Fuji-Fujifilm GW690 III Manual

The Fuji-Fujifilm GW690 III Rangefinder

The professional medium format 6×9 Rangefinder camera also known as “The Brick” or “Texas Leica’s” an old expressions, “They grow them big in Texas.” and “The best is from Texas”, and Leica’s because they resembles the Leica 35mm rangefinders, but besides the cameras nicknames this Fuji G series rangefinder was and still is the workhorse of professional photographers around the world.

Fujifilm GW690III Front

The Fuji G series started in 1967 which came in 6×7, 6×8, 6x9cm medium format sizes and was a legendary Pro Photographers Camera through the years because it produced phenomenal images and sharpness from its Fujinon fixed lens and you could always depend on the Fuji Camera work in all condition. You could throw the Rangefinder in your bag and travel over severe terang, then pull it out knowing you always had a working camera at your disposal. Built to be dependable, very tough and a easy to use with an outstanding craftsmanship through the years. The last generation of the Fuji G series was was the third generation introduced in the mid 1990’s which did not change much in terms of optics but made a lot of changes nonetheless:

Fujifilm GW690III Sideview

  • The Fuji GW690 third generation or III models are introduced in Japan (6×9 cm, 8 shots per 120 film/ 16 shots per 220 film)
  • Totally new VF/RF mechanism. The older gold-coated beam-splitter system is replaced by a new vernier (Leica-style) hard-edged rectangular spot on an aluminized beam-splitter. The upshot is that brightness is increased but VF-RF spot contrast is reduced.
  • Push-button loading means that pressing two small red buttons inside the film chamber releases the film spools.
  • Redesigned back now has latch on the camera back, as opposed to a pull-down lever on camera bottom. Pressure plate is unchanged.
  • Matte plastic covers with new, rounded proportions. Anatomical grip on front and back of right side.
  • Bubble level on top of camera.

Not surprisingly, the III series sells for a lot more, even used. Discontinued.

Plastics: the urban myth of the Fuji RF: People constantly complain that the GW and later Fuji RFs (particularly the III series are “plastic.” This is nonsense. The camera has a pretty hefty metal content, demonstrating that the camera has gradually evolved from the G690 rather than being a remake of it. The rubber and plastic outer design made this camera even more tough. The frame is still die-cast and the back is stamped metal. The lens barrel is also metal

Bottom Line: Hard to lose with this camera.

Fuji-Fujifilm GW690 III Manual

Fujifilm GW690 III Name of Parts


1.  Film Advance Lever
2.  Top Shutter Release
3.  Exposure Counter
4.  Front Shutter Release
5.  Front Shutter Release Lock
6.  Lens Hood
7.  Film Selector
8.  Accessory Shoe (Hotshoe)
9.  Level
10. Viewfinder Window
11. Strap Lug
12. Sync Socket Cover
13. Film Loading Knob
14. Tripod Socket
15. Viewfinder Eyepiece
16. Film Reminder Slot
17. Strap Lug
18. Camera Back Lock
19. Take-up Spool Knob
20. Shutter Actuation Counter
21. Pressure Plate
22. Focal Plane Rail
23. Film Start Mark
24. Film Winding Length Detecting Roller
25. Take-up Spool
26. Spool Knob Release Buttons

How to Use The FujiFilm GW690 III


1. Attaching the shoulder strap
• Buckle (Fig.1-A)
• Hoop (Fig.1-B)
Pass the strap ends through the camera’s strap lugs and adjust the strap length with the buckles (Fig.1)
• To pass the strap end through the hoop. push the hoop back a bit so tat you can do it easier.
• To carry the camera horizontally, use the strap lugs on both sides of the camera: to carry it vertically, use the two strap lugs on the right hand side.
2. Using the camera case
Use the soft case to protect the camera. (Fig.2)
3. Putting on the lens cap
Just fit on the lens hood/cap to protect the lens from dust and grit. (Fig.3)
(Do not wipe the lens with silicon cloth because it will leave tiny abrasion marks on the glass. Take special care because dust and scratches on the lens can impair its sharpness appreciably. See paragraph entitled “Cleaning the lens”).
4. Attaching the viewfinder eyepiece
Just screw it into the eyepiece socket. (Fig.4)
• The Eyepiece (-1 diopter) on your camera is designed for people with normal eyesight.


1. Opening the camera back
To open the camera back, erect the camera back lock and press it down toward the camera bottom. (Fig.5)
To close it, keep the lock erect, press the cameraback against the body, then snap the lock down.
• The camera back won’t close unless the camera lock is erect.
2. 120/220 film selector
• Film Selector Lock (Fig.6-A)
While pulling the film selector lock, turn and set film selector for the film you are using as follows: (Fig.6) with 220 roll film you get 16 exposures, with 120 roll film you get 8 exposures and with 120 half-length roll film you get 4 exposures.
• Be sure to set the film selector and pressure plate for the film (120 or 220) you are using.
If you don’t use the correct side of the pressure plate, you won’t get the precisely focused picture because the film will not move into the exact focal plane.
(120 roll film is attached to an opaque backing paper over its entire length, but such paper is used only on the leading and trailing end of 220 roll film. The thickness of the backing paper causes a shift in the position of the focal plane and the pressure plate adjusts for this difference while keeping the film flat on the focal plane at one and the same time.)
If you switch the him selector after loading the film, caution is required because the counter may not reset as it should or the film may not wind property In such cases, the camera function I return to normal if you open the camera back and reset the film selector to the correct position.
<Pressure Plate>
If you are using 120 roll film, you’ll have to use the side of the pressure plate marked “120” and if you are using 220 roll film, you’ll have to use the side marked “220” (Fig.7)
To turn over the pressure plate just push it toward the arrow and lift it out.
3. Loading the take-up spool and film
• Spool Knob Release Buttons (Fig.8-A)
1. Pop out the spool knobs by pressing it the knob release buttons (small red buttons in the supply and take-up sides.) (Fig. 8)
2. Take out the empty spool, fit if into the take-up chamber (located on the same side as the film advance lever), then press in the take-up spool knob.
3. Load the film in the film chamber (located on the same side as the viewfinder eyepiece), then press in the film loading knob (Fig.9)
• The take-up spool and film roll can be loaded easier by fitting in the top {camera top) side first

FujiFilm GW690 III 4. Positioning the film start mark
Pull out the film paper leader, pass it through the film channel insert the tip into the slot of the take-up spool, and wind the paper leader around the spool with the film advance lever.
Stop winding as soon as the film start mark on the leader paper is aligned with the arrow mark (downwards) on the right hand side of the film channel, then close the camera back (Fig.10)
<Avoiding film slack>
• To prevent the film from slackening press down the leader paper near the supply side lightly with your finger so that it won’t buckle and wind the film advance lever firmly
• To prevent the film from becoming loose again when the camera back is being closed, use the film advance lever to keep the leader paper taut until you snap the camera back into place.
<Positioning the start mark on 220 roll film>
• If you are using 220 roll film line up the solid arrow mark (normal lead mark) with the arrow mark (downwards) in the film channel. Do not use the thin hyphenated line (long lead mark) (Fig.10)Film Mark (Fujifilm GW690 III)5. Winding the film and positioning it for the first shot
• After loading the film, just wind the film advance lever as far as it will go. The exposure counter will switch from “S” to “1” and the shutter will cock by itself (Fig.11)
• Tear off the top of your film box and insert it in the film reminder slot in the camera back. It will remind you which film you are using (Fig.12)


1. Unlocking the front shutter release
If you can see the letter “L”, the shutter release is locked. To unlock it, push the front shutter release lock toward the lens so that it covers the “L” (Fig.13)
2. Built-in lens hood
The lens hood is built into the lens barrel. To use just pull it out. (Fig.14)
• Just pull out the lens hood while turning it. Thus, you can do it easier.
3. Setting the shutter speed selector and aperture ring
• Shutter Speed Selector (Fig.15-A)
• Aperture Ring (Fig.15-B)
Pull out the lens hood and set the shutter speed selector and aperture ring tor the picture you are taking.
• Be sure to set the shutter speed ring at the click positions. Caution is required because the shutter blades may not open if you set it anywhere between chick stops.
4. Focusing the lens
look through the viewfinder eyepiece center your subject in the viewfinder, and turn the focusing ring to make the double Images in the yellow center Spot in the viewfinder converge into one (Fig.16)
• Bright frame (Fig.16-A)
• Double-image center spot (Fig.16-B)
• Always line up your eye with the Center of the viewfinder eyepiece if you don’t, the yellow focusing spot will move off center of the bright frame and you won’t be able to focus the lens precisely.
5. Composing your picture
• Compose your picture within the bright frame. The top and left sides of the bright frame will automatically move and correct for parallax as you focus.
• Moving top and left-side frame lines. (Fig.16-C)
• To take infrared pictures measure the distance of the subject with the focusing ring and set that distance to me infrared mark (red line labeled “R”) This will make up for the slightly nearer point on which you’ll have to focus. (Fig.17)

FujiFilm GW690 III< Using the depth of field table>
Depth of field is the zone of sharpness in front of and behind the point on which the lens is focused and if varies with the lens focal length, aperture and shooting distance. Your camera is provided with a depth of field scale on the lens top on both sides of the lens setting mark, but for more detailed readings, refer to the accompanying depth of field table for your camera.

If the focal length of your camera is 90 mm and you are shooting from a distance of 5 meters with an aperture of F8, everything between 4.09 and 6.46 meters from the camera will come into sharp focus.

FujiFilm GW690 III Depth-of-field Scale

6.Winding the film and cocking the shutter
• If the number “1” is. Showing in the exposure counter, the shutter
blades will open and close when you press in the to or the front shutter release. To advance the film and cock the shutter for the next Shot, just wind the film advance lever two times.
• The first stroke will cock the shutter and advance the film partially the second stroke will complete advancing the film. The winding angle d the film advance lever will therefore differ on the second stroke with the amount of unexposed film left.
To test if the shutter operates or not, open the camera back. You cannot press down the shutter release with the camera back closed
<Shooting with the camera held vertically> (Fig.18)
If you are shooting with the camera held Vertically use the front shutter release It will let you hold the camera steadier
<Using tripod> (Fig.19)
It you are Shooting indoors or nighttime pictures with a shutter speed of 1/30-second or slower, use a tripod and a cable release.
<Time exposure>
To take Iong-exposure pictures, set the shutter speed selector to “T” (Time) and press in the shutter release. The shutter will remain open even if you take your finger off the shutter release. To trip the shutter, just turn the shutter speed selector back toward “1”
• On time exposure, if is also possible to trip the shutter by operating the film advance lever, but the film will advance and move your picture out of position in this case To trip the shutter on time exposure, always turn the shutter speed selector. Do not operate the film advance lever
7. Unloading the film
• After you complete exposing a roll of film, wind it up to the very end with the film advance lever. A sudden release of tension will tell you that the trailing end has left its spool and that winding has been completed. To wind the film completely, it will take about three stroke after the release tension. Next, open the camera back take out me exposed roll of film and seal the end to prevent the roll from unwinding (Fig.20)
• The empty spool is transferred to the take-up side for taking up the next roll of film.

Fujifilm GW690 III

8 Taking flash pictures
• If you are using a small-size clip-on flash, clip it into the accessory shoe on the camera top (Fig.21)
• To use the sync socket, turn the sync socket cover with your finger in the direction of the arrow, then plug the cord into the socket (Fig.22, 23)
• Your camera has an X-contact that is electronic flashes will synchronize with all shutter speeds
• If you are using a flash bulb, use an M-class bulb With a shutter speed of 1/30-second or slower. If the shutter speed is 1/60 second or faster the flash will discharge but it will not synchronize properly and a large part of the light will be lost.


It is assumed that most of you who own a Fuji GW690III are professional photographers who will put the camera to hard use and who cannot afford to develop camera trouble in the middle of a job. It is therefore hoped that the following instructions and recommendations will be studiously heeded.

1. Using the shutter actuation counter

Your camera is presided with a 3-digit shutter actuation counter in the bottom which will tell you how many times the shutter has been used so that you’ll know when the camera needs maintenance. It counts 10 shutter actuations as 1: that is, if it shows 150, the shutter has been actuated 1.500 times. After reaching 999 (9.990 Shots) it will return to 000 with 10 more shots (Fig.24)
Your camera is a precision instrument and it is subject to fair wear and tear. The heart of your camera is the shutter. It is intricately constructed precision-assembled more delicate and less enduring in consistency than the other parts, and shutter trouble can be ruinous to your photographs, it is therefore recommended as follows on the strength of thorough factory tests.
(1) Shutter
Normally, interlens shutters perform perfectly up to about 5.000 shots, after which they become less accurate and may start behaving erratically. After 10.000 shots, the shutter blades will no longer open or close, which means they have reached their endurance limit. Be sure to have your shutter overhauled as soon as it has been actuated 5.000 times: that is, when the counter reaches 500.
(2) Film advance unit and others
The film advance unit is much more durable than the shutter. To be on the safe side, however, you should have it overhauled together with the other mechanisms as the shutter has been actuated 10.000 times (when the counter returns to 000 from 999)
It would be wise to have your camera overhauled sooner if you take a lot of pictures near the ocean or under other adverse conditions.

2. Checking the camera before shooting

Before loading film in the camera, make it a habit to perform the following checks
(1) Film advance unit
Open the camera back arid while watching the take-up spool, wind the film advance lever to make sure the film advance unit is working smoothly
(2) Camera back inferior
Open the camera back and turn the four rollers (two on the camera
back and two on the camera body) to make sure they are working properly. Also, check the film pressure springs in the film take-up and supply chambers to make sure they are attached properly and can exert sufficient pressure on the film
(3) Rangefinder
While watching the double-image focusing spot in the viewfinder focus the lens at infinity and at nearest focusing distance to make sure the focusing ring is operating properly. If you can open the camera back and check the focusing image on the film plane with a sheet ground glass and the milky-white TAC film that comes with your camera, all the better. The ground glass and TAC film should be placed on the inner focal-plane rails, not on the outer and elevated film guide rails
(4) Shutter
Check the various shutter speeds through the camera back. You can more or less tell whether the shutter is operating at the right speed or not by the amount of light it passes through and by the sound it makes.
(5) Aperture
Open the camera back and turn the aperture ring to make sure the aperture blades open and close smoothly.
(6) Flash synchronization
Clip on the flash, open the camera back, open up the aperture fully, set the shutter speed selector to the speed you want, then press in the shutter release. If light comes in through the lens, flash and shutter speed are correctly synchronized.
Camera trouble can cost you dearly both materially and otherwise. Always check your camera before use and have it overhauled periodically so that you can be sure of yourself at all times.

3. Cleaning the lens

As mentioned earlier, scratches on the lens surface can reduce its Sharpness far more than you would think. If the contract of your picture seems somehow insufficient and it doesn’t look crisp enough, the cause is usually scratches on the lens surface.
How to clean
(1) First, blow oft dust from the lens surface completely with an air blower.
(2) Next moisten a sheet of lens cleaning paper with plenty of Fuji lens cleaning fluid and wipe the lens gently with it in a circular motion. Always start from the center then gradually move out to the edges.
(3) Finally, after all contaminants have been removed, wipe off the remaining lens cleaning fluid with a dry sheet of lens cleaning paper. Again, start from the center in a circular motion then move out to the edges.
Breathing a mist on the lens surface then wiping it off with silicon cloth or other similar material is the worst thing you can do. Never do it because this is one of the main causes ct scratches on camera lenses.

4. Precautions

• Always load and unload film in subdued light
• in hot weather, do not leave your camera in a closed car or in moist places except temporarily for a very short time.
• Always clean your camera before and after taking pictures. Clean the interior with an air blower, and wipe off the exterior with silicon cloth.
• Put your camera away where it is cool dry, and free of dust. And don’t forget to put the lens cap on.
• If there is soil or dust in the film chamber, the film may be scratched. Be sure to clean the camera interior from time to time.

Enjoy your Fujifilm GW690 III 🙂


Fuji-Fujifilm GW690 III Manual — 12 Comments

  1. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    I bought a used GW690iii last month and I love it. I shoot digital for my professional work but I’m having a lot of fun with this camera for my personal work.
    I found this site via google. Since there was a piece of plastic supplied to check the rangefinder alignment I assume they have problems. Do you know how to adjust it?

    • Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Hallo Dave
      I am really happy that you like your new GW690III. In all the time I have had Fujifilm G Series they haven’t had any alignment problems and don’t know of any of my friends who have. I haven’t personally used the piece of plastic, but maybe it is a good idear to store it somewhere safe if something should happen 🙂 Sincerely Brian

  2. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Thanks for posting this info and the manual. I am looking for one of these cameras right now. A large format photographer who has been a mentor of mine and who constantly tries to get me into large format film has a GW690 and I’ve seen the results and am impressed. It’s the smallest film format he will use and I feel I could work with this more than large format until I really determine if film is for me.

    • Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Hello Michael
      Thank you for your response to this manual, Your friend is right a wonderful Rangefinder with brilliant craftsmanship and and basic dependable tough camera to present the sharpest images, though you have to do you own readings separately as no metering is build into the camera, but I see that only as a plus, I have found that the minimalistic and fab Fujinon lens to be ideal for landscapes especially with long exposures, but my friend who is a fashion photographer and owns this series loves the depth and imaging the gets from using black and white film through this camera. I have many makes of medium format cameras but for me the Fujifilm GW690III is a keeper.

      Sincerely Brian

  3. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Some times statements can be little bit confusing because we do not provide CONTEXT…

    Leon, I think you are right for most photographers charging for their services to customers / making money for social events / fashion / editorial / commercial… (professional photographers…). Reason are obvious… convenience in processing the images… delivering times…

    I am also in agree that in education, understanding film related concepts is relevant for serious starting photographers… I do teach my students film related concepts for they understand general basics techniques

    But, I my case, film is definitely suitable for my TASTE of enjoying personal documentary projects… Even when I do not have a degree… I like to think that my documentaries have a touch of art because the process and craft of processing negatives and printing.

    It is a matter of choice and needs…

    Nice conversation….nice to meet you all…

  4. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    To be quite HONEST film is no longer a suitable for taken Images, there fore Film cameras
    are no longer suitable, this does mean that Digital system is a better useful alternative to use for Photography, I should make it clear that the Education Learning still applies. Not 5 minutes with the Mobile Phone and think that master Photographs will appear at the touch of button. LK LCGI

    • Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      @Leon….many photographers would disagree with your views on film no longer being suitable!!!!

      • Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        Well there has been made a world-wide research and statistics made only a year ago into how many Professional Photographers still use film in the new Digital era and 60% world-wide still use and believe that film is superior to digital, this is a fact.

      • Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        If you are taking part in a school photography course, ask to see if you can borrow a handheld meter. They are pretty easy to use, just ask your instructor to teach you how. Use that until your camera can be readjusted or replaced (hopefully not).

  5. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    I had the 65 version…a great landscape camera,extremely sharp,comfortable to carry,very dependable, hard to focus…great with B&Ws…I am still sorry that I sold it… what a fabulous camera to travel with.

    • Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Thank you so much. I have wanted to expand to off camera flash but have not had the knowledge of where to start and what equipment I needed to get started. Thanks again! It was EXACTLY what I was looking for!

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