Bronnie vs Hassy - B&W only - What do I lose?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by jmooney, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. jmooney

    jmooney Member

    Messages:
    643
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2003
    Location:
    Morrisville,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I've set my sights on a 6x6 system. My inclination is to Hasselblad but the Bronica is well respected system as well. I'm looking at Hassy C lenses and Bronica PS lenses and they'll be used solely for B&W with most of my work being nature and landscape subjects.

    I'm planning on a 50/80/150 kit. Adding a 60 at a later time.

    I like the fact that the Hassy is mechanical but I'm not against electronic cams. What do I give up from the Hassy if I go with the Bronica? I'm mainly concerned with contrast and sharpness but are there any functional issues that might pop up as well?

    Thanks for you input. I've only been an active reader of this community for a short time but I have learned so much and I'm glad to be a part of it.

    Take care,

    Jim
     
  2. RoBBo

    RoBBo Member

    Messages:
    255
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You give up it being mechanical, that's really about it.
    Functionally, other than the fact that you're dead without batteries, I find my bronica much more capable than any of the Hasselblads I've used (Just 500s and 501s).
    Contrast and Sharpness are for the most part indistinguishable.
    The Bronica PS line of lenses are amazing.
    There are never funny locking issues.
    The advancing in the backs is always very consistant with near perfect spacing, even in the older backs.
    MLU is easy to use, multiple exposures are easy (but not accidental).
    You also gain the ability to use TTL flash and aperture priority metering through a prism.
    Nothing to lose except for pretty chrome and operation without a battery.
     
  3. reggie

    reggie Member

    Messages:
    275
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Because I wanted a 6x6 that would run without batteries and I used a handheld meter anyway, I bought a Bronica SQB. Fully manual which suits my needs perfectly. I don't think I could tell the difference between a picture taken with a Hasselblad C lens and a Bronica PS lens, so to me it came down getting what I wanted out of a 6x6 at the best price, so I went with the SQB and it's just what I wanted.

    -R
     
  4. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

    Messages:
    4,090
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Location:
    NYC or Copak
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have both a Bronica 6x4.5 system and a Hassey CX-series.

    What you "lose" with the Bronny is nothing more than the CZ lenses of the Hassey system (i.e. only a real Hassey fanatic would argue about the quality of simple light tight boxes with hand crank film advance mechanisms matter).

    If you want to pay for German glass then you should go with a Hassey. If you consider the Japanese glass to be as good as German - then go with the Bronica.

    Does that matter?

    I'm not certain it does; but it can lead to "flame wars" to an extraordinary degree to point this out.

    Such "wars" will include the superiority of glass that can involve historical, ethnic, racial and technological points of contention - to name just a few.

    So, have fun reading the answers you get here.

    You also might want to do a thread search here for other info and opinions - of which there are many.
     
  5. pelerin

    pelerin Member

    Messages:
    343
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hi,
    As someone already mentioned brand comparisons are sure to get the folks excited. One area to investigate, if you plan to keep and use the system well into the future, is the availability of parts and service for whatever make and model you chose. My experience is that there are more repair options for Hasselblad (i.e., independent technicians).
    Celac.
     
  6. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,351
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    Montréal (QC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Rental may also be a point to consider: if you travel and suddenly break a lens, does it matter to you whether you can find a dealer with a spare one to rent for a day? In some situations, it doesn't matter (e.g. 6 month trekking in Central Asia...), but rental is also a good means to use the amazing lenses you don't need often, and can't justify buying.
     
  7. Willie Jan

    Willie Jan Member

    Messages:
    1,935
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Location:
    Best/The Net
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I have had several medium format systems such as pentax 645nii,pentax 67, bronica s2a (old...).
    Now i bought a hassy 500cm with 80/150/250. I never believed the stories about the hassy lenses, until i made a comparison between my pentax 645 and hassy. It just looks better for me.... I can't tell if it is the sharpness, dof or both. It is just different and I like it.

    Best would be to have several cameras besides each other and make the same pics, and afterwards see how they differ.
     
  8. David Henderson

    David Henderson Member

    Messages:
    342
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2004
    Location:
    Datchet, Ber
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I've used Bronica for a decade and for a short while Hasselblad UK lent me a 501CM and lenses which I used alongside the Bronica, to persuade me to convert. Frankly I couldn't see enough difference in the photographs to make the move worthwhile.

    Which is not to say that there aren't some factors you ought to think about.

    The Bronica is to my mind more intuitive to use and won't jam so easily if you get sequencing wrong.

    The point about repair availability above is probably valid. And there's another angle to it- it will be a lot better if you have a repair centre for your chosen brand convenient to your home. If that applies to one rather than the other then that would be enough to swing it for me, and my commitment to Bronica is not entirely divorced from the fact that the main UK repair centre is a fifteen minute drive away so I can meet the people doing the work and demonstrate a problem.

    That said I think the average Hasselblad might suffer fewer reliability problems than the average Bronica of the same age. But note that I'm saying "average" and there will be troublesome Hasselblads just like unreliable Bronicas. It all depends on the precise example you buy and again, if I could find a camera with a known history of trouble free, steady but not hard use, then that would weigh heavily on my brand choice.

    You'll save a lot of money buying a Bronica - or alternatively you'll get a lot newer camera/lenses for your money.

    I'm personally not convinced by the "no battery" argument. It isn't hard to keep a spare set of LR44 in the bag and I've never found conditions that have made the batteries fail to function.

    The name on the front matters a lot to some people. If you're the sort of person who will always have a thought at the back of your mind that a decision in favour of Bronica is a decision for second-best then get the Hasselblad now and enjoy it.
     
  9. matti

    matti Member

    Messages:
    652
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2005
    Location:
    Stockholm, S
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I find it hard to only go with reason in things like this. I have neither the Bronica or Hasselblad but personally, i would like to own a Hasselblad some day. I just like the look of it and don't have to convince myself with reason. (If I was to go with reason I would shoot digital, and how fun would that be?)

    /matti
     
  10. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

    Messages:
    479
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Oh Matti, now you've done it.

    Nathan
     
  11. matti

    matti Member

    Messages:
    652
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2005
    Location:
    Stockholm, S
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Oops, compared the Bronica to digital, sorry about that :D . Let's take another example: If I was all into reason I wouldn't have paddled my kayak to work in the summer and walked the ice in the winter when we lived on an island.

    /matti
     
  12. blaze-on

    blaze-on Member

    Messages:
    1,430
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Location:
    Riverside, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have both...recently shooting a wedding with the Bronica..the crank handle on the back I was using fell off..it's a bitch when under pressure to wind that sucker without one..

    Then, shooting the Hassy up in Bodie I noiticed the slide was going in kinda stiff and heard paper crunching...thought it was loose film but the back seal came loose from the side of the film back and laid across 4-5 images...nice white strip.

    So, both are fallible to age concerns, both will take the pictures you want.
    Bronica is more user friendly, Hassy makes a cool sound.

    Huge enlargements may show a discernible quality difference in the glass, but I wouldn't know...

    Either/Or
     
  13. DaveOttawa

    DaveOttawa Member

    Messages:
    284
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Location:
    Ottawa, Cana
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Assuming you only need the basics as described you will save a lot of money you can put towards film, carbon tripod, travel etc with the Bronica. You will find there are some accessories etc for Hassleblad that aren't made for Bronica and that Bronica is less abundant in the s/h market - but there isn't exactly a shortage.

    I have the SQB and 50/80/180. Got the 180 because the 150 was not a tight enough field of view for me and the 180 focuses closer. 180 is much less common and more $$ though.

    I've never quite understood the objection to a camera that requires a few small batteries - given that you have to carry all that 120 film with you anyway what is the problem wit taking some batteries too?
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Willie Jan

    Willie Jan Member

    Messages:
    1,935
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Location:
    Best/The Net
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I do not think it's the weight, but the problem that their is electronica inside that can fail easier than mechanical suddenly due to temperature,water, shaking....
     
  16. matti

    matti Member

    Messages:
    652
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2005
    Location:
    Stockholm, S
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I find electronics failure especially irritating, for some reason. When I dropped my Rolleiflex or dropped a tree on my mechanical Bessa R2, I understood what had happened. But when my electronic shuttered Mamiya 645 just didn't click sometimes when the temperature went under 10 deg C, and of course the repairman couldn't repeat the problem, I just returned the camera.
    /matti
     
  17. Leon

    Leon Member

    Messages:
    2,075
    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2003
    Location:
    Kent, Englan
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The sqb shutter is powered by battery so it still needs these to work. I think it defaults to 1/125ish when the battery dies, so I guess it is still usable, just about.
     
  18. randyB

    randyB Member

    Messages:
    368
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2005
    Location:
    SE Mid-TN
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Back in 1981 I tested blad 500cm, Bronica Sq, Mamiya RB67, Mamiya M1000 645 against each other, all with the standard lens ( 80-90 ) and wide angle ( 50-65). All photos shot on the same afternoon, all processed on the the same day, all tripod mounted. Blad won hands down, better sharpness, contrast, Bronica was 2nd good but definately not up to Zeiss standards, RB67 3rd, Mamiya 645 last. I used the same film, Plus-X Pro same dev D-76. Even though the Bronica was considerably cheaper I went with the 500cm, I've been very happy with my system. You might try doing your own tests, modern films are much better than 80's films. My two cents. RandyB:smile:
     
  19. Usagi

    Usagi Member

    Messages:
    360
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2007
    Location:
    Turku, Finla
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Back in 1981 Bronica has only S lenses, not PS lenses which are better.
    I own one S serie lens and couple of PS serie and difference in contrast and flare sensibility is really huge.
     
  20. jmooney

    jmooney Member

    Messages:
    643
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2003
    Location:
    Morrisville,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hi Randy,

    Which series of lenses were the ones that you tested on the 'Blad and the Bronnie?

    Thanks,

    Jim
     
  21. Rob_5419

    Rob_5419 Member

    Messages:
    32
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    The superiority of the T* Zeiss lenses is far less important in monochrome work. If you aren't shooting colour, then the colour difference of the lenses won't matter. Most Hassy C lenses had T* coatings (except early types e.g. 50mm C Distagon).

    Look at the price difference for a Bronica Sq kit (newer) than a Hasselblad kit..


    1. Electronic quartz shutter precision of the Bronica
    2. You give up the irritating lack of time shutter from 16 seconds - 1
    seconds. The Hasselblad has a 1 second maximum shutter speed whereas
    the Bronica has time control up to 16 seconds, a B and a T setting.
    3. The jamming Hasselblad lenses every other time you use an extension ring - true - the Bronica's Sq has never jammed.
    4. C lenses are less sharp in the corners than later PS lenses. Unless you
    shoot with the CFi lenses, you will be really pushed to notice even corner
    differences at huge enlargement factors between Bronica Sq and
    Hasselblad C lenses.
    5. Film back engagment with the Hasselblads: with older backs, sometimes
    the shutter locks and won't fire because of alignment issues with older
    backs. A CLA may be required. Never experienced that with any Bronica
    due to its innovative film back design (well...innovative 25 years ago..)
    6. You give up the crappy Hasselblad multiple exposure technique which
    requires the film back to be moved before you wind on the shutter, and
    then replace the back, guaranteeing that you will have moved the film
    image plane in that movement. The Bronica's mechanism is swifter and
    neat.
    7.You also give up the prestige of working with a Hasselblad.

    No.7 is probably the subconscious reason why I still shoot with a Hasselblad and not a Bronica over the past 20 years. The Bronica Sq is a superior and more user-friendly 6x6cm format camera system in every aspect for black and white work; for the budget; for the practicality and reliability.

    Still, I shoot with a Hasselblad. Just can't reason with older people who are set in their ways :smile:
     
  22. Matt5791

    Matt5791 Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,003
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Location:
    England, Bir
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I recently dropped my 500C/M off a wall and it fell 30ft onto hard ground and the odd brick.

    Yes, there was considerable damage - the 250mm sonnar lens actually broke off the camera body; the film magazine looked decidely different and the WLF was completely broken off.

    However with a different lens (the mount on the body was fine) and mag. it still worked, in a manner.

    I know this is extreme, but I considered Bronica before going with Hasselblad and one of the reasons I went with the Hasselblad was becasue it just felt a lot stronger and a lot more resiliant to every day use.

    Whether it is or not I don't know - it just feels that way.
     
  23. Willie Jan

    Willie Jan Member

    Messages:
    1,935
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Location:
    Best/The Net
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    The result is what counts.
    The way how you got there is another thing.
     
  24. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

    Messages:
    2,411
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Van Buren, A
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Something that hasn't been mentioned here. Any, and I mean ANY camera that has electronic functions, rather than mechanical functions will need servicing of the electronics eventually. It is a fact of life that capacitors, which are used in timing circuits in cameras, fail. This is component level electronic repair. Repair centers are used to repairing by replacing sub-assemblies, rather than diagnosing and replacing individual electronic parts. When the supply of repair parts dries up, without concise electronic schematics, individual component diagnosis and replacement becomes next to impossible, and the average camera technician does not have the training to do this anyway. For the long haul, it is wiser to choose a mechanical camera. I am not suggesting brands here, as most medium-format camera brands have had all mechanical models.
     
  25. Nokton48

    Nokton48 Subscriber

    Messages:
    464
    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Something that hasn't been mentioned here. Any, and I mean ANY camera that has electronic functions, rather than mechanical functions will need servicing of the electronics eventually. It is a fact of life that capacitors, which are used in timing circuits in cameras, fail. This is component level electronic repair. Repair centers are used to repairing by replacing sub-assemblies, rather than diagnosing and replacing individual electronic parts. When the supply of repair parts dries up, without concise electronic schematics, individual component diagnosis and replacement becomes next to impossible, and the average camera technician does not have the training to do this anyway. For the long haul, it is wiser to choose a mechanical camera. I am not suggesting brands here, as most medium-format camera brands have had all mechanical models.
    __________________
    Phototone



    I want to second this sentiment. I know, that even though I paid more for my "blad system (I have just about 50% of all the available accesories), I -KNOW- that I will always be able to get it repaired. Maybe not by Hasselblad USA, but by -just about- any competant reapir shops. Right now, everybody has plenty of spare parts. And, there are plenty of broken cameras around to be canibalized. That is what David Odess did for me, when my (new to me) 150mm Sonnar (from Adorama Ebay) had a broken rear mount. Turning the focus ring would fire the shutter :sad: He cannibalized one from a "parts" lens, so now, mine is as good as new.

    Point is, more 'blads (and parts) are around, than any other system. This may or may not be important to you. It is to me, for the long haul.

    -Dan
     
  26. Lee J

    Lee J Member

    Messages:
    55
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The 200* series bodies and their faster lenses are the only compelling reasons to buy into a 'blad system over the Bronica (discounting digital backs). All other points are moot.