Availbility of parts/repair service for Bronica SQ-AI...

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by jasonjoo, May 15, 2007.

  1. jasonjoo

    jasonjoo Member

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    Hey guys, I recently started a thread here (just a few threads down) about which medium format camera to consider for a beginner.

    Well, I have decided on the Bronica SQ-Ai, but was wondering how easy it was to get replacement parts or repairs on this particular body. I've been building my kit on KEH.com, but cannot find a WLF. I've searched eBay as well and while I saw a brand new SQ-Ai WLF listed recently, it has ended and there are no other WLF's listed. Are there any other retailers that specialize in used MF gear? I've checked Adorama as well and could not find a WLF.

    Also, I ask because I am wondering if I should purchase their EX or EX+ rated bodies, or stick with the bargain bodies (I'd really like to save as much as I can). As for lenses, I've decided that optics are generally good investments, so I will be looking at the EX or higher ratings.

    Thanks!

    Jason
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    You could try Mpex.

    I assume you are in the US. You could ask Tamron about service. My understanding is they've committed to providing service for a few years yet.

    When it comes to KEH grading I tend to go by the prices. If the price jump is small I'll go with the higher grade. Other times the jump is quite high and not really worth it IMHO. Plus it's not like buying a higher grade will get you something built better.

    There is an old joke about things looking brand new because they never worked right :tongue: I figure any camera with signs of use likely belonged to a working pro that needed something that worked and tended to get things like CLAs done.
     
  3. jasonjoo

    jasonjoo Member

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    Thanks Nick. I'll have to look at the price differences. It seems like many people have had great experiences with KEH, so I'm not too worried. I just don't want something to crap out on me a few months after purchase :smile:

    Moving forward... Has anyone sent in a Bronica body to Tamron for repairs? How was the service and pricing like?

    And, any suggestions on other online retailers that may carry the WLF for the SQ-Ai would be appreciated as well (no luck with MPEX either).

    Thanks.

    BTW, what does CLA stand for?
     
  4. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

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    CLA stand for Clean, Lubricate and Adjust.

    BTW, for the WLF, I saw one on eBay. It was listed by the seller "shutterblade" - they actually have two available right now.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 15, 2007
  5. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I don't about Tamron but I bet their prices are standard MF prices. The Canadian distributor almost wanted more for a crank handle to fit my ETRSI then I bought a whole body from KEH for.
     
  6. jasonjoo

    jasonjoo Member

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    sesanjay, I just looked up shutterblade on eBay, and they don't seem to have any waist level finders for the SQ-Ai. If you have a link, I would appreciate it!

    Thanks Nick. That seems a tiny bit overkill! :wink:
     
  7. jstraw

    jstraw Member

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    I just ordered an SQ-A kit from KEH and they have no WLF's in stock. Two went on eb*y today. One went for $66.99 and the other for $77.50...this tells me they're scarce.

    I'm not sure why they'd be scarce. It suggests that most kits were originally sold with prisms, which would make sense if they were popular with wedding shooters. They have an awfully nice accessory grip that is useless with the WLF.
     
  8. jasonjoo

    jasonjoo Member

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    Thanks jstraw. I should have jumped on those WLF's when I had the chance.

    BTW, can I get any WLF that will mount the SQ series? Or does it have to be SQ-Ai specific?

    Also, with the SQ-Ai WLF, is there any magnification involved? The bigger the better! I have seen some photos of the WLF (though not SQ-Ai specific) that show the WLF having a circular viewfinder. I was under the impression that it would be a square format as shown on this link:

    http://www.camerahobby.com/Images/Technical/BronicaPolaroid.jpg

    Are there different types of WLF? I'd prefer to have the "square" viewfinder, if that makes sense at all. The following link is of course, not a Bronica SQ-Ai, but I have seen similar WLF on the Bronica.

    http://nikomat.homeip.net/priv/camera/mednikkor/aires/finder.jpg

    Thanks again!
     
  9. jstraw

    jstraw Member

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  10. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    As far as I know there is only one WLF for the SQ series (and it's square). I've been tracking a bunch of Bronica SQ** stuff on that auction site for a year and I don't think I've seen a half dozen go by. I got mine from KEH last summer after failing to connect with one for weeks. An "EX" one cost as much as an unmetered prism (but weighs a lot less :D). I've actually wondered if they are rare because they're the preferred finder, the last to be sold off when owners downsize their kits.

    DaveT
     
  11. jasonjoo

    jasonjoo Member

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    jstraw, thanks so much for that .PDF! Wow, what a wealth of information. I guess the magnifier is optional and not necessary?

    Thanks for the update Dave. Things are starting to look grim for me. While I may be able to snag the WLF sometime in the near future, I'm wondering what things will be like in the years to come. Perhaps I should consider a MF camera that has more parts available.

    Now I'm back at square one :sad:
     
  12. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    Jason,
    if accessory availability is your primary deciding factor, it narrows to Hassy, Mamiya, and Pentax as the ones that have the most 'bits' floating around at any given time, in my experience.


    erie
     
  13. jasonjoo

    jasonjoo Member

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    Thanks Erie. I think I may just have to look at the bigger companies now. I'd like to stay under $600 USD if possible and the Bronica fit the bill. However, it seems like I may have to look at the more popular (and expensive) companies!
     
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  15. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

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    Sorry, I couldn't provide the link earlier. Those auctions are completed, and as jstraw mentioned, both WLFs went for pretty good prices. However, I have seen these items from this seller in the past and if you keep an eye on their auctions, you might chance upon one. However, it seems like you have to be willing to pay a bit for these - they seem to be going at a premium these days.

    Please do not be discouraged - there are lots of Bronica SQ gear available on eBay. Also, Koh's Camera has a SQ-AI (with a 80mm PS lens, a 120 Back and a WLF) in Mint- condition for $590.00. They also have other Bronica SQ gear and might be able to find you what you need, in case you decide to go with Bronica. Another website for Bronica SQ gear is here. (I think they are somehow affiliated with "shutterblade" on eBay.)

    I have a Bronica SQ with a metered prism and have often desired for a WLF, but I am not willing to pay the prices they seem to be going at simply because I do not really need it. BTW, I have been very happy with my SQ.

    Good luck!


    Best wishes,
    Sanjay


    PS: I am not affiliated with any of these dealers/sellers - just passing on information that might help.
     
  16. jasonjoo

    jasonjoo Member

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    sensanjay, thanks for the Koh's Camera link! That is EXACTLY what I was looking for. Now only if they can hold onto it until next week, I will be able to purchase it! However, have you ever dealt with them before? I'm a bit weary ordering from such a small store. There is no information on their store at www.resellerratings.com

    Hopefully this kit stays in stock for a few more days!
     
  17. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

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    Hi Jason,

    I have not dealt with this store personally. I believe I got to know about this store from a post by David (Goldfarb) - he may have some feedback about this dealer.

    Hope that helps.


    Best wishes,
    Sanjay
     
  18. jasonjoo

    jasonjoo Member

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    Thanks for the help Sanjay!
     
  19. jstraw

    jstraw Member

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    I think that the Bromica stuff will prove to be an excellent value proposition for me overall. I look at availability and prices for glass and everything else. Sure, I might end up paying $80 for a WLF but I think when I have my kit where I imagine I want it to be...body, 2-3 backs 3 lenses, WLF, metered prism, grip...I will have spent less putting it together than with any other 6x6 system, except for maybe Kiev.
     
  20. jasonjoo

    jasonjoo Member

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    I agree Michael. I'm just worried that in the future there won't be anything Bronica left :X

    As a side note, has anyone had any experience with Koh's Camera?
     
  21. yurihuta

    yurihuta Member

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    Hi, I have purchase some SQ series accessories from KOH's as well as had some work done on some lenses and other Bronica SQ gear. They are excellent. The gentleman who performs the repairs used to work for Tamron and one of the service folks at Tamron told me to contact him, since he had bought out some older parts.

    As to the waist level finders... they seem to have a mysterious cycle of availability. There has been a recent lull in Bronica activity on the used market front.

    KEH is having their spring cleaning three day sale currently, so you could pick up a couple of pieces of Bronica gear for a reduced price right now.
     
  22. jstraw

    jstraw Member

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  23. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

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  24. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Yes, after months of monitoring ePrey last summer, I bought a WLF from KEH. I paid more for the WLF than I paid for the SQ-A body or per back for two of my three backs. But I really do like it for most stuff. I just got an unmetered prism finder for $42, but haven't seriously used it yet.

    DaveT
     
  25. jasonjoo

    jasonjoo Member

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    Yikes, $200 bucks!

    I guess parts ARE getting scarce... at least the WLF are. I've been looking at the Rollei TLR's lately, but I'm not sure how common parts are for those MF bodies either!
     
  26. David Henderson

    David Henderson Member

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    The Bronica wlf came as part of the kit, and tends to be sold on with the camera body. Same with the winder crank. Both of these are fairly scarce used whereas the prisms were almost always bought separately as accessories and are often sold as such. Same with 220 backs and Speedgrips - rarely supplied with a camera, now relatively easy and cheap to find. WLF do sometimes come up in the UK and tend to sell for the equivalent of maybe $80-$100. You need to ask what dioptre they have fitted in the magnifier since these are user interchangeable and its important that you can see well through it.

    So the best way to find a wlf ( or a crank) is to buy a camera with them in place and that is by no means difficult. Piecing together a kit from bits is not a guarantee of spending less or a recipe for an easy life. You could be as well off selling your body and buying another with a wlf included.

    My own view as a long term Bronica user is that I want to have a spare kit of most of the major bits. Bronicas are cheap right now but repairs and parts are going to get scarcer and more problematical in future. It might well get to be easier and cheaper to replace rather than repair- and this is by no means unique to Bronica and should be considered when choosing which discontinued/used camera to buy into. Here in the UK it would be difficult to sustain a decision to build and maintain an extensive older Rollei MF system, but not too tough on Bronica SQ or ETRS series since the latter sold a lot more. Indeed you might find on any given day that there's about the same no. of Bronica items for sale as in the US.