Making the jump to Medium Format
I've been looking recently into medium format hardware, as I've been shooting 35mm consistently for the past 8 years or so, and I'm looking for some opinions on equipment.
Right now I'm debating between the Bronica ETR-Si and the Bronica SQ-A. From the information I've gotten, shooting the SQ-A with 6x6 will yield better quality than the ETR-Si with 6x4.5... is this incorrect? I am looking for a substantial image quality improvement with the switch to medium format, and I've been told that that can be accomplished, but that 6x6 is better.
The ETR-Si seems a bit more affordable, and equipment seems to be more plentiful, as I haven't found much in the way of add-on equipment for the SQ-A (finders, grips, lenses, backs, etc.). Anyone having any opinion on this, please do chime in.
Do you often print square now? Or will you be cropping? 6x6 is only bigger if you don't crop. Now if you want a square print then a 6x45 will force you to crop a 4.5x4.5 section of the negative. If you don't print square now you'll find 645 closer in shape to the 35mm you're used to. Not everybody likes square. Some love it.
I'm not sure what the price differences are right now but if you go the SQ route I'd suggest getting the latest model [AI??]. Unless the deal is impossible to pass up no point going with the older bodies. Even if you don't need the added features the newer body will be newer-)
First, welcome to APUG. This is a really terrific place for film users.
I am completely unfamiliar with Bronica, but if they use the same lenses, how will the quality be different from a 6x4.5 neg to a 6x6 neg? Remember that you can crop from 6x6 to 6x4.5.
Also, remember Bronica is out of business so service might be a problem.
Thanks for the replies thus far.
I never print square at this point, and I don't know that I'm willing to go to a square print... it could be interesting, but I don't know if I'm willing to sink money into something that I may or may not like.
I'll probably end up going with the 645, though what I've been told is that there's only a negligible difference in image quality from 645 to 35mm... which I can't possibly believe, with the 645 negative being twice the size of the 35mm. Any thoughts on that one?
I have found some decent deals on ETRS systems, but I guess the main advantage of the ETR-Si is mirror lockup, which I understand comes in quite handy. But really, if I find a deal I can't pass up on an ETRS outfit, I'm totally going for it. Also, the aforementioned availability of lenses, grips, backs, etc... will probably be more cost effective in the long run. For instance, on keh.com, SQ-A backs are going for about $89 at the cheapest, and ETR-Si backs are going for $56 at the cheapest. That's just the backs, most everything else for SQ series cameras is that much more expensive as well.
True, Bronica is out of business (unfortunately, though the equipment wouldn't be this cheap otherwise. ), but the equipment I use now is 25-30 years old at this point... and I can go through Canon for repairs, but they'd charge me an arm and a leg. There are a few reputable camera repair shops and services in this area that would probably suit my needs quite well.
Thanks for the welcome!
can you get a 645 back for the SQ model?
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Yes, though it looks like they range from $80 to $120 a piece.
Originally Posted by david b
Actually I'd say the biggest gain with the AI models is TTL flash. Bronica may not be making cameras but Tamron [the owners of Bronica ] are still around.
You might want to check the Tamron website for the guides to the model differences:
Used Blad equip is going really cheap these days. The optics are unbeatable. I have used Bronica, they make a decent camera but the optics aren't as good as Zeiss. The 6x6 format gives you more flexiblilty in cropping than the 645 format and I really got tired of having to turn the camera on it's side to do a vertical. With the Blad it's all the same, you just crop it vertical in the darkroom.
I found the 645 system to be very flexible, much less expensive than a 6x6 system, and significantly better than 35mm in the darkroom. I picked up a body, 4 lenses (55,80,150,210), grip, three different focusing screens, finder, winder, and a small pile of smaller accessories for less than a popular 6x6 brand name camera body with an 80mm lens. It is my main camera, although I find that I shoot a lot of 4x5 now as well.
There is a substantial difference in quality between 35mm and 6x4.5 or 6x6. The amount of the difference will depend on what aspect ratio you print most regularly.
If you print to 8x10, you can use almost all the 6x4.5 negative, whereas you have to crop off the ends of 35mm negatives. The usable negative area on the 6x4.5 negative is almost four times the (cropped) 35mm negative.
If, however, you like the much more rectangular 35mm aspect ratio (e.g., a 5x7 cropped slightly), you will end up cropping off the top and bottom (or the sides) of the 6x4.5 negative, while using almost all of the 35mm negative. In that case, the usable area of the 6x4.5 negative will be barely twice the 35mm negative.
If you print square, the difference between 6x4.5 and 35mm is large, whereas the difference between 6x6 and 35mm is even larger.
I use both 6x6 TLRs and 6x4.5 SLRs (in my case, Mamiyas). There is only two times when the size of the 6x6 format itself causes me to prefer the TLRs - when I have a subject that lends itself to a square crop, and when I want to use a waistlevel finder. There is no practical way of shooting verticals with my Mamiya 645 with a waistlevel finder.
Hope this helps.
P.S. It is also nice to be able to get 15 (or in some cases 16) exposures on a roll for 6x4.5, rather than 12 for 6x6