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05-02-2011, 02:27 PM   #1
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Help with identification and use of Bronica SQ prism

Not a Pentax question, but I'm hoping someone here will have some insight. I posted at APUG, but thus far no response:

My first MF camera, a Bronica SQ-Ai, was purchased late last year from KEH. I have a lot to learn about it! Recently, I decided I wanted an eye-level prism, mostly to be able to focus accurately and compose at the same time (as opposed to using the spring-loaded diopter in the WLF), but also because it's nice to have a laterally correct image.

So I went back to KEH to see what they had. I couldn't afford a metered prism, but figured that wasn't a huge deal, as I could use another camera or an old Weston meter I got recently. I noticed that an AE prism with a "non-functioning meter" was listed cheaper than a non-AE prism, so I bought that. I guess I got lucky, because the prism I got seems to meter just fine! However, after being on the camera for a couple of weeks, it drained my batteries. I Googled, and found a few people talking about needing to turn the prism off when not in use. As far as I can see, there's no way to turn it off. There's just one big silver button which seems to activate the meter, and then a switch on the shutter speed dial, the purpose of which I cannot discern. I'd love to be able to find a manual for this prism, but I don't even know what it is. If anyone could point me to a manual, or at least give me the official name/model number of the prism that would be awesome.

Is there really a way to turn this thing off? It's not a huge deal to just remove it and store the camera with the WLF instead, but would be nice if I didn't have to. Thanks for any help you can give!

05-02-2011, 02:53 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Portland, OR
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I have no first hand experience, but I googled a bit and found something. This is not a complete answer, if anyone else has real experience then please chime in.

I found a site that has the camera manual.
Zenza Bronica SQ-Ai instruction manual, user manual, PDF manual, free manuals
The second part of the manual can be found here:

The page labeled 38 has facts about the battery, which suggests removing the batteries when not in use. The first part of the manual shows that the batteries remove with a little button and a simple door. So I think this may be one solution to your problem, thought I admit it isn't elegant.
05-02-2011, 08:18 PM   #3
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Original Poster
Hmmm, yeah, looks like I should maybe not leave the batteries in the camera at all, when I can help it, although leaving them in didn't discharge them before I got the prism. Thanks for the info!

I think I'll first just try to not leave that prism attached, and see if that solves the problem, and if not, then just get in the habit of taking the batteries out. Unfortunately with the speedgrip attached, the batteries are a pain to remove and replace.
05-05-2011, 01:52 AM   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Adelaide.
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I have actually used one of those for several years and they are great,I didn't worry all that much about the battery usage: because that lock switch prevents the metering button from being accidentally pushed. I preferred the chimney viewfinder with the meter in it - it's hard to beat the brightness of that combination, plus it was really useful with low angle work though some people didn't like the laterally reversed view through it but I'm accustomed to that sort of thing from my large format cameras.


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