Looking at medium format on a budget, tell me about Bronica

Happy Medium

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I'm looking into purchasing a medium format camera. I'm interested mainly in 6x6 format, but i'd be alright with 6x7. I'm on a tight budget, so i've been looking at a TLR, particularly the Mamiya C330. Its interchangable lenses seem perfect for what i'm interested in (portraiture) and the quiet shutter and durable construction also catch my interest. I've not ruled out SLRs, however. Hasselblads seem too expensive, and although i've seen full kits with body, lens, WLF & back for around a thousand dollars, that's still more than i'd like to spend. I've heard that used Bronica cameras offer decent quality at an appealing price, but i'm unfamiliar with their product line, differences between models, et cetera. Can someone refer me to a website that outlines the different bronica models so i can familiarize myself and hopefully make a more educated decision?
 

Kent Frost

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The SQ Bronica line of cameras, which are the square format (6x6) cameras, are very solid. In fact, should I go medium format I'll probably go with Bronica. I'm not as familiar with their later models, but in the past I've known them to give terrific results.
 

Mitica100

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Happy Medium said:
I'm looking into purchasing a medium format camera. I'm interested mainly in 6x6 format, but i'd be alright with 6x7. I'm on a tight budget, so i've been looking at a TLR, particularly the Mamiya C330. Its interchangable lenses seem perfect for what i'm interested in (portraiture) and the quiet shutter and durable construction also catch my interest. I've not ruled out SLRs, however. Hasselblads seem too expensive, and although i've seen full kits with body, lens, WLF & back for around a thousand dollars, that's still more than i'd like to spend. I've heard that used Bronica cameras offer decent quality at an appealing price, but i'm unfamiliar with their product line, differences between models, et cetera. Can someone refer me to a website that outlines the different bronica models so i can familiarize myself and hopefully make a more educated decision?

I agree that a good Hassy setup will burn about a grand and I can see why a Bronica might be the choice given the prices. One thing to keep in mind, the Bronica S2 and S2A are as solid as they come but they have terrible shutter noise. I am not very familiar with the other more modern models. The Mamiya C220 and C330 are always a good choice in portraiture, their lenses are softer and the noise is rather insignificant. Having had a Bronica S2A (sold many years ago) and currently owning a C220 I can say that I would personally choose the Mamiya, one bonus being the ability to shoot close-ups without additional accessories. But that's just me...;)
 
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Happy Medium

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Thanks very much for the advice and reference to the website, it helped me greatly. I now just need to decide whether i want the versitality, smaller size, and parallax free view of an SLR, or a quiet, sturdy, simple TLR. Mirror slap vibration is also a bothersome issue. Anybody else have any opinions on TLR vs SLR? I'd appreciate your input.
 

Bob Fiske

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The Mamiya TLRs are beasts to lug around for long periods of time, compared to other TLRs. If you want to use it outside of a studio then maybe weight should also be a consideration.
 

Mitica100

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Bob Fiske said:
The Mamiya TLRs are beasts to lug around for long periods of time, compared to other TLRs. If you want to use it outside of a studio then maybe weight should also be a consideration.

True, but then so are the Bronica S series for example. These beasts weigh a ton. Perhaps some of the more modern MF SLRs weigh less?
 

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