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08-02-2011, 07:11 PM   #16
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645 is a wonderful format and the lenses can be terrific.

Best thing to recommend the Bronicas are that the lenses are all leaf shutters for fast synching (all except for the original model from the 1950s) and there's a TTL cell in the mirror chamber so that automatic daylight fill flash is possible without a metering finder. It's why they were so ubiquitous for wedding photography. Bronica ETRSi bodies are now extremely cheap used... but the automatic exposure finders alone are as expensive as a P645N body. Bronica winders are also slow and clunky add ons. The thing that killed them for consideration for me was that the between-lens leaf shutters meant that they don't focus very closely.

The P645N ergonomics are truly great, and the system offered for me the best bang for the buck. But the best reason for choosing the P645 system was the lenses, specifically the existence of the SMC-A 35mm f/3.5. It's quite spectacular and focuses extremely close.

08-02-2011, 10:40 PM   #17
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Really happy with my P645N

This camera is more fun than just about any other camera, except maybe a little Leica. The SLR-like handling and non-modal knobs are great for anyone like me who can't deal with TV remotes. The weight is less than the big pro Nikon cameras.

I don't think lack of changeble backs is that much of an issue. Most people are all into Velvia or all into B&W. If you swing both ways, there are only 16 shots on a roll, or else you can pick up a second body for your other film. The lenses are expensive, not the bodies, and if you depend on it, it may be nice to have a back-up for an out-of-production camera.

Yes, the 35mm is a great lens... 21mm equivalent. I'm happy with the manual in that focal length, as I use it for landscape where I can play depth-of-field games. I'd be turning off the auto in most cases.

All that said...

I find that when I have North Coast develop and scan my Leica Velvia shots the total mpixels is about the same as their 645 scans. To get higher-res, grain-less medium format you might need to be at 6x7 and do your own scanning. And, in the end, I really love the grain in 35mm velvia I get from NCPS. See this blow up of a lilly-pad (Leica 50mm summicron, Velvia 100). Note that all the noise is luminance and none of it is color noise.

08-03-2011, 04:47 AM   #18
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For Bronica users, where can I find out more about the lenses available or generations of lenses in the PS system?

Bonus, if you had only 1 lens to go with the SQ-A(i) which one would it be?
08-03-2011, 05:41 AM   #19
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there is a very active User Group for Bronica on Yahoo

Bronica : Bronica Users Group (BUG)

Tony Hilton has written a definitive book on Bronica so he's a good resource (the book is on Amazon, but I think he also sells it through the group)

As for what lens well it kind of depend on what you want to shoot. As long as you aren't concerned with cosmetics too much I suggest looking at KEH for BGN grade which most places would be good + and like termed excellent on Ebay that's where I sourced 2 of my 4 lenses
to get an Idea of the latest (ie last released) product the Bronica Archive on Tamron is useful
SQ 6x6 Camera Body: Bronica, Tamron, USA Commack NY
PS40 F4.0 is the widest without going fisheye (PS35 f3.5) equivalent to about a 23mm in 35mm
minimum focus is 18 inches
There is also the GS series to consider which is 6x7 and has option 6x6 and 645 backs as well
it is a bit more pricey though and there is not as much out there as the ETRSI and SQAI
GS-1 6x7 Camera Body: Bronica, Tamron, USA Commack NY

08-05-2011, 11:54 AM   #20
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Before picking a camera I would think about how you want to shoot. Do you want to shoot with a waist level finder (if so forget about the pentax 645). Do you want to shoot at eye level? What style of camera would you prefer (rangefinder, TLR, SLR)? Are interchangeable lenses a requirement? Does the format matter (6x4.5, 6x6, 6x7, 6x8 etc.)? Does noise matter to you (quiet leaf shutter TLRs vs Loud SLRs)?

If affordable is the top priority and you would be happy with one lens a nice old TLR is hard to beat (the minolta autocord can usually be picked up for under $300 and it is a great camera).
08-05-2011, 01:57 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by DAP Quote
Does the format matter (6x4.5, 6x6, 6x7, 6x8 etc.)?
This is a bigger consideration than might appear at first glance. There is a big difference in size between 6x4.5 and 6x7 (16 exposures/roll vs. 10 exposures/roll, 150% larger area). Composition considerations with the square 6x6 format are much different than with a rectangular frame and may require routine cropping if you mostly shoot landscape.

08-05-2011, 05:49 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
may require routine cropping if you mostly shoot landscape.
you couldn't be more wrong there mate, who said that a rectangular format works best for landscape images? one! that's who!!

The beauty of the square format is that all sides are equal, and because of this there isn't any directional tension that you get with direction that 4:3 or 3:2 formats cause - because that tension is caused by the differential in ratio between the height and width of the image. But if those ratios are rendered equal the tension is neutralised - and the content of the image stands out.

6X6 square format allows you to simplify your compositions substantially more than is possible with a 4:3 format - without cropping.

Last edited by Digitalis; 01-28-2015 at 12:35 AM.

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