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Well, that's the Fuji GW690 destroyed...

Steve B
Eminent Member

Last Friday week, Ruth and I took a trip out to Epsom Common. I'd found an Oak quite some months previously that looked like it'd yield interesting images in different conditions. The notion this time was to load up the 'Texas Leica' with Kodak Ektar 100 and catch some shots around 'golden hour'.

We discovered on arrival at the parking area, that we'd be locked in, as they shut up shop half an hour before sunset. A fruitless search for another route in ran the clock down, so accepting the abort, we headed for home. Passing the ponds at Carshalton I thought a night shot of Festival Walk would be interesting on 6x9cm film and we diverted in to set up. The tripod was deployed and the big Fuji, withdrawn from the rukkie. The 'L' bracket was set down on the Arca Swiss clamp and wound in until it stopped. I released my hold on the camera. The world went into slow motion as the Texas Leica pivoted forward. My left hand struck like a Rattlesnake, skimming the body, failing to latch on to anything. Gravity did its thing. The Fuji hit the road lens first, then on the top plate. The back flew open. The film pressure plate said goodbye to the camera, landing a few feet away. I cried. Real salty man tears. No I didn't but I did wonder how a process I'd done more times than I could recall had gone (literally) south.

Turns out the front lip of the 'L' bracket hadn't clicked down to ride under the clamp but had slid on top, so that in tightening the clamp I was just closing it as far as its travel allowed and wrongly construed this as the camera being secured.

My approach to life, drawn in great part from the Stoics, kicked in and I accepted what had happened. There was no point crying over spilt Fuji. Accidental damage on our contents insurance would cover most of the cost of a replacement, so having established Japan as my favourite shopping venue for well kept used gear, had a tour of the Texas Leica options. The GW has a fixed 90mm lens (39mm in 35mm terms), whereas its predecessor, the GL690, a 100mm (43mm in 35mm). This earlier lens is particularly well regarded and is closer to the 50mm I prefer on 35mm, so I struck lucky and found a great example I successfully snapped up. In truth and as lovely as the GW is, I prefer the GL with brass top and bottom plates (the GW is plastic). The optics are perfectly clear and the Seiko #0 shutter in the lens is largely indestructible and in the unlikely event of needing repair, straightforward to work on I understand. I hammered the Seiko shutter in my Mamiya RB67 with well north of 100,000 exposures and never missed a beat. The GL's viewfinder is outstanding - 92-95% coverage and the frame lines are 'field corrected' as well as parallax corrected, changing to accommodate magnification. The focussing patches are not sharp edged, like my Leica M3 but just as assured in nailing focus. It's a fabulous camera, with some 'wabi-sabi' charm in its condition that just adds to its appeal.        

Now it's a case of putting a roll through the GL to see how things are before sending it to my repair buy for a good clean, lube and adjust.

Acceptance is the root of happiness...and people who say 'money can't buy happiness' don't know where to shop...

TTFN

Steve             

   

Raised by Direwolves. Warden of the north for House Stark. Dancing master. Winter is here...

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Topic starter Posted : 12/09/2021 9:05 pm
brianconnollyphotos
Member Moderator

Steve, you are a veritable mine of detail on the world of film cameras and where to find them! I wish I had the time to get that immersed in the role (roll 🙄 ) as it always sounds interesting.

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Posted : 14/09/2021 4:14 pm
Steve B
Eminent Member

Cheers for that Brian - Japan is the most assured location for second hand gear I've found, including digital. There are scammers of course, like there are everywhere but they don't last long and the bulk of vendors are totally reliable. In general terms, they treat their gear better than anywhere else I've found and their detailed breakdown of condition is second to none, especially optics, detailing haze, scratches, fungus, balsam separation and other defects where present, including cleaning marks where softer coatings on older lenses made these possible.

Germany has also been a happy hunting ground, yielding a film camera and a couple of Olympus digital Pens, along with a lens or three. The USA is a place I generally avoid but did find a Ricoh Auto TLS EE film camera with the Rikenon 50mm f1.7 at a third of the price I've seen the combo elsewhere.

Looking forward to the meet tomorrow.  

TTFN

Steve      

Raised by Direwolves. Warden of the north for House Stark. Dancing master. Winter is here...

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Topic starter Posted : 14/09/2021 5:16 pm
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