BronicaSQ-Ai For Landscapes-Need Suggestions

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Tammany, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. Tammany

    Tammany Member

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    Good Evening-

    I just bought a Bronica SQ-Ai in minty condition with the intention of using it for landscape photography. I would appreciate any suggestions that folks here may have regarding how to get the most out of this camera if I intend to convert negs to high res scans and post process digitally. I am particularly interested in suggestions for film (both color and B&W), processing labs and scanning.

    I also would appreciate information concerning the best sources for lenses, backs and screens. I am familiar with KEH, B&H and Adorama. Are there any others? The camera comes with the standard 80mm lens and I would like to add a 40mm or 50mm.

    Many thanks.
     
  2. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I have an SQ-A and got about two thirds my Bronica stuff off ePrey, the rest from KEH. Obviously there is some risk with the auction site, but with twenty year old camera gear there is some risk anyway. The 40mm lens is less common, and IIRC pretty pricey, I have a 50 mm (PS flavor). The page linked above has some links that will take you to some of what I've done with mine. The 'normal' 80 mm is probably my most used lens, although lately I've been giving the 110 f/4.5 macro a workout.

    With the Bronica I shoot about 95+% B&W which has been mostly Tri-X (400TX) and Acros 100 with some Plus-X (no longer made - "sniff" :sad: ), FP4+ and others mixed in. I am moving toward FP4+ to replace Plus-X. I process my own B&W and do traditional wet printing so I can't say too much about the scanning work flow, although it's my vague understanding the tabular grain films (Delta xxx, Tmax, Acros) are good for that.

    In color I've shot some Provia 100 transparency, but it appears to me transparency film selection and availability is shrinking, and I've not been especially happy with the local processing I've found -- more an issue of bad handling and dirt than color rendition. I've shot some Ektar 100 and Reala in C41 emulsions, but I generally use "other technology" for color.
     
  3. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    Fyi, this is apug. Dpug is a good place for discussing things not related to the dark. The bronica is a nice camera. Use lens hoods as the lens coatings aren't the best. Other than that use mirror lock up and shoot away. The 50mm i have is very sharp.
     
  4. Tammany

    Tammany Member

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    Thanks very much, Dave. I really appreciate these comments. Your site is wonderful.

    I need to use the camera a bit but my thought right now is that I will concentrate on B&W. I am heavily invested in Nikon equipment (both film and DSLR) and am happy with that gear for color. I especially like Velvia and Provia in 35mm. This is more of an art camera for me and for thirty years I have wanted to try my hand on medium format B&W landscapes. The FP-4 is my starting point on this and preliminarily for processing and scanning, I like what I read here: http://www.digitalsilverimaging.com/

    I would love to wet process on my own but I have have neither the room at home or an patient wife.
     
  5. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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  6. whlogan

    whlogan Member

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    Sounds like what you have heard above is good advice. I would go for both the 40mm and the 50mm. They both have their own uses ans you will soon see. For example, the Slit canyons in Arizona require a 40mm, though you will brain yourself if you go with a 50mm. I went with a 38mm and was quite pleased. Use Trix as long as you can get it. For all your work, please. It is simply the best, I used it at Monument Valley and it was perfect. 'Nuff said
    Logan
     
  7. Noble

    Noble Member

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    If you want to shoot C-41 (color print) film Kodak products are great. Portra is great for portraits. It is high resolution and it takes it easy on the contrast and saturation. It's very scannable. If you want something with a more saturation and contrast try Kodak Ektar.

    You can use the Walmart send out service for medium format developing. They charge something like $0.84/roll for 120/220 C-41 processing, developing only. It's a couple of dollars more for some very mediocre proof prints. Don't be fooled by the proofs. Those 120 negatives of Portra are much higher resolution. I think they just scan them at a low resolution and then print.

    For landscapes you may want to try something a bit more fun. Fuji Velvia 50 is very high in saturation and contrast. E-6 (slide) Processing is substantially more expensive I believe it is a bit under $5 a roll at Walmart. It really is something you should try out.
     
  8. Tammany

    Tammany Member

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    I am a little curious about the Tri X recommendation. Why not T Max? Back "in the day" the knock on Tri X was its grain structure. The reviews I read of T Max 400 indicate that the speed/grain combination is better on that film.
     
  9. agfarapid

    agfarapid Member

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    Hi, welcome to APUG. I have a lot of medium format gear, mostly Mamiya's & Fuji's. I've used T Max 100 and Foma's 200 (marketed by Freestyle under their in house brands). I find that Tmax will give the best tonality, sharpness and consistency while the Foma product comes pretty close while giving a different rendition. It is also quite inexpensive. I've used Xtol, HC-110 dil B and Rodinal 1:50 with pretty good results. For prints, I've scanned due to space and time limitations. I find a wide angle lens is my favorite. On my 6x6 and 6x7 I've had excellent results with a moderate wide 65mm (Mamiya C330) and a wider 50mm (RB 67). You can also do a lot with the standard 80, which when used properly, can also render a wide angle point of view. In terms of procurement, I found the auction site and KEH the best. Haven't used Craig's List--can't comment on that.
     
  10. Ricus.stormfire

    Ricus.stormfire Member

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    May I also just mention that the 40mm f4 Zenzanon-S has a filter thread diameter of 95mm, and has a built-in lens hood, not sure if and what filter you would use like screw-in or Cokin/Lee holder types, screw in filters in that size WILL cost you a pretty penny, and I have no idea whether there is a work around for the holder types (maybe some other members could say?) just bare this in mind. I think the later PS version does not have the lenshood.

    The 50mm has a 67mm filter thread, as do all the other lenses (except for the 40mm, 500mm, and the two zoom lenses)
     
  11. Noble

    Noble Member

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    Probably like most things it boils down to personal preference. That's the neat thing about film. You buy one camera. Then you sample different emulsions and find the one that works for YOU. B&W is even more interesting because you can process at home and the variety of developers and developing techniques is endless.

    Some people like grain. Some people avoid it most of the time. Some people like Rodinal. Some people like XTOL. Some people mix XTOL in Rodinal. I think the key is to get some factual data points and then experiment.

    I think you should get a roll of TriX and a roll of Tmax and give them both a try. Decide for yourself which one YOU like. Unlike digital where people talk solely about resolution most of the time. Film is about the overall look. Resolution is important... to some of us, but the overall look is what will guide most people.
     
  12. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    That's only the 'S' version, the 50 mm PS is 77 mm and (empirically determined) pretty sensitive to stuff building out on the front. That 67 mm across the line was one of the things that went by the wayside in the transition from S to PS. The 110 mm f/4.5 PS 1:1 macro takes a 72 mm filter. (Would I had bought 77s first and then some step-up rings! :blink: )
     
  13. Tammany

    Tammany Member

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    Thanks for the reply. Wonderful suggestions, of course and I intend to compare several films. I am more interested in tonality than in grain structure so he Ilford films also will be on the list.
     
  14. Ricus.stormfire

    Ricus.stormfire Member

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    I stand corrected


    Thanks, I stand corrected.
     
  15. jovo

    jovo Membership Council

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    If it helps to think in 35mm equivalents, the 40mm lens translates to 23mm, and the 50mm to 28mm (from KEH notes on both lenses). 40mm is pretty dramatic and probably will used less than the 50, but as said above, if you can afford both, buy both if you 'see' in wide angles.
     
  16. NJS

    NJS Member

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    I mostly use 150&105s lenses for landscapes though sometimes I use the 50ps.
    As far as films go Velvia is the king for landscapes and Provia is amazing too. For c41 I'd recommend Reala if it weren't discontinued.
     
  17. hsandler

    hsandler Member

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    On some other forums, I have seen recommendations of Koh Camera (no, not a misprint of KEH) for Bronica parts.

    I have an ETRSi and I have been shooting Delta100 and Delta400 and home developing in TMax developer. I was not satsfied with lab development of black and white, because the only black and white lab in town uses the same process for all films. For C41, the commercial lab is fine though. I like Portra400. Commercial bulk scans are poor. I bought a used flatbed and its fine for med. format.