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  1. #1
    Dshambli's Avatar
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    Need advice on what to keep.

    So I have a few different cameras and I want to consolidate into one solid system. I don't have a lot of money so I would be looking to trade off for lenses etc for the remaining system. I just need advice on what to keep. For medium format, I have a Rolleicord III, Agfa Isolette, Bronica SQ-Ai w/ 80mm PS f/2.8 and non-metering prism, and finally a Mamiya 645 w/ metering prism and 150mm f/3.5 lens.

    I'm definitely keeping the Rolleicord. But what I want to know is whether I should keep the Mamiya or the Bronica. I like the way the Mamiya feels, but it's limited in the format it shoots. With the Bronica I have inserts for the 6x4.5 format. So what do you think?

  2. #2

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    I guess I would keep the Bronica SQ since you could do either 6x6 or 645 with it. Another advantage it has over the Mamiya is that all the lenses have leaf shutters. You should be able to find a 150mm for the Bronica at a reasonable price.

  3. #3
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    You use the ternm limited to the format with the Mamiya so perhaps that should go in favour of the Bronica which has greater flexibility. That would make sense an Bronica lenses are quite easy to find second hand.

    Ian

  4. #4
    gtyler5's Avatar
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    I chose the Mamiya 645 over the SQ-A for a couple of reasons. Bronica lenses, and it seems like everything else for this camera, are on the expensive side. Look at the inventory at KEH there is much more 645 stuff and it is cheaper. Mamiya stuff has been around so long, if my super goes caput I can pick up a 645 pro or one of the later models easily and still have the lenses and accessories. I actually like the 6x4.5 format better than the 6x6 this is a personal prefrence, but if I want to do 6x6 it is an excuse to take out the Minolta Autocord. Both cameras are great either one is a good choice. my 2 cents

  5. #5
    Dshambli's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtyler5 View Post
    I chose the Mamiya 645 over the SQ-A for a couple of reasons. Bronica lenses, and it seems like everything else for this camera, are on the expensive side. Look at the inventory at KEH there is much more 645 stuff and it is cheaper. Mamiya stuff has been around so long, if my super goes caput I can pick up a 645 pro or one of the later models easily and still have the lenses and accessories. I actually like the 6x4.5 format better than the 6x6 this is a personal prefrence, but if I want to do 6x6 it is an excuse to take out the Minolta Autocord. Both cameras are great either one is a good choice. my 2 cents
    I didn't realize the Mamiya stuff was cheaper. That's a huge plus. It looks like that definitely applies to everything but lenses. They seem to be about the same. It's ridiculous how hard it is to find 120 inserts for the Bronica. And like you said, I do have my Rolleicord if I need 6x6.

  6. #6
    dphphoto's Avatar
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    I've never had a Bronica SQ, but I've had both the Mamiya 645 Pro (three lenses, and with motor and meter prism) and the Bronica ETR/ETRS (two bodies, three lenses). I still have the Bronicas. I'd take them over the Mamiya any day. I just like the feel of the camera. I prefer a hand held meter anyway. I have the normal rapid crank on both bodies, and like the reduction in weight and bulk. Lenses are superb and dirt cheap on eBay. How about $62.00 USD for a mint 150 mm with shade?

    I might get an SQ/SQA in the future, as I still kinda like the square format.
    dphphoto

  7. #7
    Dshambli's Avatar
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    I tried to use the Mamiya for the first time today. There's no battery though, and I guess it needs that to operate. But the good thing is that the shutter opens up and completely exposes your first frame until you read an hour later how to close the shutter with no battery. After handling them both a little more side by side, the Bronica is a lot smaller and lighter (it's a lot of plastic). The Mamiya has a faster top shutter speed (1/1000) but the Bronica goes down to 16s. While I have just about all the accessories I think I need, the fact that it may be hard to come across some for the Bronica scares me. I was lucky to find a beat up 120 insert for 38 dollars. KEH has zero and the cheapest one on Ebay is 90 dollars. Whereas a seller has 3 "mint" ones available BIN for 20 dollars for the Mamiya. And while I don't like the dark slide, I do like that I can carry and use different films at will with the Bronica by changing the backs (something I can't do with my Mamiya). So I'm still undecided and still looking for input, although I'm leaning toward keeping the Mamiya.

  8. #8
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dshambli View Post
    I tried to use the Mamiya for the first time today. There's no battery though, and I guess it needs that to operate. But the good thing is that the shutter opens up and completely exposes your first frame until you read an hour later how to close the shutter with no battery. After handling them both a little more side by side, the Bronica is a lot smaller and lighter (it's a lot of plastic). The Mamiya has a faster top shutter speed (1/1000) but the Bronica goes down to 16s. While I have just about all the accessories I think I need, the fact that it may be hard to come across some for the Bronica scares me. I was lucky to find a beat up 120 insert for 38 dollars. KEH has zero and the cheapest one on Ebay is 90 dollars. Whereas a seller has 3 "mint" ones available BIN for 20 dollars for the Mamiya. And while I don't like the dark slide, I do like that I can carry and use different films at will with the Bronica by changing the backs (something I can't do with my Mamiya). So I'm still undecided and still looking for input, although I'm leaning toward keeping the Mamiya.
    This tells me that you have one of the older Mamiya 645 models that do not offer back interchangeability. My preference for the Mamiya choice would be based on the newer bodies that do offer that option.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  9. #9
    fmajor's Avatar
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    For me, ability to change backs is critical - i don't know for you. Availability of additional lenses/backs/etc is also pretty important - though there are lenses available for both systems. Also, format flexibility - maybe thats valuable to you - maybe not since you have a Rollei - just criteria you've mentioned/alluded to.

    I've no experience with either camera, but making a list of your priorities and their value *to you* would really help.

    This process helped me decide from buying another TLR to investing in a MF SLR - changing backs is pretty important for me.

    I think you can get excellent results/service from either camera (Bronica/Mamiya), it's more about what 'options' are important to you.

  10. #10
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    And nobody showed love for the isolette?

    I actually have one, (actually branded as an Ansco Speedex R) and have brought it back to life (lots of black RTV silicone to kill off bellows corner holes, and solvent to loosen the dreaded green grease turned to tar) after 45-50 years of being in someones drawer.

    I love that it can be shoved into my work bag, and when the urge strikes, out it pops, unfolds, and grabs the image and pours it to a great negative.
    Plus the reaction that people give you when you haul this old pup out and actually use it is just about as pleasing to me as the pictures it can be a part of producing.
    I do conceed that it is not up to snuff as a modern colour coated lens.
    my real name, imagine that.

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