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  1. #1
    hoffy's Avatar
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    Going with a SQ-Ai. Things to look out for

    Howdy all,

    After much deliberation, I have decided that I am going to buy a Bronica SQ-Ai, to replace a Koni-Omega that I could never get the hang of. From a camera point of view, I wanted a 6x6. I also wanted to have bulb settings, ect, so the SQ-Ai seems to be the best fit.

    I am curious, though, of a few things:

    Lenses
    OK, I am going to start with the 80 F2.8, but what are the key lenses to look at. I am looking at probably finding something to shoot portraits with. The obvious first point would be the 150mm. But does anyone have any experience with the 110mm Macro? Would that be a suitable portrait lens?

    What other lenses that are part of the system should I be considering (In general)

    Maintenance
    What are the key failure points on such camera's? I have read in that their have been light leak problems in earlier SQ backs. Is this still apparent in the later SQ-Ai? If so, is it a case of replacing seals/felts or is it more of a wear issue?

    Other Accessories
    What other accessories should I be looking for? At the moment, I am looking at one with a WLF. Apart from the metering aspects, is it worth my while going for an AE prism?

    What about grips and the like? Also, what portable flashes should I be looking at (if I go the AE prism and want to do TTL flash metering?)

    Cheers

    Oh and PS. If anyone mentions a RB/RZ, I'll freaken scream

  2. #2
    DWThomas's Avatar
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    I have the 110 f4.5 1:1 Macro, it's a great lens and focuses to infinity, so I assume it could work for portraits. The 150 is less money (and doesn't focus very close). I also have a 50, 65 and 80 (all PS series). If I were doing it again, I'd probably skip the 65, but I acquired it long before I encountered a 50.

    I'd say the backs are the Achilles' heel, but the i series will tend to be newer. In any event, the problems (in my limited experience) are foam seals turning to goo. Jon Goodman/Interslice has a seal kit now, I believe. I redid one from one of his earlier generic kits, it wasn't a big deal.

    I got a non-AE prism; mainly to be able to see when I have the camera up too high to peer into the WLF. I got a grip that was too cheap to say no, but I almost always work with a tripod for the Bronica.

  3. #3
    Canuck's Avatar
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    FWIW ...

    Good camera! I can say it with bias as I have a couple of Bronicas myself FWIW, its just what I think so

    Quote Originally Posted by hoffy View Post
    I am curious, though, of a few things:

    Lenses
    OK, I am going to start with the 80 F2.8, but what are the key lenses to look at. I am looking at probably finding something to shoot portraits with. The obvious first point would be the 150mm. But does anyone have any experience with the 110mm Macro? Would that be a suitable portrait lens?

    What other lenses that are part of the system should I be considering (In general)

    If you are into macros, the 110's are nice lenses. I would find them a little short for portrait unless doing 3/4. Much prefer at least a 135, 150, or 180. Even the 250 has its purpose here.

    Maintenance
    What are the key failure points on such camera's? I have read in that their have been light leak problems in earlier SQ backs. Is this still apparent in the later SQ-Ai? If so, is it a case of replacing seals/felts or is it more of a wear issue?

    Been lucky so far as bodies goes. All is still working (even with a torture test at -40C one day). One lens blew a spring, so will eventually send it out for repairs but other than that, haven't had any problems.


    Other Accessories
    What other accessories should I be looking for? At the moment, I am looking at one with a WLF. Apart from the metering aspects, is it worth my while going for an AE prism?

    Can't say much as I never really wanted a metered prism. Have a plain prism instead. External spotmeter works for me just fine for exposure.


    What about grips and the like? Also, what portable flashes should I be looking at (if I go the AE prism and want to do TTL flash metering?)

    The speed grip is great coupled with a prism. Heavy combo but quick to use.

    Cheers

    Oh and PS. If anyone mentions a RB/RZ, I'll freaken scream
    RB/RZ

  4. #4
    hoffy's Avatar
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    Since you answered my questions Canuck, I'll keep the screaming to a minimum!

  5. #5

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    I have the AE Prism VF and it is consistently inaccurate so if you get one make sure and test it. I love this camera (mine is the SQ-A) and I love shooting in 6x6. I also have the 645 back for it but rarely use it since I have an ETRs for that. I have the 50mm, 80mm and 150mm (all are the older S series). I especially enjoy using it hand held and believe that the leaf shutter Bronicas are some of the best for handheld medium format. Therefore I regularly use the speed grip.

    Of course I love my RB Pro SD too but that's another story.
    Pentax 67ii, Fuji GF670, Mamiya 6, Pentax 645N
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  6. #6
    hoffy's Avatar
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    OK, I am thinking of a grip, so I will keep an eye out for one.

    Mine is now ordered. I ended up getting a SQ-Ai, with WLF, 120 back and 80mm PS lens. This one is coming from the UK, so the next 5 to 7 days is going to probably drag a bit while it's being delivered....

  7. #7
    CGW
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    The speed grip is a useful accessory that improves the SQ-Ai's ergonomics and doesn't add appreciable weight, unlike the motorized version. Get the matching hood for the 80mm--they're not hard to find. Extra 120 backs are a bit pricey; 220s are much cheaper and work with 120 film. I like the 45 degree prism finder, a compromise between the WLF and straight 90 degree prism. Lenses like the 135mm and 180mm are great but very rare. I'm partial to the old 105/3.5S.

  8. #8
    hoffy's Avatar
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    OK, which model speed grip should I look for? I just don't want to accidently buy one that will only suit the SQ.

    Cheers

  9. #9
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    Bronica offered an accessory called the Speed Grip. It fits the SQ series, and provides for thumb wind in place of crank wind. It has a shutter release and a hot shoe (not TTL), and allows the camera to handle rather similarly to a 35mm camera. The sync cord on TTL flashes attaches to the SQ-Ai's body to give TTL metering. There is also a standard X-sync terminal on the body and of course the hot shoe on the Speed Grip.

    Info: www.tamron-usa.com/bronica/prod/sq.asp

    Guide to SQ series, including history: www.tamron-usa.com/bronica/sq_guide.asp

    Regarding portrait lenses: The PS 110mm/4.5 1:1 macro is wonderful, but IMO, expensive overkill for portraits.
    The 1:1 macro is much more expensive than the older macro PS, a 110 f/4, which focuses to 1:4.
    The 110 is only equivalent to about a 63mm in 135 format.

    The 150/4 is about equivalent to an 85mm, and focuses to 1.5 meters. The 135/4 is equivalent to a 76mm and focuses to 1 meter, meaning it will allow tighter portraits without an extension tube than the 150. KEH has one in BGN for $139 right now. The 180/4.5 is equivalent to a 100mm and also focuses to 1 meter, but I haven't seen those much. The 200/4.5 is equivalent to a 110, but only focuses to 2.5 meters, pretty much necessitating an extension tube (or a diopter on the front).
    Last edited by lxdude; 04-28-2011 at 07:22 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: typo
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

  10. #10
    CGW
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoffy View Post
    OK, which model speed grip should I look for? I just don't want to accidentally buy one that will only suit the SQ.

    Cheers
    Bronica only made one, the Speed Grip S, that fits all SQ models except the SQ-AM. The only difference between old and new ones is the box.They usually run between $75-$125. Like most Bronica SQ accessories, prices are creeping up steadily. Just make very sure you're looking at the model for the SQ series and NOT the ETR 645 cameras. I've seen sellers mix 'em up.

    Some useful info here:

    http://www.ayton.id.au/gary/photo/photo_BronicaSQ.htm

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