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Bronica ETR-Si Review
Old 08-20-2017   #1
Swift1
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Bronica ETR-Si Review

The Film Shooters Collective recently published a review that I wrote of the Bronica ETR-Si.
I thought I'd share it here. Hope that's okay...

https://www.filmshooterscollective.c...ton-allen-8-11
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Old 08-20-2017   #2
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Very Cool, Thanks for Posting !
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Old 08-20-2017   #3
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Thanks for your insight. The ETR-si indeed is a wonderful camera.
I would really like to own one with just the 80 mm lens.
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Old 08-20-2017   #4
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Thanks for sharing
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Old 08-20-2017   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helenhill View Post
Very Cool, Thanks for Posting !
Quote:
Originally Posted by leica M2 fan View Post
Thanks for your insight. The ETR-si indeed is a wonderful camera.
I would really like to own one with just the 80 mm lens.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lxmike View Post
Thanks for sharing
Thanks y'all

leica M2 fan, you mean the 75mm lens?
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Old 08-20-2017   #6
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Great review and great photos as usual. I have been meaning to try a 6x4.5. It's either a Mamiya or a Bronica, whichever comes first. That panoramic back is a one of the big things going for Bronica.
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Old 08-20-2017   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerevan View Post
Great review and great photos as usual. I have been meaning to try a 6x4.5. It's either a Mamiya or a Bronica, whichever comes first. That panoramic back is a one of the big things going for Bronica.
The panoramic back is basically the reason I got my ETR-Si in the first place. I believe that Mamiya made a 35mm panoramic back for the later 645, 645 Pro cameras, but it is very difficult to find. I'm not totally certain on that though...
I have often wanted to try the older Mamiya 645 1000S out, but never have.
Don't rule out the Pentax 645 It may not have changeable finders and film backs, but it is a great camera.
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Old 08-20-2017   #8
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^That exact camera with the 40 mm and 150 mm lens has been my travel kit for
at least a decade now . It's been years since I changed the battery in it , plus it's
proven to be quite robust . All good things . Thanks for the review . Peter
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Old 08-20-2017   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moto-Uno View Post
^That exact camera with the 40 mm and 150 mm lens has been my travel kit for
at least a decade now . It's been years since I changed the battery in it , plus it's
proven to be quite robust . All good things . Thanks for the review . Peter
Thanks Peter.
Which version of the 150mm do you have?
I have the oldest 150/4, and considering that it cost me a total of $30, it's a great lens. I have lately been tempted to upgrade both my 40mm and 150mm to the latest PE versions, but really can't decide if it's worth doing.
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Old 08-20-2017   #10
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I've got the F3.5 , 150mm MC lens and it's fine ; for what it's worth , the general consensus is that's the one lens that the PE model didn't improve upon . I'm completely
pleased with my 40 MC , and not too sure if the PE version is worth the money (to me). I think my use of the lens cap reduces the need for the PE version ( and not shooting into the sun probably helps too ) Peter
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Old 08-20-2017   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moto-Uno View Post
I've got the F3.5 , 150mm MC lens and it's fine ; for what it's worth , the general consensus is that's the one lens that the PE model didn't improve upon . I'm completely
pleased with my 40 MC , and not too sure if the PE version is worth the money (to me). I think my use of the lens cap reduces the need for the PE version ( and not shooting into the sun probably helps too ) Peter
That's great info, thanks Peter.
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Old 08-20-2017   #12
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Very good write-up, Colton, and some excellent photos to accompany it. The ETR-Si was one of my dream cameras from the day it first hit the market, but over the years I never got around to getting one. I still have the brochure I picked up in Columbus, OH, and every so often I think about maybe starting a kit. But I have other fish to fry at the moment, so it will stay a pipe dream for now.

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Old 08-20-2017   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farlymac View Post
Very good write-up, Colton, and some excellent photos to accompany it. The ETR-Si was one of my dream cameras from the day it first hit the market, but over the years I never got around to getting one. I still have the brochure I picked up in Columbus, OH, and every so often I think about maybe starting a kit. But I have other fish to fry at the moment, so it will stay a pipe dream for now.

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You only live one eh...
I understand though as I've a few too many cameras and there are cameras I would love to own, but can't justify more.
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Old 08-20-2017   #14
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The panoramic back is basically the reason I got my ETR-Si in the first place. I believe that Mamiya made a 35mm panoramic back for the later 645, 645 Pro cameras, but it is very difficult to find. I'm not totally certain on that though...
They frequently are on ebay, fairly affordable too. Mind, "panoramic" is a strange attribution when they actually deliver a much smaller and less wide frame than the regular 120 backs (the back is regular 24x36, croppable with a "panoramic" mask to 13x36) - it is the kind of "crop panoramic" fashionable on early 1990s point-and-shoot cameras. Pros aren't that easily duped, so these backs were rarely used, usually for some film type unavailable in 120 (notably Polaroid Instant Slide), and almost never with that "panoramic" mask.
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Old 08-21-2017   #15
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Quote:
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They frequently are on ebay, fairly affordable too. Mind, "panoramic" is a strange attribution when they actually deliver a much smaller and less wide frame than the regular 120 backs (the back is regular 24x36, croppable with a "panoramic" mask to 13x36) - it is the kind of "crop panoramic" fashionable on early 1990s point-and-shoot cameras. Pros aren't that easily duped, so these backs were rarely used, usually for some film type unavailable in 120 (notably Polaroid Instant Slide), and almost never with that "panoramic" mask.
Are you talking about the Mamiya 135 back?
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Old 08-21-2017   #16
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Are you talking about the Mamiya 135 back?
Yes. Like the original ETRS 135N it is a plain 24x36 back. Its only claim to "panoramic" was a 13x36 mask that could crop a bit off the top and bottom of the frame. For the Bronica there also was a genuine panoramic (24x54) 135W back.
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Old 08-21-2017   #17
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Quote:
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Yes. Like the original ETRS 135N it is a plain 24x36 back. Its only claim to "panoramic" was a 13x36 mask that could crop a bit off the top and bottom of the frame. For the Bronica there also was a genuine panoramic (24x54) 135W back.
Ah, didn't know that about the Mamiya.
Ya, I have the Bronica 135W for my ETR-Si and it's my favorite part of the system.
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Old 08-21-2017   #18
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The ETRSi is one of the great film bargains these days -- thanks for the great review! I love mine, and shoot with it more than any other camera except for my M4. Your 135W back might just be worth as much as the rest of your system!
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Old 08-22-2017   #19
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I too have an ETR-Si and enjoy it. I mostly use the camera with the 75mm f2.8 (not sure which version) and WLF.

Other than number of shots, what's the advantage (if any) of the 135W vs just cropping your 120 negatives? Every now and then I think I'll buy a 135W, but it is bloody expensive, and I don't shoot panoramic enough to ever make up the difference from just shooting 120 and cropping.
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Old 08-22-2017   #20
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The ETRSi is one of the great film bargains these days -- thanks for the great review! I love mine, and shoot with it more than any other camera except for my M4. Your 135W back might just be worth as much as the rest of your system!
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I too have an ETR-Si and enjoy it. I mostly use the camera with the 75mm f2.8 (not sure which version) and WLF.

Other than number of shots, what's the advantage (if any) of the 135W vs just cropping your 120 negatives? Every now and then I think I'll buy a 135W, but it is bloody expensive, and I don't shoot panoramic enough to ever make up the difference from just shooting 120 and cropping.
I got pretty lucky finding my 135W back. I had been looking for one for 9 months and the only one I came across was in the UK and the seller was asking over $600 for it. Then one showed up at KEH while they were having a 40% off sale on all film gear.

Technically, cropping 6x4.5 down to the 1:2.3 aspect ratio should give you the same results. The problem is that if I have the 120 back on, I compose for the full frame and it's very difficult to compose with the plan of cropping later. Plus it feels wrong to crop that much.
The 135W back forces you to think in term of the 1:2.3 frame.
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Old 08-23-2017   #21
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I used to own one, with 40mm, 50mm and 75mm lenses and a couple of backs. I preferred it to the more plasticky late mamiya 645 I owned.

The 2 things I dind't like was the fact it needed a battery for the shutter and unlike the mamiya, the backs didn't have a slot for the darkslide. I never understood that.
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Old 10-21-2018   #22
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waiting for a Zenzanon 50mm to arrive, has anyone used the 135n back, sometime wonder if it is worth acquiring a 135n back
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Old 10-22-2018   #23
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I never understood the panoramic backs - just shoot it in 120 and crop from there - bonus "shift" included
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Old 10-22-2018   #24
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waiting for a Zenzanon 50mm to arrive, has anyone used the 135n back, sometime wonder if it is worth acquiring a 135n back
I've thought about getting a 135N back just for fun. They used to be more affordable, but nowadays they seem fairly expensive.
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Old 10-22-2018   #25
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I never understood the panoramic backs - just shoot it in 120 and crop from there - bonus "shift" included
For one, it's kind of a waste of film to shoot 120 and crop, and using a panoramic back makes you think about the panoramic composition in a way that you don't when shooting with a 120 back.
Everyone approaches photography in their own way. What makes sense for one person doesn't have to make sense to everyone else.
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Old 10-23-2018   #26
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I never understood the panoramic backs - just shoot it in 120 and crop from there - bonus "shift" included

Just to reiterate what Colton said...I used to have a Mamiya 7ii with 43mm lens, which gave almost exactly the same negative, when cropped, as my Xpan. However the Xpan is a completely different shooting experience because the panoramic finder encourages one to seek out photos that fit that shape of image. It forces you to make the panorama in camera, because there's so little room to crop or rotate the image later. I believe I wouldn't have found or made half of my favourite panoramic images if I hadn't been using a dedicated panoramic camera.
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Old 10-23-2018   #27
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That reflection pic in the puddle is just gorgeous.
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Old 10-24-2018   #28
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That reflection pic in the puddle is just gorgeous.
In the review?

That is Half Dome at sunset, reflected in the Merced River.
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Old 10-24-2018   #29
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In the review?

That is Half Dome at sunset, reflected in the Merced River.

Yep, outstanding.
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Old 10-24-2018   #30
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Yep, outstanding.
Thanks Huss.
That photo has a somewhat amusing story...

After driving nearly 9 hours to get to Yosemite, we just happened to arrive at the Sentinel Bridge at the perfect time, and (thanks to my handicap placard) we were able to park. There were at least 30 photographers on the bridge, all with tripods set up, and all of them furiously clicking away numerous frames of basically the same composition that everyone else was shooting. I arrived, set up, looked around and thought about how I could possibly get a semi original composition, grabbed my $45 150/4, made one exposure of the reflection alone, then packed up and left. Turned out to be my best photo from the trip
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Old 10-24-2018   #31
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Thanks Huss.
That photo has a somewhat amusing story...

After driving nearly 9 hours to get to Yosemite, we just happened to arrive at the Sentinel Bridge at the perfect time, and (thanks to my handicap placard) we were able to park. There were at least 30 photographers on the bridge, all with tripods set up, and all of them furiously clicking away numerous frames of basically the same composition that everyone else was shooting. I arrived, set up, looked around and thought about how I could possibly get a semi original composition, grabbed my $45 150/4, made one exposure of the reflection alone, then packed up and left. Turned out to be my best photo from the trip

Love it!! Sometimes that's how things work out, best stuff happens when you are not part of the herd.
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