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  1. #1

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    Bronica S2A questions

    Hello to APUG community!
    I am a relatively new photographer or better a photo enthusiast. My name is George and I am from Greece.

    My last purchase was a Bronica S2A. It arrived at a decent condition. I had to clean it and make some tests first.
    The only problem is the most know for S2As: deterioration of foam on the focusing screen. It was cleaned and replaced, now the focusing screen is very stable.

    The Nikkor 75mm it came with seems to be in a great condition. Clean and working well. Took some testing shots with it. They seem to be great, there are so light leaks, that was my fear. But the light seals on the back look like they want to be replaced. I've looked on ebay and found in several sizes, which one to pick?

    Another common issue is the focusing screen. It's quite dark. I've checked the web and many users replace their screens with Kiev 88 screens. Should i do the same? Will there be any focusing problem?

    Searching for accessories like extra film backs or lenses, I have difficulty finding them. Is that because there are no longer available for sale (used)? Also, only S2A backs and lenses will fit my camera? or other Bronica backs and lenses will work? (like SQ-A, ETRS etc)

    I am really concerned about the mirror slap. Can that affect the image sharpness? I know all the vibration is done after the exposure but performing the coin test, that does not seems to be right for me.

    As I read on the web, there are some shutter speeds that produce great results and some others that should be avoided. What would be the optimum shutter speeds for tripod use?

    Thank you for your help ,
    George

  2. #2
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    George,

    I can offer views on a few of the issues you raise. I have an S2 (essentially the same as your S2A but yours has stronger gears) and an SQ-A, and no, the backs are not at all interchangeable. I'm not sure where you're looking, but I haven't found lenses particularly difficult to find, except for select lens like the 80mm f/2.4. Lenses are often available on American eBay or from individual sellers or shops. As for the screen, I personally wish I could have a split-image screen on mine. Rick Oleson (google him) sells screens that will fit your S2A. As far as I know, as long as the foam supporting the screen is installed properly and you put in the new screen (and separate fresnel lens, IIRC), then you shouldn't have any problems. As for mirror slap, well, that's just the way these camera work. I don't think there's much to be done about it. Later models like my EC-TL used a split mirror to reduce mirror slap. I've never heard anything about some shutter speeds being better than others, per se, though of course some speeds are more appropriate depending on what you're photographing. If shooting a moving cat, you might opt for 1/250 or faster; when shooting a house that isn't moving, then perhaps you'd be more concerned about depth of field and let that determine the shutter speed. If you're using a tripod, you can use any shutter speed you like; the problem comes when you are not using a tripod and want to shoot at slow speeds which might cause unwanted blur in the resulting images.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trask View Post
    George,

    I can offer views on a few of the issues you raise. I have an S2 (essentially the same as your S2A but yours has stronger gears) and an SQ-A, and no, the backs are not at all interchangeable. I'm not sure where you're looking, but I haven't found lenses particularly difficult to find, except for select lens like the 80mm f/2.4. Lenses are often available on American eBay or from individual sellers or shops. As for the screen, I personally wish I could have a split-image screen on mine. Rick Oleson (google him) sells screens that will fit your S2A. As far as I know, as long as the foam supporting the screen is installed properly and you put in the new screen (and separate fresnel lens, IIRC), then you shouldn't have any problems. As for mirror slap, well, that's just the way these camera work. I don't think there's much to be done about it. Later models like my EC-TL used a split mirror to reduce mirror slap. I've never heard anything about some shutter speeds being better than others, per se, though of course some speeds are more appropriate depending on what you're photographing. If shooting a moving cat, you might opt for 1/250 or faster; when shooting a house that isn't moving, then perhaps you'd be more concerned about depth of field and let that determine the shutter speed. If you're using a tripod, you can use any shutter speed you like; the problem comes when you are not using a tripod and want to shoot at slow speeds which might cause unwanted blur in the resulting images.

    Thank you for your reply!

    I am looking on UK ebay and the offer is pretty limited.

    As I read, Kiev 88 screen has split image. I also checked Rick Olenson's screens and they seem to offer split image. Maybe I'll order one.

    I intend to shoot most of the time with a tripod. When shooting handheld, the 35mm rule of thumb applies on medium format too? (minimum shutter speed=focal length of lens used)

  4. #4

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    Hello George and welcome to the forum.

    I have owned an S2a and several EC's. Don't worry about the mirror slap. It happens too late after the shutter to cause problems. Use any shutter speed you want while using a tripod. I don't know what you read but I have never had any problems or heard of anyone having any problems.

    Early Bronica cameras, film backs and lenses used to show up often on ebay here in the United States. They have slowed but still show up occasionally. Most lenses are dirt cheap unless you are looking for a 40mm Nikkor or a lens longer than 200mm. Like Trask says, the 80mm Bronica is hard to find but you don't really need it since you have the excellent 75mm Nikkor. I also highly recommend the 150mm Bronica lens for portraiture.

    With your S2a you can use any S series (S, S2, S2a) back. I can't remember for sure but I don't think the EC backs will work on the S series cameras.

    Alan

  5. #5
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    Hello also George,

    As Alan said the backs from the S, S2 & S2a are interchangeable, they are not interchangeable with the EC models.
    Any lens made for the classic Bronica will work with your S2a. Classic Bronica's are the D, Z, S, C, S2, S2a, EC & EC-TL.
    Accessories, prism finders and such, are NOT interchangeable between the 'S' series and the 'EC' series.

    There are more Bronica items available on E-bay-US. I have bought and sold internationally on E-bay-US with little or no problems.
    Some sellers have had trouble, if you see something you like you can always contact the seller and see if they will sell internationally.
    The major problem with the international sales is the shipping cost, something small, like a filter is not too bad. When the package weighed over 4 pounds the cost was typically over $50.00 US. So that is something to think about.

    Most of all, enjoy your Bronica. At one time I had each of the models we have discussed, now I have limited myself to just the EC series. They're great cameras.

    Good Luck!

    Joe

  6. #6

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    Alan Gales & Joe:
    Thank you for your responses.

    I checked the US ebay and the shipping costs are really a considerable cost. I think I'll stick with my Nikkor 75 for the moment. I will need some time to work with my new camera and maybe later I will buy a tele for portraits.

    Again thank you for your time, you really helped me.

  7. #7

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    Hello George,

    I don't know what shipping cost would be to Greece but when I sold my Bronica 150mm lens on Ebay I got less than $100.00 U.S. I felt like I gave it away. It's a wonderful portrait lens.

    The Nikkor lenses are considered to be the sharpest followed by the Bronica lenses and then the Komura's. The exception is the 135mm Nikkor which is known for being soft. I have never shot the Komura lenses so I am going by what I read. If you get a chance to buy the 40mm Nikkor it is a fantastic lens. I sold my well used but with great glass sample for $400.00.

    You are going to love the 75mm Nikkor. It was my favorite.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Gales View Post
    Hello George,

    I don't know what shipping cost would be to Greece but when I sold my Bronica 150mm lens on Ebay I got less than $100.00 U.S. I felt like I gave it away. It's a wonderful portrait lens.

    The Nikkor lenses are considered to be the sharpest followed by the Bronica lenses and then the Komura's. The exception is the 135mm Nikkor which is known for being soft. I have never shot the Komura lenses so I am going by what I read. If you get a chance to buy the 40mm Nikkor it is a fantastic lens. I sold my well used but with great glass sample for $400.00.

    You are going to love the 75mm Nikkor. It was my favorite.
    Alan,

    I found really cheap a Nikkor 135. Should I buy it? You mentioned it is soft. Or maybe should I save the money for a Bronica 150?

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by geostog View Post
    Alan,

    I found really cheap a Nikkor 135. Should I buy it? You mentioned it is soft. Or maybe should I save the money for a Bronica 150?
    I owned both the Nikkor 135mm and the Bronica 150mm. I got great deals on each of them. My sample of the 135 was softer than my 150mm. I tried both for portraiture and much preferred the Bronica 150mm.

    If you can only afford one then I highly recommend the Bronica 150mm. It's sharp but not clinically sharp and just makes a wonderful portrait lens.

  10. #10

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    Some more questions

    Hello again.

    After some use I have some more questions about my camera.

    The shutter speed dial seems to have some kind of bayonet fitting, just like many cameras. Is it just design or I can actually mount something there?

    Is there any way to get 6x4.5 negatives from my 6x6 back? And are there any 6x4.5 backs?

    Reading the manual, there is a reference for intermediate shutter speeds. However, I don't get the point, maybe a experienced user can help me.

    I tried to remove the neck clips but they seem to be stuck, they rotate but they can't be removed. Like I saw on the manual, I have to lift the wings and it will be removed. Perhaps I am not doing it correctly?

    On the helicoid unit, I can see 75mm. Will the same helicoid work for other focal lengths or there is another one?

    I am a bit concerned about the accuracy of each shutter speed. Is there any way to check it? Or there is no need to worry?

    From the first film developed and scanned, I find that using 1/30 and 1/15 speed (and probably slower speeds) the pictures seem to capture some movement. My tripod is not that good and I was wondering if my tripod is not steady enough or the mirror slap is causing that?

    And a last one. During the foam replacement on the focusing screen, I placed the fresnel screen, rings side up and the matte screen, shinny side up. Is it correct?

    Thank you for your time and sorry for the length

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