Best Bronica lenses?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by anthony_howard|4, Apr 5, 2014.

  1. There are a lot of current and EX Bronica users on this site so I thought I'd ask about lenses.

    I own an ETRSi with an 75mm PE lens and would like something a bit wider and also something longer.

    I might buy a well priced SQ-B this weekend which comes with a 50mm PS lens so would be looking for a standard and slightly longer lens for that.

    In 35mm terms I am aiming around 28mm, 50mm, 80 or 100mm (ish) if that helps.

    So wondering if there are any Bronica gems people might want to recommend...or lemons to avoid....
    Also....anyone recommend any of the PE zooms?
  2. david_henderson


    Can respond only on the S/PS series for Sq cameras, which I used extensively for more than ten years.
    • In general I found all the lenses to be rather similar in performance and in image colour
    • The 110 macro was perhaps the best of the lenses I owned and was suiabble for regular use as well as macro.
    • I found it hard to get well-focussed sharp shots using the 2x converter.
    • In general I'd accept Bronica's contention that the PS lenses were better and better coated than the preceding S lenses. Specifically on the 50mm the older S lens preserved the 67mm filter thread of most of the range, whereas its PS replacement did not. I used the S and have no regrets.
  3. The 80/2.8PS is pin sharp and around 45mm-ish in 35mm terms(the SQ "standard" lens and probably the cheapest). I'm very fond of the old 105/3.5S and 150/3.5S.
    I have an SQ-B and love it. Just be aware that it can't support metered prisms or motor drives.
  4. I think it is better if you ask "what Bronica lenses do you recomend." It is hard to answer what is the "best".

    All the Bronica lenses are good quality. In general, new lenses have the best design. So get the best PE and PS lenses.

    For ETR line, the MC line is old. Most are good, but try to avoid the E MC 150mm F4. New lens has F3.5. The E II 75mm is excellent. PE is the best.

    For SQ, the P line is very good. The PS line is the newest, which offer half stop apertures, just like the PE line.

    The GS always has the latest design, so all PG lenses are excellent.

    There is a book by Peter Williams "Medium Format Cameras, User's Guide to Buying and Shooting" and it gives excellent review on all Bronica lenses.
    For medium-format photography, short-focus lenses are much sought after. So the most desirable lenses are PE 40mm, PS 40mm and PG 50mm. They command premium. They are very useful for landscape, outdoors and indoor. Bronica is not for action. So the telephoto lenses are not used often.
    For wedding and portrait, there are plenty standard lenses. They are relatively cheap.
  5. 50 PS is great, 110 and 150 PS are good choices. S lenses in general are somewhat more flat contrast wise but still very
    good. If you get an S150, put a B+W K1.5 filter on it and it will make it have better contrast and make the colors a tad
    richer. I used one for a long time like that, on black and white the filter also gives you a little boost in contrast too.
  6. Definitely would not recommend the 45-90mm PE zoom. Quite awful in my opinion. Sold it quickly after acquiring. It appears the 50-100mm PS is of the same design though I have no firsthand experience with that particular lens. That said, the 100-220mm PE is outstanding if you do not mind the weight and do portraiture off a tripod.
    The 75mm PE you already have is one of the sharpest Bronica Lenses I have. I imagine the 80mm PS is no different. The 250mm PE is very sharp. Sharper than the 150mm PE which is quite good in its own right given its compact size. The 50mm PE and and 40mm PE are good lenses but not great. The MC versions of these wide angle lenses are soft IMHO so avoid. I would say the only area that you really have to have the modern PE glass is with the wide angles.
  7. I use the 50mm PS and 150mm PS and I am very happy with them. Also use the 80mm kit lens that comes with the SQB and it is very good, no complaints.
    I tried a tele converter which I bought off eBay but it jammed on the standard lens and was terrible to get off I returned it for a full refund. I found out later that this appears to be a common problem with the tele converter. Should have researched better before buying.
  8. Yes those Bronica Tele converters are a pain mechanically. Takes a little practice. They are not user friendly.
    I have used the 2x E and 1.4x PE converters. The 2x was soft and not usable for enlargements in my experience (possibly because it was hard to keep the camera and converter stable since there is no lens tripod mount to balance the system..YMMV). The 1.4x PE is acceptable to make prints in emergency situations where the weight of an additional lens is too much to carry (travel,hiking etc..). Not as clear as a boni fide telephoto lens but acceptable if shot at optimal lens apertures imho.
  9. Anthony, I don't think you will find any 'gems ' in the Bronica lens line up. Equally, there aren't any lemons either judging from my experience. If you're thinking of buying the SQb and a 50mm lens, then the obvious additional choice would be an 80mm and 150mm - a classic combination.
  10. Looks like the SQ-B has gone.....but did a shoot with my ETRSi over the weekend and having just seen the scans I could easily stick with this system if there are other lenses as good as the 75mm PE I used !
  11. I have both the 40mm MC and a 50mm PE ,plus a few more of the great Bronica ETR lenses. Possibly I'm blind, but suggestions that either of the lenses is "soft" strikes me as ludicrous . 11 x 14 enlargements from either (Provia100F,mostly) get nothing but acclaim . Yes the 2x converter requires more time to focus , ( specially with the 250mm lens ) but without it the subject can be just too small to merit enlarging and the 500mm lenses require more money than I'm willing to spend for those occasional shots ! In this format, Bronica lenses need not apologize to anyone, That's my rant!! Peter
  12. Important to keep things in perspective. The original poster used the word "gems". The older wide angle MC glass is not of the same quality (yes, I have worked with several samples from rental back in the day) as the PE wide angles. YMMV as it relates to what your satisfied with. If you are happy with your photographs then that is all that matters.
    Many wedding pros were in love the 45-90mm PE zoom. Yes, it had a particular .. ahem.. softness to it that I found unacceptable for use in corporate industrial photography. Same goes for the wide angle MC glass. Horses for courses.
  13. I 'lost' the SQ-B I was intending to buy and have decided to stick with my ETRSi gear for now. As mentioned above, I have been doing some scans from the 75mm PE lens (HP5 rated at 200 asa) and I am impressed.....and can probably do better with some adjustment to exposure / developing.
    I will still be looking for a wide angle lens and have decided to watch out for one of the PE lenses following suggestions above.....but an wondering about a MC 150mm as well. There seem to be two variants...a 3.5 and 4.0 aperture. Is one better than the other....or would it be better to wait for a PE version?
  14. I've looked a bit into finding a reviewers remarks concerning the mc 150 vs the pe 150 lens, If my memory serves me, this was the single case he found the mc to match the pe. The f4 lens however wasn't recommended. The superiority of the PE coatings may very well exist, I can't say that I can see the differences on my flatbed scanner or homemade light table. BUT, I've seldom paid for a drum scan and that may show the improvements that the PE lens are reported to be capable of. Has anyone whose owned both types (of the same lens) got any comparative pictures that would further this discussion? I'm all eyes ! Peter
  15. The 150mm /3.5 lenses are better than the 150/4.
    I have both 3.5's, MC and PE, and they're pretty close. I would say the PE is probably slightly better, but if I had only the MC, I wouldn't sweat it. The PE is not a whole lot more than the MC, so it's up to you.
  16. Since starting this thread I have gone ahead and bought a 150mm 3.5 MC for my ETRsi and despite owning it for several weeks only got round to using it last week....and am very pleased. I would say...for is as good or better than the 75m PE I already have.
    However...things move on and I have just won a mint SQ-Ai on eBay with the 80mm PS lens. I wasn't going to go down this route as I have a Pentacon 6 with a Carl Zeiss 80mm lens that is pin sharp...but both lens and body have given up and I want something square for studio use...which brings me to the point: what lens would people recommend for studio work?...thinking mainly portraits and head shots. The standard lens will be fine for those and full length but want something a little longer for the more natural perspective when doing full face etc.
  17. Been on a bit of a buying spree since my last post. I have added a 40mm SP and 150mm SP to my SQ collection as well as a 40mm PE for my ETRSi.
    So far, I can't fault any of them. I have been comparing sharpness to images from a FF Canon DSLR and allowing for the nature of film (HP5 in this case) sharpness is comparable. I am particularly impressed by the PS lenses...but then I have used them more.
    The caveat is that so far, I have mainly used the cameras in a studio environment, shutter speed 1/125 or 1/250, and mid aperture settings...all with strobes. So ideal circumstances for a lens to show it's best face. I have done some comparisons using mirror lock up; and tripod mounted.....and so far, no noticeable difference in sharpness. Whether the same holds true 'in the field' needs to be seen, but I can't fault the lenses....any 'issues' are likely to be down to my technique.
    So basically....very happy with my Bronica kit. I'm actually thinking of selling on my 35mm film gear...or most of it anyway; I still have a few dozen rolls of 35mm film in the freezer to get through!!
  18. Those of you who criticize the various lenses, MC, PE, etc for sharpness what type of photography are you participating in? Commercial, street photog, all kinds, what? The reason I ask is how sharp are your results, what is it that you are not getting as far as results with the MC vs PE? just want to know.
  19. BTW, I just don't want to spend the money to convert a couple of MC lens that I have to PE but it looks like I might have to.
  20. ^ What has convinced you to do this ? And which lenses ? Kinda curious . Peter

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