Bronica Rangefinder 645 Medium Format Camera
Bronica also known as Zenza Bronica existed as a
professional roll-film camera line, made in Japan which included
rangefinder cameras and
Bronica cameras first burst upon the scene 1958, when, Zenzaburo Yoshino, the company's founder announced his own created camera , the roll film Bronica Z camera, at the camera show in Philadelphia. The Bronica Z, plus successive Bronicas, utilized large-exposure, high-quality Nikon lenses, were an instant sensation.
Later on, Bronica manufactured it's own with its successive camera models Zenza Bronica Ltd. later on was acquired by Tameron,
the lens manufacturer. Zenzaburo Yoshino passed away in 1988.
in October 2004, Tamron stopped making the Bronica single-lens reflex brands (SQ, ETR and the GS), and production was halted on the last Bronica RF645 rangefinder brand in October of 2005.
The Bronica cameras were mainstay for both
wedding photographers and
portrait studios alike for several years. Used Bronicas still see widespread use by professional photographers and serious amateurs, this is partly due to the superior quality of images of the
6x4.5, 6x6 and
6x6 and 6x7cm film when compared with smaller 35mm film and
image sensor formats.
The Bronica SLR cameras featured a modular design whereby all the major camera components. including the lens, camera body, viewfinder and film back were all separate but interchangeable units.
Apr 2, 2011
|GS Series - GS-1 - Introduced 1982. Lightweight, electronically-controlled, modular SLR 6x7cm camera system, with four interchangeable
viewfinders, speed grip, and optional backs for 35 mm, Polaroid, 6x4.5cm, 6x6cm, and 6x7cm rollfilm. 120 and 220 size film backs available in 6x4.5, 6x6 and 6x7cm. Dedicated Flash (G1). The GS-1 uses 'PG' -series lenses in a variety of focal lengths: 50 mm, 65 mm, 100 mm, 110 mm macro, 200 mm, 250 mm, and 500 mm.
Bronica SLR system-cameras employed a modular design: The major components of the camera—lens, body, film-back and viewfinder were separate and interchangeable, providing options to match the specific photography or workflow needs of the photographer.
Classic Zenza Bronica S2 with Zenzanon 100mm f2.8 lens
From its start, Bronica introduced a number of 6x6 cm medium-format SLR cameras with focal plane shutter, which used Nikkor lenses from Nikon, until this line was discontinued with the introduction of the successor Bronica SQ-series. These models included:
Bronica Z (Zen-za), debuted March 1959 at the Philadelphia Camera Show and renamed Bronica D (Deluxe) in December 1959 with slight modifications; production discontinued March 1961
Bronica S (Standard), introduced April 1961; production discontinued April 1965
Bronica C (Compact), introduced December 1964; production discontinued May 1965
Bronica C2, introduced May 1965; production discontinued September 1972
Bronica S2, introduced July 1965, S2A (introduced 1969),
Bronica S2, introduced July 1965, S2A (introduced 1969), S2A type 2 (introduced 1972); production discontinued September 1977
Bronica EC (Electrical Control), introduced April 1972; production discontinued December 1978
Bronica EC-TL (Electrical Control with Through-the-Lens aperture priority automatic exposure), introduced June 1975, EC-TL II (introduced October 1978); production discontinued March 1980
Notably, the Bronica EC was the first medium-format SLR camera with an electrically operated focal plane shutter (Japan Patent No.: 43/94431 24th December 1968; US Patent No. US3696727), while the EC-TL was the first medium-format camera with Aperture priority automatic exposure (AE).
The range of Nikkor lenses for these remarkable cameras reached from 30mm (fisheye) to 1200mm and comprised about 30 lenses. Lens optics supplied by Carl Zeiss in Jena, Tokyo Optical Co., Ltd., Norita optics, Komura-Komuranon (Sankyo Kohki), Schneider Kreuznach, as well as lens optics later manufactured by Bronica itself based on designs by Zeiss and Japanese lens manufacturers were available, as well as a wide range of accessories, including different film magazines, bellows, and viewfinders.
Bronica ETR series
Zenza Bronica ETRS with Zenzanon EII 75mm f2.8 lens
ETRSi 40th anniversary edition in champaign metallic color, with manual shutter-release handgrip and metered prism viewfinder attached, released 9 May 1999
ETR: Introduced March 1976, production discontinued March 1980. Advanced, compact, modular electronic 6x4.5 cm medium-format SLR camera system with a vast array of finders, film-backs, and other accessories. ETR was an acronym for Electronic, TTL-metering, Reflex. In 1977 the ETR received Japan's Good Design Award. Seventeen lenses with leaf shutters were made for the ETR-system from a fisheye, to four different zooms, to a 500mm super telephoto, to a unique 55mm tilt shift lens.
Zenza Bronica ETRS with Zenzanon EII 75mm f2.8 lens
ETR-C and ETRC: Introduced November 1977 (ETR-C) and October 1978 (ETRC), production discontinued October 1980 (ETRC) and December 1980 (ETR-C). Identical to the ETR model except film magazine cannot be removed from film-back.
ETRS: Introduced October 1978. Improved version of the ETR with an extra contact to support auto-exposure mode with the metered prism finder AE-II and later AE-III.
ETRS: A modification introduced July 1982, ETRS production discontinued September 1989. Unnamed change to original ETRS model. Lens release sliding lever latch located to left side of camera side panel, film-backs released using two independent tabs. This version is reputedly referred to as the "plastic" body ETRS and film-back, for the change in the side panels of the body and film-backs to polycarbonate.
ETRSi: Introduced December 1988, production discontinued December 2004. Improved version of the ETRS with mirror lock-up capability. Capable of through-the-lens off-the-filmplane (TTL-OTF) flash exposure. Significantly improved film-back design (Si) with locking darkslide.
Bronica SQ series
Zenza Bronica SQ-A with Zenzanon-S 80mm f2.8 lens, 120 film-back and waist-level viewfinder
Zenza Bronica SQ-Ai with Zenzanon-PS f4 40mm lens
The Bronica SQ camera takes photographs on 120 and 220 roll-film, 135 cartridge-loaded film and Polaroid Land pack film, using exclusive film-backs for each film type.
SQ: Introduced August 1980 as replacement and successor to Bronica's classic and increasingly bulky Nikkor-lens based cameras, production discontinued September 1984. Modular 6x6 cm traditional "square film" medium-format SLR camera system with leaf shutter lenses.
SQ-A: Introduced January 1982, production discontinued December 1991. The SQ-A was a refinement of the SQ. The contact pin array for the viewfinder was increased from six to ten gold contacts, allowing for auto metering capability with the AE finder S. Also, a mirror lock-up lever was added. The film-backs were modified slightly, with the ISO dial for the original film-backs having white and orange numerals, and the new with silver. The darkslide was changed to the locking style; to lock required both the new grey handle slide and the new silver numeral ISO dial back. All accessories for SQ cameras fit the SQ-A, however the AE finder cannot physically mount on the SQ; a safety defeat pin prevents attachment.
SQ-Am: Introduced August 1982, production discontinued March 1991. Motorized film-advance only version of SQ-A body. Uses six additional AA batteries.
SQ-Ai: Introduced December 1990, production discontinued December 2003. Added the following functionality to the SQ-A. Ability to add the motor drive SQ-i and off the film (TTL-OTF) metering with select flash guns. These changes required the addition of a circuit board which also required the battery compartment to be "flattened." The single 6v cell was replaced with four 1.5 volt "button" cells. A bulb 'B' setting was added to the shutter speed selector. The film-back was also modified again with the introduction of the SQ-Ai, relocating the ISO dial to the rear of the film-back (rather than on top) to allow the speed setting to be seen better with a prism attached. Exposure compensation control was also added to the new SQ-Ai film-back, with the ISO range extended to 6400.
Introduced December 1990, production discontinued December 2003
SQ-B (Basic): Introduced April 1996, production discontinued December 2003. The SQ-B was a manually operating SLR evolved from the SQ-Ai, built to primarily satisfy the needs of professional "studio" photographers who work with hand-held light meters, studio or portable flash equipment and various other accessories. Thus, motorized film-advance and through-the-lens metering (TTL) functionality were not present, as well as B (bulb exposure) and T (time exposure), as found on other SQ-series models. T (time exposure), however, was available when utilizing the appropriate SQ-series Zenzanon-S/PS lenses which incorporated the time (T) exposure lever function; by default the Zenzanon-PS/B 80mm f/2.8 lens which accompanied the SQ-B model did not include this feature. All SQ-series accessories and lenses were interchangeable with the SQ-B with few exceptions.
Bronica GS series
GS-1: Introduced April 1983, production discontinued June 2002. Lightweight, electronically controlled, modular 6x7 cm medium-format SLR camera system with leaf shutter lenses, four interchangeable viewfinders, speed grip, and optional film-backs for Polaroid Land pack film, 6x4.5 cm, 6x6 cm, and 6x7 cm rollfilm. 120 and 220 size film-backs available in 6x4.5, 6x6 and 6x7 cm. A 35mm film-back was listed in the camera's marketing materials, but never materialized. Dedicated Flash (G1). The GS-1 uses "PG"-series lenses in a variety of focal lengths: 50mm, 65mm, 80mm, 100mm, 110mm macro, 150mm, 200mm, 250mm, and 500mm.
: Introduced April 1983, production discontinued June 2002
RF645: Introduced May 2000, production discontinued September 2005
Bronica RF series
RF645: Introduced May 2000, production discontinued September 2005. Extremely light and compact 6x4.5 cm film format coupled rangefinder camera system with four interchangeable leaf shutter lenses: 45mm, 65mm, 100mm and 135mm. The 135mm Tele Lens soon was discontinued due to calibration problems of the rangefinder-system. Dedicated flash (RF20) and special polarizer kit.
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