Know as the Texas Leica, the Fuji GW690ii is the closest you can get to large format without actually doing it.

The Fuji GW690ii was produced from 1985 to 1992. The second of three releases in the GW690 line, this fixed lens rangefinder is capable of shooting 6x9 negatives on 120 film. Referred to as the "Texas Leica" (for its large size), the camera has a fixed 90mm f3.5 lens and is one hell of a film-eating machine.

6x9 film cameras produce 8 frames per roll of 120 film or 16 on a 220 roll (no longer available). Here is a chart of 35mm compared to different medium format sizes.

I recently got this camera and had to try it out as soon as possible. I found my copy on eBay and got it shipped from Japan for around $320 USD. Here is a small review and sample photos of the first roll I shot on my new old camera.

I went out to shoot my first roll around my neighborhood, la Juárez, in downtown Mexico City. The 8 shots went by pretty fast, but I'm quite pleased with the results.

This roll was shot using Ilford HP5 rated at ISO 400. The camera is completely mechanical and does not have a meter nor uses any kind of batteries. I used a Sekonic L-308X-U for external metering.

The film was processed at home using Kodak T-Max Developer and scanned on an Epson V550.

ilford hp5 plus shot by Luis Mendoza on Fuji GW690ii

I screwed up while loading the film and didn't line up the start correctly resulting in an incomplete first frame.

ilford hp5 plus shot by Luis Mendoza on Fuji GW690ii
ilford hp5 plus shot by Luis Mendoza on Fuji GW690ii

This next shot was handheld at 1/15 of a second causing a little camera shake.

ilford hp5 plus shot by Luis Mendoza on Fuji GW690ii

As I was walking around, I was asked by the woman pictured below to help her close the jammed door of the store she works at. After helping her to successfully close the door, I asked her if I could take a portrait and she agreed. I'm glad I was able to test this camera with a subject actually posing. This photo was shot at 1/125 and f4.0.

ilford hp5 plus shot by Luis Mendoza on Fuji GW690ii
ilford hp5 plus shot by Luis Mendoza on Fuji GW690ii

I had a hard time scanning the negatives to include their borders because frames are not completely centered on the roll and my film holder was not helping. I always like to show the edge of the border in my scans to show the full image but I'm not completely satisfied with having uneven borders.

ilford hp5 plus shot by Luis Mendoza on Fuji GW690ii
ilford hp5 plus shot by Luis Mendoza on Fuji GW690ii

Here is the film holder with the developed negatives so you can get an idea of how HUGE these are!

ilford hp5 plus shot by Luis Mendoza on Fuji GW690ii

Overall, I'm pretty happy with my recent acquisition and I'll be shooting lots more with this camera in the near future and sharing it here.

Happy (film) shooting!