Sunday, February 5, 2012

The long long story of Me and Medium format to getting My Bronica SQ-Ai SLR

My first encounter with medium format was using my first Twin lens reflex(TLR), Yashica Mat 124G. I was completely sold after seeing the quality that came off the 120mm negative.

It was a pleasure to use the TLR, looking down at the screen as if it was a video recorder...a live-view on a manual viewfinder that is like a lcd on the back of the digital compact camera. Everything appear so nice thru the projected screen.

With just 12 shots for a roll of film, the smooth handling of the camera and all the attention that you get from the passerby, the whole process is pretty enjoyable! By the time you noticed, the film reached its last frame.

So how did a Bronica SQ-Ai SLR came into the picture??

This all happened since last month during our trip to Malacca, David brought his very nice Rolleiflex(Shown in the below entry) along. Well, with all the handling and poisoning, i was rather excited to pick one of this up...and i was so near in bidding one off ebay...but i never.

I had like 6 copies of the TLR in my cabinet, and it just dont make sense to get the Rolleiflex. Of course, its one of the best looking german made prestige camera but given the market price of it and the condition of those in the market, i just couldnt proceed with getting one.


But i didnt give up the idea of getting a camera, so i thought, why not start a thread in CS to ask more about Medium format SLR? Try out a new system instead of getting the Rolleiflex.
That was where i get to know more about the various different format that i can shoot with the 120mm film.

The decision-making process started with trying to decide which medium format SLR size I would buy into, 645, 6x6 or 6x7? Generally most 6x7 camera are quite heavy. I didnt like 645 format size although you can get 16 shots out of the 120mm film.
6x6 format compromise in all aspect and I decided upon 6x6. Now I need to decide which company to buy into.
Given the weight and size of the camera, the choice came down to only Hasselblad or Bronica.
As I was going thru the prices of both systems it became a perverse experience to realize how poor I was. The price of admission into the world of Hasselblad was affordable but subsequent purchases of lenses and accessories would not be. So much so that Bronica became the only realistic choice for me to pursue. I know given the price today vs the price in the past, it was considered very cheap. However, given the humble monthly income that i fetched, i decided to be a little more conservative in my spending.

Hasselblad like the Rolleiflex was famous for its aesthetic appearance that dig every single chick that chanced upon it. Well, since i couldnt afford it, i wont post a picture of it here!

In Summary, Bronica was designed by a Japanese guy who wanted a camera of his dream, probably something which most other brands cannot offered him. It was such determination and dreams that created one of the best camera system in the market.

You may wish to read more here.

i know many others would have go against the idea to get a system where the company no longer exist. But think it this way, if the camera spoil, picking any single part of it from the market is affordable. Repairing a malfunction hasselblad item can cost alot, there isnt any mechanical camera that cannot be repaired...:)

I spend weeks doing some research on prices and the camera and with the help of some of the seniors in CS, i managed to narrow down the package that i was looking for at my budget.
Finally, i picked this set from a very nice forummer(decided against buying it from ebay)

Its a complete set!

the camera itself looks awesome!

A portrait that i have always wanted to do!

It was almost immediate when i run a roll of Lucky 100 thru it!

How does it perform?

Shot using the 80mm f2.8 PS lens, developed using HC110 at dilution H, pushed 1 stop.


Some funny portraits to finish up the roll of film

It was an amazing experience using the Bronica! After 2 frames and some familiarization with the camera, the handling is smooth!
The pictures turned out way much better than i thought it will be!

Well after all, i have not use a hasselblad before so cant really compare the 2 but in my own opinion, this is definitely a good system for me! I wont be shooting lesser 120mm with it definitely! Vice versa, its going to be the start of a new shooting experience!


  1. Beautiful camera and shots, you don't need a hassy - the bronica is mighty capable!

  2. Thanks Phil!:)
    But we got to agree that the hassy looks really alot better:)