Bronica SQ-A
5 frames with...

5 Frames with the Bronica SQ-A, my first (working) medium format camera – By Lukas Walter

October 15, 2019

When I first got interested in medium format cameras, I spent countless hours, many weeks in fact, thinking about what kind of medium format camera I wanted to get. I initially wanted to dip my feet into the waters with a cheap seagull 203 folding rangefinder, I had great fun with it, but ultimately had to send it back because the focus was way off due to some play in the mechanism. A little bit disappointed with my experience I decided I needed to go all in, spending weeks scanning ebay, local classifieds, forums etc. for another MF rangefinder (I was specifically interested in the Fuji GS645), but then I found landscape photographer Adrian Vila’s Youtube-Channel (aows). At the time he was shooting mainly a Bronica SQ-Ai, and his shots blew me away, I knew I had to get a 6×6 SLR. After 3 failed attempts (Pentacon Six with a bad shutter, Bronica SQ with a dead shutter, Bronica SQ-B with dead Electronics) I finally found a Bronica SQ-A in like-new condition for a decent price and bought it.

Fast forward a few weeks, because of this camera, I now like medium format so much I barely use 35mm anymore.
A few things I really like about the Bronica:
Great ergonomics: Everything has its place, it is very intuitive and you get used to it very quickly
Build: Apart from the flimsy winder, everything is solidly build and feels like it will at least outlast the electronics.
Focussing screen: The bright focussing screen with Microprism collar around the split-image rangefinder is amazing!

Anyways, on to the shots:

This one was taken on a hike along the Austrian-German Border where cows where grazing along the trail and made this postcard-like shot possible. I didn’t mind the Bronica on this hike too much, it was heavy but the hike was not too steep. Zenzanon S 80mm 2.8 on Fuji Pro 400h.

This one was taken on another hike, this time near the summit of the Hahnenköpfle in Austria. The Bronica really bothered me on this hike, it was a lot steeper, sometimes rocky and all in all i regretted bringing this ~1,5kg camera. Zenzanon S 80mm 2.8 on Fuji Pro 400h

Another one from the same hike, the clouds hanging in the Valley looked really surreal.

My favourite thing to shoot, BMX or bike-riding in general. Zenzanon S 150mm 3.5 on Pro 400h

Final shot, biking again, this time in the woods at 1/125 resulting in a bit of motion blur and around 1-2 stops of underexposure

A quick note on the film borders: I scan with a Canon 9000f and have found no difference in Quality whether I lay the film straight on the glass or use the scanning mask. This is way less cumbersome to me and I like that the borders give the shot a sort of frame!

I hope you enjoyed some of the shots and my mini-review of the Bronica SQ-A, if you want to see more of my Stuff, check out my instagram @35000000nm!
Thanks for reading

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  • Reply
    Terry B
    October 15, 2019 at 11:50 am

    Lukas, I love the first image of the cow. It gives a great sense of proportion and perspective and depth.
    Quality comes at a price – weight. But well worth the effort.
    I use a Canon 9950F and the more up-to-date 9000F, mainly as it has drivers for W10. The 9950F can only be used up to W7, but I keep it for its 5×4 scan capability and which I still need. I think your images show that when using MF film they scan better than with 35mm. What dpi did you use, by the way?

    • Reply
      October 15, 2019 at 4:52 pm

      Hey Terry,
      thanks for the compliment! I really appreciate it. I usually scan 3200 or 2400 dpi for medium Format. I don’t really see any difference in image Quality if i go higher, only longer scanning times and larger files. Do you use the scanning masks on your Canon?

  • Reply
    Martin Cutrone
    October 15, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    Share your enthusiasm for medium format, and Bronica in particular. I have an ETRC, 645. The Bronica lenses are superb, and the negative size puts 35mm to shame for landscape work. Live your images from the mountains!

    • Reply
      October 15, 2019 at 4:53 pm

      The 645 looks so amazing, i really want to get my hands on one some day! I am just a little afraid about that maximum aperture of f4.
      Glad you like the images, cheers!

  • Reply
    October 15, 2019 at 7:03 pm

    I really love the look of Pro400H in medium format. What ISO do you use when metering with Pro400H? Based on this test by Kyle McDougall, I’ve been rating my Pro400H at 200 and have been pretty happy with the results. I think the colors this film loves really pop with 1 stop overexposure.

    • Reply
      October 16, 2019 at 10:09 am

      Hi Lee, i never have a meter with me, its all guessing. The hiking shots were probably around 100-200, the 4th at box speed and last 1000-1600.
      400H is a LOT easier to scan than Portra on my scanner somehow, i love the look i get anywhere beetween 100 and 800.

  • Reply
    Paul Turner
    October 15, 2019 at 9:11 pm

    Love that BMX Shot on the ramp. Shooting sport on a Bronica respect. I too have just got back into MF with a Bronica SQ-Ai and an SQ-B for back up. AOWS was also instrumental in reigniting my MF passion, I used an SQ-Ai before digital for portraits and the occasional wedding.

  • Reply
    Alexander Seidler
    October 16, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    The Cow shot ist great !

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