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02-11-2013, 08:54 PM   #1
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New MF camera owner - now what?

So I've just purchased a Bronica SQ-A on a bit of a whim. I've been playing with the idea of getting into B&W film for awhile and this camera is the first step. Part of me feels like it might be a big one! It's a waist level finder, no meter ( Sunny 16 I guess).

Other than getting some film and go shooting, what else should I be thinking about? I haven't shot a roll of film (35mm) in ten years. I have been mostly shooting my daughter since she was born last summer and expect to continue with that subject, but I'm looking forward to get back to landscape and around town shooting as she gets a little older.

Opinions and guidance most welcome.

02-11-2013, 09:11 PM   #2
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Hmmm.... perhaps a yellow filter? Number fifteen or eleven? A light or medium yellow seems to be about as standard as they come when black and white is involved. The yellows are usually recommended for better separation of tones and give you the right amount of contrast boost without being too heavy-handed.

Congrats on your purchase. I wanted a Bronica in the worst way, once upon a time. It looked to be the most economical choice when it came to getting medium format quality for a good price.
02-11-2013, 10:06 PM   #3
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Get a meter.
02-11-2013, 11:18 PM   #4
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Now invest in a spot meter, rolls and rolls of transparency film (to scrutinise your skills in metering), interesting locations, varied light and lots of patience. The medium format begs and cries out to be taken to a beautiful scene and record it in all its sublime beauty. Don't waste all that beauty on your daughter (sorry, I mean I'm sure she's beautiful, but a Bronica would love to see variety over its life time!).

02-12-2013, 12:36 AM   #5
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Or use your (d)SLR as a light meter. I did use my MZ5 when I worked with an older Bronica, the EC.
02-12-2013, 02:41 AM   #6
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Just buy a bunch of film and enjoy.
02-12-2013, 06:02 AM   #7
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I used to use a Bronica SQ-A for a number of years, the Zenzanon 80mm f/2.8 PS lens was sharper at f/2.8 than the Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm f/2.8 - at f/5.6 it was a real toss up as to which was sharper. I used the chemmeney metered viewfinder with my SQ-A and I just loved that, a big bright viewfinder - the lateral inversion of the image didn't bother me because I already shoot large format. The Bronica SQ-A also worked quite well with the ultra-bright replacement minolta screen I flogged from my hasselblad CM.

One thing to watch for is that the backs do have a tendency to develop light leaks in them so run a test film through the camera and be sure to watch for that - also getting a second back for colour film is Highly reccomended!. With thicker films like Kodak T-Max 100 and Fuji Neopan sometimes you need the pressure plate in the back to be adjusted so the film is smashed flat against the film rails, you can tell if your camera needs to have this done if the negatives seem slightly out of focus around the edges, this is because the film is buckling. You also have to watch out for excessive force being needed to wind the next frame on the camera, because the lens leaf shutter is cocked at the same time as the film is wound on if you feel excessive resistance as you wild the film on it can be a sign that the leaf shutter mechanism is getting old and may fail.

Last edited by Digitalis; 02-14-2013 at 06:05 PM.
02-12-2013, 12:10 PM   #8
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Never used a Bronica but with my Hasselblad I have an older light meter but have also used the meter in a film or digital camera or Sunny 16/11 rule. The two most important items after the camera in my mind is a cable release and film, 2 releases if you are like me and tend to lose them or at least misplace them and lots and lots of film.

Medium format film cameras makes for happy photographers (IMHO). Use and enjoy.

02-12-2013, 01:04 PM   #9
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Scanner?
02-12-2013, 02:27 PM   #10
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Yellow filter, release cable, light meter - great - I'll pick those up.

Scanner...I think I'm going to have to figure out how to explain the fact that I just also "won" a Bronica GS-1 on ebay as well. I think I need to revisit how well I have complied with RioRico's bid low, bid often advice. Bid often - check. Bid low, apparently not.

Last edited by Gareth.Ig; 02-12-2013 at 02:39 PM.
02-12-2013, 03:43 PM   #11
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If you truly care about the end result of photography — creating a personal work of art you can be proud of and look at many, many times down through the years, you will go beyond just stuffing negatives/transparencies in sleeves in binders, stored away in the dark never to see the light of day. With a scanner and a moderate amount of training, you can capture the image in all its beauty, go through the task of colourimetrics and maybe research a lab that can print the image to a very high quality result (this is the way things are done now: wet darkrooms are rare for colour work, though common enough for B&W). Then frame and display! Presto! You've brightened up the house without spending money on "other peoples' art"! This is my guiding philosophy and has been since the 1970s when I first picked up a camera. All my work is printed and framed and put on display in my gallery. You will not find anything online in places like Flickr: what's mine remains mine.
02-12-2013, 04:17 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Silent Street Quote
If you truly care about the end result of photography creating a personal work of art you can be proud of and look at many, many times down through the years, you will go beyond just stuffing negatives/transparencies in sleeves in binders, stored away in the dark never to see the light of day. With a scanner and a moderate amount of training, you can capture the image in all its beauty, go through the task of colourimetrics and maybe research a lab that can print the image to a very high quality result (this is the way things are done now: wet darkrooms are rare for colour work, though common enough for B&W). Then frame and display! Presto! You've brightened up the house without spending money on "other peoples' art"! This is my guiding philosophy and has been since the 1970s when I first picked up a camera. All my work is printed and framed and put on display in my gallery. You will not find anything online in places like Flickr: what's mine remains mine.
This, absolutely this. I've printed a couple of my digital shots that I am pleased with and without a doubt I am always more excited about getting the print than any equipment I've purchased. Getting a film shot strikes me as requiring more effort, thought skill and practice and therefore getting the first print on the wall that I am happy with will be that much more satisfying again.

All that to one side I was under the impression I could have te prints scanned by the lab initially until I got the hang of shooting MF.
02-12-2013, 04:38 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gareth.Ig Quote
This, absolutely this. I've printed a couple of my digital shots that I am pleased with and without a doubt I am always more excited about getting the print than any equipment I've purchased. Getting a film shot strikes me as requiring more effort, thought skill and practice and therefore getting the first print on the wall that I am happy with will be that much more satisfying again.

All that to one side I was under the impression I could have te prints scanned by the lab initially until I got the hang of shooting MF.

Most pro-level labs offer scanning of negs/trannies as part of their end-print service; with some types of prints (resulting from those scacnning), the scanning cost is included in the overall job (because of technical problems that often arise in matching files to the print media). It's very common for people to do their own scanning (e.g. with an Epson V700/V750) and provide the finished files to the lab, but this is fraught with potential trouble and, if too much trouble, the lab will add-on repatriative costs to correct files so they match up with their requirements (e.g. colourimetrics/profiling, colour balance, file type more- /less-exposure as required by the printer). So, it's best to just concentrate on refining your skills with MF at entry level, and if desired, leave all the scanning to the lab to streamline and expedite the process. I have a long lab session tomorrow getting files sorted, scanned and proofed; the process takes 2 weeks because I live around 100km from the lab and travel by train+bike and they need a week to slot everything in with their humungous workload. Anyways...nothing beats a good day out in the sun!
02-14-2013, 05:44 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gareth.Ig Quote
This, absolutely this. I've printed a couple of my digital shots that I am pleased with and without a doubt I am always more excited about getting the print than any equipment I've purchased. Getting a film shot strikes me as requiring more effort, thought skill and practice and therefore getting the first print on the wall that I am happy with will be that much more satisfying again.

All that to one side I was under the impression I could have te prints scanned by the lab initially until I got the hang of shooting MF.
a good place to have your film developed.
02-14-2013, 07:09 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gareth.Ig Quote
This, absolutely this. I've printed a couple of my digital shots that I am pleased with and without a doubt I am always more excited about getting the print than any equipment I've purchased. Getting a film shot strikes me as requiring more effort, thought skill and practice and therefore getting the first print on the wall that I am happy with will be that much more satisfying again.

All that to one side I was under the impression I could have te prints scanned by the lab initially until I got the hang of shooting MF.
Do you mean getting a lab to scan your negatives, not prints?
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