5 frames with...

5 Frames with a Fuji GW690iii – by Tom Rayfield

My go to camera is the Fuji GW690iii, I absolutely love it. The fact that it is so basic by today’s standards, yet the results it produces are stunning, every single time.

I love the limits that this camera impose on me. The fixed 90mm lens makes me think about my compositions, as there is no alternative, whilst the lack of a meter or any other electronic parts make me stop and think each time before I press the shutter. Oh, and the fact that I get 8 shots to a roll REALLY makes me think before I press the shutter. The rangefinder on the camera is excellent, and despite the loud clunk every time I take a photo, this camera is flawless in my opinion.

I’m a big fan of trying new things with my camera. As a photography teacher, I am constantly trying new techniques and methods, in the hope I can pass something onto one of my students one day.

Early in February we had a portrait workshop at school, where a local camera store teamed up with a professional model to provide our students with a backdrop, lighting setup, and opportunities to work like the pros. Before this session I had NEVER shot with off-camera flash before, NEVER shot with any flash on film before, NEVER shot with a model before and NEVER had to shoot this fast on the GW690iii before.

So I thought, hey, why not?! Let’s give it a go, what could possibly go wrong?!

So, here are 5 frames from that session….I hope you like them as much as I do.

Film stock: Fuji Pro 400H

Model: Bernadette Lemon

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4 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Kodachromeguy
    March 20, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    Fabulous, very nicely done. I use the slightly older version of your camera, the GW690II. The Fuji 90 mm lens is amazing. I do urban decay photography, and this lens can resolve the tiniest details of buildings and old factories when I use fine-grain film. Two things I miss on this rangefinder: 1. shutter speed of 2 sec. 2. A self-timer.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Karl Valentin
    March 21, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    For studio work I guess I would prefer a Mamiya RB 67 which is to big to carry it around on location or a trip
    Here the Fuji seems to be the perfect pick !

  • Avatar
    Reply
    BC
    May 14, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    Yes Fuji and Mamiya have stunning lenses (very sharp, sometimes too sharp and when I worked for a portrait studio with RB7s we used to add a diffusing filter in front of the lens to reduce skin details). Obviously the idea behind this 6×9 rangefinder is to be able to work outside (I have never liked taking an RB) out of the studio and would rather use a Mamiya 7 (a little less clunky than the Fuji 6×9) and with interchangeable lenses (but these are still expensive while anyone who want to try their hands at medium format can find a good Fuji GS690 with a 90 mm (roughly equivalent of a 35 mm on a 35 mm camera) or a wider GSW690 with a 65 mm (roughly smaller angle than a 24 mm on a 35 mm camera). Personally, as Tom does, I would use this camera (GW690) outside. It is bulky but portable, can be used handheld (which I think it is intended to be) and gives those ultra large negatives of the same ration as the 24mm x 36mm images produced by the vast majority 35 mm cameras. Nice studio try Tom.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    BC
    May 14, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    Yes Fuji and Mamiya have stunning lenses (very sharp, sometimes too sharp: when I worked for a portrait studio with RB7s we used to add a diffusing filter in front of the lens to reduce skin details). Obviously the idea behind this 6×9 rangefinder is to be able to work outside. I have never liked taking an RB out of the studio and would rather use a Mamiya 7, a little less clunky than the Fuji 6×9 and with interchangeable lenses (but these are still expensive while anyone who want to try their hands at medium format can find a good Fuji GS690 with a 90 mm (roughly equivalent of a 35 mm on a 35 mm camera) or a wider GSW690 with a 65 mm (roughly smaller angle than a 24 mm on a 35 mm camera) for around $500-600 on Ebay). Personally, as Tom does, I would use this camera (GW690) outside. It is bulky but portable, can be used handheld (which I think it is intended to be) and gives those ultra large negatives of the same ratio as the 24mm x 36mm images produced by the vast majority 35 mm cameras. Nice studio try Tom.

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