5 frames with...

5 Frames With a Fujica GL690 – by Denys Trofimchuk

If you are like me, you are into cameras with the “wow” factor — rare, a bit weird, a bit underrated, and so forth. Maybe, it’s the desire to overcompensate for the lack of skill, or just a plain old “boys will be boys” thing, so getting a new toy is a must once in a while?

One day, a friend of mine asked me, if I want to borrow his Fujica GL690. I almost yelled “Yes!”. I was exited, because it’s a medium format, 6×9 Japanese rangefinder from the 60s. The Fujica has spectacularly sharp Fujinon lenses. This one had the standard 100mm F3.5, there are also a rare 65mm wide and 150mm portrait lens. It looks, feels and works almost precisely like the Leica M3 Double Stroke – except it’s 3 times the size and you only have 8 frames in the roll… so make them count!

I could have it only for a couple of days, so there was a lot of shooting to be done. I tried to do some street photos, but with a huge brick to your face, you’re not too stealthy. It also takes a while to focus a lens the size of my hand. After a bit of brainstorming, I decided to use it as a sort of baby large format portrait camera and do some portraits.


  • Gorgeous lens – sharp , with beautiful rendering
  • Simple in operation, fully mechanical
  • Large viewfinder/ rangefinder patch
  • Flash sync on all speed/quite lead shutter
  • Fool proof and simple mechanisms to protect from accidentally pressing the shutter or exposing the film when changing the lenses
  • Huge negatives


  • Size and weight
  • Only 8 frames per roll

In short, it’s a big camera with a big character, and you either love it or hate it!

Here are some of the portraits I shot:

Light leaks on Provia 100F
Those 2 rolls were prone to unwinding

First Roll
Kodak T-Max 400

Kodak T-Max 400

Light leaks on Provia 100F

Kodak T-Max 400

Denys Trofimchuk

Important Information

Analogue Spotlight at The Photography Show: The Photography Show 2020 is set to have a much bigger Analogue Photography presence with a new “Analogue Spotlight” feature and a significantly increased contingent of analogue photography businesses and individuals having stands or a presence at the show.
Find out more about the show including a code for dicounted tickets here,

Support the upkeep of 35mmc:For as little as $1 a month, you can help support the upkeep of this website. The more people chuck me a small amount of cash each month, the more time I can spend building and improving upon it - simple as that!
Or, for $2 a month you can get access to my behind the scenes micro-blog over on Patreon!

Either way, want to help out, become a patron of 35mmc here:

Become a Patron!

Alternatively, if you just enjoyed this post, or like the odd post here and there, please feel free to chuck a few pennies in the tip jar via Ko fi here:

Write for 35mmc: read more here, about how you can help build upon this ever growing resource
Subscribe/Follow: click here, to discover all the ways you can follow 35mmc

You Might Also Like


  • Avatar
    Steve Boykin
    October 18, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    Wow!!! Those are really nice photos!! I do wish I hadn’t read this because I am struggling not to log onto Ebay…. 🙂 I used to have a GA645. Of all the cameras I have bought and sold over the years, that’s the one I regret selling the most. It was a really great camera even if it was difficult to shoot in the landscape format. Did you find this camera difficult to focus?

    • Avatar
      October 18, 2018 at 3:26 pm

      To me, Fujica GL690 was just an oversized Leica M3. It is a bit slower to focus just because of the sheer size of the focusing ring/ lens. But other than the size and a relatively long minimum focusing distance – it’s one of my favorite medium format cameras.

  • Avatar
    Louis Sousa
    October 18, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    These are great. I just purchased the GA645, wonderful camera too. It is nice to have Medium format in a nice singular package like this. Heavy and big, but most medium format systems are. Well done….

    • Avatar
      October 26, 2018 at 3:35 am

      Thank you! I was once thinking of getting one from the 645 series but vertical orientation kinda throws me off

  • Avatar
    Dominique Pierre-Nina
    October 18, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    Hi Denys, I use to have the fuji Gw670 its 6×6-6×7 it was a superb camera it also had a bellow and you could fold the lens inside the camera where it would easily fit into my bag . Yes shooting medium format for street is a bit hard, I once took a Hasselblad around London by the end of the day I had monster fore arms.. I really like the first shot even with the light leak. If you liked the Fujifilm you should look into a GW670 its more compact and you will get great results. Thanks,

    • Avatar
      October 26, 2018 at 3:37 am

      Thank you! I thought GW is the fixed lens one? maybe the GF670? I know that was the newest, made by Bessa and still quite pricy.

  • Avatar
    October 19, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Good frames! My favourite is girl listening to music. Keep it up!

    • Avatar
      October 26, 2018 at 3:38 am

      Thank you! It’s Irene and she is probably my fav model:)

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Pin It on Pinterest

    Share This

    Thank you for commenting

    ...now share the post with your friends?