Affordable medium format
Looking at picking up a 6*6 or 6*7 MF camera. I've been looking into a Bronica system (something like the SQ-A or Ai systems).
Looking at KEH and the prices aren't too bad for what it is. Full camera setup with 120 back, metered WLF, 80mm, 50mm: ~$850 posted to Aus.
But I'm not sure of a few things:
>Am I buying into a poor system with the SQ? ... Is there a better system (Bronica or otherwise) for priceerformance?
>Are there many caveats of this system? Are they known to be unreliable or difficult to use/repair?
Ultimately I want a MF camera with WLF without the size of my buddy's RZ67 or the price of a Blad. Is there a similar system that might be worth spending a couple hundred more on?
If anyone could point me towards some reading material on the Bronica systems I'd be very appreciative...
This link http://www.camerahobby.com/Review-SQAi.html should be a good starter for you.
I used Bronica SQ system for 5 years. The only caveats I'd think of were two: electronic shutter - means you were left with 1/500s. when the batteries went dead and the other - the weight of the system of body + 3 lenses - too much for wandering about in towns or hiking/biking. Now I'm left with my precious and fully CLA'd Rolleiflex 2.8d + Rolleinars and that's plenty.
Would I be better off with something like the ETRS system?
Weight isn't an issue for me as when I need to be mobile I have my Bessa R3A.
Well, I don't know what's your point of having 6x6 or 6x7.. or let me put it this way - how big prints are you going to make? If its up to 5x which is already quite impressive enlargement for hanging it on the wall, then go a head and give a 6x4.5 a try. Surely, there are more (with good price/quality ratio) alternatives in the 6x4.5 world - Mamiya, Pentax to name two.. besides Bronica. I used an old Mamiya M645 w/ 80/1.9 and 55/2.8 and had sold it only because I badly needed to raise funds for my Rolleiflex, otherwise it would have stayed.
I happened to find a Mamiya RB from a member of the local camera club at a good deal. Happy as heck with it and have no plans to switch to anything else.
If it had been a Bronica or Pentax I'd probably be just as happy.
What I have learned with time and use is that for me with MF an ever so slightly wide of normal lens, a 90mm on the RB, is my norm and my preference for most of my "out and about" general shooting.
I do have a 150 soft focus lens too, and it is really nice too, but it's like carrying a totally different camera when it's on. I hunt for very different, more specialized subject matter.
My question for you is; what are you planning to shoot?
The reason I ask is that for most of my MF shots; a TLR with a normal (80ish) lens might have been a better choice. Easier to carry and hand shoot, lighter, blah, blah blah...
I'm not trying to promote one camera type or another, just provide food for thought.
Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO
"The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size." Albert Einstein
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Was actually needing something wider for indoors work.
Something like a 40 or 50 on a 6*6 would be ideal.
Get the SQA, you won't be sorry. I've had one for years now and love it. It's not my only camera, I also have an RB as well as a C330 and a Rollicord, but it is my go to camera when I'm traveling. Matter of fact I'm planning on selling off everything else and putting the money in more lenses for the Bronica. You can get a back for the Bronica that frames for 645 if you need that aspect ratio. The Bronica is a system camera, which means lots of options on backs, finders ect. KEH is a good source and even their bargain rated stuff is better than most of the used stuff I've found in camera shops. Good system, not to heavy, inexpensive options, plus, you can always pick up a spare body without a view finder pretty reasonable. Just keep a spare battery around, no big deal.
Try the Mamiya 645 line. Great lenses and presently very cheap. The 45mm 2.8 is a great lens when used with the W/L finder and gives an unusual perspective.
I used to own a Bronica SQ-Ai, and had a PS 50mm and PS 80mm lens. Overall I would say the camera and lenses were well built, and image quality was excellent (dare I say underrated?).
My only complaint would be that the camera was heavy; it is not something you would want to walk around all day with round your neck. When combined with the AE prism finder it was a bit heavy for me to hold at eye level to use, so a tripod was usually needed.
I picked up a Mamiya 645 Super, AE finder, 45mm, 80mm and 105-210 zoom, earlier this year for $500 shipped. Added a power winder, and two more backs for less than $100 more. I'm very satisfied with the camera and the quality of the images. Are there better cams? Sure there are. But I don't feel like I have to have a security detail along to protect my investment.
I am here: http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=36.790830,-90.481167