Another impressive analogue beauty from Fujifilm, the Fujica G690 was the Japanese camera company’s first medium format rangefinder camera introduced in 1968. Find out more about this landmark rangefinder camera from Fuji in this installment of Lomopedia!
Fuji decided to make a medium format rangefinder camera after having discussions with Japanese commercial photographers who preferred medium or large format over 35mm, but wanted the easier handling of 35mm rangefinder cameras. The result was the Fujica G690, whose design was based on the 70mm Combat Graphic (used by the US Navy and US Marine Corps in 1944) and the handling of Leica. Yamamoto Katsuhiko, the head of the design team, surmised that while it would not need the weatherproofing or rugged handling of the wartime rangefinder camera, it still warrants a design that prioritizes durability for hard use and ease of handling.
The Fujica G690 prototype was exhibited in the March 1968 Tokyo Camera Show, then in the September 1986 Photokina. Later in the year, the Japanese market got their hands on the 6×9 interchangeable lens rangefinder camera with standard 100mm f/3.5 lens for ¥78,200 a piece. It takes 120 and 220 roll films and 6.5 × 9 cm daimeishi sheet film. This rangefinder camera also boasts of a superior field-corrected viewfinder (even reportedly better than the Leica M series), its brightlines adjusting for parallax and field of view when the lens is focused.
- Type: Coupled range/viewfinder camera with interchangeable lens
- Frame Size: 56×82.6mm (6×9 format) or 56×69mm (6×7 format)
- Film: 120 (8 exposures for 6×9, 10 exposures for 6×7) or 220 (16 exposures for 6×9, 20 exposures for 6×7) roll film by reversible pressure plate
- Film advance: Two-stroke lever on camera top advances film, cocks shutter, and locks itself to prevent double exposure. Automatic frame spacing. Multiple exposures are possible, but the procedure is awkward: one has to press release for first exposure, close lightshield curtain, remove lens, manually cock lens, mount lens, place Roll/Sheet selector on “S”, open lightshield curtain, press release, repeat if needed and put back the selector on “R” when finished.
- Exposure Counter: Automatic reset, additive type.
- Lens: Interchangeable, bayonet (breech-lock type) mount lens with built-in leaf shutter.
- Shutter: B, 1 – 1/500 sec. built-in M and X contacts for all-speed flash synchronization (X synch. only on Fujinon EBC AE f/3.5 100mm).
- Viewfinder: Projected bright frame, automatic field and parallax correction. Magnification 0.75x, rangefinder base length 67mm (effective base length 50.3mm). Built-in bright frames for 100mm normal and 150mm telephoto lenses. Field of view reduction 96% at 1 meter, 84% at infinity for G690 and G690BL; 95% at 1 meter and 92% at infinity for GL690
- Rangefinder: Split image coupled rangefinder/viewfinder.
- Focusing: Direct advance helicoid lens coupled with rangefinder.
- Height: 166mm, width: 183mm, front to back (with normal lens): 145mm (body thickness = 38mm).
- Weight: Body only: 1,260g (G690/G690 BL) / 1,148g (GL690).