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Fuji GW670/690 and GSW690 Discontinued

Photo Color , May 31, 2003; 03:57 p.m.

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?

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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.

kelly hicks , Jun 01, 2003; 01:52 a.m.

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..

Jeff Drew , Jun 01, 2003; 10:09 a.m.

. . . 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!

Jerry Friedman , Jun 01, 2003; 05:26 p.m.

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

Antonio Plaza , Jun 01, 2003; 09:52 p.m.

These cameras are still available NEW, I checked on B&H Photo and they show them in stock.

Brad Hiltbrand , Jun 01, 2003; 11:35 p.m.

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.

Albert Yang , Jun 02, 2003; 09:41 p.m.

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...

Steven Hupp , Jun 02, 2003; 11:28 p.m.

Albert:

Does your camera stop working when the manufacturer discontinues it?

Albert Yang , Jun 03, 2003; 02:31 a.m.

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


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