Thursday, February 17, 2022

Fujica GW690, film experiment continues

Today was the day! I've enjoyed shooting 35mm film enough that I've been thinking about what camera to get for my own. Sean had lent me a Nikon FM2 and an FE. It's been fun, but I'm acutely aware that they are not my cameras, and they don't feel really at home in my hands. 

Then he and I were on a road trip last week (photos here and here) and dropped into The Film Experience Camera Store in Longview. The Fujica GW690 camera caught my eye, and I could hear it calling me. I did some research on it and started to like it. Today I went there again. I was initially thinking about another sunrise trip but it was overcast so I went back to bed. As a side note, they have a ton of film cameras. Right now there's a beautiful 4x5 view camera, I think it's a Wista, but that's way too much camera for me. Anyone looking for a Mamiya 7ii?

As soon as I picked up the GW690 I knew I was going to buy it. The camera feels great in my hands. It's not some tiny little thing I can't get a grip on; it's actually a handful. Someone with small hands might not feel comfortable. It feels even better than the Canon, although I can't let it hang from hooked fingers into the grip. It's used, of course, and it shows some wear. That's fine. Cameras are meant to be used to produce images, not sit on a shelf gathering dust.

For all that it's mostly metal construction it isn't that heavy. I've got one lens that weighs more than it does. This is a fully mechanical camera, no batteries required. It's a fixed 90mm lens that would be considered on the wide side of normal. Perfect for landscapes, cityscapes, and portraits in a setting. In the camera world it's called the Texas Leica because it's similar to the famous Leica rangefinder cameras, just a lot bigger, and a lot Lot LOT less expensive. It shoots a negative that is 6x9 cm (duh!) on 120 film. Just for comparison, 35mm film is actually 2.4 x 3.5 cm. 

I had a great chat with Dave about various related topics. He shot the interchangeable lens version of this for some time and gave me some pointers. I picked up some Portra 160 film, and some accessories to DSLR scan the negatives. I can't wait to load it up and take it on a shoot! 

Here's what it looks like beside a Canon 6D Mk ii with a 100mm lens. 

Of the Day



You might think that because I showed off the new film camera above, that I'd include images shot with it. Not so fast. Stay tuned for those. This is some graffiti in Inglewood.

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