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Bro, Nice Camera! AKA Bronica ETRS <3
Old 05-04-2012   #1
bjornkeizers
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Bro, Nice Camera! AKA Bronica ETRS <3

The mailman dropped off my 'brand new' Bronica ETRS camera this afternoon! Whoo!

After seeing the rising prices of 35mm film, I decided to give medium format a go. It's actually easier to buy bulk packs of 5 and 10 rolls of 120 compared to paying single roll prices for certain 35mm films here.

Anyway, I needed a decent 120 camera to try it out. I went shopping for a nice second hand camera with reasonable image quality and docile handling. I ended up with a Bronica ETRS from the mid-'80's.





It's fitted with a 120 back obviously and a 75mm F2.8 lens. Sounds like a big, zoomy wonder but it's actually wider then you would expect on this film type. The overall contraption of body, lens, back, film and waist level finder ways well over 2 kilos. Very nice, solid feeling kit. I tested the shutter speeds, cranking etc. and it seems to work just fine. Man, talk about mirror kick! The thing sounds like a gunshot going off. Cranking it is fun as well. This is definitely the least stealthy camera that you could possibly get.





After reading the manual four times and watching YouTube tutorials before I got the cam, testing it and loading the film was a breeze. Already took my first shot and will probably take the Bronica out for a spin tomorrow morning. It's loaded with Fuji Velvia 100 RVP, since I *really* enjoy shooting slides on my EOS's and Minox's.

Can't wait to see the results!
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Old 05-04-2012   #2
lam
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Enjoy !

I bought a Bronica SQ as my first 120 camera, for pennies.. and subsequently got hooked, which ended up in a 500CM.
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Old 05-04-2012   #3
Moto-Uno
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If you think that's got a kick(I own one of every ETR model,and love 'em all,somebody say GAS?) but you've not heard anything
until you try an old Bronica S,birds take flight and animals flee.
Peter
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Old 05-04-2012   #4
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I recall first standing next to a Bronica (with gentleman photographer attached) on the causeway leading to a famous Scottish castle in the 1970s. I was packing a Yashica 44 on that trip, new to medium format and waist-level composition, and the Bronica's relatively giant waist-level viewer, crank, lens and tremendous mirror-slap impressed me. Just a year ago I finally parted with a miserly $113 on an ETRSi/75 set-up, and I have been happy with it ever since (and expanding--50, 100 macro, 150).

Enjoy and exploit your new tool. No one with a Bronica should hide it, or minimize their affection for an instrument named so nostalgically for the first magic box of many of our childhoods, the archetypal BROwNIe CAmera.
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Old 05-04-2012   #5
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Man, I was looking at those the other day on Ebay. I will expect a full report after you've had a chance to use it.

My brother's first MF SLR was an S2a, which I remember as a wondrous beast with the coolest of chrome and focus options.
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Old 05-04-2012   #6
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just bought one a short time ago. i love the handling of this camera. unfortunately i haven't a waist level finder yet. just the prism finder.

but how happy are u guys with the lens quality? i'm not very pleased with it
i also looked through a lot of photos on flickr. don't know how to explain, but they all lack the typical mf-look somehow. a bit soft too...
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Old 05-04-2012   #7
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They're great cameras. I have the exact same setup as you. Enjoy!
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Old 05-05-2012   #8
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Enjoy your camera!

I have two of these beasts (ETR and ETRS) and really like them. I also like my lenses (40, 50, 75, 105, 150, 200) and the AE Prism III (including spotmeter!)
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Old 05-05-2012   #9
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Thanks for the great responses guys! So far, it's quite a treat to use. I went out this morning and shot *two* whole... photo's. Yeah, this is definitely a 'take your time' type of camera. I have to say though, it's quite easy to handle if you follow the appropriate steps.

Focussing was actually easier then I thought it would be outdoors. I found the magnifier quite useful. Especially for a contact-wearing individual like myself, this is significantly easier to focus compared to the small rangefinder patch on my Canon. Lovely, bright viewfinder unlike anything I've used before. You get to see immediate results regarding in and out of focus subjects. Combined with the depth of field preview, it takes most of the guesswork out of focussing. I was able to focus precisely on drops of water on my window. Something that would be a bitch and a half to do with even the best autofocus lens.

I can see why these cameras and waist level finders are so popular. Makes you wonder why they don't do this on modern cameras.
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Old 05-05-2012   #10
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That was my first MF camera, too. Still
Have mine and am selling my hasselblad...
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Old 05-05-2012   #11
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You might want to get the speed grip for your camera. It make it a lot easier to handle.
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Old 05-05-2012   #12
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I had 2 ERTS cameras - recently sold one. I find them to be more than sharp enough, image quality wise, and I think all their lenses use the same filter size.

I use mine with metered prism and speed grip, and it handles like a (heavier) 35mm SLR The rectangular lens hood for the 75mm looks cool too.
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Old 05-05-2012   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter_wrote: View Post
just bought one a short time ago. i love the handling of this camera. unfortunately i haven't a waist level finder yet. just the prism finder.

but how happy are u guys with the lens quality? i'm not very pleased with it
i also looked through a lot of photos on flickr. don't know how to explain, but they all lack the typical mf-look somehow. a bit soft too...
this was my experience with mine.

some people get lucky.

I decided that next time I would get something different.
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lens filter
Old 05-05-2012   #14
Moto-Uno
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lens filter

Just a quick remark concerning filter sizes,from my selection of lens they're are at least two different sizes of filters.Something about comparing picture quality on web pages to that in your hand.If the picture is soft,it's probably their close up vision that's soft (hey,it happens to all of us!)
Regards,Peter
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Old 05-05-2012   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter_wrote: View Post
but how happy are u guys with the lens quality? i'm not very pleased with it
i also looked through a lot of photos on flickr. don't know how to explain, but they all lack the typical mf-look somehow. a bit soft too...
Peter, consider having yours adjusted by a competent camera technician if you haven't. Many of theses old Bronicas' mirror have slide just a tad from it's position, causing the recorded image to be not focused where it should be.

Below is an image from the Bronica S that I got from Peter (Moto-Uno). It was backfocusing a bit until it was serviced.

I don't like post images on other people's camera threads, but I think images from these cameras would be beneficial to those who are interested.

Do you mind, Bjorn?

I focused on the cup, is that sharp enough for you? I think this is about f/5.6 on the old Nikkor 75mm 1:2.8. See, his eyes are already soft.
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Old 05-05-2012   #16
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thanks for your advice about misfocus. i'm aware of this problem.

i have the bronica just for a short time now and only the mc versions of the bronica lenses. so i wasn't too critical with the photos i got from my camera.

but i have watched now a lot of photos made with the bronica and even the newest lenses on flickr.
ok, u can't judge the quality completely by scanned pictures. but whenever i see pictures made with a mamiya, contax or fuji ga645 there is some kind of wow-effect. u immediately see, that they are made with a mf-camera.
and i miss that so far on all the pictures from the bronica i have seen.

not sure about that by myself, so i am interested on your experiences...
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Old 05-05-2012   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfox View Post
Peter, consider having yours adjusted by a competent camera technician if you haven't. Many of theses old Bronicas' mirror have slide just a tad from it's position, causing the recorded image to be not focused where it should be.

Below is an image from the Bronica S that I got from Peter (Moto-Uno). It was backfocusing a bit until it was serviced.

I don't like post images on other people's camera threads, but I think images from these cameras would be beneficial to those who are interested.

Do you mind, Bjorn?

I focused on the cup, is that sharp enough for you? I think this is about f/5.6 on the old Nikkor 75mm 1:2.8. See, his eyes are already soft.
Feel free to post! I definitely enjoy learning from others ' experience.
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I heard what you said about 35mm but....
Old 05-05-2012   #18
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I heard what you said about 35mm but....

This platform has two 35mm backs.

On one the film travels vertically and creates a normal 35mm frame.

On the other, the film travels horizontally and creates a panoramic frame, very similar in size to what you get from an X-Pan.

Because of the quality of lenses, you get virtually the same IQ as the X-Pan.

The normal frame model comes up frequently on eBay.

The pano back comes up occasionally on eBay, and a bit pricey.

The Bronica ETRSi was my favorite 645 SLR... compact... very complete system and a lot of pieces available at very respectable prices (Low)

Have fun.
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Old 05-06-2012   #19
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In terms of sharpness, I have on my wall (cropped, about 3/4 of frame) an A3 print of my black cat, taken at minimum focussing distance at f/4 , shallow DOF but the eyes, whiskers and fur around her face are detailed and sharp - you can count the hairs if you have enough time. This was from FP4 scanned on a Canon flatbed. Sharp enough for me.

Years of wear and product variation could of course play a part in any that are giving less than great results.
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Old 05-06-2012   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjornkeizers View Post
Feel free to post! I definitely enjoy learning from others ' experience.


Apologize for the big size.
This is taken using a Nikkor 75/2.8, roughly at f/5.6.
The focus is on the cup, that's where the sharpness and details are concentrated.

By the time you get to his eyes, it already starts to show the impact of the shallow depth of field.

I think this camera and lens shows a good deal of "medium format"-ness.
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Old 05-07-2012   #21
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thanks for sharing...

great picture indeed. but even at the risk of being annoying, i still miss there something... but maybe it is not a technical issue anyway, it's just that these lenses do not produce the look i am searching for...

whatever... the bronica etr is a pleasure to handle, so i give it a try for a while.

and i hope, björn has a lot of fun with his etrs too! looking forward to see some of your results...
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Old 05-07-2012   #22
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Originally Posted by mdarnton View Post
My brother's first MF SLR was an S2a, which I remember as a wondrous beast with the coolest of chrome and focus options.
+1. ETRS is gateway drug. You want the chrome and the Nikkors.
--Dave
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Old 05-08-2012   #23
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Back in my college days (mid 80's) and afterwards, I always wanted a medium format camera and was leaning most to the Bronica ETR and later ETRS. Couldn't afford it at first and later just never got around to getting one. Still somewhat tempted, although I am somewhat put off about the comments about the shutter kick and noise, after being spoiled by the virtual silence and total lack of shutter vibration from my Mamiya 6 cameras. Does the ETRS shutter vibration cause any observable effects with handheld shooting? How slow can you go and still get sharp images?
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Old 05-08-2012   #24
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You could always get an ETRSi with mirror lock-up

1/125 (1/60 if I've laid off the coffee) handheld is achievable with acceptable results.
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Old 05-08-2012   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuzano View Post
This platform has two 35mm backs.

On one the film travels vertically and creates a normal 35mm frame.

On the other, the film travels horizontally and creates a panoramic frame, very similar in size to what you get from an X-Pan.

Because of the quality of lenses, you get virtually the same IQ as the X-Pan.
I have one in which film travels horizontally (from left to right, like regular 35mm camera) with normal 24x36mm frame. Never seen the panoramic one, but I guess is the same, just different mask and gear ratio for longer stroke. Frame maybe 24x55 ?
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