Bronica SQB or SQA

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Mick Fagan, Oct 20, 2005.

  1. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Recently I was lent a Bronica SQB kit for evaluating with a possible purchase being the end result, from a friend.

    I like the camera and the price is probably going to be very competitive, however, after doing a bit of research it appears that the SQA may be a better body in the long run.

    Then to make matters interesting I have just found a brand new SQB kit for a really, really good price, with full warranty, for what that is worth.

    I have had very little exposure to Bronica, but have a bit of use and experience with RB & RZ's and Hasselblad.

    My question is really about whether the SQB is liveable compared to an SQA?

    I searched the forums for as much information about the two bodies but couldn't really get an understanding of the short comings of the SQB or the better points (supposedly) of the SQA.

    Any thoughts would be welcome.

    Mick.
     
  2. mikewhi

    mikewhi Member

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    I went with a SQB because I did not need any electronics. I do B&W and I use a hand held meter only. I wanted as close to a mechanical camera as possible. Plus, the SQB is a lot cheaper than the SQA. The B will use the same lenses.

    If you need metering and electronics, then go for the SQA. If I shot a lot of color, I would use the SQA over the SQB. The SQB was intended as an entry-level simple camera and the SQA is more feature laden. I don't recall all the differences, but I'm sure that info is readily available on the web.

    I do like the SQB a lot and it fills the bill for me just fine (or it did until I finally got a SL66 outfit, which is even better).

    -Mike
     
  3. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    In today's used market buy the SQ-AI. Not the A or the B. Do you need the added features? Maybe not but it'll be newer. That alone makes the small increase in cost worth it. Plus you may want the added features.
     
  4. dschneller

    dschneller Member

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    SQ-Ai:
    You may add on a motor drive, the SQ-i motor.
    There is a connection port for off-the-film plane flash control.
    The body has a multi exposure warning in the viewfinder
    A 16 second calibrated shutter speed
    "B" (bulb) setting on the shutter speed dial.
    The backs between the previous models and the SQAi are fully compatible
    All accessories for the SQ, SQ-A, and SQ-Am were compatible with this body.


    SQ-A:
    Is an updated SQ.
    Auto metering capability with the AE finder S.
    Mirror lock-up lever was added.
    All accessories for SQ cameras fit the SQ-A.


    SQ-B:
    Is almost the same as the SQ-A, no metered prism.
    The shutter speed range is the same as the SQ-A (8 sec to 1/500).
    The SQ-B has mirror lock-up.


    SQ:
    This is the one I have and is the precursor to the models above. No metering, no mirror lock-up, same shutter speed range as the SQ-A, SQ-B.

    I'm really happy with my SQ, I don't miss the in camera metering since I use a spot or reflective meter.

    Dave
     
  5. bon-jip

    bon-jip Member

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    For my original Bronica purchase, it was the mirror lock-up function that swung me to the SQA. I have since also purchased an SQAi body for no other reason than it was attached to a PS lens I wanted to buy. I now find I mostly use the SQAi, I have come to enjoy the convenience of Bulb and 16sec exposure settings at my finger tips also.
    The SQAi also came with a AE prism that I normally never use but was very glad I had it when my handheld meter died on a recent trip to Berlin.
    I guess it comes down to the warranty instead of the features, as I imagine a used SQAi kit is comparable to a new SQB. So how long is the warranty and how important is it to you?
     
  6. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    Dave missed a model, the SQ-AM - a motorized version of the SQ-A.

    FWIW, I have both the SQ-Ai and SQ-A bodies. The SQ-Ai offers some additional features, but it does so at the price of decreased battery life.

    One trick worth knowing - The SQ-A uses a PX-28 battery, the SQ-Ai uses 4 - A76 cells. Since I carry both body types, I only buy the PX-28 batteries. When it's time for new batteries in the SQ-Ai, I dissect a PX-28 to get the 4 A76 cells inside. I also carry an extra battery holder for the SQ-Ai and an extra battery door for the SQ-A, both are easy items to lose...

    Almost forgot... If you get the SQ-Ai and the motor drive (if you call .8 FPS a "motor drive"), you can forget about having to replace camera batteries as the body is powered by the AA cells in the motor. A motor is on my "must buy soon" list...
     
  7. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    Some good advice given. Seems to depend on how you are going to meter and if a metering prism is in your plans. I have an SQA and use none of the attributes it has over an SQB. For 8s or over, I use double exposure facility since it is a fiddle to use the lens fitting.

    Which leads me on to lens type. You should opt for PS lenses, not the S lenses.

    The PS lenses have half stops, the original ones only have full stops which is not really sufficient if using Transparency film. I think that they are also supposed to be sharper, but haven't tested this. The PS have a plunger to disengage to get the B setting on the shutter which is easier than the device they have on the older lenses.

    They are nice cameras, I rarely use mine at present, but am always pleased with the handling and results. It seems too easy to use compared with my usual 5x4, so I'm always thinking that there must be something I have forgotten!
     
  8. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    I've been using my Bronica's a lot more than my 35mm gear (or my large format stuff) lately. They handle so well, I almost hate to use my F3!
     
  9. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Well the information here has been exceptionally good. I now know the major differences between the models and I think that the basic model would be alright but the SQA or SQAi may be more of what I'm after.

    I meter using a hand held, even with my F3 bodies, so that isn't an issue. I'm a heavy tripod user, so no change, but the size of the negs and the clarity is quite astounding. I cannot see lens being an issue, apart from price.

    I didn't know about the ½ stop indentation as the SQB I've been using has ½ stop indents. The battery issue with the SQAi is an interesting one and I think the remedy is quite ingenious.

    I think I'll look for an SQAi instead.

    For what it's worth for anyone in Australia, The Camera Exchange in Melbourne has a brand new SQB kit complete, brand new, unopened and is for sale with full warranty for $1,400 including tax. That's a back, WLF, 80mm lens and body. It only went on the market this week after a decision by the management to move some medium format stuff.

    As I now don't wish to purchase it someone else may. I think that is a really competitive price, even allowing the fact that the models are no longer being manufactured.

    Many thanks for the really good input.

    Mick.
     
  10. dschneller

    dschneller Member

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    $1,400 seems a bit steep to me. I put together my SQ, WLF, 80mm, and 2-120 backs for a lot less than that (in CAD).

    Dave
     
  11. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Theres another interesting workaround for the battery with the SQAi. It's an external battery pack that uses AA batteries, cord is about 3 feet or thereabouts. On a really cold day you can use that and keep the batteries in a warm pocket while you shoot, as well as the obvious of using it if the batteries in the camera go belly up and theres no spares handy. It simply replaces the battery holder in the compartment and theres a groove built into the compartment for the cord.
     
  12. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Dave, Australia is a rather expensive place to purchase camera equipment.

    In 1985 I was in Germany when I did a double take outside a little photo house. In the window was a Nikon F3HP body, for about $645.00 Australian dollars. Two weeks previously in Australia I had priced an F3HP body at $1,800 + 30% sales tax on top of that. To make it even more impressive when leaving Germany I recouped some tax making the camera body $597.00 AUD which, compared to the Australian price, was ludricrously cheap!

    It was not that uncommon for professional photographers in this country to hop onto an aeroplane, fly to New York, purchase a 600F4 Canon, or Nikon lens, fly home and still have change over from the Australian price.
    Tax in this country is now a flat 10% for all items, so it is much better, even so, this country is expensive when it comes to photographic equipment.

    I have purchased all new Nikon equipment from Germany since that incident in 1985 and have never looked back. I also purchased a Gosson Profisix for $210.00 in 1986 in Germany, whilst in Australia, the same unit was over $700.00.

    I don't think many people outside of the USA/Canada region understand how cheap photographic products in those countries are.

    The List price for the SQB is/was $2300.00 the street price was about $2,050/2,100. After the manufacture of Bronica finished, the price fell to around $1,800. There was one unit that I saw four weeks ago that went for $1,600 so I think the $1,400 in this country, is relatively cheap.

    Mick.
     
  13. dschneller

    dschneller Member

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    I learn something new every day. Then by those standards, it does look to be a deal.

    Dave
     
  14. bon-jip

    bon-jip Member

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    Mick

    Comming from Oz myself I often keep an eye on Ebay there - just incase my family wants to know what to send me for my Birthday :wink:
    I resently saw a SQAi kit - body, back, AE prism, handgrip, 80 & 150 PS lenses, Metz flash and Quantum battery pack go for $900, and it looked to be in very good condition.

    Just something to think about....
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 21, 2005
  15. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Bon-jip, I agree with you on that score. Recently there were two SQAi systems in the Photo Trader for similar prices, however I wasn't sure whether this would be suitable for me.

    Now that I know that the SQAi is what I will be looking for, I'll pick one up when it comes on the scene.

    Denmark is a nice place to be, I stayed for a time in the early eighties in Odense, I still think the train going onto the ferry, is a real buzz.

    Mick.
     
  16. bon-jip

    bon-jip Member

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    Yeah it's bridges all the way Sweden to Germany now, so I never got the chance to do the train onto the ferry.

    Good luck with your search for a Bronica, I think they're a nice camera, but I've never shot a 'Blad so what do I know?