Going Square: Bronica SQ-B 6×6 Film Camera

In the 1980s, I used to dream of one day owning two cameras: A Leica M rangefinder 35mm , and the iconic Hasselblad 6×6 120 professional film Camera.

Our local source for great used cameras, Camera Traders has a Twitter feed that I follow. Earlier this week, up pops a Hasselblad 500cm with Carl Zeiss 8omm f2.8 lens. A real beauty. Body in great condition and lens clear.  I went down to the shop late afternoon, near closing time. There it was. At $900 it was well priced. I stared at it for some time. Thinking.

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You see, there was also this Zenza Bronica SQ-something or other, that I had also seen on their twitter feed. It was less than a 1/3 the price of the Hassy. Hmmm… Well, after a few questions about the Bronica it started sounding better and better. You see, both the 500cm and the Bronica are really basic 6x6cm medium format film cameras. They both lack any sort of metering and they both have removable backs. They both have waist-level finders with a pop-up magnifier lens. And the lenses are the same focal lengths and speed.

I had set out thinking my dream of owning a Hasselblad was about to be reality when I took a sharp turn in reasoning and instead got a great deal on this Bronica SQ-B camera. I couldn’t be happier.

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I had to come to terms with why I wanted the Hasselblad now.  And now the store was closing in about 3 minutes. Having now owned the fantastic Mamiya 645 Pro TL, the real reason I wanted a Hasselblad was to have a 6×6 medium format. I like square pictures.  And since I had never shot a waist-level finder, I wanted that too. The Bronica may not have the caché of the Hasselblad, but that’s not really why I wanted it.  My second, and important reason was cost. And the cost of adding lenses. I know I’ll want a 150mm f2.8 for the 6×6 and the Zeiss lenses will be pricy.  So, there it is. I bought the Bronica SQ-B.

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Today, I shot my first roll of 120 film. Kodak Tri-X 400 ISO. A film I like a lot.  This evening I’ll develop the film and see how it went.  I’ll use Ilfotec-HC and follow the Massive Dev Chart, using the iPhone app.

 

 

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