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.
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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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