A couple of days ago, I mentioned that I wanted to add medium format film to my "bag", so this morning, we headed over to the local antiques mall, where I knew there might be a couple of good options of cameras to look at. A couple years ago maybe, we met a fellow there named Kenny who had a stall with a number of great deals on old film cameras. His stall is still there, pretty much as I remembered it, along with the same two medium format cameras -- a Mamiya RB67, and a Bronica SQ-A.
The Bronica is no longer in his stall. As you can see, it got parked in the spot I use to take pictures of fancy kit (our living room couch). Apparently, I was meant to own this camera (or the behemoth RB67), because it's been waiting patiently in the display case for me since I first saw it. So, for a whopping two hundred and forty American dollars (plus tax), I picked up the Bronica SQ-A body, a Zenzanon-PS 50mm f/3.5 wide-angle lens (one of the three that was on my shopping list), the AE Prism finder, and the Speed Grip. Around back is the film back with a 220 insert.
Our next stop was to Service Photo to pick up a fresh PX28 camera battery, a lens cap, and a few rolls of film -- and also to drop of Donna's Canon body for a cleaning. While looking around the store, I did notice that they had an original Canon 5D body at a very nice price. I'll admit I was tempted. As I've mentioned elsewhere, I think that's the nicest full-frame DSLR Canon's ever made.
I'm excited to be building this system; my shopping list, scribbled on a tiny Post-It note, is shown. I wrote the list last night, so it shows the SQ-Ai, but the differences between that and the SQ-A are minor. The SQ-Ai adds a 16-second and "B" shutter speeds, and the ability to do some sort of off-the-film TTL exposure metering when using some sort of flash that I'm sure I'll never be able to find. None of these are features I can't do without, and "dry" tests with my Yongnuo flash system show it works perfectly well.
My initial shopping list includes a couple more lenses to fill out "the trifecta" of a wide angle, a normal, and a short tele (although I think I'll substitute the PS 150mm f/4 for the 200mm lens). I'm going to try to hold out for all of them being the Zenzanon-PS lenses, as I've read that they have better coatings and builds. I also would like to get the waist-level finder in place of the prism finder -- I think I'll prefer that for portrait work, as it will get me out from behind the camera a bit and let me make eye-contact with my victim ... er, subject. I'll also need some 120 film backs/inserts. While the 220 should work okay with 120 film, it's not as convenient, as the wind mechanism doesn't release until the counter reads the correct number of frames -- I'll have to "shoot" a few frames past the end of the roll to get the film completely wound onto the take-up spool, instead of just winding it out.
The SQ system had some other neat accessories available -- the SQi 120J 6x4.5 film back/insert, and a back that allowed shooting panoramas on 35mm film in particular, and a wide range of excellent lenses. It looks like I'm soon to become "one" with KEH, Robert's Camera, and eBay...