Bronica SQ-A

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by JBrunner, Nov 17, 2008.

  1. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I've got a line on a decent user Bronica SQ-A with an 80mm f/2.8 Zenzanon-S, prism finder(non metering) and 120 back locally (so no shipping) here for $300.

    Is that about in range? The *bay shows closed listings between $200-400 for similar, but I'm not completely familiar with Bronica- are there specifics I should look for and/or avoid? It would be nice to have a MF SLR again, esp for some macro work. Does anyone know how close that 80 will focus, and are macro rings available?
    Also, does the lens take its marching orders from the camera, or can I use a macro ring and still stop down? I'm not finding much information on these questions elsewhere.
     
  2. jmooney

    jmooney Member

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    I had one for a short while...the price seems good as long as it's in good shape. Check KEH too. Bronica stuff is nice because it's usually really affordable.

    As far as the lens questions, check out tamron's web site. It's buried a bit but they still had all the Bronica specs and such up there last time I looked.

    Jim
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Also check out the Bronica User Group on Yahoo!Groups.

    I haven't used the SQ-A much, but one thing I really liked when I picked one up was the winding grip. Together with the prism, it makes for a very ergonomic package. It feels a lot like a 35mm SLR.
     
  4. Robert Kerwin

    Robert Kerwin Member

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    Also take a look at http://www.camerahobby.com/Review-SQAi.html. Lots of good information about the overall system.

    I believe the 80 will focus down to 0.8m. It's a great, sharp lens and the one I probably use the most. There's also a 110mm macro lens.

    There are two extension tubes available, the S-18 (18mm extension) and the S-36 (36mm extension). They have all the electronic/mechanical connections to the lens, so no issues there. They pop up on eBay from time to time and go for $80-100.

    Any chance you can "test-drive" the kit ahead of time? When I bought my Bronica kit (an SQ-Ai), there were light leaks in the backs. No big deal, a $10 light seal kit and a couple hours work fixed the problem. Also, the 250 and 500 shutter speeds were off on my 150mm lens (which I compensate for when I shoot). If the outfit you're considering is in good shape, $300 isn't a bad price.

    - Robert
     
  5. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Been using my SQ-A for a few years now. The S series lenses are older than the PS series and has a slightly different design but is still a fine lens (IMO!). This is probably an indicator of the age of the camera itself.

    The SQ-A does not have any auto modes so you are in control of shutter speed and aperture. Most do not come with a prism finder unlike the SQ-Ai (at least, not in the UK) but there are accessory finders: metered and non-metered. The leaf shutter gets its timing from the camera body - electronically timed so even old ones have accurate speeds as long as the battery is working. There is a single dead-battery speed of 1/500th.

    Not got an 80mm lens so can't help with focussing (certainly not macro close however) but close-up rings are available (but as not made any more, may be difficult to find - I found one locally a couple of years ago).

    Butkus has a manual: http://www.butkus.org/chinon/bronica/bronica_sq-a/bronica_sq-a.htm

    Good luck.
     
  6. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    There's a manual in PDF at the Tamron site. I have the PS 80mm and find it quite decent. I guess it does focus down to 0.8 meters, but compared with many zooms on smaller formats, it doesn't feel like it goes very close. There are some macro rings, but they are few and far between on e-prey.

    If it's in decent operating shape, the price doesn't sound bad. Bought as pieces the bodies run about $80 to $100, backs a bit less, finders vary all over. The PS lenses run more than the S series, but the S jobbies probably run $100 as a ballpark.

    I'm thinking the S lens doesn't have click half-stops, but as mine are all PS, I don't really know for sure.

    I've been having fun with mine.

    (This reminds me I need to finish off a started roll using the recently acquired 110mm macro!)

    DaveT
     
  7. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    I've got one with the metered prism 50mm and 150mm lenses. Great camera. The only thing to look out for is backs that allow you to shoot w/o pulling the darkslide. I've got one like that. I got a used metered prism for cheap and the lenses were cheap too. If yours is in good shape, $300 ain't bad. I may be unloading mine shortly if you're looking for more glass.
     
  8. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    I have the SQA-i, the best thing I have bought for it is a 45 degree prism finder. Combined with the winder grip it makes the camera as usable as a 35mm SLR.
     
  9. speedtrials

    speedtrials Member

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    That price seems ok....depends on how beat up it is. The sq-a feels more solidly built than than the later sq-ai. I had one of each but then sold the sq-a to get another sq-ai. My reason was the shutter release and the winding crank. The sq-ai shutter release is is bigger and better dampened. The crank on the sq-ai folds down nicely. The sq-a crank is large and doesn't fold...I would say its best to take it right off and not even use it.

    If you are going to use your camera handheld, I would strongly suggest getting a wlf instead of a prism finder. The prism finders (90 and 45) add a lot of weight and make handholding a pain. Also the magnification thru the wlf is much better than the prism finders so makes it easier to focus. Also the wlf folds down smaller and makes carrying the camera around much easier. I have a 45 degree finder that I never use.

    I have the same opinion about the winder grip--it adds weight and bulk and is unnecessary....unless maybe you are shooting with a 645 back and a prism finder and need the ability to rotate between portrait and landscape.
     
  10. rpsawin

    rpsawin Subscriber

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    I have the SQb and have been thinking about adding a body that will accept a metered prism. So, I have been watching the Bronica sales on e-bay. From what I have seen $300 is a good price for a body, lens and a back....provided they are each in good condition. If you pick it up l would suggest you get a Beattie screen for it too. It really makes a big difference.

    Best regards,

    Bob
     
  11. evilhomer78

    evilhomer78 Member

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    JBrunner, What do you know, that what I shoot. I'm not too familiar with the s series lenses. I've heard that they are fine in the shorter focal lengths but you will notice a difference in the longer focal lengths. I've got the ps 50mm, ps 80mm & the ps 110 f4 macro lenses. None of them focus terribly close. The 110 f4 macro only goes down to 1:4 magnification. I also have the S36 extension tube, and paired with the 110 f4 macro its close to 1:1. If you'd like to play with a sqa before you buy, let me know I'd be happy to let you play with it.
     
  12. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Well, here's what happened... I looked at it and decided to pass... felt a little loose, sort of like my six year old had at it... for about a year. So I answered an add, one with out any pictures that briefly described an "old school camera, a Bronica Zensa" no kidding... "Zensa"

    Since I was out that way, I dropped in and left with a perfectly working ETRS with the 75mm 2.8 Zenzanon, and a 120 back. It needs a finder and a screen. Other than that it is pretty fresh, cleaned up really nice, and all functions working perfectly with everything tight. Total invested so far... $100.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2008
  13. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    You did alright. The finders are cheap on ebay if/when you can find them.
     
  14. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    I wouldn't sweat it. I found a Bronica system years ago for $500 with 2 backs and the 50,80,150 lenses. It was a pretty amazing find. However, you can find them for sweet deals pretty often as I found out a year ago when I was debating on going back to Bronica after I found out it's almost the same quality of shots as my Hasselblad.

    ...Jordan.