David Littleboy (Tokyo, Japan) , May 31, 2003; 09:31 p.m.
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.