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  1. #1
    jamesgignac's Avatar
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    My stolen Bronica SQ-Ai and where to turn next...

    So, my Bronica SQ-Ai was grabbed off a table in a club during a photo shoot I was doing last night...it's a long story and now I need some ideas about where to turn next...I almost don't want to go back out and buy another SQ-Ai system (though I loved mine like a wonderfully talented nephew) only because I spent so much time buying up parts to build the SQ-Ai of my dreams only to have it swiped after having the completed masterpiece for a little over a month.

    I've been considering going the way of Mamiya...I don't know very much about them though. One of the key features for me with my SQ-Ai was the motor grip which I cherished as I liked to take many shots in quick succession without having to fumble with winding and losing my angle. I've noticed that the RZ-67 has a motor winder but I was wondering if anyone could tell me how decent it is. I noticed it's rated at 1.5 seconds/frame while the sq-i motor grip was 0.8sec/frame...this isn't so important to me but I'd like to know if the motor winder on the Mamiya cameras is relatively loud...I found it difficult to use the Bronica in quiet situations as the motor winder was certainly very audible.

    The 6x7 format would be nice I suppose...to be honest I feel like I have to start from scratch again - I'm considering all options...price isn't a big issue because I want to do it right and this time I'll keep the damn thing on me at all times. I'd even consider H'Blad, but I have barely even started looking into that option.

    I don't know...I'm using camera research for cathartic purposes right now...still a little stunned at the loss of the Bronica.

    I'm only interested in talking about medium format at the moment - I plan to get myself into lf soon but still want an mf for my everyday event shooting. Any recommendations or links to information would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks to you all.
    -dereck|james|gignac
    dereckjamesgignac.com

  2. #2
    MikeSeb's Avatar
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    The motor winder on the RZ sounds like a coffee grinder. The RZ itself is a ginormous beast of a camera, and heavy. But a great camera.

    You might think about a Mamiya 7 if you like 6x7 and if you don't need tight-headshot capability. Another problem for you might be that the lenses are slow---didn't you say in your other thread that you shoot a lot of musicians in (dim?) clubs? To the good, the M7 is whisper quiet and lightweight, and the lenses are exceptionally good.

    Sorry about your camera getting stolen. Now that's personal!
    Michael Sebastian
    Website | Blog

  3. #3
    Peter Black's Avatar
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    So how were the results from the Bronny? Did the camera feel right in your hands? Did it feel awkward to use, maybe something about it that bugged you? I'm thinking you originally chose it for a reason and it either matched up or it didn't, so that would be the determining factor for me. The very fact that you're considering a different camera after only a month or so, well maybe it's time to kick back and try out something else before you buy again?

  4. #4
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    Unless you lost *all* of your system, it only makes sense to go with Bronica again.

    Not only that, but you know how to use it. Knowing the ins and outs of your gear is useful and important.

    Hopefully your camera turns up. Make sure, if you didn't already, to report the loss to the police. Pawn shops and law enforcement will check serial numbers.
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  5. #5
    jamesgignac's Avatar
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    PhotoJim - I still had a lens, two additional backs, and my SCA 386 flash module (which arrived in the mail a day after the camera was 'lifted'.) Initially I was thinking about picking up something different and my main motivator was just curiosity. Since thinking it over and reading Peter Black's post I've realized that it did feel 'right' and I'm probably going to get another.

    At least this time I can do it right and avoid picking up pieces that I didn't really care for (the 80mm lens in my opinion is not really good for anything...it's not wide enough for crowd shots and not long enough for close-ups - I'll keep using my 150mm for that.) So instead of the 80mm (and the 50mm I had planned to buy soon) I'm thinking of getting the 50-100mm zoom to replace them both. Lens speed is not a gigantic issue for me with this camera as I'm buying a metz 45 ct-4 and will flash the hell out of those scenes anyway.

    Initially I was thinking I'd go for something very 'automatic' for certain work (like a pentax 645) and then maybe an rb67 when I want the additional quality and can afford the fiddling time to get things right with my shots. The Pentax would have been more or less a point-and-shoot for noisy, crowded, obnoxious music performance work, it seems I know a bizarre mix of musicians - half of the work I do is done in nicely lit coffee houses shooting calm, lovely, low-action folk musicians while the other half is done in completely packed bars and clubs where there is almost no light (besides lasers, etc.) and the action is fast and almost impossible to capture if you have to do a lot of 'prep' to line up your photos.

    So, moral of the story: I want my Bronica back. I'm not going to pick up the motor winder yet though...I might even hold off on that altogether and just pick up that Pentax 645 when I need speedy shots (2fps on their winder!)

    Thanks for all of the help gentlemen.
    -dereck|james|gignac
    dereckjamesgignac.com

  6. #6

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    Visit KEH. Good prices for used Bronicas. http://www.keh.com Good luck.

  7. #7

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    Sorry to hear of your troubles. I used to have a Bronica SQAi system (2 bodies, four lenses etc.) and also a Pentax 645 with the 75mm. For my style of shooting, I gravitated towards the Pentax 645 more, replaced this with a pair of Pentax 645N bodies and a mix of lenses and sold off the Bronica gear (somewhat reluctantly as it is such nice quality). I also picked up a Pentax 6x7 and lens, but sold that off (for studio strobes). Anyhow, the 645N has a nice metering system (dual six zone - which does quite nicely outdoors and indoor natural light), eclipsing what the SQAi has with the AE-i finder. I have not used much flash other than studio strobes with a Minolta flash meter, so not sure how it works with TTL flash metering.

    For music venues, the Pentax lenses might interest you in that they have a beautiful FA 150mm f/2.8 (and older 150mm f/3.5 manual focus which has a great reputation as well). I have a manual focus lens and the 645N bodies will give you focus confirmation with these (in addition to the autofocus lenses, should you manually focus them). I don't miss the interchangeable film backs, I just shoot when the roll is complete.

    If I had the money, I might be tempted to get a SQAi system again - I had the motor too. This is especially nice with the shutters in the lenses for flash work outdoors.

  8. #8
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I can't recommend a camera for you, but I'd just like to say I'm really disappointed on your behalf about your camera. That blows!

    I hope you can find medium format nirvana again.

    - Thomas
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  9. #9

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    Bring back my Bronnie to me! I'd be heartbroken too if mine was stolen. And you just know the jackass who took it doesn't know the first thing about medium format.

    If I lost ALL my Bronnie gear, I would probably go Mamiya RB67. I like the rotating back and that Mamiya is still in business. I might even go Hassy, since there are some good deals out there.

    But if I just lost a body and one lens, I would surf over to KEH.com and buy another SQ-Ai body for $90 bucks and get on with my life.

  10. #10
    jamesgignac's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of your comments everyone! yurihuta, I appreciate the recommendation for the pentax 645...I've definitely been considering one for some time now and after I replace my Bron it'll probably be something I'll look into. My Bronica will still be my first choice for more thoughtful shooting and I don't plan to buy another winder for it so it'll become more of a tripod mount, planned execution type of setup for me. I'd really love the pentax for the more energetic music events I shoot - I've typically only been able to bring one other lens with me with the bronica as well as one other back and the ME prism tucked in my bag for light measurements...anything else and it becomes a real difficulty to haul around for the sometimes 4+ hours that these event go for - the pentax would be a godsend in these situations.

    Thanks again to all and be assured that I'm not so devastated that I'm throwing in the towel, I'm fighting back hard and recommitting myself 100% to my serious love of all things film.

    Note: Before my camera was 'lifted' I had been putting aside some cash to pick up another camera - I was thinking of getting a nice 6x9 folder for more everyday 'out and about' shooting as well as potentially looking into picking up a Crown Graphic (because I think it would be crazily joyful to use), so I thankfully have the money to spare to begin setting myself up again. This time I'm going to be a bit more prudent and look into getting a fitted, locking hardcase with it. I hate to be the paranoid type but I'm keeping my guard up from now on - this was the first time I had ever had anything stolen from me and the fact that it was my central joy and most treasured item made it really hit home.
    -dereck|james|gignac
    dereckjamesgignac.com

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