After acquiring a Fujifilm GW690II and having so much fun with it, I felt I could use a wider angle for landscapes, so I set out looking for the GSW version, which sports a 65mm f/5.6 lens as opposed to the 90mm f/3.5 lens on the GW series.

I found a GSW first series model sold from Japan (bad idea?) on eBay, listed as “Near Mint”. It did have a low shutter count, however from what I can tell from the posted photos the lens looked clear. I could also tell that the light seals were rotted away. So I offered fewer bucks and made a deal.

When the GSW690 fell in my hands, I looked closely at the lens and see there was a haze on the backside of the front lens element. With a spanner, the screw ring holding the lens element in place would not budge. Remembering an old trick I learned from an engineer I put the Fuji in a camera bag and placed that in a freezer to let it get cold slowly to avoid condensation. The ring and the lens came loose and I was able to clean it.

I replaced the light seals with new light sealing foam and set out to give it a test. Loaded with ILFORD HP5 PLUS I figured at ISO 400, if there was a light leak, it would show. On a nice overcast day, I shot a roll at Hammonasset State Park in Connecticut using a Luna Pro F for meter readings.

I processed the film in ILFOSOL 3 at a 1:14 dilution. I don’t know if it was my processing method, or maybe a bad batch, considering it was shipped during the winter and maybe froze, but the film had a very coarse grain structure. That coarseness was noticeable in the sky areas of the image. At least no light leaks.

After scanning with an Epson Perfection V750 scanner at 16bit, I brought the images into Lightroom and softened the graininess out of the sky with a mask. I also added a little bit of a vignette, and some sharpening and contrast adjustments.

~ Ed

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About the author

Avatar - Ed Steinerts

Edward Steinerts

Ed is a photographer based in Milford, CT. Retired after 38 years as an industrial photographer, graphic designer, and technical illustrator. Ed creates landscapes, abstracts, and photographs of found objects.

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  1. Hi Ed,
    I’m intrigued with the method you mentioned –
    “Remembering an old trick I learned from an engineer I put the Fuji in a camera bag and placed that in a freezer to let it get cold slowly to avoid condensation. The ring and the lens came loose and I was able to clean it.”
    How does freezing help?

    I enjoyed your article which left me longing to be out and about again to p,ay with my film cameras.


    1. Hi Dinah,
      During the freezing process the metal retaining ring contracts in size. Rapid cooling and warming can cause condensation to form between lens elements, so I kept the camera in a padded camera bag as it cooled. After a few hours I used the spanner wrench to loosen the retaining ring, while keeping the camera in the case. I closed the camera case and let the camera get to room temperature slowly.
      It’s also good practice to do the same thing when going on a photo shoot on very cold days. Keep the camera in a well padded camera bag so it slowly cools, and then keep the camera in the bag until it warms up. Before i took on this habit I lost some fine lenses due to condensation resulting in a hazy lens.