Big, unapologetic, robust — the Fuji GW690 III is a handful (and a mouthful, too) for all the right reasons. This medium format rangefinder camera has features and design points that any analogue enthusiast and camera aficionado will love.
The GW690 III is from a series of nine other medium format shooters manufactured by Fuji for their “Professional” line. This particular model was called the “Texas Leica” for its massive body resembling the Leica M (but still a glaring contrast to Leica's sleek framed rangefinders) and its good image quality (a nod also to the famed camera manufacturer.) Its proprietary 90 mm f/3.5 lens makes easy work of clean and crisp images — a feature that is most welcome when you're going for portrait and landscape shots with plenty of fine details.
It may be big and cumbersome for others, but the GW690 III is actually designed and built to be ergonomic for shooting with or without a tripod. It has contoured panels that offer a firm grip and its body material (for most parts made up of plastic) aims to decrease the weight of the camera, thus easing the strain when framing or lugging heavy gear around for a whole day of shooting.
It's really a purpose-built camera if you think about it. A lot of hours went into the research and development of the GW690 III. And it's reliable as well. The GW690 III is all-mechanical, meaning you get durability in exchange for a few electronic amenities like a light meter and motorized film advance.
Performance-wise, the GW690 III is no slouch. Thanks to its sharp Fujinon 90 mm f/3.5 lens, it boasts good image quality. It's non-interchangeable but it's capable of getting sharp and contrasted images with the right film and lighting conditions. The GW690 III also has a leaf shutter, a hot shoe for attaching external flashes, as well as shutter release buttons on the top plate and at the front of the camera. Having two shutter release placements allows the user to shift from landscape to portrait orientation with ease. It also comes with shutter lock so accidental exposures are avoided.
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Lens: EBC Fujinon 90 mm f/3.5, 5 components, 5 elements, non-interchangeable, 1m nearest focusing distance, F32 minimum aperture, screw-in filter (70mm outer diameter, 67mm inner diameter)
Shutter: No. 0 inter-lens shutter, T, 1-1/500 sec., shutter release lock
Focusing: double-image, coupled range-viewfinder, 0.75x magnification, 95% field of view at 1m, 44.3 mm effective baseline length
Flash: hot shoe with X sync connector
Film Type: 120 or 220 film (8/16 exposures respectively)
Dimensions: 119 mm × 201 mm × 129 mm
Weight: 1,460 grams
Other features: shutter actuation lever, spirit level