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The Texas Leica - Fuji GW690II

Ok.  Another camera :P.  This is actually another impulse purchase over e(vil)-bay.  I  was actually planning to use the money for an Ipad-mini to replace my Ipad (1st generation) that was hijacked by my kids in Thailand.   The reason I was not getting the mini was because it does not have retina display and sincerely, the price it charges without retina is a bit "high" and dissapointing.

It all started when I started to see some photos posted by none other of ndroo of  showcasing his shots using the Fuji GF670, basically the rebadged version of the Voigtlander Bessa III.  It's a compact and foladable medium format camera and that camera really appeals me because I am not shooting 120 as often as I want to in Singapore because the Mamiya Press was just so damn heavy and daunting to use.  His latest post re-ignited my quest to find something lighter and more portable to use.

Initially I thought of getting the GF670 but it's just too expensive for my budget.  I don't want to spend too much money and yet I wanted something smaller.  I started looking for some Mamiya 645 but the smaller format does not really appeal me.  Hassy is out as it's as boxy as my press.  The Fuji GW series immediately came into my mind.

1st, It's cheaper and more affordable.  There is the 6x9 format for me and lastly, the EBC coated Fujinon lens.  I chose the GW690II 2nd version because there isn't much difference between the III and II besides the RF mechanism.  I have handled a GW670II before and I quite like it.  It's huge but actually quite light for its size.  Mainly because of the more "plastic" construction.

I found a reputable seller in ebay and I got it within a week.  The seller is one of the rare ebay sellers that are very honest in his service and price.  He actually refunded some money to my paypal when he found out that shipping was not as expensive as he expected! Do check his store out for any LF or MF gears.

The camera is in great condition and it was actually on my target list when I was hunting for a 6x9 camera during my last search.  I settled for the Mamiya Universal "Beast" that time as I wanted something more flexible and modular.  This time, my aim is portability.  It's definitely not as portable as the foldable GF670 but at least it's much better than the "beast".

The RF and VF is quite bright but defintely not comparable to the VC or Leica.  They actually nicknamed this camera as the Texas Leica because of its size.  Come to think of it, actually the size ratio is exagerated.  Althought the camera's physical size is about twice the size of a 35mm Leica but the negatives you yield will be about 6 times of a 35mm film.  So actually if you think of it, the camera is quite small.

I have tested a roll and the initial assessment and feel is quite postive except for 2 things.

1st, this bloody leaf shutter RF camera give a very thunderous loud "clack" when triggered.  Bloody almost as loud as a Hassy.  Leaf shutter supposes to be quiet but Fuji has to make it this loud... WTH.  And from what I know, the loud clack is actually caused by triggering the shutter counter... not the real actual sound of the shutter closing.

2nd, the bloody front hood!  It's great to have a built in hood but if you collaspe it, you can't change shutter speed and aperture!  So imagine if want to mount a filter in front of you lens.... !@#!@$@#$  Stupid design.  I actually tried to remove it but it seems I need to disassemble the entire lens unit, just to get the bloody hood off!! So for the moment, I'll just leave it on.

I have loaded a roll and plan to shoot when I'm off from my work.  Will post more later.

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