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  1. #1

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    Hassy 500c/m or the Bronica SQAi

    Hi Folks, Iíve just sold my Mamiya 645 because I want to move towards 6x6 format. My dilemma is over going down the Hassy route or the Bronica route. My thoughts at the moment are:

    Hassy body slightly more expensive, lens much more expensive and complex with inbuilt shutters (lots to go wrong), build quality fantastic but probably been well used by pros but then probably well serviced

    Bronica body slightly less expensive but lenses appear half the price of the Hassy and much less complex. Overall build quality prob not up to the Hassy, I guess most likely to have been owned enthusiast.

    If I bought a Hassy, Iíd only really be able to afford just the 80mm lens, if I went Bronica I might be able to afford the 80mm plus say a 40 or 50mm too. Iím only interested in the WLF and not a prism

    Uses, well it wonít be my main workhorse camera thatís a Nikon D300 etc. The Medium Format is really just a very pleasurable indulgence and the 6x6 format the WLF will give me a new slant on composition.

    So the big Q Hassy or Bronny? Your thoughts please.

    Thanks

    Chris

  2. #2
    Gerry M's Avatar
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    I know I will get hooted down for this, but here is my experience. I've had two SQAi's kitted out as you describe, plus some extras. I also had two 500C's with 80 and 50 Distagon. I'll be the first to say that I am just a bumbling hobbyist and far from being an expert. That said, the Bronica's served my purpose very well and at my level gave results equal to the H'blad. OK, bring out the flame throwers.

  3. #3
    Paul Green's Avatar
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    If it's not going to be your main camera then go with the Bronica.

  4. #4
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Either one will work great. But how much money do you want to spend per unit of usefulness? I would say that a Bronica kit is 90 percent of a Hasselblad kit for 50 percent (or less) of the price. If you can afford the Hasselblad, go for it. If not, there is zero shame in that. And pretty much anything you can do with the Hasselblad, you can also do with the Bronica. Personally, I'd go the Bronica route, though I do love Hasselblads.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  5. #5

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    Ok, first you're a bit mistaken with regards to the lenses. The SQ cameras also use leaf shutters in the lenses. So, as far as complexity goes, it is the same. As someone who owned a SQB (with 80PSB, 150PS and 150S) and currently owns a 501CM (with 50CT, 80CB, 250CT) I'll just say that out of all this equipment the 150S was the one with the dodgy shutter. However, that is not to say one is more reliable than the other (you can't conclude from a sample of 6 lenses...) and the Bronica certainly has the advantage of not needing servicing as the shutters are controlled electronically (i.e. no drift).

    As for which one to get...looking at the photos from either system I can almost tell which is which but that is not to say one is better than the other. The Hasselblad shots have that Zeiss microcontrast and punchier look, depending on lighting, but the Bronica ones are also very sharp. In any case, this is picking hair and I'd be happy with either system, when it comes to image quality. I think the strongest differences are more evident when shooting slides but if your end result is scanning that pretty much flattens any aesthetic differences.

    Basically it comes down to this: while the Hasselblad is theoretically superior in image quality, the differences in the real world are that the Hasselblad is nicer to hold and use than the Bronica (some may disagree, this is a personal issue like Canon vs Nikon handling). Whether that is worth the very high premium you pay over Bronica prices is up to you. If this is not your main camera then get a SQAi with the lenses you want instead of a 500CM with just the 80. If eventually you decide that you want a Hasselblad, you can sell the SQAi for pretty much whatever you bought it for. Any money you lose consider it a rental fee.

    PS
    You say you're not interested in a prism. That would in fact be an advantage on the Hasselblad. I found the stock screen and the plain prism for the Bronica much dimmer than the new type screen and PM90 on the Hasselblad.
    Hasselblad, Mamiya RB, Nikonos, Canon EOS

  6. #6
    hoffy's Avatar
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    I went through the same decision as you recently and ended up going the Bronica. While I would have dearly loved to have bought a 'blad and like you, could have afforded a 500C/M and 80mm lens, to build the system from there was much more then I was willing to budget. I have to be honest to myself. This is a Hobby and while I do have some form of disposable income, it doesn't stretch to spending the thousands that I would have required to spend to buy 'blad glass. The other thing that swayed me as well is there is still new glass out there (not a lot, but it still does exist) for SQ's, and even that is cheaper then s/h 'blad glass.

    Again, this was my thought decision. Your circumstances may be different!

    Cheers

  7. #7
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry M View Post
    the Bronica's served my purpose very well and at my level gave results equal to the H'blad. OK, bring out the flame throwers.
    I will leave my flamethrower in its box and say that I would probably choose the SQ as well. A Hasselblad would be nice but even if I could afford it, extra lenses are a lot more than the Bronica Lenses.

    I started out in MF SLRs with a Bronica ETRS which was all I could (almost) afford. When I got a bit more money I bought an RB67. I think that if I had bought an SQ instead of an ETRS at the beginning I would have stayed with it and not bought the RB67.


    Steve.
    Last edited by Steve Smith; 06-03-2011 at 05:04 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  8. #8
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    The reliability and results are so similar from the two that it doesn't really matter, honestly. It's still YOU making the pictures.
    "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
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    The reliability and results are so similar from the two that it doesn't really matter, honestly. It's still YOU making the pictures.
    Whilst this is perfectly true, not many of us are immune from the idea of having the logo of a premium manufaturer on our equipment. Like Leica, Hasselblad..... or Gretsch!


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  10. #10
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith View Post
    Whilst this is perfectly true, not many of us are immune from the idea of having the logo of a premium manufaturer on our equipment. Like Leica, Hasselblad..... or Gretsch!

    Steve.
    There will always be that, of course. I am somewhat guilty of that myself, but I wouldn't be miserable to trade my Hasselblad for a Bronica system in similarly excellent condition.

    I've always wanted a Gibson ES 335.

    - T
    "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

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