Zenza Bronica SQ Ai

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by one90guy, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. one90guy

    one90guy Subscriber

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    Have a fellow who wants to trade a Bronica for some of my 35 Nikon gear. I have never seen one in person so Ive been trying to read up on what should come with the camera to make a complete kit. We have traded pics, there is a 70 and 150 lens, viewfinder, pistol grip, and 220 back. From what Ive read the back for this camera has the film speed control on the back. Is this correct?

    Does anyone own or have used this particular camera, is there anything special to look far? I would be grateful for any tips or suggestions.

    David
     
  2. JonPorter

    JonPorter Member

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    Yes, the ISO is set on the film backs for the meter prism. Early backs had the dial on top, so it was under the prism's viewfinder -- very inconvenient. Later film backs, which your camera should have, had the dial on the back next to the film type reminder window.

    Make sure the camera comes with the plastic battery holder, needed to make the camera operational. Then if you buy it, go to Koh's Camera and buy a spare battery holder. On my SQ-Ai, I sometimes had to press on the bottom of the battery compartment for the batteries to make contact with the camera. This, in turn, occasionally resulted in the latch accidentally opening, dumping the battery holder and batteries onto the ground. I never lost or stepped on the battery holder while I was retrieving the four button batteries, but I might have. After about a year of this I sold the camera and bought an SQ-B, which uses a standard 6v battery and doesn't require a holder.
     
  3. jon

    jon Member

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    I picked up an SQAi a while back. Love it. It's a great value in MF SLRs, especially if you like the 6x6 format. Jimmy Koh at Koh's camera can do repairs and has accessories if you need 'em -- usually better prices than off ebay too.

    For the film backs, the newer backs have the ISO dial on the back, while the older ones have the ISO dial on top of the back. The newer ones also have an exposure compensation dial on the outer ring of the ISO dial. They moved the dial to the back to make it easier to use with Prisms. The back is tied to the metered prisms. If you use a WLF, it has no function.

    There are two types of lenses for the SQAi, the "S" lenses and the "PS" lenses. I only have S lenses, but the PS are newer and have a better coating. I only shoot B&W so the extra coating isn't an issue for me, and I've heard most folks can't see any functional difference in their shots between the S and PS lenses. It's worth noting that almost all the S lenses have a 67mm filter thread, while the PS lenses vary a bit more.

    Since its an electronic shutter, make sure the battery compartment on the bottom is solid and that it has the holder inside. If you get a loose battery door, you can lose the holder ($30 to replace from Kohs I think, assuming he has them) and then you're stuck with no ability to shoot.

    Like I said, I love mine. You'll be very happy with it. Here's mine.
     
  4. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    There was no 70mm lens, so I'm guessing it's an 80mm. Though you can use 120 film in a 220 back with some fiddling, 120 backs are preferable since there's more selection in 120 film types. What type of finder? Make sure the focus screen is clean since they can be expensive to replace. Any clue as to mileage on the SQ kit? A very rough index is wear around the holes on the rear of the body where the film back's cleats plug in--lots of wear and missing paint=heavy use.

    The ISO dials are irrelevant on the backs if your SQ-Ai has a WLF or plain prism finder. Light tightness is more of an issue. Make sure you get a film wind crank, too. A manual speed winder is a useful accessory for handheld shooting--more so than a pistol grip.

    Very nice 6x6 SLR system. An overview here:

    http://www.ayton.id.au/gary/photo/photo_BronicaSQ.htm
     
  5. one90guy

    one90guy Subscriber

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    Thanks guys for the tips, I feel more prepared to check it out. Yes CGW its 80mm, fingers and brain connection seem to fail more as I age:sad:
     
  6. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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  7. pityacka

    pityacka Member

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    The guys above have covered all the points re the SQ-Ai. I bought mine just a few years back when the UK price(Brand new) dropped to £699. I have never got around to buying a prism finder of any kind. Just use the waist level finder with a hand held light meter. Every shot has been successful. I did buy a film back for 6x45 shots. Thanks for the information re the S and PS lenses, I might just give an S lens a try when I can find one.
     
  8. Trevor Whitaker

    Trevor Whitaker Subscriber

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    If you do the trade you'll probably want to seek out a 120 back as well. 220 film is just not as easy to find as 120, which is why you'll see tons of 220 backs on eBay and the like for cheap but the 120 backs get top dollar.
     
  9. pityacka

    pityacka Member

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    one90guy, Re 220 film - it is hard to find, but Calumet in UK had some for sale a few months back. And whilst digging around on the internet I found out that Calumet also exist in the USA, so you might be lucky.
     
  10. one90guy

    one90guy Subscriber

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    The camera was a SQ A, 2 220 film backs, working metered prism, 2 excellent working lens,8o 2.8 and 65 4 and body looks good. I went to order some 220 black/white, uh oh missed that, no 220 b/w. Been looking for a 120 back, but they are almost as much as I have in the camera. And my wife keeps giving me the I told you to keep what you had look and now you have to order something for the camera:sad:

    Now to the unknown part, not sure if I am missing something, but I can only cock the shutter by moving the double exposure knob to that setting, then flip it back to A to fire shutter. I have tryed both backs and made sure the dark slide was removed with same results. Am I looking at a serious problem or just over looking something?

    I thank everyone for there help, now if I can sort this out.
     
  11. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    That's the dry fire drill: pull out the dark slide from the back a bit and push down the 2x lever--won't cock and fire otherwise without film.

    Do check the link I posted on how to use 120 in a 220 back--all's not lost!
     
  12. one90guy

    one90guy Subscriber

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    GSW thank you for the link. I have ordered several rolls of 120 film, I ordered extra so that I can use one to check spacing, etc.
     
  13. inlarry

    inlarry Member

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    As a note, on these, unless film's loaded the shutter will only fire with the double exposure lever engaged. However, Bronica's are somewhat notorious for an issue with this switch. If I engage mine, I have to remove the battery and reset the camera to get it working properly again. Just an FYI.

     
  14. one90guy

    one90guy Subscriber

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    Thanks inlarry I have got some good Bronica info from this forum. Looking forward to running some through it. Headed out July 5th for a couple of weeks on southern back roads and plan on taking lots of photos:D
     
  15. one90guy

    one90guy Subscriber

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    Bronica up date, used 120 in both 220 backs, only glich, only 9 exposures per roll. But had a major user problem, all images out of focus using both lens. Daughter gets prefect focus with either lens. So she talked me out of camera and gave back my Ricoh Diacord L:^) I have never had focus issues with any other camera other than a miss now and then. But am happy to get tlr back which I can focus:^)
     
  16. mweintraub

    mweintraub Subscriber

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    one90guy, Do you still have the Bronica? I'll be in Corpus next month, maybe we could meet (with another film-photo buff) and chat.