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120 / 220 film RF's 120 / 220 format rangefinders including Fuji, Koni-Omega, Mamiya Press, Linhof 6x7/6x9 cameras, Mamiya 6/7 among others, but excluding the 120 folders and the Voigtlander 667 cameras that have their own forums.

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Finally got a "Texas Leica"!
Old 06-24-2017   #1
Colorado CJ
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Finally got a "Texas Leica"!

I've been wanting one of these for many years. I finally won one on eBay for a price I was willing to spend, and it is in excellent condition, where any are pretty worn looking.

So, what is it? It's a Fuji G690 BL medium format rangefinder. It's been known as a Texas Leica because it's HUGE (nearly 5 lbs), almost cartoon size and its similarity to a Leica M3. It takes 6cm x 9cm medium format negatives.

Here's a shot of it next to my Canon L2 Rangefinder


Fuji G690 BL by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr

I also ran a test roll through it yesterday to make sure everything was working. It seems to work at all sped and the rangefinder is spot on. These are nothing special, just some shots from around my shop. Because of the very large negative, I only get 8 shots per roll.


G690BL Test 1 by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr


G690BL Test 2 by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr


G690BL Test 3 by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr


G690BL Test 4 by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr

Since this is very similar to an M3, handling and using it is very easy. It is the fastest medium format camera I've ever used, just what I wanted! I'll probably be taking it up into the high country tomorrow for some hiking and photography.
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Old 06-24-2017   #2
charjohncarter
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Personally, I think you made the correct choice. I have a Mamiya Super 23 which is bigger, but I also get 6x9. The 23 is bulky as well as heavy at least yours is easy enough to haul around, around your neck. The jump in quality is so astounding when you go to 6x9 you never want to take an important image with a 35mm.
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Old 06-24-2017   #3
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You will love it. It's half of a 4x5. Some of my best images are from the 90
and 65. Prints 20x24 like a dream. Good Luck.
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Old 06-24-2017   #4
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Colorado CJ that thing is really cool . . .
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Old 06-24-2017   #5
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YUGE!

P.S. I have my eyes on one of its later brethren GW690III. Alluring and scary at the same time.
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Old 06-24-2017   #6
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Congratulations. I've owned & used a bunch of them. I just picked up a GW680 which is my favourite aspect ratio of those cameras. You're absolutely right, that in the darkroom that large real estate negative is a charm.
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Old 06-24-2017   #7
sepiareverb
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From that first pic you might call it a Colorado Canon.

Looks like a gem. Shoot well!
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Old 06-24-2017   #8
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It is a great camera. I have used such a camera for many years to get sharp 16x24 prints. The 100mm lens is sharper than what I have in my Rolleiflex TLR cameras. I used them side by side in the field.
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Old 06-24-2017   #9
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Congratulations on your Texas Leica.

Last weekend, I was using one to shoot a group of people. No one even noticed its large size. Instead, they noticed it when I wound the film and expressed shock that it was a film camera instead of a digital.


Fuji Medium Format Rangefinders by Narsuitus, on Flickr
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Old 06-24-2017   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narsuitus View Post
Congratulations on your Texas Leica.

Last weekend, I was using one to shoot a group of people. No one even noticed its large size. Instead, they noticed it when I wound the film and expressed shock that it was a film camera instead of a digital.
That's a nice looking set you got there! That triggered a question I have for a long time, when come to the negatives dimension, I get 6x6, and 6x9, but when come to 6x7 I don't seems to grasp the utility of it, perhaps if you crop you get a bit more room to play with? What in general do you use the 6x7 for may I ask?
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Old 06-24-2017   #11
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6x7 format requires very little cropping to fit standard page/print sizes of 8x10, 11x14 and 16x20.

Doug
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Old 06-24-2017   #12
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Nice shots, and yes excellent sharpness.
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Old 06-24-2017   #13
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6x9 is what 35mm will be when it grows up.
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Old 06-24-2017   #14
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funny thread, earlier today while driving I've been thinking of selling my 4x5 kit and going with the Texas Leica as it will be easier to carry around and can take 8 exposures in one roll.
I had a GSW690iii before going 4x5 but now I'm thinking of the GW690 as I prefer a med-tele lens.
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Old 06-24-2017   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newfilm View Post
What in general do you use the 6x7 for may I ask?
I liked the 6x9cm because it has the same aspect ratio as my 35mm small format film camera.

I primarily use the 6x9 and its wide-angle lens for landscapes and large group shots.


I like the 6x7cm because it is close to the aspect ratio as my 4x5 and 8x10 inch large format film cameras.

I primarily use the 6x7 and its normal lens for weddings and general shooting.
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Old 06-24-2017   #16
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Nice, I've had two, along with the younger brother gw. Very easy to clean the finder if you ever come across the hazy one. Sold every one due to poor economy lol
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Old 06-25-2017   #17
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I found the lens of fuji 6x7 a tad softish (i bought the camera new in 2000 from robert white in england) and i sold the camera in 2006! maybe a bad sample because i saw samples that are good. I also have the autofocus 645 with the 60mm, and that lens is amazing! For 6x9 i prefer my mamiya universal though... more of a moroccan leica with lenses from 20 to 135mm ...
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Old 06-25-2017   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scapevision View Post
Nice, I've had two, along with the younger brother gw. Very easy to clean the finder if you ever come across the hazy one. Sold every one due to poor economy lol
Sad to hear, I saw you had some solid results with them! I have to agree that depending on the pace, 8 exp 120 means not only few exposures, but also expensive.
Anyhow, one can think of it as a small portable quasi-LF camera.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ruilourosa View Post
I found the lens of fuji 6x7 a tad softish (i bought the camera new in 2000 from robert white in england) and i sold the camera in 2006! maybe a bad sample because i saw samples that are good. I also have the autofocus 645 with the 60mm, and that lens is amazing! For 6x9 i prefer my mamiya universal though... more of a moroccan leica with lenses from 20 to 135mm ...
I think the GA645 is a great complementary camera, given its convenience and half frame.
The Fujinon 90mm is solid but perhaps not as crazy sharp as the Mamiya 7 glass. Anyways, that comparison is unfair given that you can get a 3 piece Fuji kit for a Mamiya 7 rate.
The 65mm is reported to be fantastic however. 90mm (38-40mm EQ) is wide enough to me and faster also.
100mm of the interchangeable Fujis is a king of tessars.
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Old 06-25-2017   #19
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Congratulations! A fun camera, a joy to use.
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Old 06-25-2017   #20
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Couple more from my second roll through the G690.

I race FPV Racing Quads in MultiGP, here are a few photos I took during yesterday's race, and one on the way back home.

G690 BL Roll 2- 5 by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr

G690 BL Roll 2- 2 by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr

G690 BL Roll 2- 3 by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr

G690 BL Roll 2- 4 by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr

G690 BL Roll 2- 1 by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr
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Old 06-25-2017   #21
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Excellent shots! What film did you use?
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Old 06-25-2017   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
Excellent shots! What film did you use?
Thanks! I am using Acros 100 developed in Pyrocat MC for 12.5 minutes.

Acros 100 is probably my favorite B&W film, and in 120, is some of the cheapest you can find.
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Old 07-09-2017   #23
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I just got back from a trip to Minnesota to see the family. On the way, I stopped by Devils Tower to stretch the legs and do a little photography for a half hour or so.

I mainly used my X100S and an IR filter (I REALLY like shooting in IR and digital is just easier and cheaper).

Well, I developed and scanned in the roll I shot through my Fuji G690BL medium format camera. These were all shot on Across 100 and developed in Pyrocat MC for 12.5 minutes. Scanned in with an Epson V750 Pro negative scanner.

The light in these wasn't the best. I waited a little for the right light with my digital IR images. For these images I just snapped the photos without waiting for good light, and it shows.


G690BL Roll 3 - 3 by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr


G690BL Roll 3 - 1 by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr


G690BL Roll 3 - 5 by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr



My folks and nephew

G690BL Roll 3 - 2 by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr

Here's one action shot from the roll. The G690BL actually worked very well for this. I just prefocused and tracked my nephew, tripping the shutter when he got to the prefocused area. I couldn't do this near as easily with my other medium format cameras!

G690BL Roll 3 - 4 by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr
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Old 08-01-2017   #24
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While I've tried using an RB67, I found the ground glass and heavy size to be very cumbersome... and I found out all too quickly that my brain doesn't work really well with my type of work (quick reaction) with flipped orientation. Also, much prefer the "wide" aspect ratio of 4x6 (in comparison to 6x6 square or even 6x7 semi-square) so am curious about the Texas Leica!
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Old 08-01-2017   #25
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6x9 is such a wonderful size. love images from it.
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Old 08-02-2017   #26
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are you allowed to go up to or climb devil's tower?
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