Fuji GW690III a.k.a. the Texas Leica

OK I confess… I suffer from a condition common among photographers – especially men – that is called G.A.S. (gear acquiring syndrome). As a result of this condition I recently purchased a mint Fuji GW690III medium format range finder camera that I just couldn’t resist.

After my first experiences with the Hasselblad I kinda fell in love with medium format film and the idea that you could shoot a rangefinder that produces 6×9 cm negatives at really reasonable costs was too much. I had to have it! You might have looked for a camera like this yourself and if you just see a picture of it you might think that it’s a normal rangefinder camera. Only when you hold it in your hands you realize the thing is huge. There is a reason they call it the “Texas Leica”. But then again it’s easy to handle and everything is where it’s supposed to be.

There are a few quirks that I can easily live with. The camera has no light meter. You can solve this by taking along a light meter like the Seconic or using the light meter of another camera. The only other thing I noticed was that the camera produces a weird “kloink” when you push the shutter. It’s not really a problem, except when you plan on taking it on a stealth street shoot, but hey, you’re not going to be unnoticed with a big camera like this in somebody’s face.

The first occasion to test the Fuji was on a little trip organized by my photography club at an abandoned sports complex in Rotterdam formerly owned by Shell. One of our members managed to get access and so we took of with a small group to explore the premises. The real eye catcher was the old swimming pool that was totally inhabited with plants. Some of the photo’s are published on this website in the places album.


On this occasion I shot two rolls of Portra 400 iso film. And mind you, with 6×9 this means only 8 photo’s on a roll. Makes you think twice before pressing the shutter.

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