I drone 0n and on about medium format this and that… but 35mm really is easier. Easier to shoot, carry, scan, develop… And digital is probably easier than 35mm…
Three things I suppose that are noteworthy about the image.
1) It shows what a 135mm F3.5 Nikkor AIS can do on the subway.
2) The Sepia tone is from the scan. And I like it.
3) This is the first time I’ve scanned with the sprocket holes in the film. You can see I shot with Ilford FP4 Plus. And that it’s scanned emulsion side down. It should be reversed.
Some members on Rangefinderforum.com have been speculating on why the Fuji 690 series is not so popular here in the states.
- Never strongly marketed to the US consumer.
- Fuji never gained the notoriety of Leica or Hasselblad (the former having lots of famous photographer adopters and the latter going to the moon).
- It’s an admittedly big and bulky camera.
- More reasons on the forum here.
One consequence of having such an unpopular camera is that there are few resources to help you service and use it. I could pay Nippon Photo Clinic to do it, but rangefinders were designed to make it easy to change the alignment. So let’s forgo the $30 expense, take five minutes and just do it.
Note – this should work the *exact* same way for a Fuji G690 or BL690 and probably the same way for a GW690.
#1 – Prepare Thine Throne
I like to have a clean workspace with some quality tools. You’ll need:
- precision screwdriver set
- wrench or vise grip with rubber pads
- paper towel and water
- hands with opposable thumbs
#2 – Remove the Shutter Collar and Winder
I’m not really sure it’s called the ‘shutter collar’ but it sounds reasonable so lets go with it. It’s basically a collar that surrounds the shutter release on the top of the camera. You have to unscrew it and then remove the thumb winder and its assorted bits.
Since the shutter collar is smooth, it can be difficult to remove. I use a visegrip along with a couple of pads of rubber. Using a wrench without rubber would work, but it would chew up the chrome.
#3 – Unscrew the Four Screws on the Top Plate
There are four screws holding the top plate to the camera. Just easily remove them and set them aside. Now remove the top plate. It take a little bit of pressure for it to come off, but just work one side at a time until it does.
#4 – Horizontal Alignment Adjustment
Now you’re ready for some horizontal adjustment. Go to the front of the camera. There are two screws next to the RF patch mirror window (mine are rusted). Notice the tiny copper colored flathead screw in between them. This is your adjustment screw.
I set my lens at infinite and started playing with different directions of turning and seeing how that impacted the RF patch. If memory servers, turning this clockwise moved my RF patch to the right. The adjustment is very fine-grained so I had to give it about one full turn. After I got it nailed down at infinite, I gave myself a sanity check. I measured 7 feet of distance between myself and a chair, set my lens at 7 feet (the closest my 150mm lens will go) and looked at the rangefinder. It was spot on :-).
See those lines on the right in the photo? Yep, those illuminate the framelines in the viewfinder.
#5 – Vertical Alignment Adjustment
Now you’ll have to remove the top plate of the rangefinder assembly. Not difficult. There are two screws on the top which need to be removed. There’s a third screw in the upper left hand corner but no need to touch this one. The mirror sitting on a circular piece of metal is what we’re after (notice it on the right hand side of the photo). There’s a small silver flathead screw behind the mirror. This is not* as finely grained as the horizontal alignment and a quarter turn threw off the alignment pretty significantly.
#6 – Window cleaning
Now with your alignment all setup, why not clean all of the windows that let in the light to your RF?
I cleaned four windows:
- External main viewfinder window within the top plate (clean both sides)
- RF patch external window within the top plate (clean both sides)
- Front internal main viewfinder window – I only cleaned the outside. In order to clean the inside, I would have to disassemble more items and there was no need.
- Rear internal main viewfinder window – The same as above, I only cleaned the outside and didn’t want to disassemble more bits.
Now you could have some significant haze within your viewfinder. Depending on what glass that haze lives on, will dictate how much work you have to do. Likely it’s on one (or more) of the four aforementioned windows. In which case, cleaning is a breeze.
You’re camera should be sharp and as good as new.
One photo can make you miss previously owned stuff.
Well, to be honest I don’t remember if this was shot with the Pentax 67 or the Mamiyz RZ 67. I guess I miss the Pentax more. So let’s just say it was shot with the Pentax :-).
A funny quote I read the other day:
“Ostensibly, [street photography with a Medium Format camera] is already perhaps not the most practical of ideas; if one is extremely masochistic, things can be compounded further into the really bad idea class by using film. And a manual focus camera. Without a meter. I think it takes a certain amount of insanity – or at least a healthy dose of optimism – to even attempt it.” – Ming Thein in this blog post.
I’ll admit it. Holy crap I’ve been missing shooting! I’ve shot a bit with my new 4×5 but now enough and most of what I did shoot wasn’t good or had errors (double exposure… not the right exposure etc).
So I’ve been carrying my trusty Nikon F3 along with the 135mm lens and just loving it. I’ve missed it.
Also, I got a new scanner. The Epson 4990. I scanned a lot of these as contact sheets. Not really worrying about the scans and just plopping them right on the glass. It shows a lot of scratches and isn’t precise at all but I don’t care.
Welp. I was really excited about the Grafmatic backs. Not so much now.
If you don’t shoot 4×5, you don’t really understand the frustration of shooting with the plastic cassettes. They work well, but they only fit 2 shots per cassette. Which isn’t much.
The Grafmatic will hold 6! Whoa momma! And it’s the size of about 2 plastic holders and weighs about as much. And cycling through each photo is a piece of pie. No need to flip over the cassette etc.
They were a dream come true. Unfortunately the dream abruptly ended as I developed my first photos.
As you may be able to tell, there’s a note which says “Light leak @ left side”. And you can see the results here:
Back to the drawing board and back to the cassettes!
I think I have it figured out! I’ve simply been doing it wrong. I’ll have to post on why that is but after reading this thread, I’m confident the light leakiness is my fault.
I’m in a state of transition good friends! Delicious, dynamic transition!
I haven’t posted any photos since Christmas in India. But that doesn’t mean I’m not taking photos, it just means I don’t have a means for posting photos.
Ok, so that’s confusing. What happened is that I sold my Fuji GW690 and my flatbed scanner to a friend. I now am scanner-less and Fuji-less. These things have been replace with a new 4×5 Chamonix field camera and Fuji 250mm lens. But… alas… no scanner.
No scanner = No digital photos = No photos on StillThrill.
I could of course outsource my development and scanning. But it is so expensive. It’s worth it to buy your own scanner. And to be frank, you can use a really crappy scanner for 4×5. There’s so much data in large format, you don’t need 9600 dpi (which would give me a 700mb file). I barely even need a 500kb file for the jpgs that go on this site. Which leads me to another item of note – posting photos on this site is a terrible way to see/view photography.
So what is a good way to view photos? Prints, glorious prints. I am far more interested in making prints these days than I am scanning and posting photos. And now that that is the case, I am more interested in making photos that are print-worthy.
“What is print-worthy” is a fantastic question. And in my ramblings through photography in my life, I’ve taken maybe 10 photos that could by estimated to be print-worthy (printing large, mind you). There is a thread running through these images and it’s one this author has picked up on.
So this is the current project. Take photos that are print worthy. Revealing more details is something I won’t do. Not now anyway.