Fujica G690BL vs Foldex 20

julia_13038, originally uploaded by infrar3d.

I tried a lot of medium format cameras in the '90s.

I was getting some things out of storage recently and found another box of old prints and negatives, mostly medium format stuff. Some I can only guess which camera I was using, but I remember these two.

The first pic was shot on Fuji NPS 160 and scanned from a 4x6 machine print. That's right, in the '90s you could get medium format film processed and have dusty proof prints made in an hour at the corner drug store.

The Fuji G690BL was a pretty nice camera. It was rugged, it had a good rangefinder and a great lens. It made big, beautiful 6x9 negatives. But it was also huge and heavy. The 100mm f/3.5 lens was shockingly large for a standard lens. The whole kit weighed around 5 pounds. At about that same time I did some work with a Koni-Omega Rapid M, which is a beast in it's own right, and it seemed positively svelte next to the big Fuji. I didn't keep it very long.

The Foldex 20 was also a 6x9 camera, but was much more fun. It's a folding bellows camera, as the name implies, so it can slip into a large jacket pocket. You don't have to think about anything with the Foldex. It has an 86mm Octvar fixed-focus lens, and exactly two shutter speeds - 1/50 and bulb. However, the meniscus lens is nowhere near the same league as the Fujinon, the only exposure adjustment you really have is changing what ISO film you're using, and it has an odd shutter release. But it was well built and fast handling. I think it's also probably one of the very few cameras ever made that can shoot both 120 and 620 formats.

The second shot was made with the Foldex on T-Max 100. Simple bellows cameras like the Foldex are really happiest on a steady diet of 400 ISO film like Tri-X, or better yet Ilford XP2 with it's very wide exposure latitude. But, in those days I mostly shot with whatever I could get at the local camera store. That's right, in the '90s you could buy film locally, at these places called camera stores. Scanned from the contact sheet.

No comments:

Post a Comment