The Bronica S2a 6×6 camera was made from about 1969 to 72. It was the successor of the S2. Having been given an improved film advance gear mechanism, resulting in fewer jams, usually the result of over enthusiastic film advancement.
This range of Bronica cameras had somewhat of a reputation for not being very sharp – even with the excellent Nikkor lens range that was provided.
It has been found that a number of things contributed to this problem:
The ground glass screen can be out of alignment and not allow sharp focus at the Infinity mark. Also to make matters worse, the foam under the screen deteriorates with age exacerbating the problem.
Film back inserts that would not seat properly.
Film roller problems with earlier backs which would allow the film to bow slightly. Later corrected by Bronica.
This all makes it sound unworthwhile bothering with these cameras which is far from the case: all it needs is a little care and attention. See this link for further information and corrective action. Link here. see below (as of 2014)
They have an excellent selection of Nikkor lenses, a large range of accessories and with the above problems sorted out, are capable of producing some fine images.
Further links of interest:
dirapon.be/bronica Lot of very good images about these cameras (French, but if you do not have : still worth a visit)
medfmt.8k.com/bronica This link is down as of 2014 I use the one below:
The F2SB is quite rare in near mint condition, as it was only produced for one year (between 1976 & 77) so unfortunately gets the attention of collectors who push the price up.
It was (is) arguably the finest manual camera that Nikon has ever produced see Mir for more details.
The F3 was the last of the Nikon manual-focus cameras, it was produced from 1980 to 2000 or maybe up to 2002; during that time there were at least four main variants that ended with the F3AF. The one I have is an early one without the ‘High Eye-point’ viewfinder, which allowed the entire viewfinder image to be seen from a distance. The only down side of this camera was the flash-mount which needed a dedicated F3 flash unit or a coupler AS-7: it took almost 20 years? before Nikon made the AS-17 coupler which will allow more modern flash units to be used; for example the SB27. see Mir
Incidentally, the lens is a Tokina AT-x 35-70 F2.8 zoom: their manual AT-x range is some of the highest quality lenses built, both in terms of sharpness and construction. As a side note: the AT-x designation was changed to AT-x Pro for this quality of lens when AF lenses were introduced by the company.
I have been asked by Dave of A Monkeyhanger’s motley medley whether the D200 that I have been playing with would be my Xmas present or was it just a passing fancy.
I am still not fully convinced that digital will give me any more than convenience. Film is so much more versatile, but maybe it is just an age thing, because I find technology getting in the way of just doing things.
Phones that do everything but make a clear phone call, not to mention being an intrusion: how many times do I get the comment “but I have been calling you” and people look so shocked when I say “but I did not feel like answering”
Every electronic item has ‘menus’ these days: what happened to well laid out buttons that were intuitive to use.
Cameras that just about do everything bar press the shutter……
And so it goes.
No the D200 will only be used when I have no alternative.
Sorry but he did ask!
Do go and look at his site as it has some wonderful images – see link above.
I have just ordered my Xmas present……
It is an MF23 multi control back for the Nikon F4 camera: I have been after one of these for years; they are very rare in good condition. Grays of Westminster has one (had one) in as new condition.
This adds a plethora of functions to the camera, I got one a couple of years ago in less than perfect condition but it developed a fault with the data imprint so had to be returned.
There are two functions that I like and a third that is useful now and then:
- In-between frame data print (F stop, Day month year etc.)
- Long-time exposure function.
- Auto exposure bracketing.
For more information see the Mir site on this link.
Summer and its hot, so what to do when the humidity and temperature become unbearable – stay in doors. That though, is an anathema…… as days away from work should be spent out of doors when at all possible (comes of spending far more time in an office than I really care for)
So I set about some TLC on my photographic equipment, cleaning, checking battery contacts, blowing out the film chambers / backs then selecting every single switch and button that I could find on all the cameras, at least two or three times. That includes all shutter speeds: it helps clean the contacts of any oxidisation that may have built up through lack of use or in some cases no use at all, as in the AF switch on my F4 for instance.
Clean the bags and in the case of my Billingham bags, leather wax on all the straps and fittings. I have two of their bags and the old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ has held true, they are as good as the day I got them: just look a little lived in….
I have a UNILOC tripod that has water proof legs due to the design: great in sand as well. But it is an item that can get forgotten in the cleaning regime. So a little! WD40 after wiping with a damp cloth has kept it in excellent condition for 18 or more years. These tripods are very hard to find now and the ones of a similar design do not have the same quality of finish, so I must make it last as long as I can.
The Nikon F3 that I have been using for a few months now has been great fun and a pleasure to use.
Here I am talking about a camera that was manufactured about 1981, as if it has only just come onto the market. That is the way it is with well made and functional cameras like the Nikon ‘F’ series. MIR on the F3
I was offered this camera by a friend a couple of years back – but as I was using an F2SB & F4, I hesitated or as my wife says (Dithered) but when I did say yes, he had lost or misplaced it. In the end it was found, so this time I bought it without hesitation and after a little TLC, it is proving to be as good as has been claimed by many users over the years.
I like the 80/20 centre weighted metering which along with the ‘sunny 16 rule’ has proved to be very accurate – I don’t miss the ’Matrix metering’ of the F4, probably because I have been using my Weston meter a lot recently.
So I will add my name to the long list of people who have recomended it and at the prices offered on the used market, you cannot go wrong.
A very interesting site about Bronica cameras among others; with lots of useful information. It is in French, but do not let that put you off if you are not conversant with the language, Pierre has put some very helpful images of the various cameras he talks about:-
A day out testing my Bronica after having stripped it down cleaned and lubricated all the gears. I then recovered it with new ‘Griptac’ from “cameraleather.com” so it is nice and new looking.
This was taken using my Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 AI-s lens on the F2SB camera.
A lens that I think can still be found ‘new’ but there are many excellent used items on the market, it is worth looking out for one in fine condition.
Takes 52mm filters, focuses down to 9″ or so at which point the image has a magnification of 1:2 and can be increased to 1:1 with the use of a PK13 extension ring; one of Nikon’s sharpest lenses.
An excellent optic for both general photography and close-up work; distortion correction remains virtually unchanged over the entire focusing range,
It seems to have a reputation for oil contamination of the aperture leaves, I know several people who have used one of these lenses and none has had this problem. But it may be worth using a bit of caution if buying used.
The F2 was the second of a long line of Nikon F ‘professional’ 35 mm SLRs that began with the Nikon F (famous because of the many iconic images taken during the Vietnam war) and may have ended with the F6.
The Nikon F2 is an all-metal, mechanically controlled, manual focus SLR with manual exposure control; it was completely usable without batteries, as they were used for the meter only (2 SR76 silver button cells).
The F2’s interchangeable viewfinders also known as “heads” marked it out as a truly professional level SLR.
By providing updated heads every few years, Nippon Kogaku was able to introduce new versions of the F2 with the latest technology, but keep the same body in production until the end of 1980.
The F2 SB Photomic with the DP-3 head became available between 1976 and 1977. The DP-3 introduced three new innovations: a silicon photodiode light meter for faster and more accurate light readings, a five stage ‘centre-the-LED’ exposure control system using 3 LEDs (+/o/−) and an eyepiece blind.
The Nikon F2 was probably one of the best cameras ever produced and is still available today through the used market. A word of warning! This camera will give years of service but it is getting on in life and some ‘TLC’ will not go amiss for it to give of its best.
I was very pleased with what Sover Wong has done for mine and anyone contemplating a service would probably do no better than contact him and see what he has to offer. See link ‘F2 repair’.
I used my Nikon 35Ti camera for the last three images taken at Wadi Bani Habib.
This is a nice small point & shoot (with a little more tucked up its sleeve) that I got for when I really want to go light, while out trekking.
The Nikon 35Ti from 1993 was the first Nikon compact camera that had a Nikkor (not “Nikon”) f2.8 lens
Nikon designed a unique, matched needle gauge cluster which gives information that relates to picture taking control. Shutter speeds are 2 sec to 1/500 sec with an ISO range from 25-5000, autofocus employed 833 steps for precise focusing from 1.3′ to infinity or you can manual focus via a pre focus method. Available Exposure control is Programmed or Aperture priority AE manual.
All in a strong Titanium metal case.
The last few images were taken with my Bronica S2a 6×6 focal plane shutter SLR and for those who are not familiar with this medium format camera; have a look at this link.
The camera was made around 1969 and has a rather quirky Art Deco style; it also takes a rather nice range of early Nikon lenses.
A little bit of information about some of the cameras I use:
Nikon F2 SB.
The Nikon F2SB was introduced in 1976 to 1977; The F2 range was Nippon Kogaku’s second professional SLR, aimed to replace the highly successful Nikon F.
The Nikon F4 (1988 to probably 2000) was the first professional Nikon to offer autofocus and is able to accept any of Nikon’s manual focus or AF lenses from 1959 to the present day. It is probably the best manual focus camera ever to be released as it will meter with just about any lens that Nikon has ever made.
The Bronica S2a introduced in 1969 was one of a number of medium format cameras that used both Nikon and Bronica lenses.