Bronica, which one ?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Havoc, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. Havoc

    Havoc Member

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    Which model of Bronica would you say is the best ? which one would you buy and why ? Thanks in advance for any feedback as usual.

    John.
     
  2. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    Depends on your format preference. Bang for the buck? Probably the ETRS(i) in 645. The SQ series(6x6) can get pricey, especially if you're not buying a kit(body+WLF+120 back+80/2.8). Things like 120 backs and WLFs for the SQ series can be expensive. The GS-1 is a very light, portable 6x7 camera. They're a bit rare and usually a bit spendy for backs, lenses, finders--if you can find 'em. Lenses are very good for all the modern Bronicas. Nostalgia aside, I'd not bother with the ancient, mechanical S series or EC-TL--too many parts, service, and age-related issues.
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    I had an S2a for a long time with all the interesting accessories and lenses from 40mm to 500mm. You can put together an extensive system fairly inexpensively, if that's of interest.

    Particular attractions of the S2a:

    Nice and mostly affordable selection of Nikkor, Zenzanon, Komura and other lenses.

    Very easy to adapt large format and historic lenses thanks to separate focusing helical or bellows, shutter, and lens and secondary screw-mount option in addition to Bronica bayonet.

    Availability of a tilt-shift bellows for macro and tabletop work.

    Switchable 12/24 backs.

    I sold it after I built a Linhof 6x9 system, and decided that I didn't need two whole medium format systems, though one was an SLR and the other a rangefinder/technical camera.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2012
  4. tjaded

    tjaded Subscriber

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    I would agree that the S2a is a great one. You really can get a lot of options for a little money!
     
  5. whlogan

    whlogan Member

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    As I have said before, the GS1 is the very best Bronice ever made far and away. Sharpest lenses; sturdiest body; and best backs. It is, in my humble, but nevertheless correct opinion, the very best.
    Logan
     
  6. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    I think I'd sell all my other cameras before selling my GS-1 system. But I also like my RF645 for just carrying around.
     
  7. andrew.roos

    andrew.roos Subscriber

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    I doubt you will go wrong with any of the modern Bronicas (ETRSi, SQ-A, GS-1, or the RF-645 provided you like portrait orientation). It should probably depend on the aspect ratio and negative size you prefer. I chose my ETRSi, which I am very happy with, for the following reasons:

    1. I enjoy hiking and it is remarkably compact for an MF system. With the waist-level finder and 40mm lens it takes up very little room in my pack.
    2. Almost all the lenses from 40mm to 200mm take the same 62mm screw-in filters. Since I mostly shoot B&W landscapes, and use a variety of colour filters for contrast control, it's a real pleasure to only need one of each colour! I considered the SQ-A but the 40mm takes a great big 95mm filter and the 50mm PS takes a 77mm filter while the rest of the lenses take 67mm filters. The GS-1 wide-angle 50mm lens also takes 95mm filters.
    3. It's the least expensive of the modern Bronicas, and lenses etc seem to be widely available, and there's also a wide selection of focal lengths (compared especially to the GS-1). I believe the ETRSi's PE lenses are as good as the GS-1's PG lenses.
    4. I can live with the negative size compromise (6x4.5 vs 6x7 for the GS-1) as I don't print huge. I have almost convinced myself of this.

    Andrew
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2012
  8. ruilourosa

    ruilourosa Member

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    none!
     
  9. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Subscriber

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    RF645!! Most portable, easy to use MF camera ever!
     
  10. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Subscriber

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    The SQ series is dirt cheap at KEH.com, and I like squares, and vertical rectangles, so I appreciate not having to rotate the camera. Just crop!
     
  11. JonPorter

    JonPorter Member

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    I have all three (ETRSi, SQ-B, GS-1) and each is magnificent in its own way. And with the accessory Speed Grips the cameras are very hand-holdable, with a convenient hot shoe for studio work. Which one to buy depends on what format best suits you; all three are equal in construction and optics. But from a practical standpoint, the ETR series has the best availability of system components on the used market. SQ series gear is a little tighter but still good. As much as I love my GS-1 (one of the best cameras I've used), I don't think I'd invest in one today. Focusing screens and other accessories have become very difficult to find. Even things like 120 film inserts and some lenses can require frequent checks with eBay/KEH to find.
     
  12. inlarry

    inlarry Member

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    For my buck, the ERTS series is a go to. It's a decent format to print 8x10, without losing a lot of area as you would with 6x6. Plus, almost any lens can be had for under $200 in good shape. Backs, I've never paid over $15 for.

    Compared to my Hasselblad, I shoot the ERTS more simply because I've been able to afford more options for it, it's lighter, and faster to shoot with the AE-III prism and Speed grip. I'd have to re-mortgage my house to buy half of the Bronica stuff I own to fit my Hassy. Sure, the Hassy's quality is far and above the Bronica's, but in almost anything but studio settings I'll back the ETRS.
     
  13. rippo

    rippo Member

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    I have currently an etr-s and an sq-am. The etr-s I've had for ages, and still use it for portrait work all the time. Especially when I need a high flash sync speed (it's a leaf shutter). The sq-am I've only had about six months, and only use it a little bit. The prism viewfinder is considerably dimmer than the etr, even with an Intenscreen aftermarket screen. But I do like square format and the motor drive is handy.

    I've also owned an S and an EC. Both were fun but both died one after a few months of use. Brainiacs are good cameras, and dirt cheap compared to other MF cameras. I also shoot Manila 645af for wedding work. But I still bring out the etr when I need the sync speed.
     
  14. wiedzmin

    wiedzmin Subscriber

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    I use ETRS-i (this model has indicator in the viewfinder when multiple exposure lever is engaged, mirror lock-up. "B" (bulb) setting ), now you can find components: body, lenses (PE have half stops), WLF, backs (look for EI backs with two releases, and grey dark slide) in EX, EX+ or LN condition on KEH for a very good price.
     
  15. rippo

    rippo Member

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    Shhh, don't tell people about KEH! :smile: