The Online Darkroom Store

Sunday, July 20

Photographic history? £1200 to you, Squire.


MW's celebrity offering - taken from their website. No sure how long the link will be productive - depends on how quickly the cameras sell.

Got a few bob burning a hole in your pocket? MW Classic Cameras have a little bit of celebrity on sale for what I reckon is a quite reasonable price.

They're offering two Fuji rangefinders used by Terence Donovan and the Queen's photog, Lord Lichfield, for just under £1200 - with provenance available. I wonder if it comes in the form of a written note beginning, "One can confirm that this camera did, indeed, belong to one's royal photographer, etc".

The fact that Lord Lichfield was the Queen's cousin must have helped him get the palace gig but he was a good photographer and, by all accounts, a decent bloke as well. He died nine years ago aged 66.

Terence Donovan was one of those photographers who played a big part in the Swinging '60s along with Bailey and the like. Sadly, he suffered badly from depression and took his own life at the age of 60 in 1996.

Their rangefinders are a GSW690 with a 65mm wide angle lens and the GW690 camera with a standard 90mm lens, both 6x9. Think big plastic Leicas. Actually, the 90mm lens is nearer the 40mm focal length on 35mm so if you're a fan of that angle of view, here's its big brother - a Leica CL on steroids. The 65mm is roughly equivalent to a 28mm in 35mm terms.

The lenses in these cameras are superb and the results from the big negatives are everything a non-large format photographer could wish for. If you want to do a McCullin and wander the landscape with just one camera and lens around your neck I can't think of a better bit of gear.

I'm not sure which photographer owned which camera but I'm guessing that Lord Lichfield picked up Terence's Fuji when he died.

MW's ad says, "Fujica GSW690, 65/5.6 Fujinon SW + Fujica GW690, 9/3.5 Fujinon 6x9 cameras in fitted case badged "Patrick Litchfield" (sic). Formerly Property of Terrence Donovan & Lord Litchfield - Provenance (sic) available."

I've no connection to MW other than having bought my Rollei SL66 outfit from them three years ago and can't say what these cameras would be like beyond MW's description. However, when you think what they fetch on Ebay, it doesn't seem like a lot to me to own a small piece of photographic history. Whether that sort of thing is of any interest to you is another matter.

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5 comments :

Nasir said...

Very interesting. I was at the auction where these were sold along with a lot of other gear and prints owned by Patrick Litchfield. I actually handled these cameras but decided not to buy them because of the non-changeable lenses - I also don't shoot wide-angle much. The final selling price was a little less than half what MW are asking. I guess that's business for you.

What I found interesting was how none of the gear fetched high prices because of their previous owner but that's not to say the current owners aren't going to try to profit from it.

Richard Sintchak said...

These are not plastic, the newer III versions are a polycarbonate shell but these babies I believe are heavy metal tanks that can double as hammers. INCREDIBLE lenses, like most of Fuji's pro cameras (I have the GW690III and the GA645 and GA645zi).

Juha H said...

I have III version in loan from my friend. What a nice beautiful finder! And shutter is nicely quiet.

Bruce Robbins said...

Nasir,
Thank goodness they don't have auctions like that where I stay or I'd have even more gear that I have now!

Nasir said...

When I handled these I noticed a switch on the top which had numbers you could select. 4, 6, 8. I don't know if this refers to frame count on each roll because I thought these were fixed 6x9 format?