Bronica SQ-AI, Lenses and teleconverters.

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by JammyB, Jul 29, 2014.

  1. JammyB

    JammyB Member

    Messages:
    77
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2014
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    After a few weeks of deliberation I'm about ready to order a Bronica SQ-AI from a dealer in the UK.
    I'm primarily into landscapes and abstracts.
    It comes with the waste level finder a speed grip and the standard 80mm lens. I'm thinking that soon after getting it I'll be wanting another couple of lenses and I'm not too flush at the moment so I was wondering about teleconverters. I've never used one before and I know some of them can be nasty but if I got a 2x bronica converter and a Bronica 50mm lens I'd have 50, 80, 100 & 160mm available for quite cheap.
    Are they worth it?

    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk
     
  2. johnha

    johnha Subscriber

    Messages:
    75
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2014
    Location:
    Lancashire,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Hi JammyB,

    The problem with 2x teleconverters is that you lose two stops of aperture, and from my hunting, are not that cheap either (your searches may be different). The difference in cost between say a 150mm or 210mm lens and a teleconverter is much less than the reduction in capability a teleconverter offers. You'll need to buy the 50mm anyway, and I'm not convinced that teleconverters are well matched to 'wide-angle' lenses like the 50mm.

    I'd suggest buying the camera, 80mm and when funds allow the 50mm and think about the teleconverter or another lens once you're familiar with the setup. Although if landscape is a priority you may prefer to buy the 50 first if possible.

    John.
     
  3. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,916
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    Location:
    Ye Olde England
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    The 150mm lens is pretty common, so you should be able to pick one up fairly cheap when funds allow. The teleconverters are not particularly common.
     
  4. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,871
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Location:
    Brandon, MB
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    One of the joys of the underrated Bronica SQ system is that its lenses are really quite cheap. Frankly I think you'd spend less money finding another lens than fiddling with a teleconverter and the attendant loss in speed and sharpness.
     
  5. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

    Messages:
    2,015
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2013
    Location:
    rAdelaide
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The general rule about teleconverters (for any system), is to only use them as a last resort, which is usually when price and availability of longer lenses rule them out, or where size and weight are a big concern.
    eg, if you've got a 150mm f/2.8 and want a 300mm, with a 2x tele you'll get a 300/5.6, but the cost of a teleconverter might be fairly close to a 300mm prime, in that case a teleconverter isn't worth it, especially as the 300mm prime will give much better performance.

    As another example, I've got a 300mm f/4 Sonnar for my P6/Kiev setup, and I used to use a 2x tele to get to 600mm f/8 with no problems, because the TCs for them are <$100 and the next-best is the Pentacon 500mm f/5.6 which go for about $500.
    Until of course I got a bargain on a 500mm f/5.6, and now with there being no 1000mm f/12 lenses, at least readily available in my budget without going to a mirror-lens, that's when I use a teleconverter (or two).
    I still occasionally use the 300/4 plus TC in favour of the 500/5.6, because that's a heavy beast of a lens that I don't like carrying on hikes (although it's a good weapon).

    ps, and just don't use teleconverters on wide angles, they don't work well, if at all.
     
  6. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    16,825
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A teleconverter plus a shorter lens will sometimes give you better close focusing capacity than the longer lens they replace.
     
  7. jrhilton

    jrhilton Member

    Messages:
    36
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Agreed, an underrated system, and I'm sure you will enjoy it. Part of me still regrets selling my SQ plus accessories, lenses etc. By the end I just had 50mm PS and 80mm PS lenses and thought both were excellent. No problem going up to 24x20" enlargements with either. I also had the AE prism finder with works well but I think most people would find it clunky to use if you were used to an AE 35mm, so give that a miss unless you need it.

    I don't recall ever actually seeing a 1.4 or 2x teleconverter in the flesh, but you see the 150,180 and 200mm lenses a lot so I suspect the converters are rarer. They were also very expensive at around $1500 if my memory serves me right as it was about the same as a 80mm PS lens give or take.

    Make sure you have a good camera bag as the system is heavy - e.g. built to last!
     
  8. JammyB

    JammyB Member

    Messages:
    77
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2014
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thank you for all the advice it's been very helpful.
    There are a couple of Broncia 2x converters on eBay at the moment for about 140 GBP. I don't mind the loss of a couple of fast stops, It's not a big concern for landscape work. But I'd prefer not to compromise on quality so I will probably avoid it.
    The complete unit I've seen is at FFords in scotland is 350 GBP for the body, 80mm PS, waste level view finder and a speed grip (Which I will probably try and sell on) with a six month warranty. I would have preferred a 50mm but I can't find a kit like that anywhere. I also can't find the SQ-AI body-only anywhere which would have been good. I looked at the the A and the B models but they lack bulb, T modes and longer exposure times wich I often use.
     
  9. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,916
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    Location:
    Ye Olde England
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    You will find none of the SQ bodies have a T mode built in to the body. It is a fiddly little switch on the side of the lens. See: http://www.butkus.org/chinon/bronica/bronica_sq-a-m/bronica_sq-a-m-2.htm on its use.

    P.S. Steer well clear of cliffpr - His stuff is always way overpriced on ebay and you don't need to look far to find better deals. For example: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/161374810916
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2014
  10. jrhilton

    jrhilton Member

    Messages:
    36
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Assuming the condition is excellent I would say it is a good price especially with a warranty and is less than what i sold mine for. I would avoid any bronicas that are not in really good condition because in my experience the average bronica owner looked after their kit well, so you should be able to find really nice ones out there. For example mine had no scratches or paint chips or broken plastic and had all the boxes, manuals etc and lenses had no marks at all etc and when selling mine I found I was certainly not alone in this regard!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2014
  11. johnha

    johnha Subscriber

    Messages:
    75
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2014
    Location:
    Lancashire,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    As above the PS and earlier SQ lenses (S?) had a 'T' switch which can be used to simulate Bulb, but the SQ-B came as a complete kit with a cut down 80mm 'PS-B' lens which did not have the 'T' switch. The SQ-B also came with a cut down back that didn't have an ISO setting but it will take normal SQ-Ai backs. There are no metering prism options for the SQ-B.

    A 150 or 200mm lens shouldn't be much more than that teleconverter. The 135 is probably more sought after as it focusses closer and is better suited to tightly cropped portraits (head shots) - although you can use a short extension tube on the 150 quite effectively.
     
  12. JammyB

    JammyB Member

    Messages:
    77
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2014
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    That's what I thought. And apparently the SQ-Ai will only expose for 1 min max in bulb mode so if you want to go longer than a min The lenses T mode is the only option. I assume you could use either the lens cap or the dark slide as a shutter for really long exposures in T mode.
    What does the T stand for anyway?



    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk
     
  13. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

    Messages:
    2,015
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2013
    Location:
    rAdelaide
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've always thought it was either Time, or Trage (German for slow).
     
  14. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

    Messages:
    4,136
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Zeit ist geld. Time is money.
     
  15. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

    Messages:
    2,015
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2013
    Location:
    rAdelaide
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Sorry, träge, damn windows defaulting back to standard US keyboard. Which, according to G-translate, means 'sluggish', but I always knew it as slow because T is marked on slow-blow fuses.
     
  16. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

    Messages:
    4,136
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Look at a dial-set Compur or a Compound. It will have a dial marked Z-D-M. Z is for Zeit. D and M are for bulb and instantaneous (in context, timed exposure), respectively. Zeit, not traege.
     
  17. Claudia Moroni

    Claudia Moroni Member

    Messages:
    67
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Location:
    London
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I wouldn't be so quick in disregarding the teleconverter option.Personally I quite like it!

    I have the kit similar to the one that you'd like to buy (Zenza Bronica Sq-Ai, 80mm PS, teleconverter x2 and 50mm PS) and I often use the 80mm with the teleconverter for close up portraits. You can literally count the pores of the skin, so I'd say that the quality is more than ok.

    If you have any specific questions about this kit before buying it and/or you wish to see some examples of photos shot with it, please let me know :smile:
     
  18. JammyB

    JammyB Member

    Messages:
    77
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2014
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I would imagine that a teleconverter could be excellent if it is designed to be optimal with a certain lens.
    I think we'd be interested to see a couple of examples Claudia.
    RE fuses. My understanding is the 'T' on slow-blow fuses stands for "timed".

    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk
     
  19. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

    Messages:
    775
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2009
    Location:
    Fort Collins
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Why square? Seems 6x7 would be a better choice, especially since you can get 6x6 backs for them.
     
  20. Claudia Moroni

    Claudia Moroni Member

    Messages:
    67
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Location:
    London
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Here you go, plenty of examples of the 80mm plus teleconverter x2!
    I also used cheap close up filters from Ebay and it still looks great when I print them.

    01.jpg 02.jpg 03.jpg 04.jpg 05.jpg 06.jpg 07.jpg 09.jpg 10.jpg
     
  21. JammyB

    JammyB Member

    Messages:
    77
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2014
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I'd be happy with 6x7 I assume your referring to the Mamiya. I looked at the specs RB67 and as warned it weighs near double the SQ-AI.
    I've been using a rolleicord a bit recently and I really like the different composition of the Square format. and there's also plenty of room to crop.


    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk
     
  22. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

    Messages:
    775
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2009
    Location:
    Fort Collins
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The GS-1 is the lighter and more compact than the Mamiyas. It's the same weight as the P67.
     
  23. mweintraub

    mweintraub Member

    Messages:
    1,313
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I've looked at getting a 6x6 back for the RZ, but they are pricy. There is one on eBay now but it is $230 + $25 s/h from Japan. That's why I have both an SQ-A and RZ. Ok, that's not why, but I love them both.


    The RB/RZ are heavy (RZ might be lighter due to plastics) but they are fantastic machines.
     
  24. johnha

    johnha Subscriber

    Messages:
    75
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2014
    Location:
    Lancashire,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I haven't used one, but the RB/RZ (effectively 7x7 camera systems) look much bigger & heavier animals than a 6x6 SLR.

    To shoot verticals on a 6x7 without a revolving back is quite cumbersome (almost impossible with a WLF) and requires a big tripod head to hold the camera vertical (or some kind of 'L' bracket). My Pentax 6x7 is relatively easy to hand-hold vertically (without the left hand grip attached) - just like a 35mm SLR with my left hand cupping the lens.

    IIRC the Rollie 6xxx cameras allowed you to rotate the 6x4.5 back for verticals, I thought that was a very good idea.