To buy an SQ-Ai or 500CM?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by dionysios, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. Hello to all. I'd like to get another 6x6. I have old el-cheapo 6x6s and twin-reflex cameras but nothing one would call "serious" or "grown-up", if that's the way they want to put it. I've used a Bronica ETRS and other waist level cameras and am comfortable with them. I've been using 35s for a very long time and wish to try something new; a new challenge. I've never bought a brand new camera and so far have never been disappointed.
    My choice is between a Bronica SQ-A or I and a Hasselblad 500 CM.
    I want a MF camera for field work, architectural, urban, landscape; I do a lot of walking and hiking; no studio work. That's why I chose the two cameras.
    1- I've read previous posts on this but was wondering if anybody would like to share their experience with these cameras.
    2- Which online store would you recommend? I found KEH so far to have quite the selection and reputation. I've also never bought a camera online. When there are no images of the specific camera, how do I evaluate it before buying it? How trustworthy are their ratings?
    Thank you all for your time. D.
  2. I would go with the 6x7 format myself. Since portability is an issue, that means a Bronica GS-1 or Mamiya 7 to me. I know that just complicates matters for you but picking the right med format system takes some experience and alot of meditation.
  3. I've bought many items from KEH and very few were not in BGN condition. In all cases the items were better than most items I bought on eBay in "Minty" condition. They are very conservative in their ratings and have a very generous return policy.
    I've never owned a Bronica, so I can't compare it to a Hasselblad, but I did love my Hasselblad 500CM and, if you've got the cash, I'd say that's a great way to go.
    Both systems will provide you with excellent image quality. The Zeiss lenses are probably better than the Bronica offerings, but if you're not shooting off of a tripod with MLU (or Hasselblad's equivalent) and a release cable then you're probably never going to see an objective difference.
    If you go ahead and buy a Bronica or HB and decide you hate it there's a good chance you'd be able to sell it for close to what you paid and go with the other. So, dive in!
  4. KEH has an excellent reputation which it well deserves. Their selection is generally quite good,. and their estimate of an item's condition tends to be conservative -- nearly all of the EX condition items I've bought from them look almost brand new. They have their own repair shop, too, which I think is involved in evaluating the condition of used items. Their prices are not the lowest around, but I think that's understandable considering their attention to quality.
    Adorama and B&H are also reliable, but their ratings are not quite as reliable as KEH's (though still pretty trustworthy). I've bought lenses from them that turned out to have stiff focusing or aperture rings that were not mentioned in the description. But they have good return policies, which mostly makes up for that.
    I've bought a number of things from Collectible Cameras. Their prices tend to be lower than KEH, Adorama, or B&H, and they have a nice habit of listing serial numbers in item descriptions (sometimes very important, depending on what you're buying and how picky you are about which version of it you get) and mentioning things like stiff focusing rings. However, my impression is that they do not have their own repair facility, so they're probably selling items exactly as they received them, most likely without a really detailed internal inspection. Because of this, I have to consider KEH a safer source, though you do pay for that extra safety.
    As for Bronica vs. Hasselblad, I have to agree with what I think is the common received wisdom on the subject: Bronica is nice, but basically a cheaper Hasselblad in every way. The build quality isn't quite as good, the lenses aren't quite as good, etc. This is not to say Bronica is bad, but if you really want the best, Hasselblad is the way to go.
    When buying a 500 C/M, check the serial number and inspect it carefully. The 500 C/M was in production for over 20 years (1970 to 1994), and many of them saw heavy use in professional studios. There is a good article online called "How to Buy a Hasselblad" which I highly recommend. You will also want to be aware of the differences between various Hasselblad film backs; the A12 is the 120 back most commonly used with the 500 C/M.
  5. I recently acquired a 500c/m from KEH, so here are my thoughts. I decided that Hasselblad was the logical brand for me, and reasons included the vast used market, the reasonable weight (I have taken it hiking), and lack of battery power. I also like the EV system and find it faster and simpler. If I decide to sell it, I doubt I will lose much.
    Having used it for a few months, I've found a couple of minor annoyances. It's unfortunate that the 80 can't focus closer than 3 feet the way my Bronica S2 did (though the SQ series is about the same). I was also disappointed in the noticeable barrel distortion caused by the 80 cf. I graduated from the stock split focus screen to an Accu matte "D" but find that though bright, it lacks real snap. You better have good eyes to focus it.
    One poster above mentioned the Mamiya 6x7. I have the 6, and while it is the same sharpness, or maybe even slightly sharper than the Zeiss, the Zeiss 80 cf has noticeably better contrast and better bokeh than the Mamiya 75. The jury is out for the bayonet filter attachment on the lenses. You will either have to buy an adapter ring or new filters, but you can get a whole set of Bronica lenses that use the same 67mm. And for some reason, the Cokin bayonet adapter is obscenely expensive. The 500c/m has a quick-release tripod mount built in, and the tripod head adapter is pretty cheap. I do use a tripod and mirror pre-release whenever possible. Whatever happens, do not underestimate the amount you will spend to build a Hasselblad system.
    I've patronized KEH for years and mostly had good experiences. Don't assume, though, that the price of an outfit will save you any more money. You may actually do better piecing together a kit.
    I could have gotten exactly the same outfit with accu matte screen and saved money over their kit price. Their return policy is for 14 days, but that is from date of order, not when you receive it. They usually will be flexible a day or so after that, but be aware that you should test everything very soon. I don't think they test everything beyond noting the condition and tripping the shutter, so the burden is on you to test for light leaks or other problems.
  6. Why "or"?
    You can buy a Bronica with a bunch of lenses for the price of a Hasselblad with only one lens. Buy the Bronica system. Try it out for a few months. Sell it, for about the same, or maybe more than, that you bought it for.
    Then get the 500cm, and try that out.
    Then sell that, and get the 501cm, etc.
    I want a MF camera for field work, architectural, urban, landscape; I do a lot of walking and hiking; no studio work. That's why I chose the two cameras.​
    That's a pretty wide range of needs. You are probably going to want access to affordable lenses for all those purposes. A 30mm Bronica lens is going to run you a couple hundred bucks. A Hasselblad, even used, is going to be way over a $1000, just for a wide angle lens, the 40 or 50. A 30,,,couple thousand used. Getting the Bronica first will at least let you know if you want it or not.
    I don't know what architectural work you intend to do, but a perspective control system is probably what you want for that. The Hasselblad has two tilt shift system cameras that take your existing Hassleblad lenses and backs, but just the bodies are above 2K used(usually), and still have severe limitations over a used $500-1000 view camera kit.
    "Urban"?, if that means street photography, I would discount either of the systems for that. They are big, and loud. If you want attention, then sure, they will both get you that... you will get people coming up to you to ask,,,"is that one of those Rosenblots?"
    I have had 3 GS1s, and I will tell you that the 6x7 format is more of a hassle than it's worth. But me, myself, I would look at the Mamiya 7s for street work, if that's what you mean by "urban". If I wanted MF for that. But I also don't think that 35 detracts from the intent of most urban stuff, and I have been looking at small Rollei 35s just for that purpose.
  7. I own a Bronica SQ-A, and when you mentioned hiking... I cringed. It is a pretty heavy camera. I am not familiar with the Hassy in terms of weight, but here's what appealed to me about the SQ-A system:
    1. Cost (Pretty much echoing what Richard said above)
    2. Range of lenses, all 67-mm filter ring
    3. Availability of eye-level viewfinder w/metering.
    As for KEH, yesterday I received a Bronica 150 mm f/3.5 S Zenzanon lens, described as excellent condition. It was exactly as described. I couldn't have been happier with it or them.
  8. I wouldn't recommend using a Bronnie handheld, there's just something about the mirror clunk that screams "clamp me down on a tripod - please!". And if you're looking to save weight then why not consider the 645 format? It's capable of exactly the same image quality as 6x6 and will save in both outfit size and cost, and in money on film. A 645 SLR also has a smaller mirror to damp the vibration of. You've previously used both 35mm and an ETRS, so if you don't compose or print square, why shoot an extra 30% of film only to throw it away in a crop?
    Anyway, given a strict choice between Blad or Bronnie it would have to be Blad every time.
  9. So, you want a good 6x6 SLR...I'm going to play devil's advocate and suggest a Rollei 6000 series, which has the electronic conveniences of the Bronica and the Zeiss lenses of the Hasselblad (and Schneider lenses too!).
  10. If you want another 6x6, get another 6x6, and not bother with 6x4.5 or 6x7. My least used Hasselblad magazines are the two 6x4.5, which I only use for copy work when I have a number of rectangular images to document. Going up to 6x7 also required the investment of additional enlarger, when there was nothing wrong with the Durst M605. Of course this not relevant to colour printing, because I scan the film and send out to a good lab for printing. (Bangkok) But it's mostly B&W for me.
    (Circumstances have changed a little now regarding the 6x7, because I also use a Linhof Technika, for which I have several 6x7 magazines, for 120 and 70mm. The Kaiser enlarger I was given does not take 70mm film, so an even larger enlarger with special negative gate is required .. and so on )
    However 6x6 vs 6x4.5 - Because I photograph a lot of architectural subjects, and sometimes end up with a crop approximating 6x4.5, I use the 6x6 format held level. Then mostly with a 50mm Distagon, frame to crop the foreground. So it is effectively a 6x4.5 camera with 15mm vertical shift. My image examples are on the other side of the world at the moment, but I'm sure you can imagine it well enough. Using super fine and sharp film such as EFKE/Adox R14/R17 (20/40ASA), PMK Pyro developed, I have been asked on more than one occasion if they were taken with large format. ;-) Printed in the darkroom by the way, on the best fibre based papers, usually selenium toned.
    Bronica or Hasselblad? Well, there are some excellent Bronica lenses, but over all, the Zeiss range is about the best there has ever been, and the range of accessories for the Hasselblad is vast, and as far as compatibility of most things go, from the first 500C in the 1950s, all the way up to the latest 503CW, Bronica is not even in the race.
    If you go for Hasselblad, and intend to use it a lot, spend a little more to get good CF lenses rather than the older C Compur shutter lenses. You may well be lucky and get one that goes for ever, but the CF with Prontor shutters will take more punishment and are still serviceable at official Hasselblad service centres, (as far as I know that remains the case - someone will update if anything has changed)
  11. mva


    I have an SQ-A...
    Since you will probably find already many things about it all over the Net, I will just try and tell you a few things that I find noteworthy yet little discussed.
    The 80mm/2.8: I am very very disappointed by the minimum focusing distance, too large. Impossible to take portraits or close-ups without lenses or extension tubes with it.
    The film backs: I have only bought second hand, and I see they are very fragile. They have a thin plastic plate fixed in place by thin screws, and it is very easy to find cracks around these screws, and therefore light leaks.
    I like that I could find at a reasonable price a metered viewfinder. I am not always keen on having with me a separate light meter.
  12. david_henderson


    I agree with Kevin Parratt on sticking with 6x6 if thats what you want. But I am assuming that you want to take square pictures. If you intend to crop to a rectangle then most (but not all) bets are off.
    With respect to brand choice you might want to consider the following.
    • If you get the Bronica you can afford a much newer camera for the same price as an older 500CM
    • You can spend less on a Bronica the same age as a 500CM.
    • If you get the Bronica you will be able to get other things you might want faster because Bronica is much cheaper right across the system
    • You won't see a lot of difference between the images.
    • If you keep the kit a while then repairability is likely to become an issue faster with the Bronica. If you replace rather that repair ( likely to be cheaper but not without risk) you can ameliorate that risk to a large degree.
    • If you buy a Bronica people will come up to you and ask "Is that a Hasselblad?" If thats going to make you feel that you should have bought a Hasselblad, then you should probably buy one now.
    • If you buy a Hasselblad you are pretty sure that you can buy the best lenses you can get. With Bronica some people ( and I'm one of them) think its hard to tell the difference. But nobody puts forward a serious argument that Bronica lenses are better than Zeiss for Hasselblad.
    • If anything goes wrong then its a lot cheaper to replace a Bronica component (eg a back, lens, body, whatever) than it is a Hasselblad, where you might find an expensive repair is still cheaper than a replacement.
    • Do take a real pride in owning the best there is - or have you always wanted to use a Hasselblad? Nobody's ever always wanted to use a Bronica, even if they think its actually producing equivalent images.
    So which of these arguments resonates with you?
  13. I'd like to get another 6x6. I have old el-cheapo 6x6s and twin-reflex cameras but nothing one would call "serious" or "grown-up", if that's the way they want to put it.​
    What TLR's have you used?
  14. There are some slightly misleading comments here about bronica lenses and filter sizes. Most, but not all Zenzanon lenses use 67mm filters. but the 50mm PS lens uses 77m, and the 40mm lens uses 95mm.
    Regarding the pointless comments about differences in lens quality, there is nothing to choose between them - they are both excellent.
  15. Agreed, David.
    But each one of my three GS1 bodies had some individual quirky defect (one of which I bought from KEH in EX condition), to which that I really needed to sell them all. And buy something else.
    Read another way, there are three Bronica GS1s floating around eBay right now, with some individual quirky defect.
  16. What TLR's have you used?​
    That's a good suggestion too, Mark. My friend who has over 100 cameras of all vintages and formats, including a couple of Hasselblads, a Linhof, a Rolleiflex and so on, told me the other day that he really doesn't like shooting with his Hasselblads - and much prefers to take out his Mamiya C330 TLR.
    I'm convinced that too many MF beginners and trade-uppers buy Hasselblads only for the name. They might not suit their needs at all. David's list of questions above captures this aspect.
    Ponder this: if Hasselblad's lenses were not Zeiss, but were say Takumar or Sekor or Zenzanon - i.e. if we took the cachet of the lenses out of the equation, and looked only at the bodies and system - would they have been so successful, and would they still be the go-to mental image of a medium format camera in most people's minds? I doubt they would. To me, the bodies are functionally rudimentary, and have all sorts of limitations and annoying quirks which other manufacturers solved or avoided; e.g. I mentioned Rollei above. Indeed I am curious why no-one had anything at all to say, good or bad, in response to the Rollei 6000-series suggestion.
  17. I have used both systems professionally , so I can be dispassionate about their ability to produce top-level results.
    But,here's the thing : If you choose Bronica now,you will always wonder if you short-changed yourself in the camera department.
    Acquire a Blad, work with it for a while - you can always onsell it if you get sick of the quirks , and then replace it with a tinny old SQA/Ai.
    IMHO : the Hasselblad is a superb lens system, attached to a hugely average film body.
    The Bronicas will give you 90% of the on-film results, but no client will ever look at your camera and say "Hasselblad - you are a Pro ".
  18. Oh, Ray.

    I love my Rollei 6008i. I just deleted all the Rollei stuff I wrote from my previous post because the OP seemed to be
    set on the two other camera systems.

    Hasselblads and their lenses are just so ubiquitous that it makes them more affordable than the Rollei. I mentioned the
    used price of 30mm Hasselblad lenses in my previous post...; I have yet to see a used 30mm for the Rollei that did
    not cost as much as a good used car(double to triple the cost of a Hasselblad Zeiss 30mm).

    A buyer like the OP, or like myself, may have to be resigned to only a single lens. In which case then the option for a
    TLR becomes more reasonable. Bringing in even more choices, effectively. That is to say, if you're only going to be
    shooting with one lens, why do you need the SLR in the first place?

    Just do an eBay search of "Rollei PQS lens"es to see what I mean.
  19. Well, I didn't suspect I'd get this many responses so soon. So first, thank you all for taking the time to comment. I'll try to answer some of the questions raised and comment also.
    I want a 6x6 so I can challenge myself with the square format, which I found I like but have little experience. A 6x7 will be a purchase in the near future.
    I feel more confident in KEH now. One reason I mentioned them is that they seemed to have a much larger inventory. I sent an email about verifying a camera before purchase but no response yet. So KEH underestimates their grade, right? Does anyone know if they can send images? Any more advice on evaluation?
    [to Craig] I figured the quality, the durability of a Hasselblad is better, but I'm not bothered by that. I've taken satisfying photographs with some flimsy cameras that I had to "bandage". I looked into the article and will read it in full. Thanks for the reference.
    Money is a concern; I don't want to rely on a system whose parts are very expensive. I don't commit to a single camera brand; I like to try different systems, formats, qualities, etc. For me, it keeps things fun. I think that a Bronica with a normal and wide angle lens (which I use a lot) and a couple of backs might be the good thing for me.
    [to Richard] Yes, I guess I could also buy one after the other. I don't have a better answer for that, I don't seem to find it a bother to buy-sell-buy. And I like the sound cameras make. People don't mind me; I don't act like a tourist. I did consider a Mamiya 6, but it isn't waist level, again because it's different. I admit though I recently tried a Mamiya 7 and it was pretty sweet.
    [to Evan] I didn't find the ETRS or a Hasselblad too heavy. I think the SQ-A is similar, isnโ€™t it?
    [to David] No, it was never a desire of mine to use a Hasselblad nor a Bronica. Your point about durability is well taken. I'm finding that I want my "things" to last much longer. Still, I have some very old cameras that still work because I care for them. I'll consider it again.
    [to Mark and Ray] For TLR I have a Lubitel 166 (did not buy) and a Rollei T1 (I was lucky to find it and it was cute) and both work and I like them. I have also used a Mamiya C33 and I really liked it. Name isn't as important as being challenged by different makes. What is the difference b/w my TLRs and a new 6x6 for me? I could have a change of lens, backs, something newer.
    A difference between the B and H cameras is that one is mostly electronic while the other is mostly mechanical, right? Has anybody had issues with that?
    Thanks, D.
  20. Do you mainly take square pictures? If so a Hassy is the way to go but if most of your work is rectangular then surely the advantage for a hiker lies with 6x4.5 which will give you TTL metering, a lighter body and lighter smaller lenses?
  21. "I wouldn't recommend using a Bronnie handheld, there's just something about the mirror clunk that screams "clamp me down on a tripod - please!". And if you're looking to save weight then why not consider the 645 format?"
    I wouldn't recommend using any camera handheld including a Hasselblad. Regarding saving weight by using 645 - you need a prism with this format, which immediately increases the weight of the outfit.
    A 645 will not give you the same image quality as 6 x 6 if you enlarge the image from 645 to cover the 6 x 6 format.
  22. I tried 645 and I thought it good, but I want to try and take more square frames. I can always use my 35mm for 3:2 images, usually print postcard size or 5x7 and sometimes 8x10. With a 6x6 I think I make a very good print at 16x16.
    What's your experience with printing 6x6?
  23. Dionysios, I am very much a fan of square format and find 645 too close to the aspect ratio of 35mm for my taste. It's also very easy to shoot square and crop later in the darkroom if necessary. 6x6 will produce a very good quality 16x16 print.
    I now shoot slide film (while it's still available!) and virtually all my slides are square format, and although I occasionally crop a slide to 645, it has nowhere near the same impact as a 6x6 slide on the screen.
  24. Bought and used the Bronica SQ-Ai for many years. It is the poor man's Hassy. Hiked around the Grand Canyon with it when I was
    young. These days I use the Mamiya 7. The Hassy is a better camera if money is not an issue.

    You get more for your money with the Bronica. Just realize that Bronicas are no longer making the camera and repairs will be difficult.
    It might be easier to buy two SQ-Ai bodies, 80mm, 50 or 65mm, waist level finder for the price of a 500C and 80mm.

    Either camera will serve you well. Just invest in a good tripod!
  25. From about 1986-1997 I used Bronica SQa system, very heavy use. Then from 1997 to now I've been using Hasselblads, but I only used them heavy for about two years, then medium to pretty light service. I suggest buy which ever ones you can get in the best condition for the best price. PS 50-65-80-150 I've used and printed much from, all very good. The S series is very sharp but less contrasty, not as zippy overall. I always liked the old 105mm. The backs are the weakest part and they have a gazillion tiny screws that need to be checked on and maintained. Hasselblad is what it is. The newer ones like 501cm and 503cw have floating mirror so they don't go dark and cut off view with longer lenses, Zeiss lenses are in their own league, 50 fle, 100 and 180 are as good as it gets, wet prints from negs are scary. The backs are very good if you have clean ones and preferably matching number inserts. They have a history of jamming, it happens, it's annoying. I've hand held all of them plenty, no real problem, but if you want super critical, tripod and lock the mirrors. Just my 2 cents.
  26. If having a metered eye level finder is of any interest to you then Bronica is the way to go. Combine that finder with a speed grip and it works very well as a handheld unit. The concerns about mirror slap are somewhat off the mark at this is a lens shutter system. At least I haven't have any trouble hand holding my SQ-A at a wide variety of shutter speeds.
  27. Jim, not quite sure what you are getting at with your comment about mirror slap being off the mark - the mirror (and rear auxilliary shutter) contribute far more vibration than the leaf shutter in the lens with this type of camera. The same applies to the Hasselblad, which is of a very similar design.
    Sure, if you use a wide aperture and fast shutter speeds, you can get away with hand holding, but for those of us who take landscapes using small apertures (and slowish shutter speeds) a tripod is a must - preferably with mirror lock up.
  28. All I meant was that image degradation from mirror slap vibration is much more of an issue with focal plane shutter systems than lens shutter systems. Of course there is a limit to hand held shooting and if shutter speeds are slow enough a tripod is always needed. But when people categorically state that tripods are an absolute requirement for this type of camera I think they are missing out on half the fun of using such a machine.
  29. Dave, so it is the Hasselblad back that jams sometimes? How often or annoying would you say that happens? And the Bronica doesn't jam at all or as much?
    I saw the metered prism on the SQ-A and it could be a future addition, I think it could be useful for me. Does Hasselblad not make one?
    As for vibration due to mirror slap, I can logically see how it can cause blurriness. Is it true, or at least the consensus, that the action from the mirror in a MF camera would be more of a concern than in a leaf-shutter of a 35mm, and so I might not be able to hand hold at very low speeds and get a "crisp" image? I haven't noticed that before, but I haven't done enough MF work.
  30. Mirror slap can be an issue in any SLR of any format. Medium format cameras have larger mirrors so naturally there will be more vibration. So the surest solution is a rangefinder or other mirrorless design. But if you are using an SLR system, then one that has lens/leaf shutters such as the Blad and Bronica are less susceptible to mirror induced vibration than cameras that use focal plane shutters such as my Pentax 67.
  31. david_henderson


    Hundreds of thousands ( maybe millions) of people have used Hasselblads and Bronicas quite happily without getting blurred pictures caused by mirror slap or something else. I suspect the biggest cause of unsharp photographs with either camera result from failure to focus the camera properly. I think you need a different set of reasons to choose one or the other. There's not much going on here.
    I think Ian Gordon Bilson's argument above works just as well in reverse- buy the cheaper one first and only move to the more expensive solution if you become unhappy with it. You might lose a smaller percentage on a Hasselblad , but more money.
  32. No DP, sorry, it's usually a mishap between the mechanical lens and the body upon pressing the shutter button a bit too slaggy/lazily that causes a jam and then you have to remove the back and use an appropriate tool, similar to a long screwdriver to reset the mechanism. Bronicas, as a rule, don't jam. There's quite a load of fruitful/colorful discussion on here about that. As for the mirror vibration, either camera will give you mirror slap, although I tend to find the Hasselblad better dampened hand held. Again if you want top results, use the tripod and lock the mirror.
  33. That jam thing again...<br>Yes, Hasselblads can jam. It's cause is 'user error', and it would have been better if it was impossible. But it's not easy. Doing what you say, Dave, will not be enough to get one to jam.<br><br>And that "appropriate tool" is appropritae to the seller, as a tool to make lots of money.<br>It's not like a long screwdriver without a reason: a long screwdriver is all you need. Any cheap one will do. There's no need for a hugely overpriced 'special' tool.<br><br>The two things go together: to be able to sell unnecessarily expensive 'special' tools, you must first convince people that they really need such a thing. And for that, the they-will-jam thingy has to be fed and kept alive.<br><br>Could be that i'm particularly good at handling my cameras, but in many decades, using quite a few Hasselblads, i only managed to jam a camera once. The jam was caused by an automatic bellows units that was 'kaput'. And unjamming was accomplished using a particularly cheap small screwdriver.<br><br>This is indeed 'discussed' a lot, i.e. the myth is repeated a lot. But "fruitful" these discussion apparently are not. The thing keeps being repeated.<br>Hasselblads as a rule don't jam either.<br>And should you fear jamming one anyway, don;t throw away money buying a supposedly 'special', but complteley unnecessary tool.<br><br><br>Another thing that is often repeated: mirror induced shake.<br>When on a sturdy tripod, i.e. having ruled out any other possible source of movement, you could begin worrying about that a bit.<br>But when handholding it's pure madness to even think about mirror induced shake. Your hands shake several orders of magnitude more than that mirror could shake the camera. So just forget about it. It's not an issue.<br><br>Mirror shake is also often discussed re MF cameras. As if the larger mirror, compared to 35 mm format cameras, would be a bigger concern. That larger mirror has to set a very much heavier camera into motion. What matters is not the size and mass of the mirror, but the ratio of its size and mass to that of the thing it has to shake. And it would not surprise me at all if it turns out that that ratio is more favourable in MF cameras than it is in 35 mm cameras.<br><br>Same for handholding, by the way. The greater the mass, the harder it is to set the thing in motion. And lighter 35 mm cameras are harder to handhold than hefty MF cameras. Being bigger and heavier only becomes a problem if the size and weight becomes too much for you to hold without setting your muscles into a strain induced tremour. Else it's an advantage (as far as handholding is concerned).
  34. "But when handholding it's pure madness to even think
    about mirror induced shake"
    Really? Try handholding a Bronica or Hasselblad at a slow shutter speed and then use a camera such as a Rollei or Mamiya C330 - I guarantee youwill have a much higher precentage of acceptably sharp images from the cameras with fixed mirrors. Sure, your hands shake more, but the effect of movement is cumulative and the mirror (and don't forget the rear shutter) add a significant amount of vibration.
  35. If pushing the shutter button too tentatively, and thus causing a mis-step and "jam" is user error, then I am indeed guilty on three different bodies and five or six times. BTW, I use a long handled screwdriver too, but there has been discussion about folks wanting the "Hasselblad" tool. I have never triggered a jam with ext. tubes or other such things, only and solely from the tentative habit of leaving my finger gently on the button, which I have since refined, and have not had a jam in some time. Q.G. we never will quite line up on this topic... :cool:))
  36. Wow! Reading all the ins and out between the Bronica and Hasselblad has left me tired! I've used both. The Hassies were very difficult to focus(for me), the Bronica I had, simply the worst camera ever. The Zeiss lenses in a league of their own. I went to Pentax 6x7. Hardly used. I simplified and sold all my medium format equipment in 2000.
    I kept the Rolleiflex TLR. No extra lenses, no magazines. A few filters. A joy to use and carry. The most reliable camera I own. See the work of Avedon and Penn. Sure they used larger format but many shots were pure Rollei! Compact, light and a joy to use.
  37. David,<br><br>You think i haven't tried? ;-)<br>You're right that the effect adds up in some way (may even be in a way in which one cancels the other, for a bit), but the difference in magnitude between mirror induced and hand induced shake is such that it really (yes, indeed) is pure madness to worry about mirror (and shutter) induced shake when handholding.<br>Yes: really.<br>With all due respect, i know (yes: really ;-)) that a guarantee like the one you offer is not worth the paper i could print it on.<br><br>It's not a matter of having to believe what someone says. Tape a laserpointer to your camera, put that camera on a tripod, and see the point projected by the laser dance when you release the camera (using a cable release). Then take the camera off the tripod, support it with your hands, and just try to keep the movement of the projected dot anywhere near as small. Good luck trying. ;-)<br>You will not even come near just 10 times as bad. And that's just holding the thing, not even pressing the shutter release.
  38. Quinten, I am not trying to put forward an argument for handholding - quite the opposite in fact. I can't remember the last time I used my camera without a tripod and mirror lock up.
    But there are rare occasions when the use of a tripod is not possible, and there are also ways to minimise camera movement by bracing your body against a tree for example, or pressing the camera body (if you have a waist level finder) against your chest - both methods I've employed with varying success. If you are lucky enough to own a camera without a moving mirror or rear auxilliary shutter, then your success with hand held images will just that bit greater.
  39. David,<br.<br>I agree: you can't always use a tripod.<br>But there is no reason why handholding would yield better results without a moving mirror.<br>But though it is quite clear why anyone would think so, the effect of the extra moving bits is very small (put the camera on a tripod and test for the effect then and you will be extremely hard pressed to find a difference it would make), and is nothing compared to hand induced shake.<br><br>I too know the tall stories about razor sharp images produced handheld at amazingly low speeds, supposedly made possible by not having a mirror (and gun shooters or archery breathing techniques). But as a "lucky" owner of cameras without mirror and rear auxillary shutter (i.e. not only from understanding why that would not work), i know them for what they are: 'baloney'.
  40. Interesting debate. I think the majority agrees that with either camera it is almost always better to use a tripod, and yet also agrees that these cameras can be used successfully handheld in many situations. The whole reason we got on this topic was because I reacted to a comment back on the first page in which someone suggested that the bronica is no good for handheld work.
    The laserpointer method of observing movement (or lack of it) is very interesting. And while I tend to agree with the obvious; that holding something still in your hands is next to impossible, the only movement that really matters is that which occurs while the shutter is open. If that is only for 1/30 of a second, I wonder whether the human eye can even see how much movement takes place in such a short period of time. I likewise doubt that the naked eye could in any way observe the effect, or lack thereof, that mirror slap might have on the laserpointer. But I don't doubt that such an effect could, at least in theory, impact image quality.
    I guess some objective testing would be the only way to know for sure...
  41. Ok, I made a couple of mistakes. It isn't " leaf-shutter of a 35mm" but "focal plain -shutter of a 35mm" and besides I was talking about the mirrors.
    Maybe we're all going into minutia here. Stability is always a concern at low shutter speeds with any camera I think. Just like I got used to my other cameras, I'll get used to the new one and learn how to use it well, if I pay attention to what it does in relationship to me. I have a tripod and use it, not always, and like many who do photography have developed techniques, methods to be as stable as possible like arm position, stance, breathing. No? I know I asked and I get it so I'll pay attention to it.

    - an SQ-A system is less expensive overall than a 500 CM, and so replacement is less expensive

    - the 500 CM is of better build quality but it is really the lenses that steel the show,

    - Bronica lenses are also pretty good for the money

    - I, personally, will probably not notice the difference in lens performance (especially since I don't look for perfection)

    - both will give good quality images (which I can attest with the ETRS)

    - Hasselblad is not a dream for me

    - Prism finder with a SQ-A, but not a Hasselblad?

    - KEH can be trusted and their ratings are advantageous to the buyer

    Someone contacted me and it was sympathetic and helpful

    Q: Has it been more difficult to find someone to repair an SQ-A and easier to find someone to repair a 500CM?
    Is that right? Did i forget something?
    Thanks all, D.
  42. Yes, yes... you are forgetting one of the biggest factors. It's hard to describe, but a few years ago I explained to my daughter all the objective facts that undeniably proved that my Sony mp3 player was clearly superior to her iPod mini. Her response was, "Ya Dad, but your Sony just doesn't have the cool factor like my iPod does."
    I think many would contend that the hassy has the cool factor and the bronnie doesn't.
    As for me, I love my Sony music player and I love my bronnies (all four of them!) and I simply can't afford a hassy. :)
    Good luck! And I'm sure you'll thoroughly enjoy which ever one you get!
  43. Jim,<br><br>Re the laser pointer test: you of course don't have to see how much the camera moves in a fraction of a second (unless you assume that it's not a continuous thing, and the camera might not move during the exposure), just how the movement handheld is so much bigger than whatever movement there is caused by the mirror (and rear shutter) with the camera on a tripod.<br>You can safely 'assume' that during the brief period the shutter is open, the difference will be the same.<br><br>There is another test though.<br>On YouTube there is (or was) a movie-ette showing a coin put on end on top of the lens of a camera sitting on a table. When the camera was released (mirror moving up, rear shutter slamming open), the coin did not fall over, nor even move.<br>Now anyone thinking that mirror slap is a problem could try the same with the camera of their choice.<br>But that's not the important test. Anyone thinking that mirror slap is a significant problem even when handheld should just try to even balance a coin set on end on a handheld camera (with or without moving mirror).<br>That should give an idea of how pointless it is to worry about mirror slap when handholding, and how futile the hope that using a camera without moving mirror would safely allow using slower shutter speeds.
  44. Q.G.De Bakker,
    I agree with everything you say, particularly about mirror slap, yet somehow we all take sharp handheld pictures. I sometimes wonder how that is possible, yet it is true. I'm nothing special when it comes to handholding a camera, yet I have NEVER taken a handheld shot with my Technika 111 that could not be blown up to 40 inches wide and remain crisp. I tried a crown graphic for a while and could hardly get a sharp picture, it was almost too light and I simply did not get on with the ergonomics of the thing. I personally found the Hasselblad awkward to hold and often had blurred shots, yet I find it effortless to shoot handheld with my Rolleiflex 6006. I have never used my Leica m6 on a tripod and people are constantly blown away by how sharp my 13x19 inch prints are. I would argue that of all the most famous photographs over the last 60years or so the vast majority would have been taken handheld despite what theory might tell us.
    It is widely accepted that an Alpa 12 with 38mm Biogon is much easier to handhold than an SWC hasselblad with the same lens ( and at that price it bloody well should be!) and I think that sums up what I am trying to say, that how the camera fits your hand is the biggest factor in how easy it is to handhold.
    My point really is that until Dionysios actually runs a few films through either option it will be very difficult to tell if the ergonomics of a particular camera suit HIM.
  45. I've seen the 'parlour trick' on You Tube with the coin and a Hasselblad. I thought I would repeat the experiment with my Bronica as it has a somewhat more clattery release mechanism than the Hasselblad. Much to my surpise it passed with flying colours. However, this doesn't prove anything as the mass of a relatively heavy body and lens helps keep it stable.
    Try putting the camera on a sensitive weighing scale, firing the shutter and watch the needle on the scale move. Then repeat the experiment with mirror locked up - there's a significant difference.
  46. Mark,<br><br>You're absolutely right that the way a camera can be held makes a big difference. Some camera shapes lend themselves better for handholding thean others.<br><br>You're of course also right that you can take sharp pictures handheld. But still, they are always that extra bit more sharp when taken from atop a tripod to make using one of those worthwhile.<br>If we can, of course.<br><br>Anyway, trying the ergonomics of a camera first is good advice. The recommended way of holding a camera isn't always the way that suits us personally, and trying alternate ways may take some time, but may also 'pay'.<br>I hate when i can't use a tripod, so have been 'investigating' ways to keep the camera as still as possible. As far as Hasselblads go, i found the EL(...) models with 45 degree prism on top provide the stablest 'platform'. The thing is then much like a Rollei 6000 model in shape and distribution of weight.<br>I find the much praised for handholdability Rolleiflex TLRs rather awkward to hold, and though i rarely put one on top of a tripod (that's not in keeping with the type of photography i want to use it for, which is 'for fun') i always fear the worst when using one. So indeed "YMMV".<br><br><br>David,<br><br>Now try balancing a coin on a handheld camera.<br>That will proof that it is indeed pure madness to even think about mirror induced shake while handholding a camera.<br><br>You see, nobody is denying that there is mirror induced shake. It makes sense to lock up the mirror, etc.<br>But (as said) it's pure madness to worry about it when holding the camera in your hands.
  47. All the affection toward these cameras is worth noting, but at one time they were primarily tools for people to use for work and making a living. Now they seem to hold more of a hobby status. It's like going to buy saws or drills. Ryobe, Bosch, Craftsman, Rigid, whatever. You buy saws and cut wood and make stuff. If you're good you make beautiful cabinets regardless of which saw you cut the wood with, if you're not too good you have just cut wood and whatever you do is another story. Scavullo liked Hasselblad, Bennsimon liked RZ67, the Italian guy whose name I forgot used Bronica GS 6x7. They all shot for Vogue, Harpers and Elle etc. so really these are just the saws regardless of what affection we apply to them.
  48. Quinten, It is far from madness to think about shake introduced by the camera release mechanism. Placing a coin on the camera hand held proves nothing. If you want to see the effect of mechanism induced shake, attach a laser to the camera body, place the camera on an unstable surface such as a seat cushion or foam, then fire the release mechanism and watch the red dot vibrate.
    The point I'm making is that when the camera is in an unstable position (this includes hand holding) the effect of camera vibration is magnified considerably, so what appears to be an insignificant amount of viration is in fact very significant.
  49. David,<br><br>You can keep on trying to come up with reasons why mirror slap would be a problem but the simple thing to get is that your hands holding the camera move the thing much, much more than anything the mirror itself can.<br>Your hands will not magnify the effect of camera induced shake to any noticable degree, because the difference between anything the camera can add and what your hands are doing is huge (which is what trying to balance a coin on a handheld camera proves).<br>So yes, it indeed is pure madness to worry about mirror induced shake when handholding.<br><br>But if you still think it merrits consideration, ask yourself too why the two would add up, and not subtract?<br>An old trick, for instance, to reduce the effect of shake, borrowed from the fluid head principle, is to not tighten the fasteners of a tripod head as fast as you can, but leave minimal play. The vibration energy emanating from the camera will then be absorbed quickly by micromovement of the head, which (though you could think that would be a bad thing) produces a more stable camera than when there is no play at all, and the energy and the camera are allowed to resonate. Just like a plucked loose string has no sustain at all, while a plucked taught string will keep on ringing.<br>The "unstable position" helps, not to magnify, but reduce the effect of camera vibration.
  50. Jim Peterson, thanks for the iPod analogy. Dave Wilson, thanks for the saw analogy. I'm more in tune with these two ideas. I have a need for a camera (well, actually a desire to create) and I'll get what I can afford and not sweat the minutia. The better I get, the more I'll ask of my tools, but at the end of the tool is my hand and my experience. Being informed is important, but experience counts more than technology.
    A carpenter I know, now in late 60s, started off with normal tools and spent some years working and practicing, acquiring technique; then when he could afford it spent a bunch of money on very good tools that enabled him to work easier but not better; then he gave them to his adult son and bought other tools to challenge him. He told me, pay attention to the object/the matter and practice your movement. Nice, no?
    BTW, I finally did buy an iPod, because I thought the idea of carrying my vast music library with me, exciting.
    Please, no more about shaking or vibration.
    If anybody would like to add something concerning the topic of the post, it would be appreciated.
    Thanks, D.
  51. Well, I honestly think if you're not a gear fetishist, you will get photos that you will be just as happy with from the Bronica as with the Blad, you'll be able to expand the system much faster should you get the urge, and if you really decide that 6x6 is the way forward for you and you want the best, it really won't cost you much to sell it all and get the Hasselblad.
    Although I like the very best in gear, I doubt very much if with good technique and a good eye, your prints will be distinguishable with the Bronica from those taken with any other system. After all, back in the day plenty of professionals used SQ-A's and got totally professional results. In fact, from what you say I reckon you would be just as happy saving a bit of money and spend it on film and getting to interesting places to take photographs. Good luck whichever way you go.
  52. Quinten,You can keep on trying to come up with reasons why mirror slap (or more correctly camera release vibration) is not important, but it is. Years ago when I owned a twin lens reflex, virtually all my photography was hand held with no problems from camera shake. When I changed to an SLR roll film camera, my success rate from hand holding dropped to the extent where my favourite camera accessory became a tripod - and still is.
    The only major difference was that I was now using a camera with a moving mirror and rear shutter - I didn't suddenly develop a case of the shakes overnight. The only 'madness' would be to blame anything else but the movement caused by using a camera with extra levels of mechanism vibration
  53. Well, David, that you can come up with such a story does not change anything. I have come up with a similar but opposite story earlier in this thread. So there. ;-)<br>It's a simple enough matter, and you can test it easily too. But if you choose not to test or 'believe' it, that's fine with me.
  54. Quinten, I didn't come up with a 'story' as you put it - it was an opinion based on my own experience. The bottom line is that both our opinions are just that, and very subjective with no scientific proof. So there!
  55. Not quite, David.<br>I have told you both why it isn't an opinion based thing and how you can test that it indeed isn't (well... the fact that you can test it yourself already removes it from the realm of opinion, so make that: you can test that it holds truth, i.e. that the reasoning behind it and practice are in agreement.)<br>So there! ;-)
  56. Wow Quinten, I think I need someone to interpret your statement - you certainly don't beliieve in keeping things simple, do you? I was only giving an opinion based on results from my own personal experience. I certainly wasn't trying to make my self look cleverer than anyone else, or start an argument. I'm sorry if I've hit a raw nerve wigth you.
  57. No raw nerve, David. (Why would you think that?)<br>And difficult to understand? It's not opinion, and you can see why not yourself? Not simple???<br>8O (<- emoticon expressing amazement. That is, i hope it is.)<br>But you're of course absolutely free to stick to your opinion, regardless. ;-)
  58. Thank you Quinten, I fully intend to do so as I expect you will - irrespective of who is correct.
  59. Amazingly good lunch fodder. To my eye, and past printing experience, there is no question whatsoever that the mirror slap causes a distinct vibration that is noticeable more so at certain shutter speeds. John Shaw also has some pretty good writing on this in one of his earlier books, pre-digital, concerning Nikon 35mm film bodies. The movement from handholding at a slower shutter causes that certain movement blur that has it's own look distinct from the mirror vibration "astigmatism/distortion?" if you will.
  60. Wow. This discussion has gotten really silly. How I'm reading it (and apologies if I'm missing some subtext) is that QG is saying that it's pointless to worry about mirror slap when there are bigger problems, and the folks arguing with him are saying that no, mirror slap is still in issue. QG didn't say it isn't ... just that it's not worth worrying about when there are bigger issues.
    Let me give you an anology based on how I am reading this thread: a man walks into the emergency room bleeding profusely from a gunshot wound to the stomach. While examining him, the doctor notices he also has appendicitis, which I've probably just spelled wrong. What does the doctor treat first? Both of them are potentially life-threatening, but since a gunshot wound is more immediately fatal, it would be 'madness' in QG's words not to treat that first.
    The mirror slap, for those that didn't pick up on it, is appendicitis.
    Yes, it's an issue. But it's not an issue even worth considering while handholding, only because there is a much larger issue inherent to handholding that you absolutely cannot correct. Granted, you can use mirror lock-up while handholding, but unless you're using a very wide lens the act of handholding means that you will probably move your composition while the viewfinder is black; plus you still haven't addressed the larger issue.
    Rolleis and other TLRs are easier to handhold not just because they don't have a moving mirror, but because the position from which they are used is more stable. Your elbows are pressed against your sides, and the neck strap may be tight. Holding the camera in this way will help more than removing mirror slap. You'll find that using a Rollei with a prism finder, you will get shaky images at almost the exact same rate as using a similarly-long lens on a Hassy or a Bronica.
    Again, you can try to correct the problem but it isn't worth the effort, since a much larger problem is inherent. Do yourself a huge favour and stop thinking about it, because you'll drive yourself mad.
  61. irrespective of who is correct.
    Just please don't say "irregardless...."
  62. as for the mirror slap - I never shot with speeds below 1/125 with my SQ-A without MLU. actually, I even shoot with MLU with faster speeds. I just don't trust the huge amount of vibration with SQ-A and I've learned over the years the importance of steady shots, even with larger negatives.
    as for the Bronnie vs. Hassy - even though I am one happy Zenzanon user I'd suggest you to go for 'Blad if your budget allows you to. Why? simply before there's greater market for used 'Blad stuff while used SQ gear offerings are shrinking in numbers. few years ago it made sense to pick Bronnie instead of H'blad because the price difference was really huge, nowadays it's quite different. And, I have to repeat myself - search yourself for used gear for both systems and you'll see for yourself. The numbers are on 'Blad's side... e.g - try to do some search for used backs for Bronnie and you'll exactly know what I mean.
    Also, if you at some moment wish for shift/tilt options for your photography it'd be much easier for you to get Flex-body than to invest in another set of lenses.
    Don't want to bring more confusion here but i think the first response in this thread was great - why not pick 6x7 system instead of 6x6? You can always crop later, and the difference between what you get from larger negative is really noticeable in any reproduction size. If I only knew that back ago when I picked my first MF system I'd have picked RZ67 - greater negatives/slides, offers macro and tilt/shift options and much more.
  63. david_henderson


    I've just sold a very extensive Bronica outfit on eBay. It all went, nothing left, cameras , lenses, accessories. So much for no market for used Bronica bits.
  64. Predrag, I have been looking closer to prices and it although basic kits for Hasselblad 500CMs are a few hundred dollars more than those for the SQ-Ai, it is the lenses that cost twice as much. I remember what was said about the "quality" of the lenses, it is noted, I don't want to start another debate. Backs don't seem to be much different, it seems. I'm leaning towards the Bronica. And about the 6x7, that's for the near future I think, but I want to compose through the lens with just a square frame, not crop from a rectangular frame.
    I thank everybody for the discussion and for helping me out. D.
  65. Your looking at it from a seller's perspective, David.
    It perhaps all went that completely because "used SQ gear offerings are shrinking in numbers", i.e. the market looks quite less favorable from a buyer's perspective?

    Not that i think it shuld influence a decision. Perhaps you need a little bit more patience, but i'm confident you can get what you want without too much trouble whatever way the decision goes.
  66. Zack,<br><br>That's a perfect explanation of the point i was trying to get across.<br>I wouldn't worry about my fridge intermittently switching off when and while the house it is in is in full blaze. Some people apparantly either would, or would point out that the disaster of having your home burn down is even greater than you thought it was because the fridge in it needs repairs.<br><br>I don't agree with your assessment of Rolleiflexes handholdability. You can hold any camera with waist level finder that way. That doesn't 'come with' they being TLRs.<br>And i don't believe Rolleiflexes (or other TLRs) are more 'handholdable'. I never noticed any of it using my 'flexes.<br>You're right about prism finders, though the 45 degree prisms most makers offer are very good, still allowing to press the camera against your body. It's the 90 degree prism that is a worry, because it makes you raise the thingies up in front of your face, floating in space, only supported by your hands.
  67. David, I was speaking from buyer's perspective only.
  68. As you can see from the number of posts, there is complete unanimity on this question. ;)
    I also like the 6x7 format, and have an RB67, which I recommend. RB67 and RZ67 gear is plentiful and can be found reasonably priced these days. I have handheld an RB67 shooting outdoor portraits, and have seen others do it as well.
    My personal experience with Hasselblads is that the lenses are excellent. The camera systems are nice to look at. However, they are priced higher, in my view, than is justified, due to the brand name. If you compare price points, Hasselblads I have seen are in more worn condition than other brands in the same price range. I'm not complaining, it's just my view.
    If you want high quality images with 120 film, there are many ways to do it. Get what you like in your price range; it's hard to go wrong.
  69. Dionysios, I purchased a Hasselblad 500 C/M about 10 years ago after having used a 35mm for many years.

    The Hasselblad allows me to take the pictures I see.

    Everything else is pretty much irrelevant to my choice of camera: the cost, the quirks, the learning curve, the tripod I cart
    around, the hand-held meter, composing in square format, careful focussing. Every time I think I've made every possible
    mistake with the Hasselblad, I do something else dumb. It's not the camera, any problems I've had are a result of operator

    The tripod is necessary because I frequently shoot at low shutter speeds. I rarely shoot hand-held.

    It's my first experience with MF, I don't know if I'd be as happy with some other outfit, but I'm thrilled with the Hasselblad. --
  70. Regarding the comment about prism finders - the waist level finder is by far the easiest to use when pressing the camera body against yourself to steady it. The 45 degree prism is somewhat more difficult to use (though not impossible) in this respect.
  71. Dionysios,
    Do you really need more than the "normal" lens on the 6x6?
    If you want to maximize the image quality of the format use a tripod.
    Bronica vs Hassy? Do you need a several focal lengths for what you do? Will the 6x6 be your main money making camera or a hobby?
    The Bronica is pretty good for the money you spend. Lens quality is less of an issue when you go with a larger film format since you are not typically magnifying the print as much.
    Concerning mirror vibration. If you are using a strobe as your main light source the mirror vibration becomes less of a problem. If you are shooting available light handheld at 1/125 and above the mirror vibration will not be a real practical issue.
    The real consideration is how well you tolerate carrying the MF camera, film backs, and lenses hiking all day. A TLR with auxillary lenses may be another option depending on how critical image quality is to you. The Mamiya C220 or C330 were pretty good.
    Best of luck.
  72. Dionysios,
    Do you really need more than the "normal" lens on the 6x6?
    If you want to maximize the image quality of the format use a tripod.
    Bronica vs Hassy? Do you need a several focal lengths for what you do? Will the 6x6 be your main money making camera or a hobby?
    The Bronica is pretty good for the money you spend. Lens quality is less of an issue when you go with a larger film format since you are not typically magnifying the print as much.
    Concerning mirror vibration. If you are using a strobe as your main light source the mirror vibration becomes less of a problem. If you are shooting available light handheld at 1/125 and above the mirror vibration will not be a real practical issue.
    The real consideration is how well you tolerate carrying the MF camera, film backs, and lenses hiking all day. A TLR with auxillary lenses may be another option depending on how critical image quality is to you. The Mamiya C220 or C330 were pretty good.
    Best of luck.
  73. Sally, thanks for that good POV.
    Ricky, do I not need more than a normal lens? Well, I'm comparing with what I use on a 35mm. I use the 20's and 30's mm lenses more than the 50mm, significantly more. But I'd like to have a 50 equivalent; I guess I could just get closer, but the image isn't the same. No, I don't need many focal lengths I think, but I think at least two with a large difference would fit my habits. What do you think? Photography is a pursuit, a vehicle for my artistic expression; so I don't make a living from it. I guess I will be using my tripod more now. I agree that weight will be a consideration when I'll get out there, so I'll have to organize it and I'll just have to experience it. I have 2 TLRs and have used a C33, and I do like them. Do you think that a C330 with different lenses will give better image quality than an MF SLR? Thanks, D.
  74. Having owned both the Bronica and the Hasselblad, I'd lean toward buying a Hasselblad, particularly the 501cm. It is new enough that parts will still be available now and down the road. Finding Bronica service might be difficult, particularly finding parts. However I do think Bronica ETRS series and SQ series are superb cameras, and their later lenses (PE, PS) are superb as well. Buying an older Hasselblad (500cm) means you may have to get it serviced sooner than later, which can be expensive when you consider there are three parts to a Hasselblad (back, body and lens). A full service can be $600 or more.
  75. Dionysius,
    The Hassy with a 50/65, 80, and 150 would be a nice outfit if money is no object. I owned the SQ with the same
    lenses and was satisfied with the results. If you are patient you can build your Hassy system over time. Repair of
    Bronica equipment will be more of a problem going forward. Hassy gives you a migration path to digital if and when
    you want to transition. Hassy costs more. But if you are in photography for the long haul get the Hassy.

    The Mamiya C330 with aux lenses might be good enough and a lot easier to carry.

    The Hassy gives you more options.
  76. Is it easier to get a 500CM repaired specifically? A 501 although newer, would be to much money spent.
  77. david_henderson


    Its probably easier to find a Hasselblad repairer than a Bronica repairer if thats what you mean, because more Hasselblads were sold. Obviously the precise issue for you might be different depending on where you live. There is no guarantee that you can find a repairer for either brand within reach of your home. If there is, then that would be a good reason to lean that way in your dilemma.
    But you have to think about what you'd do in the event of a breakdown. With a Hasselblad, the components ( lens, back, body etc ) are still expensive, so you have little option if you can't fix it yourself, but to send or take it to a repair facility, which are rarely cheap.
    With a Bronica the components are much cheaper, so replacing a back, body or lens rather than repairing it comes into play as a solution, provided that it is obvious where the issue lies. It might be easier ( and cheaper) to solve a Bronica problem on eBay or at KEH than it would be to find a local repairer for Bronica or Hasselblad.
  78. Dave Hendersons lucid comments echo my experiences (I have owned several medium format systems: Mamiya 7, Bronica ETRSI and GS-1)
    Bronica PE/PS/PG optics are quite good. Some lenses are sharper than others. I liken Bronica PE and PG glass vs Hasselblad Zeiss to that of Nikon vs Zeiss for digtal SLR's. The Deutsch lenses may be a bit more refined in some areas. However, given the cost constraints of the respective companies in manufacturing this is not surprising. Zeiss spares nothing and often the lenses are larger and employ more exotic glass for what might be termed "marginal" or "virtually unnoticed" improvements in image quality. All depends on what you are comfortable with. I have handled some Hasselblads and they are impressively built machines. They ooze quality in the same way holding a Leica does. Bronica film backs are weak but the PE, PS, and PG lenses are solid tank like lenses of high mechanical quality.
    Jimmy Koh of Kohs camera used to work on Bronicas for very very reasonable prices. Personally, I think all this availability of repair is still a bit premature. Hasselblads are very expensive to repair and maintain. Like owning a Volvo automobile versus a Subaru. Volvo parts are exorbitantly expensive while Subaru parts are reasonable. An apt analogy the more I think about it. Many true Yuppies would never drive a Subaru, just as many top fashion photographers in NYC and Paris would never be caught dead holding a Bronica. (of course Blad created this situation by giving their gear away free of charge to high profile photographers for marketing purposes which was prudent in hindsight )

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