Bronica S2A worth buying
Right I have a Mamiya 645 with basic prism and a 55 on the way, But I have seen a couple of S2As at very nice prices and am wondering how good are they, I love the square format (also have a seagull tlr) so think this would be a useful addition. So have any of you got any advice.
I think it is a matter of personal likes & taste... after using a Mamiya C220/C3 for 25 years, I bought a used Bronica S2A kit (body, 3 film backs, 55mm, 80mm, 250mm, prism finder) and I have loved using it. I like the square format, too, and the S2A has made using that format much more flexible. I like the measure-twice-cut-once aspect of using the Mamiyas, and it is a lot like when I shoot 4x5, but the Bronica kit is great to grab and go - - it has become my default go-to kit. I had the body checked out and tuned up and the service has been great. But I think it comes down to how well the system works for you.
I have a fairly extensive S2a system, and I think the Nikkor optics are great (particularly the wide lenses for this system), and it offers some unique options, like a tilt-shift bellows system and switchable 12/24 backs. Right now, it's an excellent value.
I bought new a Mamiya 645 system 30 years ago. I use it frequently and have only recently replaced the seals, otherwise it is as good as the day I got it. I have the 55, 80, 150, and 105-210 zoom lens. The zoom lens is the only used piece of equipment I have for that system. It's was a $50.00 bid on eBay, kind of a fluke, I wasn't excited about it and thought I wouldn't win. When it came it was one of those rare times when the product is really like new. I really like the 645, and the zoom lens is fantastic. I had never seriously used one but this one is sharp. It has the newer coating. The left hand grip is a must for handheld use, it's very comfortable consider getting one.
Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand
I can only speak for the Nikkor lenses and, as David mentioned, they're great. I have 3 Nikkor lenses and one Zenzanon lens, the 150/3.5, which is excellent, too. The Bronical EC-TL camera body is what I use and I use the system fairly frequently with no problems (knock on wood). If you're adventurous, the amount of lenses one can adapt to the Bronica focal plane shuttered cameras is amazing.
As you've seen, alex66, prices for this system are low for what you're getting so give it a try. Perhaps you've already seen this, but, in case you haven't, here's a website with some Bronica info for you:
Hope that helps.
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I am using a Bronica S2A, and have several Nikkor and Bronica lenses. The camera is very nice and reliable. It can be used successfully hand held at quite long shutter speeds and the Nikkor and Zenzanon lenses are excellent. The backs are easy to load with a very handy 120/220 capability.
The camera is very noisy, heavy and the built in screen is a little dim, but these are minor issues.
It may be an issue that the camera is incredibly complicated. Many repairmen refuse even to look at it, so that can be a problem if something goes wrong.
Originally Posted by FilmSprocket
Can you mention some of the lenses you can adapt to this camera and how you did it.
I also own an EC-TL with 80mm and 150mm.
Would be nice to have more lenses for this camera.
Thanks for the fast replies, I think Ill have to consider which version to go for.
It is fairly easy to adapt large format lenses to the Bronica helical using the 57x1mm screw mount thread. Bronica used to make a threaded disk like a lensboard that could be drilled so that photographers who had been using press cameras could easily adapt their press lenses to the Bronica, as long as they were of sufficient focal length (the flange to film distance is a little over 101mm, so you're generally safe with any lens longer than about 110mm).
Originally Posted by mhulsman
I've got a few adaptations. The simplest is a 25cm/4.5 Heliar, which had been previously adapted I think for Exacta, and it seems to be permanently fixed to this tube that slips right into a Bronica screw-mount extension tube. A little gaffer's tape to hold it in place, and it works.
Frank Marshman made me a Canon FD-Bronica bayonet mount adapter so that I can use my FD lenses for macro on the Bronica, and I've got an FD-RMS adapter for lenses like the FD 35/2.8 Macrophoto and my 25mm Zeiss Luminar.
The most ambitious adaptation I have for Bronica is a 500/5.5 Tele-Xenar which mounts by means of a custom machined tube made by SK Grimes to the Komura Universal Helical II for Bronica, and I've also got an extra extension tube for this helical for close focusing. The thread of this helical is larger than the standard Bronica helical, and the focusing distance is longer for long lenses. I think the whole project including the tube and the lens in barrel cost me around $500-600. The helical came with a Komura 300mm lens and also takes Komura 400mm and 500mm heads, but the price of the 300mm is only around $350, so even considering that, if you compare the cost of a comparable 500mm lens for Hasselblad or Rollei, it's a real bargain.
I have a B&L Rapid Rectilinear (~1913?, ~165mm) adapted for the Bronica by mounting the Ball bearing shutter in a Bronica body cap and then using the extension tubes to give me the approrpriate length... similar to the assembly that David described. It actually turns out to be one of my favorite lenses. It is about f/8 and I have a Series VI adapter I use on it with an ND filter or yellow Y1 or Y15 to keep the exposure in the range that I can shoot it wide open. I can remove the ball bearing shutter and mount another of my 4x5 lenses & shutters in it, but the RR is the best.