Bronica SQ-AI, Lenses and teleconverters.
After a few weeks of deliberation I'm about ready to order a Bronica SQ-AI from a dealer in the UK.
I'm primarily into landscapes and abstracts.
It comes with the waste level finder a speed grip and the standard 80mm lens. I'm thinking that soon after getting it I'll be wanting another couple of lenses and I'm not too flush at the moment so I was wondering about teleconverters. I've never used one before and I know some of them can be nasty but if I got a 2x bronica converter and a Bronica 50mm lens I'd have 50, 80, 100 & 160mm available for quite cheap.
Are they worth it?
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The problem with 2x teleconverters is that you lose two stops of aperture, and from my hunting, are not that cheap either (your searches may be different). The difference in cost between say a 150mm or 210mm lens and a teleconverter is much less than the reduction in capability a teleconverter offers. You'll need to buy the 50mm anyway, and I'm not convinced that teleconverters are well matched to 'wide-angle' lenses like the 50mm.
I'd suggest buying the camera, 80mm and when funds allow the 50mm and think about the teleconverter or another lens once you're familiar with the setup. Although if landscape is a priority you may prefer to buy the 50 first if possible.
The 150mm lens is pretty common, so you should be able to pick one up fairly cheap when funds allow. The teleconverters are not particularly common.
One of the joys of the underrated Bronica SQ system is that its lenses are really quite cheap. Frankly I think you'd spend less money finding another lens than fiddling with a teleconverter and the attendant loss in speed and sharpness.
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The general rule about teleconverters (for any system), is to only use them as a last resort, which is usually when price and availability of longer lenses rule them out, or where size and weight are a big concern.
eg, if you've got a 150mm f/2.8 and want a 300mm, with a 2x tele you'll get a 300/5.6, but the cost of a teleconverter might be fairly close to a 300mm prime, in that case a teleconverter isn't worth it, especially as the 300mm prime will give much better performance.
As another example, I've got a 300mm f/4 Sonnar for my P6/Kiev setup, and I used to use a 2x tele to get to 600mm f/8 with no problems, because the TCs for them are <$100 and the next-best is the Pentacon 500mm f/5.6 which go for about $500.
Until of course I got a bargain on a 500mm f/5.6, and now with there being no 1000mm f/12 lenses, at least readily available in my budget without going to a mirror-lens, that's when I use a teleconverter (or two).
I still occasionally use the 300/4 plus TC in favour of the 500/5.6, because that's a heavy beast of a lens that I don't like carrying on hikes (although it's a good weapon).
ps, and just don't use teleconverters on wide angles, they don't work well, if at all.
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A teleconverter plus a shorter lens will sometimes give you better close focusing capacity than the longer lens they replace.
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Agreed, an underrated system, and I'm sure you will enjoy it. Part of me still regrets selling my SQ plus accessories, lenses etc. By the end I just had 50mm PS and 80mm PS lenses and thought both were excellent. No problem going up to 24x20" enlargements with either. I also had the AE prism finder with works well but I think most people would find it clunky to use if you were used to an AE 35mm, so give that a miss unless you need it.
Originally Posted by Colin Corneau
I don't recall ever actually seeing a 1.4 or 2x teleconverter in the flesh, but you see the 150,180 and 200mm lenses a lot so I suspect the converters are rarer. They were also very expensive at around $1500 if my memory serves me right as it was about the same as a 80mm PS lens give or take.
Make sure you have a good camera bag as the system is heavy - e.g. built to last!
Thank you for all the advice it's been very helpful.
There are a couple of Broncia 2x converters on eBay at the moment for about 140 GBP. I don't mind the loss of a couple of fast stops, It's not a big concern for landscape work. But I'd prefer not to compromise on quality so I will probably avoid it.
The complete unit I've seen is at FFords in scotland is 350 GBP for the body, 80mm PS, waste level view finder and a speed grip (Which I will probably try and sell on) with a six month warranty. I would have preferred a 50mm but I can't find a kit like that anywhere. I also can't find the SQ-AI body-only anywhere which would have been good. I looked at the the A and the B models but they lack bulb, T modes and longer exposure times wich I often use.
You will find none of the SQ bodies have a T mode built in to the body. It is a fiddly little switch on the side of the lens. See: http://www.butkus.org/chinon/bronica...a_sq-a-m-2.htm on its use.
Originally Posted by JammyB
P.S. Steer well clear of cliffpr - His stuff is always way overpriced on ebay and you don't need to look far to find better deals. For example: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/161374810916
Last edited by paul_c5x4; 07-30-2014 at 07:25 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Assuming the condition is excellent I would say it is a good price especially with a warranty and is less than what i sold mine for. I would avoid any bronicas that are not in really good condition because in my experience the average bronica owner looked after their kit well, so you should be able to find really nice ones out there. For example mine had no scratches or paint chips or broken plastic and had all the boxes, manuals etc and lenses had no marks at all etc and when selling mine I found I was certainly not alone in this regard!
Originally Posted by JammyB
Last edited by jrhilton; 07-30-2014 at 09:40 AM. Click to view previous post history.