Looking for 6x6 SLR

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by rowghani, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. rowghani

    rowghani Member

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    Hey guys , can't afford a hasselblad so looking into an alternative like the a bronica 6x6 slr. Need the following:
    - interchangable backs, including being able to use a Polaroid back. Being able to change prisms would be nice as well.
    - fully mechanical

    Which model do you guys recommend?
     
  2. tezzasmall

    tezzasmall Member

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    I've had a Bronica SQB for a few years now and love it when I use it.

    Only downside is that it relies on one battery for the shutter and if the battery dies you get one manual shutter speed BUT I have NEVER had that happened to me and I carry a spare battery or two with me anyway.

    I've also bought a couple of lenses since; a Polaroid back and a 6.5 back to the camera set, which was bought with a standard 80mm lens and a 6x6 back off of ebay.co.uk.

    Great all round camera in my eyes, so highly recommended! :D

    Terry S
     
  3. mweintraub

    mweintraub Member

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    Love the SQ series from Bronica (I have the SQ-A and SQ-Am). If you're dead set on batteryless operation, the earlier Bronica C, S, S2, S2s, EC series is what you'd probably want. Not sure how easy it is to find a Polaroid back for it. If you can work with a battery based body (which I don't find a big deal unless you go to super cold climates maybe, the SQ-A is amazing.
     
  4. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Hasselblad bodies and lenses are now fairly inexpensive. The only cost difference between a Bronica and a Hasselblad is that you will have to wait a little longer between buying lenses. Plus lenses, parts and repair services are more available.
     
  5. grimp0teuthis

    grimp0teuthis Member

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    The Mamiya RB67 and RZ67 series are also excellent and affordable system cameras with lots of accessories. The RZ uses a battery (or mechanical only limited to 1/400 sec), but the RB is all-mechanical. These are large, heavy cameras designed for studio use.
     
  6. Kodachromeguy

    Kodachromeguy Subscriber

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    You said 6x6 and fully mechanical. If you are solidly set on these criteria, your only choices are:
    1. Hasselblad 500 series (as Sirius recommended). Many of the lenses are amazingly inexpensive now.
    2. The older Bronicas. Consider how much you will spend on overhaul/repairs.
    3. Rolleiflex SL66. Once again, repair and overhaul. You will need to find someone willing to touch them.
    4. Kowa 66. Do any of them work now?
    5. Mamiya RB67 with a 6x6 back.

    If cost is a major criteria, I suggest one of the Bronica SQ bodies. Don't worry about the battery issue. The Bronica lenses are superb and modest cost. Happy hunting.
     
  7. jspillane

    jspillane Member

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    If all manual, 6x6 and modular elements are all essential, I actually think that older Hasselblad equipment is the best deal right now (Kowa, Rolleiflex SL66 and pre-SQ Bronica's all aren't a lot cheaper and have much lower availability.)

    The trick is: some of the immediate Hasselblad prices you'll see are quite inflated in the current market.
    A good 500c or 500c/m, with back and WLF, can be found for $250-300 pretty easily. I often think that the 'classic' package of a 500/cm, a12 and 80mm 2.8 goes for more than its value if bought separately... but it really depends. If you have time to hunt around and can be patient, deals definitely pop up semi-regularly (I often seen listings I have a hard time saying no to).

    120 S-Planar, 250 Sonnar C or CT*, and 50mm non-FLE can all be found for pretty great prices and are fantastic lenses.

    If you can live with battery reliance, than the Bronica SQB/SQA is a very similar system and the lenses are often around 50% cheaper.
     
  8. choiliefan

    choiliefan Member

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    Other than possible overhaul/repairs if needed, a fully mechanical Bronica S2A's only real downfall are the lousy prisms. They're very dim and squinty. If you absolutely have to have a prism and want a Bronica, go with an SQ-A.
     
  9. skysh4rk

    skysh4rk Member

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    I've owned a few different 6x6cm SLR systems (e.g., Bronica SQ series, Hasselblad, and Rollei SL66). While I too ordinarily prefer mechnical cameras, my preference in 6x6cm is for the Bronica SQ series (particularly the SQ-A and SQ-B) unless you need a specific feature that one of the other systems offers, as the others have some more unique accessories.

    The Hasselblad and Rollei systems are quirky and handling isn't quite as good in my experience as the Bronica, although all are capable of good results. At the moment, I'm really enjoying adapting odd lenses to my SL66E though.
     
  10. jimjm

    jimjm Subscriber

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    Another vote for the Bronica SQ series. I've had an SQ-A body for 14-years now that I have used a lot and not failed once. I think I have only replaced the battery once in that time.
    Lenses, finders, screens, etc., seem to be fairly plentiful and not too pricey compared to other brands.
     
  11. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Subscriber

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    I have a Kowa SL66 and Kowa 6 lens from 55 to 250, the new SL has backs mirror lock up, but not make in large numbers, only a few folks who will work on them. I don't know if 6X6 polaroid backs will use current films, I dont have a polaroid back, I think Kowa made one, but took peel apart film. I think either a Bronica or Hasselblad is your best option.
     
  12. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    This summarizes it were well.
     
  13. Amfooty

    Amfooty Subscriber

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    I have a Kowa 6/MM and haven't had any issues with it. The lens is pretty good too.
     
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    rowghani

    rowghani Member

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    Thanks for all the info guys. I'll check out the price difference between the hassy and the bronica and make a choice. BTW is instant film still available readily for the Polaroid back?
     
  16. etn

    etn Subscriber

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    For some reason, the motorized Hasselblads are a lot cheaper than the manual ones. (They are heavier, though - which might be the reason)
    So if you want to get into Hasselblads at the lowest possible expense and don't mind the weight, go with one of those.
    There are 3 models:
    500 EL - needs a specific rechargeable battery
    500 EL/M - also needs the specific battery, has some improvement on the 500 EL
    553 ELX - takes AA battery and has the gliding mirror system to prevent vignetting with long lenses.

    The 553ELX is the "best" of all motorized bodies but will probaby set you back the same as a 500 C or 500 C/M.

    As for lenses, C series are fairly inexpensive right now and in most cases carry the same optics as the later CF and CFi. The main disadvantage of C lenses is that spare parts are getting scarce. But it can get you a Hasselblad at lowest cost. Let us know if you need more info.

    Where are you located? if you are around Munich feel free to drop by and try my Hasselblad!
     
  17. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

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    Fuji FP-3000B (black & white) is the most scarce; it was discontinued quite a few years ago. I've got about a dozen packs that expire in 2017. It sells for very high prices.

    FP-100C (color) was discontinued about a year and a half ago; you can still find it but it's expensive.

    That's it. At best you'll have a few years more of using a Polaroid back if you stock up on film now - but it won't be a cheap solution.
     
  18. guangong

    guangong Subscriber

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    As Sirius and others have noted, the cost of a nice C or C/M is a pittance compared with original selling price. Selling cost reflected quality. A couple of years ago bought a C/M body to supplement my 2000FCM (bought new in early 1980s) for about $200 and it is in very good working order. With FCM and adapters was able to use Kilfitt, Leitz and non Hassy Zeiss lenses. After acquiring C/M got three Hassy C lenses on eBay from an estate liquidator who wanted to get rid of last estate items and even discounted from agreed purchase price. The reason for this story is to remind OP that even Hassy lenses can be just as reasonable in price as any other.
    Compared with any other 120 slr, a Hassy just feels better.
     
  19. guangong

    guangong Subscriber

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    Oh yes, bought C/M from KEH.l
     
  20. Dennis-B

    Dennis-B Subscriber

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    Unless you're absolutely insistent on a SLR, there are lots of TLRs out there for more than reasonable prices. I own a Mamiya C330s, that's really a great camera. While the porrofinder is a bit dim, there are prism finders which will fill the need for eyelevel viewing. You can get a C330 w/80mm f/2.8 lens for around $350. There are also a lot of Rollieflexes and Rolliecords out there, which have fine f/2.8 and f/3.5 lenses. I know they're not at the same quality as the Hassy lenses, but that owes more to the design than the build quality.

    Just a thought.
     
  21. Sgore

    Sgore Member

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    I think the 2.8 Planar on my Rollieflex is every bit the equal of the one I have for my Hasselblad
     
  22. mshchem

    mshchem Subscriber

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    I would give a look at Bronica ETRSi as well. I have settled on SQAi. I have multiple bodies and lenses. Never had a problem. Buy a nice one. KEH is a good source. I also use a RZ67 II , as I get older the 6x6 is easier to get around. I had a Hasselblad 501c, lovely camera!!!! A manual camera like a Hasselblad will be repairable forever. I think my Bronicas and RZ will out live me, but if you are concerned about service and longevity and have the extra money buy a nice Hasselblad. Like a Leica, properly cared for, 'blads will last forever.

    The ETRSi can be had in nice shape with a grip and extras for 300 to 400 USD. Might be a good place to start.

    So many choices
     
  23. mshchem

    mshchem Subscriber

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    I would give a look at Bronica ETRSi as well. I have settled on SQAi. I have multiple bodies and lenses. Never had a problem. Buy a nice one. KEH is a good source. I also use a RZ67 II , as I get older the 6x6 is easier to get around. I had a Hasselblad 501c, lovely camera!!!! A manual camera like a Hasselblad will be repairable forever. I think my Bronicas and RZ will out live me, but if you are concerned about service and longevity and have the extra money buy a nice Hasselblad. Like a Leica, properly cared for, 'blads will last forever.

    The ETRSi can be had in nice shape with a grip and extras for 300 to 400 USD. Might be a good place to start.

    So many choices
     
  24. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    I'd look at Bronica SQ-A series. I liked the earlier EC and S2a but they are pretty old now.

    A Rollei SL66 is a great camera but if Hasselblad is too expensive then I don't think an SL66 is in your budget.

    I doubt you would want to carry around an RB for 6x6 when there are smaller and lighter cameras for that. If you wanted to shoot 6x7 then that's a different story.

    If you plan on always cropping to rectangle then the Bronica ETR series are a bargain!
     
  25. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    While C lenses cost less, parts replacement, in particular springs, are getting scarce. C lenses mostly use B50 filters. Almost all CF and later lenses use B60 filters. Therefore I recommend that once you choose C or CF+ lenses, stick to that series so that you can buy one set of filters for all lenses. That said I use CF lenses [38mm (SWC), 50mm, 80mm, 100mm, 150mm, 250mm] and one C lens, the 500mm lens because the price was just too good to pass up. I found that the 60mm lens is too close to the 80mm lens. I do not shoot portraits and therefore I rarely use the 150mm lens. I recommend to following for long term planning:
    50mm, 80mm, 250mm CF or later
    50mm, 100mm, 250mm CF or later
    I do not like 60mm, 100mm, 250mm CF or later so much as it really is not wide enough. It is like using a 38mm lens on a 35mm camera and would limit one taking photographs in places like European cities.​
     
  26. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    While C lenses cost less, parts replacement, in particular springs, are getting scarce. C lenses mostly use B50 filters. Almost all CF and later lenses use B60 filters. Therefore I recommend that once you choose C or CF+ lenses, stick to that series so that you can buy one set of filters for all lenses. That said I use CF lenses [38mm (SWC), 50mm, 80mm, 100mm, 150mm, 250mm] and one C lens, the 500mm lens because the price was just too good to pass up. I found that the 60mm lens is too close to the 80mm lens. I do not shoot portraits and therefore I rarely use the 150mm lens. I recommend to following for long term planning:
    50mm, 80mm, 250mm CF or later
    50mm, 100mm, 250mm CF or later
    I do not like 60mm, 100mm, 250mm CF or later so much as it really is not wide enough. It is like using a 38mm lens on a 35mm camera and would limit one taking photographs in places like European cities.​
     
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