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Looking into a new Bronica ETR lens


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I'm looking at one of two lenses. The 105mm f3.5 & the 150mm f3.5. I've heard the former is sharper (and heavier) than the latter, but it would be nice to have something a little longer. I believe they're both the MC variant. What are the pros & cons of each?

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It depends on your use case: the 105 and 150 are similar in some ways, different in others. Your primary photography preferences would favor one or the other.

The 105mm in 645 or 6x6 format, like 127mm in 6x7,  is considered a "long normal" or "studio" lens. Bronica offered 105mm for both their ETR and SQ systems, Mamiya had 105mm for their 6x6 TLR and 110mm for their 645, Hasselblad had their legendary 100mm, and so on. This focal length offers a slightly flatter perspective and longer working distance than the standard 75/80 "normal" lens, while maintaining fairly close focusing ability: often ideal for a range of studio tasks.

These lenses are often better corrected for distortion and other aberrations as well: the usual 75/80 entails a slightly retrofocus optical compromise to clear the large SLR mirror. The 105mm also pairs nicely with a 50mm wide angle as a versatile small kit for travel and street work. Choose the 105mm if you feel your photography would benefit from these features over your "normal" 75/80. Do note, however, the Bronica ETR 105mm is fairly uncommon (discontinued early on): available examples will be quite old and should be tested thoroughly upon purchase for shutter, aperture and glass integrity.

The 150mm is easier to grasp: its simply the bog standard "portrait focal length" offered by every 645 and 6x6 camera system. It gives more flattering perspective for human subjects than 75/80/105 (tho care must still be taken when moving in close). Rather annoyingly, most 150mm lenses have close focus limitations due to the built in leaf shutter, which kind of defeats the purpose of a portrait lens. So if you plan on a lot of head-and-shoulders work, you will need an extension tube to get close enough. The 150mm pairs nicely with a 60mm wide-normal as a two-lens field kit. Some photographers prefer 200mm as a dual-purpose portrait + landscape-detail lens over the more common 150mm.

In the ETR lineup, the 150mm f/3.5 is the oldest version, replaced by later iterations of an updated (but slower) f/4. If you'd like the newest possible example, look for the 150mm f/4 PE.

Edited by orsetto
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