefer 8x10 images, if you like 8x12 and a wider angle, the 6x9 may be more right for you.

Dan
 
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ntenny

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I'd recommend the Fuji 6x7 as a good compromise on size,weight and neg size...but I prefer 8x10 images, if you like 8x12 and a wider angle, the 6x9 may be more right for you.

I'm contact-printing, so anything less than 6x9 is really pushing it. It's not actually such a strange aspect ratio---the same as 35mm---and a contact print fits nicely in a 2"x3" frame. So I'm pretty well set on the 6x9 format; the only question is whether I really can accommodate myself to the handling.

The realistic alternative is probably something like a Super Ikonta. Much easier to carry and handle; the optics and transport won't be nearly as optimised, but for contact printing the differences are less critical than if I were enlarging; but pretty awkward to use for "grab" shots.

But it turns out that with the dollar so weak, US domestic sources are generally cheaper than here at the moment. So if I'm going to get one, I'll do it after coming home.

-NT
 

WolfTales

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Only way to know for sure is to try it out for a while and see if it suits your needs.

Maybe rent or resell it....

Sometimes sidewalks come with potholes.
 

skinnyvoice

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When my GW690III arrived and I unpacked it I laughed out loud because of the size, it just seemed unreal! Despite that it is really easy to shoot, handles well and I don't notice the size. Other people do though :wink: And of course you get those 6x9 negs
 
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Heh, when you walk around with a GW690, every photographer not familiar with one approaches you and asks about it. It is that over-sized Leica look that draws them I think. When I used to shoot wee camera stuff and wandered the zoo with a 300/2.8, I used to get quite a lot of young-ish woman (20-something most of the time for some reason) who would approach me and admire my big canon. Gave my girl friend great amusement, something to hassle me about, and some aggravation all at the some time. The 690 seems to draw middle aged men, which is not nearly so pleasurable, but still usually results in a fun chat. Now you go around with a crown graphic or full 4x5, you start to get people wondering if you are actually crazy, and a whole different discussion.

I've found the GW690 handles just great in urban settings where you want to work light and fast. Really only marginally more inconvenient then a 35mm rangefinder. Outside of the discussions :smile:
 

John Jarosz

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I have the GSW 690II. I had the GW a few years ago but I wanted something wider. The only thing I don't like is the shade. Except for that, either is a perfect machine for 6x9.

What 6x9 cameras are smaller? What are their trade-offs? Folders are not as rugged. The Fuji lenses are fantastic.

I don't see a comparable camera out there. They are big, but a 6x9 negative is big.(now, my perspective may be warped as one of my other cameras is 8x20)

John
 
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