Bronica SQ-A / SQ-Am

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by vernon_jenewein, Jan 31, 2016.

  1. Looking at getting a Bronica SQ-A or SQ-Am. One I have looked at only has a 6 x 4.5 back. Is there any way one can change the back to 6x7?
    Also lenses that fit a ETRS would they be able to fit on an SQ-A?
    I guess a better inquiry would be, if you have a 6X6 back that is 220, can you use the internals of a 120 back in it's place?
    I think I would have to go to a GS-1 to get into the 6 x 7 format.
    Is there a website that can list lenses/backs/finders compatibility between the latter Bronica cameras?
  2. david_henderson


    You can't put a 67 back on a 6x6 Bronica. Not only will it not fit but the image circle of the lenses used on a 6x6 won't fill a 67 frame. For similar reasons a 645 lens won't work on a 6x6 Bronica. You would be best off to believe that whilst there is quite a bit of compatibility between 6x6 Bronica models, the Bronicas for different formats are entirely different from each other and nothing from one format will fit or work on another. Pretty much all lenses and backs made for Bronica 6x6 will fit a SQ or SQA or SQA-i body . They will not fit the now very old S/EC models ( pre 1980) that didn't use Bronica lenses. Finders are similar with some exceptions because there were Bronicas made (SQ-B) that did not contain circuitry to use a metering prism. That aside the finders made to fit any SQ series 6x6 will fit any SQ series camera.
    You can use a 120 insert in a 220 shell. It might be easier to find a 120 complete back though.
  3. Aside from David's advice, I'd strongly recommend against a SQ-Am. The motor drive is integral. If it dies, the camera does too, since there's no other means of film advance/shutter cocking.
  4. david_henderson


    Meant to say that you can, clearly, get a back for the 6x6 models which takes 645 pictures. But that's not the same as fitting a back made for the ETR etc 645 format Bronicas to a 6x6 camera. That you can't do.
  5. Well, I took your sage advice. I was also wondering about the motor drive on the SQ-AM. It would make sense if you loose the gears, circuity, or whatever, you are dead in the water. So..... I bought a Bronica SQ-Ai with 150MM PS lens (which I was looking to add later anyway) a 220 back and a metered prism that come with it. Meter works well and camera is in decent shape. With the SQ-Ai you "can" put a drive on it that was made for it and it's in my watch list if I decide to spring for it.

    One thing that was mentioned to me was that I can put 120 film in a 220 back but not vice-a-versa. There is not enough pressure for keeping the 220 film flat in a 120 holder as it had to have more clearance for the paper backing. This I got from the seller, who seemed to have used this camera for some time before selling it on ebay.
    Fuji now makes a 100 speed color film that would be interesting to try. I have my eye on a couple of Polaroid / Bronica film pack holders. I understand they will take either Polaroid or the newer Fuji peel apart film.
    Any experience with pack films or using 120 film in a 220 holder?
    Yes, back for 6 x 4.5 or 6x6 not 6x7. Lens coverage would indeed not be enough, especially on shorter focal length lenses. There is the GS-1 that is 6x7 and it can take that or others down to 6x4.5 or even 35mm film in a special holder. That would seem to be a defeat of the purpose of using the medium format system. I thought the whole idea was to get a larger image, not smaller.
  6. Congratulations on your purchase of an SQ-Ai. It's the best of all the SQ models, IMO. Has TTL metering with the dedicated module available separately and mirror up capabilities, if it's at all like my ETRSi. I was in the market for an SQ-Ai when I ran across a stupid good deal on an ETRSi, so I went ahead and got it instead. It's been a great little camera. One accessory I bought almost immediately for my ETRSi was a Speed Grip. It uses a two-stroke wind lever and has a hot shoe. Very handy and makes the camera much easier to hand-hold. It's also a lot cheaper than a motor drive, almost as fast as one, and is a lot lighter.
    Perhaps the design of the SQ backs is different from the ETR backs, but with those backs you have just a back housing and then inserts, be they 120 or 220. All the housings or holders, whatever you want to call them, are the same. Well, that isn't exactly true. Bronica improved the design of the holders a couple of times, at least. But even the latest holder design will accept an early insert -- at least with the ETRSi.
    You might want to give Mike Butkus's site a visit if you camera didn't come with a manual. He has thousands of them as pdf files. Here's a link to a pdf for the SQ-Ai's manual.
  7. Thank you all very much!

    No, it did not come with a manual so I took the advice and visited the site. Have the manual now to ponder over.
    I do have a question that is probably not answered in the manual. I'm 62, near sighted with astigmatism and wear bifocal glasses. This new Bronica SQ-AI has a -1.5 diopter. I took out the screw, cleaned it up and saw what it was. I need a bit more clarity to see the shutter speed in the viewfinder. I put on a pair of my wife's reading glasses a +2.00 power and was able to see it better through the upper part of my glasses. Too cumbersome to shift my glasses up and look through the viewfinder to see that shutter speed. Do I need something like a +5 or so to make it easier? If I am looking through it now and can kind of make out the shutter speed and it's a -1.5, then would I need stronger - to make it clear or go in the opposite direction?

    Got a 220 back today with the camera (YEA!) and it has the dial in the back for the setting of film speed. It was a bit frustrating that I could not get it to go past 200, then I noticed in pictures of the back that the indicator is on the left side NOT the top. All the markings on this are either worn off or taken off on purpose. I took the dial off and used a Dremel and the fine small round tapered file and put in a very small groove, about 0.003" wide where the indicator should be on the left and at the top, where the adjustment for EV steps would take place. Then I put in some white latex paint stick and carefully removed the excess so I now have the 2 indicator marks. Set it for 160 along with the other back (earlier one that came with the camera with dial on top) and checked out the meter reading. Both read the same and both match up with my fairly new Gossen Multi-Pro meter.

    No eye cup, so that's another thing to see about, and no 67mm lens cap or filter. Need something for the end of the lens.

    Lens is a 150mm PS. Meter is the one with the on-off switch on the left side and Auto-Manual on the right.
  8. ADDENDUM: I wear glasses that are -2.50 for my right eye to correct for near sighted. According to Nikon I could probably be better off with a -3.0 diopter for the Bronica lens, reference this link:

    Actually found out at KOH's Camera that I would probably need a -3.5. I found it at this link so I thought I would share to any other individual that might come across this thread.
  9. david_henderson


    This issue is not as simple as replicating an optician's prescription. Looking though a Bronica metered prism apparently means that you are effectively seeing the scene from a distance of 26" and its in that context that the -1.5 dioptre in your prism is in fact the standard value fitted. I'm pretty sure that somewhere in the archives here there is some guidance on how to adjust your opticians prescription to the required dioptre. I haven't found it but I have little time today.
  10. David H. at this link at ebay, they have put up, on the 3rd picture, a relationship between diopter and eyeglass correction, according to Bronica. Link is here -> Here it shows for someone with a -2.00 correction in their glasses (meaning near sighted) the correct diopter is -3.5. I ordered one of that strength from them. :)

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