I have to confess that I'm a bit of a gear head as well as enjoying the creative aspects of photography. I am drawn towards older but still functional equipment and the new plastic wondercameras leave me cold. The most modern camera I have is an Nikon F4 and it still has the traditional control layout. Anyway, I plan on buying a Bronica C with 75mm Nikor lens, shade, and filters this weekend for $250 Cdn. Does anyone have have any experience or thoughts about this camera?
If he doesn't respond to this, try PMing David Goldfarb as I believe he uses one of the older Bronicas. Also, if memory serves, he has even spliced some gear together and created a lens (I am only aware of one, but there may be more) for his camera.
Hi Frank--Check out the Bronica list at Yahoo!Groups and do a web search for Bob Monaghan's Bronica website for more than you would ever want to know about the classic Bronicas. $250 canadian is a good deal. The C was a budget version of the S2 with a fixed back instead of the interchangeable backs. You don't get the functionality of an interchangeable back, but on the other hand the camera is simpler with less to go wrong and get out of whack.
I have a pretty extensive system with 2 S2A's some adapted lenses as well as Nikkor and Komura lenses from 40mm to 500mm. If you like the flexibility of a system camera and a wide range of lenses and don't have the budget to do that with a Hassy, the older Bronicas are a good deal, and the Nikkor lenses are quite good and the backs are cheap. Another great accessory to keep an eye out for is the Type II bellows, which has full view camera movements on the front standard, if you do macro.
Thanks for the response, David.
I do have a 500CM with normal lens, but as you suggested, I can't handle the prices of even second hand wide and tele lenses. I like the idea of an inexpensive "knockaround" MF camera. I would also like to exploit this Bronica's focal plane shutter to use old lenses in barrel (like with my Speed Graphic) and also homemade lenses. I used ABS plumbing pieces to adapt a 240mm Fuji photocopier lens to a Nikon F mount. Pinhole photography will also be possible with a camera with a built in shutter. The lask of interchangable backs is not a negative for me, I only use HP5+ anyway, and the integral back, as you have said, makes for a simpler more robust camera. This camera would be perfect if it had mirror lockup however, and if it was a little (a lot) quieter. It probably would not make a very good stealth street shooting camera.
The later EC and EC-TL have MLU. The bodies are cheap enough, that you can pick one up just for that feature, if you need it.
I recently did a little test with my S2A and recorded the sound and looked at the waveform in an audio editing program. There's a lot of movement going on in those old Bronicas because of the falling mirror design that requires an extra shutter curtain to prevent light from entering from the viewfinder and a kind of metal sheath that covers the mirror to prevent light from bouncing off it and striking the film, but only about 1/3 of the vibration occurs before the exposure, and about 2/3 occurs after the exposure.
I think a combination of a Hassy with whatever lenses you can afford and a Bronica for the others is a great mix. The Nikkor 40mm is a real sleeper. It's arguably as better than the comparable Distagon from the same period and only runs about $600, which is way less than anything comparable.
If you want to do the Zone system, the backs are around $80 a piece in working order, so that's the attraction, even if you only shoot one film. I've got five, plus one that I've converted to a groundglass back, which is a little more precise in terms of registration and brighter than the viewfinder, because it cuts out the factors of the mirror and the problem prone groundglass registration (easy to fix yourself, but check the Monaghan page about Bronica focus issues for the whole story).