Fuji GW670/690 and GSW690 Discontinued

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by photo_color, May 31, 2003.

  1. Yes it's true, and sad - these cameras have been discontinued - not
    just in the USA but everywhere. This info is from Fuji USA, Calumet,
    and Robert White co. in the UK. (The 617 and 680 cameras will
    continue). I asked Fuji USA if there were replacements and they said
    no.

    So,let's all buy the 680 (after taking out a second mortgage) and
    plan on carting around 10 pounds+ of camera and necessary tripod, and
    maybe a digital back and memory cards. Or, maybe the Mamiya 7 with
    it's fussy usually non-properly calibrated rangefinder and marginal
    light meter (also costing thousands). If you prefer 6x9 format like I
    do, using modern glass, I guess it's a view camera or nothing.
    Isn't 'progress' wonderful?
     
  2. Yup, it's sad. But they're still available used. In Tokyo, the used price is about 2/3 the new price, so both a GW and a GSW would set you back just a bit more than the price of a new one of either. (One place lists them both at US$800 and another at US$900/US$1000.)

    Apparently they're widely used in studios in Japan. I was shot with one at my nephew's wedding last fall: the hotel had a studio set up for group shots. They had a GW690III, a GX690, and a couple of Mamiya 6x7s.

    But the lack of interchangeable lenses (or even a portrait lens option) and the lack of a meter make them rather specialty items. I suspect that Fuji intends to focus on high-end MF with the GX645AF (the Fujiblad) and GX680, so the GA645Zi (also discontinued) and the GW/GSW don't make sense for them.

    And I'm not sure the term "modern glass" really applies. Reading an interview with the Fuji designers on the H1 team, it's clear that they specifically aimed at edging out comparable Zeiss/Hassy lenses in the H1 lens designs, and the 35/3.5 lens for the Hassy H1 has slightly better MTF charts than the old Hassy 40/4 Distagons. Faster, wider, better: Fuji is still no slouch in the lens design area.

    I find it quite amuzing that Zeiss pulled out all the stops for some truly astounding MTF curves with the new 40/4 Distagon IF (although apparently distortion got sacrificed). So my guess is that there's a lot of room for improvement. What would make sense for Fuji would be a "IV" series using the shutter from the GX645AF, new lenses, and a meter.

    Anyway, I've always hesitated over the GSW since the lens is slow and not all that wide. I may pick up a used GW, since I do like that length as a "normal" lens, though.
     
  3. Just wondering if this might the continuing waterfall effect of things to come in the mf camera field. Digital is still improving and digital backs will be becoming more affordible. Maybe in 10 years the only mf cameras still in production will be the ones that have interchangeable backs allowing for digital back use. who knows..
     
  4. . . . and then there's that little thing called "profit!" Fuji needs to keep the wheels turning and do what it thinks best to reduce expenses and/or make money. I doubt that sentimental regrets and tears were shed at these decisions . . . if you collect cameras, buy one and stash it! It probably will appreciate in a generation. It will be interesting to see if the X-Pan survives the marketplace too.
    Hey! I like RF cameras, but business is pragmatic and does not care what I like, only what I buy!
     
  5. Two points about Fuji discontinuing the 6x7 and 6x9 cameras:

    1. If it did not happen now, it would happen soon. I believe digital
    is going to make a dent. If you have used a decent digital
    camera recently, you know that it can replace most of the 35mm
    market right now. Most people do not demand too much
    enlargement or great quality, which is fine for for most people.
    Digital does a good job here. I can not see digital equalling
    current MF quality for several years ....but, perhaps in five years
    or even less, camera with 15-20 megabites will make possible
    excellent detail with great magnification. I do not see it now, but
    things have a way of coming up quickly.

    2. Fuji camera are still available on the used market in very very
    good condition. I have always bought used equipment because
    it represents a great savings. Even if you get one that will need
    servicing soon, Fujis are simple cameras with no electronics
    (bless them) and very easy to repair shutters. So, as long as you
    do not pount nails into the viewfinder or set fire to the camera
    body, repairs will be easily accomplished. Please consider
    Rollei cameras: how many TLRs from 50 years ago, and longer,
    still provide excellent service? The shutters are easily repaired
    and as long as you do not pound nails into the viewfinder or set
    fire to the body, they will keep going for many many years.

    Best to all, Jerry
     
  6. These cameras are still available NEW, I checked on B&H Photo and they show them in stock.
     
  7. The GW690 is no longer available new from B&H. They sold the
    last one in stock a few months ago. I was on an email
    notification list for the next new GW690, but was worried
    because of the rumors that the rangefinders had been
    discontinued. There is no longer any listing for the GW690 at
    B&H.

    I recieved an email from B&H a few weeks ago saying that the
    item was discontinued and would not be restocked. True, they
    do still have some of the other models available, but
    unfortunately not the one I want. If you want one of the others
    new you better act fast.

    It's Ebay time for me I guess. I am curious to see if the recent
    news is going to effect the aftermarket value of these cameras. I
    already have a GA645ZI, but have a serious desire for the big 6 X
    9 format with the 90 mm (normal) lens.
     
  8. Arrrg!! First, I bought an Om1n and they announced the entire OM line was to be discontinued... now, when I'm all settled on a Fuji RF, they do this to me!

    What they need to do is slap a 500megapixel sensor behind that, and go from there..

    Fuji )#@(*%()*@#^)(!@ !!!

    Time to look at the Mamiyas...
     
  9. Albert:

    Does your camera stop working when the manufacturer discontinues it?
     
  10. No, my camera doesn't stop working when they stop making it, but support and parts availability might become a problem.

    An open letter to Fuji::

    Dear Fuji,

    Discontinuing the GW RF line is a stupid decision. While I understand the impending digital world, I also think that nobody is lying to themselves that currently, you can get the same type of quality you can get from a GW RF from digital for the same price.

    What you need to do is put out a GW690IV!

    Improvements:

    #1) Get rid of the T! Put in a Bulb and allow a cable release.
    #2) Get rid of the front shutter button, or at least have the locking mechanism lock only the front one. That way, you don't accidentally take a picture when picking up the camera.
    #3) Make the bubble level viewable inside the view finder.
    #4) Put a vertical bubble level in there as well.
    #5) Change the shutter to a quieter one!

    If you did this, people will buy this camera in droves.

    Or else you can make a 500megapixel back for it..

    Albert
     
  11. While we're in wish list mode:

    1. New lenses. 55/4.0, 90/2.8, 160/4.0.

    2. Meter. Spot and CW.

    (The above is all I need, but while we're at it.)

    3. Make the lenses interchangeable and the viewfinder zooming with the metering through the viewfinder so the meter coverage remains fixed across lenses. (And a cut-away/see-through hood for the 55mm lens.)
     
  12. I think both Albert and David are right. With a few simple modifications, Fuji could provide some serious competition for Mamiya. Those are (i) change the shutter and (ii) improve on the bubble levels. In addition, a GSW with a 4.0/65mm for 6x9 would be quite something, wouldn't it?

    But apart from this - here is the market niche of a century: a long-lens rangefinder or TLR for portraits with a good focusing mechanism. There is really nothing out there exept those old Mamiya Press, Linhof Press 70, and Koni Omega monsters. And what's better for portraits than a non-SLR design? Available light - no mirror slap - continuous control. And then the larger format. I am kind of waiting for the improved new Tele-Rolleiflex. But any good rangefinder would do as well. Can't comprehend really that for decades nobody has tried. Hey - I am ready... anybody out there?
     
  13. I just bought a GSW 690 II second hand a few months ago. I read rumors at the time that the current model was to be discontinued. I could care less.
    For the price this camera gives me outstanding performance. I do not plan to buy more lenses for my new Fuji system (can't seem to get the one it came with off anyway). So if Fuji stops making them, that is OK...as long as i can still get the major service done when the counter gets to 500. When I last checked rumors about this camera's impending demise, the consensus seemed to be that Fuji woulod continue to support it. If anyone has solid information on this issue, that to me would be the most important factor with regards to the future of this camera.


    With regards to digital, I've just decided to go all-digital with my 35mm gear. But with any Canon DSLR other than the 1Ds (at an exorbitant price), how am I going to get comparable performance at wide angle? The answer is that I can't even come close, so for landscape work the GSW 690 will stay in bag for the foreseeable future. Even then 1Ds and a prime lens would not equal the quality, and the price would be 10 times what my Fuji cost. So the digital revolution is not nearly over yet!
     
  14. Looks like the reps I talked to at this last PMA show (March 2003) didn't know what they were talking about. They refuted the rumor that models were to be discontinued.

    Seems like bad timing by Fuji. Epson comes out with the 3200 scanner with a 6x9 negative carrier and Fuji drops the GW690III and GSW690III - how damn stupid can one get!? This is a digital killer of a camera if there ever was one.

    A camera which isn't in current production doesn't mean it is a camera which someone shouldn't buy used. These are modern day classic designs. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work on a leaf shutter when the day comes for an overhaul.

    Shame on you, FujiFilm!
     
  15. Looks like the reps I talked to at this last PMA show (March 2003) didn't know what they were talking about. They refuted the rumor that models were to be discontinued.

    Seems like bad timing by Fuji. Epson comes out with the 3200 scanner with a 6x9 negative carrier and Fuji drops the GW690III and GSW690III - how damn stupid can one get!? This is a digital killer of a camera if there ever was one. It probably didn't help sales that the price went up US$200 in the last year of production.

    A camera which isn't in current production doesn't mean it is a camera which someone shouldn't buy used. These are modern day classic designs. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work on a leaf shutter when the day comes for an overhaul.

    Shame on you, FujiFilm!
     
  16. I just bought a Hassy basic set because of possibility of changing backs, and the macro features. I am planning to use the BOTH system same time. Hassy for the macro work (later for the digital maybe), Fuji for the classic RF shots (available light and head-and-shoulder portrait). I will have to buy only roll films.

    Probably Fujifilm decided based on the financial results. But they cut their legend with the low margin...

    My latest trip was around Peru, and south of Bolivia. The GW690III and GA645Zi survived the 1000km dusty roads in Atacama desert, the salty winds in Uyuni desert, without any problems. I took about 100 great pictures with the GW, and my friend took the same amout with his GA. Two other (non Fuji) cameras has problems, one of them _died_ during this trip...
    Once I shot with my friend in the italian Dolomites. We had to shoot really fast, because the light was changing every second. I shoot 2 rolls, when I realized, that my friend is just finished to fill the Hassy back :)
    I took pictures with my GW in heavy rain, where the Canon L optics died, Fujinon not. I took "T" night winter pictures in -35 degree of Celsius for hours, without any problem. This is a simple, and extremly good construction. Only the shutter noise what Seiko has to reduce ;-)

    My GW now is working in Ireland, unfortunately without me (I gave it to my friend to shoot on this trip). I am sure my friend will smiling for a week, when He will see the slides :)

    Gyuri

    Here is the Bolivia gallery (they are 35mm):
    http://forum.fotoklikk.hu/modules.php?set_albumName=album70&op=modload&name=gallery&file=index&include=view_album.php

    Dolomites (GW):
    http://forum.fotoklikk.hu/modules.php?set_albumName=album07&op=modload&name=gallery&file=index&include=view_album.php

    And an other picture from Morocco (GW):
    http://www.fujirangefinder.com/files/0107/blue_door_.jpg
    1/8 sec, f4

    Morocco (GW):
    http://forum.fotoklikk.hu/modules.php?set_albumName=album06&op=modload&name=gallery&file=index&include=view_album.php
     

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