Beauty meets Beast
This is up there with ‘the Brick’ as a heavyweight contender and this beast feels reassuringly solid; you can feel the quality and it’s great to handle. “From the solid heft of its die-cast metal body, to the soft purr of the shutter making the exposure, you have in your hands the feeling of ease and proud mystery such as you have never before experienced. Each operating control answers smoothly and swiftly to the touch of a finger. Your subject is easily focused in the a viewfinder that indicates the edges of your composition within a frame of golden light. Easily read numerals inside windows give you immediate data on your lens opening and shutter speed. The rapid-wind lever swiftly transports film to its next exposure, winds the shutter and automatically prevents double exposures…”
The Single (short) Stroke Rapid Wind Trigger, like on the original Canonet, is mounted on the bottom of the camera instead of the top, leaving a beautifully clean design when viewed from above. As with the Canonet and both the Minolta V2 and AL the veneer around the tripod socket on the base gives an elegant finish and a sense of attention to detail.
The most notable quirk is the coupling of the shutter speed and aperture selector rings to maintain exposure (EV) with different combinations. Once your exposure is set you can either change the aperture or shutter speed and the other ring will automatically (mechanically) adjust. An interesting gimmick that can be a tad troublesome. To uncouple the speed and aperture rings push and hold up the Meter Uncoupling Button (under the Viewfinder Window) and turn the rings separately. When you release the Uncoupling Button the aperture and shutter speed rings will go back to being coupled.
As with the Fujica V2 film is rewound with a crank on the side and focusing is set with a wheel on the back (this feels both logical and natural). “FUJICA’s exclusive eye-level rear focusing wheel is the most convenient ever designed… and the preview picture window, automatic rangefinder shows you the sharply focused sparkle of your finished print.” As to be expected from this generation of rangefinder cameras parallax is corrected automatically. The lens is fast with high resolving power needed for fine pictures under low, available light levels. You can expect outstanding results, very sharp, great depth and stunning bold / true colour rendition. Out of focus areas are beautifully soft. The satisfying ‘snip’ of the Citizen shutter really captures a slice of reality.
The original promotional text by Fujica gives a sense of the passion for their craft and what made these cameras so special. “Every camera is a combination of idea and reality. In FUJICA, as in no other camera, idea and reality combine to produce an entity which is totally harmonious… research, design and production ingenuity are behind every single one of the parts that go into its cameras. Brilliant engineering ideas, as a result, are originated and transformed, almost magically, into a breathtaking reality. From the casting of rare-earth optical glass to the coating of the lens… from the basic designing of the shutter to its final electronic bench test… from the drawing board to the final complete assembly… emerges a unique overall approach to quality control. In this way, every single part that makes up a FUJICA camera is a component-matched to every other part. The result is your superb FUJICA camera.”
P.S. Some rarer f1.9 models had a top shutter speed of 1/1000 second, and some models had a slower f2.8 lens.
|Lens:||FUJINON 45mm 1:1.9|
|6 elements in 4 groups|
|Diaphragm:||f1.9 - f22|
|Shutter:||Fuji Synchro MXL|
|Shutter Speeds:||B, 1 - 1/500|
|Viewfinder:||Gold frame combined viewfinder rangefinder, automatic parallax compensation|
|Focusing:||Direct helicoid focusing coupled to super-imposed rangefinder|
|Adjusted with rear focusing wheel|
|Focal Range:||3ft - ∞|
|Exposure Meter:||Built in selenium meter cross coupled with shutter|
|Exposure Modes:||Manual & Auto, shutter priority|
|FIlter Mount:||35.5mm, screw-in|
|Winding Method:||Thumb operated, single stroke cocking lever on the bottom of the camera|