Bronica Sq-a(i) and 6x6

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rphenning

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Mar 2, 2009
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So I have done some searches, read some reviews and have come to the conclusion that I want either a Sq-a or ai. What are your thoughts on this camera if you have one or have had one? I think I will probably buy from KEH when I have saved the money up or post a WTB here. My main concern is getting a back with light leaks or a body with bad mechanics if I buy in BGN condition.

I like the 6x6 format a lot but can't afford a hasselblad and wouldn't really want to pay that much for a camera anyways. I have used 35mm rangefinders for some time after coming back from digital and am unsatisfied with 35mm color. Too grainy and not enough detail. I use 4x5 a lot but it isn't portable, so my best camera sounds like a medium format. Just curious: is 6x7 relatively the same aspect ratio as 4x5?
 

yellowcat

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May 19, 2008
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Bristol, Eng
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I have used an SQa for a few years, I find it a nice camera to use and there are some good lenses.
The 110mm PS macro lens is well worth getting.
You can get good bodies second hand but they were popular with wedding photographers so are likely to have had a lot of use.

Yes 6x7 is about the same aspect ratio 4"x5".
 

Colin Corneau

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Winnipeg MB Canada
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I have an SQ-Ai, I was lucky to find one in very good condition with the 45-degree prism finder.

I am really happy with it; any of my images in 6x6 are made with it. I've found that the 120 backs can wear out - I got one but film doesn't 'catch' on it and just winds through right to the end instead of stopping on Frame #1. My other back works perfectly, and the 220 back works well, too.
 

brian steinberger

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Hi, the Bronica SQ-A is a wonderful 6x6 camera and certainly worth getting if you're looking to save money. You can use that money to spend other things, like film. The lenses are very nice, and everything in the system can be had for so cheap on KEH! The other nice thing I've always liked about the SQ is the speed grip which makes the camera very easy to be used hand held.
 
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rphenning

rphenning

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Mar 2, 2009
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Med. Format RF
Yeah I was also debating between the speed grip and the WLF. I kinda am not into having a separate meter or just going off of my own guesses, which I am comfortable doing in 35mm but for some reason I suck at it when I try and do it with 4x5. So I want that AE prism.
 

thicktheo

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Aug 30, 2008
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Athens, Greece
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By all means, get the speed grip - it makes a world of difference, especially when combined with a prism finder.

However, that WLF can be better in situations of low light - it's brighter.

I have the SQ-A fitted with the split-image focusing screen and all the possible finders (AE prism, WLF, chimney finder). When I'm doing portraits, I prefer the prism and the grip, their combination gives out a much faster operation rate. When I'm travelling, though, I only fit it with the WLF - its compactness can't be beat - I throw the camera in my messenger bag and that's it.
 
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Jan 8, 2009
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Eastern Kans
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I have an SQ-A that I've been using for almost a year now, and I really like this camera. For the first 6 months or so I was fighting light leaks in the backs. 5 backs came with it, and I discovered that all but one were cracked where they face against the camera body. This piece of the back is plastic, and secured to the back by screws, with one screw above and below the dark slide slot. The backs like to crack at those screws. I think this was caused by forcing the dark slide in at an angle, or with the back removed, as there is a detent that must be pushed in to insert the dark slide with the back off the camera body. The guy that had this system before me was definitely hard on it. He could probably tear up a bowling ball, if you know what I mean. The 5th back in this batch of backs needed new seals and should now be as good as new, although it's a bit ugly.

In my opinion, the backs are the most likely to cause headaches, but once you get some that work, they work well and it's a good system.

I have the speed grip and WLF, plus a dead AE Prism.

Dave
 
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rphenning

rphenning

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Mar 2, 2009
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California
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Yeah the backs are what worries me most. Light seals are kind of inexpensive to buy though. I know I want the 50mm for sure, but I am tossing up between the 80 2.8 and the 100 3.5. Or the 150 4.5? Hm....It will still be a while yet till I throw some cash at KEH but still.
 

applesanity

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Sep 30, 2008
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49
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Virginia
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Medium Format
There are several versions of the 6x6 back. Get the newest one - the 120i - which seems to be better. It's newer anyway and thus less likely to have leaks. I personally own the 120i and I don't exactly baby it. Just insert the darkslide and toss it into my bag to let it bounce around with the all the other junk in there. No light leaks yet.
 

flash26c

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Mar 1, 2009
Messages
129
Location
Oregon
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Medium Format
I have an SQ-A that I've been using for almost a year now, and I really like this camera. For the first 6 months or so I was fighting light leaks in the backs. 5 backs came with it Remember that you can use the inserts from any back in the back that doesn't leak light.
 

yurihuta

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Joined
May 18, 2006
Messages
252
Location
Washington, DC
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Medium Format
I had a pair of SQAi bodies and some lenses. This is a great system and I wish I were able to have held onto it.

Don't shy away from other sources for bodies because there is an amazing spot to have them repair:
http://kohscamera.com/repair.htm
The owner is a former Tamron/Bronica employee and purchased their Bronica parts inventory - I know because this is what the repair technicians at Tamron told me. They referred me to KOH's since they did not have the parts I needed.
 
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