Bronica SQ Series Medium Format

Bronica SQ Series Medium Format 

DESCRIPTION

The resulting SQ-Ai is a medium format single lens reflex camera incorporating original Bronica "system" technology which answers the high image technique capabilities expected by the professional photographer. The "system" camera has always been a Bronica philosophy, ever since the founding of the company. Through years of developing medium format single lens reflex cameras, based on the "system" concept, the SQ-Ai is now the result.

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 31  
[Nov 17, 2011]
roresteen
Professional

Strength:

Great lenses, om par with Zeiss optics IMO. Can be a 645, 135, or pano 135 with interchangable backs. Can't do that with a Hasselblad.

Weakness:

None that really matter; keep the 3v battery fresh like in anything else. You might not be regarded s cool as the guy toting the 500C/M or an RZII, but your images stand shoulder to shoulder with any other 6x6 camera.

The build quality and lens are traditional 1970's -1980's tank-like. It feels solid in my hands.

I can deal with any cameras idiosyncrasies, whether it's a Leica, Hasselblad, Rollie, Pentax, Mamiya, and of course, Bronica. You just get use to how it works then learn to shoot it. There for, I won't include much on the "cons' as maybe some wood. I even read on a similar review for the GS-1 that a "con" was no digital back. Really? Why downgrade the beauty of film with pixels...

Anyway - the only way I buy into any camera is the ability of it's main lens or lens group as a whole. The 80 2.8 that is standard with the SQ series is superb. It is easily on par with the famous Zeiss Planar 80 2.8 found on almost every V series 'Blad. This 80 is gorgeous. Quite frankly, I'm not sure why one would pay 3X as much for a 500C C/M. And I love Hasselblads.



Customer Service

Can be repaired and serviced by multiple service centers, great installed base, many bodies and backs available for future use at relatively low prices.

Similar Products Used:

Hasselblad 500C, 1000F, 2000FC, Mamiya C330, C220

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Mar 27, 2007]
B-rad
Intermediate

Strength:

Cheap, good quality & optics, modular.

Weakness:

No bulb setting, Ugly!

I'm going to reiterate much of what has already been said... before the advent of digital photography I could never have afforded Medium Format equipment of any kind. Thousands of wedding photographers dump their bread & butter Bronicas on the used market & suddenly the SQA body that retailed new for about $1500.00 can be found on e-bay for $34.50 + $10 shipping. THAT'S WHAT I PAID FOR THE BODY! I still can't believe it... Quality reminds me for my old Nikon FE (same circa), can be used to pound nails in a pinch & will still work. Mine is ugly all over, I have the 110 PS macro and the 50 PS and they are both very sharp. The AE finder gives me aperture priority (it really is like my old Nikon FE) and I have yet to have any problems with the film backs (knock wood). Don’t bother to acquire a 220 back as, at least in my experience, 220 film is becoming difficult to obtain.

Similar Products Used:

Nikon FE

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Aug 03, 2004]
txind76121
Expert

Strength:

The SQ-Ai was officially discontinued a while back now, and everyone is switching over to digital, which means that the bargains are just outrageous. Strengths of the camera? Results, results, results.

Weakness:

Occasionally the electronics or interlocks get flustered and you have to coax them back to life. Also, I really wish they had metering in the body, preferably aperture-priority AE but at least uncoupled manual. I really like using the waist level finder but don't get metering that way.

I've always liked these. I've owned Hassie and Mamiya RZ, but I went through a long period in the '80s-'90s when I would rent Bronicas for certain jobs. Once even had to rent one when my Hassie 500C/M jammed!! Don't quite know why I like Bronicas so much better, but they feel friendlier, more trustworthy. Never had one go down. Recently I finally bought one of my own, because the deals available right now are so amazing--people are giving these away. I bought a mint SQ-A with back and grip for $400, and a KEH "Ex+" (which to KEH means collectably perfect) 80mm PS lens for $275. Can't beat those prices with a stick. It's been fun re-acquainting with Bronica SQ. Encourages a different kind of photography for me--I've been working slower, using setups more, enlisting greater cooperation from subjects, using tripod more often. Fun.

Customer Service

n/a

Similar Products Used:

Hasselblads, Mamiya 6, Mamiya RZ67, Rolleiflex 6002, Rolleiflex 6008, Rolleiflex TLRs and Rolleicrds, Mamiya TLRs, Mamiya AF 645, Bronica ETRSi, Pentax 645 (non-AF), Exakta 66 Model II.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 13, 2003]
another
Intermediate

Strength:

Full system offering many types of lenses, finders, backs and macro accessories. Very similar to a Hasselblad and easy to use. With so many professionals switching to digital, used equipment is very available and surprisingly inexpensive. Relatively small and light compared to some other medium format camera systems.

Weakness:

The SQA can only do a long exposure (longer than 8 seconds) by controlling the exposure from the lens (note that every lens has it's own electronic shutter). This means that it can't be completely controlled by a cable release - the exposure is started as normal but ended by sliding a switch on the lens barrel. This can easily shake the camera unless you first cover the lens with a black hat, etc. The later SQ-Ai takes care of this problem with a "B" setting on the shutter speed dial on the camera body. Other than that, the shutter uses a relatively hard to find and expensive battery, so don't forget to pack spares.

My review is based on the SQ-A which pre-dates the SQ-Ai. As many professionals switch from medium format to digital, the price of this equipment falls to almost unbelievable prices. It will still produce high quality large negatives and transparencies for years to come without becoming obselete next month too! I bought my SQA from a wedding photographer who was switching to digital, and although well worn it works great. And it really was only $150 for the body!

Customer Service

Not needed.

Similar Products Used:

I own no other medium format equipment, but somewhat familiar with Hasselblad.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 25, 2003]
Grant
Expert

Strength:

-Flash sync up to 1/500 second (Very important) -AE meter makes it an aperture priority wonder. -Half stop aperture stops on PS lenses -cheap lenses compared to the competition -Tamron is doing great things with the lens line up, recently releasing a zoom, which shows they are committed to the design, as well as revamping various lenses in the line up. -TTL flash, if you are into it. I think it is nice to have however not essential.

Weakness:

The double exposure lever! If you do not remember to flick it back yourself when done it will keep shooting on the same frame! Never happened to me yet, but it is an accident waiting to happen. They should have made it flick back to normal after each shot, then you would be safe. If it had happened with me I'd mark the unit down to a four, but I will stick with my rating. The electronics on my first unit were stuffed. It had an intermittant cut out, so sometimes it worked, then an hour later it mightn't. I think the guy who sold it to me knew about the problem, as it happened on my first shoot. Fortunately it fired during the portraits, but I was mortified and nearly reached for my 35mm equipment. It was a private sale in a public place in Singapore, so I couldn't track him down. He denied all knowlege when I emailed him. Fortunately the repair was cheap and could be done locally. Don't let this put you off, a mechanical repair on a Hassie can be pricey and it is really easy to incorrectly cock their lenses. No decent digital backs. Not a big worry, but it would be nice ;-) Lastly, use same tape over the battery door. If you don't have the motordrive it may open and you could be chasing small cells all over the floor ;-/

Excellent camera. Many prefer to buy Hassies for 6x6 , then realise they can't buy lenses. The Bronica is affordable and easy to use. I don't have the manual. intuitive to use. I originally bought a basic unit with a waist finder, AE finder, motor drive, 110 PS macro (1:4) and 80mm S. I quickly added a 50mm and three more backs. The S lenses are Ok. Actually it looks pretty nice but you only have full F-stops. I sold my first camera with a back and the waist level and 80mm to go digital. I regreted immediately so I bought another with no financial loss. Camera takes great photos and is a must have for portraits. With the motordrive it is like a BIG 35mm camera. The waist level finder is a must to focus with wide angles. Speaking of wide angles, take a look at the 35mm fisheye price compared to the Hassie. This again re-iterates it is great value for money. Another thing about the motor drive, it takes 6 AA batts so it will keep chugging a long time. The drive is great for model shoots. It gives the model the cue to change pose.

Customer Service

Very good in malaysia. Tithes Corp also distribute Contax and Tamron (who now own Bronica). Friendly people but not a lot of parts up here.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Nov 10, 2002]
geesbert
Expert

Strength:

very affordable (especially second hand), great handheld (especially with speedgrip), very good lenses, backward compatibility is great, pretty good ergonomics

Weakness:

pretty ugly, no rental available, no shift lenses available, you have to enable the double exposure to use the polaroid, which i tend to forget when i switch back to film. the darkslide is fidely and the slit is hard to find.

big bang for the buck, very handholdable, very nice lenses, poor aesthetics. i used a couple of MF cameras before and sold my mamiya RB equipment to buy that camera, mainly because i was to whimp to handhold it. some people complained that the sq was too heavy, they never lugged around a rb with prism and flash! that nearly broke my back! i have the 50, 80 and 150 lenses, all really nice. i'll get the 65 and the 110 macro soon. the close-up rings are ridiculous expensive! used about double the hasselblad ones!

Customer Service

never needed

Similar Products Used:

mamiya TLR, RZ, RB, hasselblad 500, bronica s2a

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 16, 2002]
surge
Expert

Strength:

price. ease of use

Weakness:

wt. but all MF SLR are this heavy

bought this camera with a 80/2.8 and the 150/4 w 2 120 backs and a polaroid. Initially very odd to shoot at waist level and plenty of unsharp pic(the mirror really flaps! compared to 35mm). i used think my FE2 was heavy mirror flap till i tried MF. I went shooting in malaysia recently with this setup and you really need strong shoulders for this cam. mounted on tripod. i must say that i am truely please with the results. they were dam sharp. most importantly, its the amount of details i can see when enlarge to 10x12 that amazes me. so much to see on the old flat that i have taken a pic of. love it. pics gets better hand held after some gettuing used too.

Customer Service

none

Similar Products Used:

none

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 28, 2002]
mendo
Professional

Strength:

superb images,as easy to use as MF 35mm camera

Weakness:

none

In 1996 I purchased a bronica sqa with three lenses 50,80,150.It had a metered prism finder,speed grip and a back or two.When I took it home that night I didn't want to show it to anyone because it cost so much money and I didn't know how to justify it,not that I had to do that!.Anyhow that was six years ago and it almost seems half a lifetime ago...in this business it does!!.Months after I got it a friend used it at my sisters wedding....my policy is to steer away from relatives weddings if possible.Well there was a professional at the wedding and his photos are good really good..but the group shots of my fathers side of the family cannot be compared to the 35mm one the pro shot not now or ever.They are the best photos ever from the family ever and last year that wonderful friend of mine repeated that performance at my wedding with my bronica cameras.Since then I have used the bronica at 50+ weddings and the pictured speak for themselves.Isn't that what it's all about?Sharp as in super sharp,contrasty top colour.Well since I have added three more SQAI this time but I will still keep my super reliable SQA,upgraded all my lenses to the ps series and now own 40,50s(prefer 67mm),80,110,150,extention tubes,sca adapters,ae sqi prism,many backs and other things I cannot remember at 11.30pm.Sure you can buy different perhaps a camera that takes german lenes for the ego or as a show piece or a rangefinder for portability etc.If your looking for a system camera that can do just about everything and the best image quality possible save your time look no futher and spend your time enjoying yourself with a SQAI Bronica

Customer Service

Gunz when they were around.Now camera clinic melbourne

Similar Products Used:

Rolleiflex TLR

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Oct 12, 2001]
Jasper
Intermediate

Strength:

Flash sync, mirror lock up, excellent optics.

Weakness:

Too much Plastic.

I purchased the SQA i because I wanted a 6X6 system and couldn''t afford a ''blad. I haven''t been dissapointed. I have used it for nearly everything now from shots of soccer teams at a tournament to landscapes and have found it to be easy to use and reliable. (Purchase price in pounds stirling)

Customer Service

My only experiance is that my warrenty card was missing when I bought the camera. A quick call and a card arrived the next day. Excellent

Similar Products Used:

Hasselblad 500c

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Aug 06, 2000]
Kenneth Brown
Professional

Strength:

Price, quality, reliability, features, flexibility, speed of use, leaf shutter lenses,

Weakness:

none

This system is not a poor man's Hassleblad - this is a serious quality product that I will put up against any other system. I wish that I could give it six stars!!!

Customer Service

excellent (Canada)

Similar Products Used:

Mamiya 645, Pentax 645,
Hassleblad, Kowa super 66(way back),

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 31  

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