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Author Topic: Bronica digital back adapter available?  (Read 8800 times)
alanscape
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« on: February 03, 2011, 04:45:39 PM »
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I have come across a 2006 posting in a forum relating to "Hasselblad digital back + Adapter = Bronica digital", the forum mentioned something about having to sell
the house to buy one.

What's the position in 2011 regarding Leaf or Phase One?

I could trawl through websites for the answer but I wondered if anyone had gone down this road. I've noticed that Bronnies and PE lenses are considerably cheaper than Maniya 645 pro's
and the equivalent f/l lenses.
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Steve Hendrix
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2011, 06:42:33 PM »
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I have come across a 2006 posting in a forum relating to "Hasselblad digital back + Adapter = Bronica digital", the forum mentioned something about having to sell
the house to buy one.

What's the position in 2011 regarding Leaf or Phase One?

I could trawl through websites for the answer but I wondered if anyone had gone down this road. I've noticed that Bronnies and PE lenses are considerably cheaper than Maniya 645 pro's
and the equivalent f/l lenses.


Any Hasselblad V-based digital back can operate on Bronica SQAi and ETRSi via the equivalent KaptureGroup Adapters:

http://www.kapturegroup.com/bronica/bronica.html

Depending on your back of choice, a wake up cable may be required (Phase One P+ Kodak-based products, Leaf Valeo, but not Aptus).

It's not the easiest path, and the machining of the plate is critical, as is the condition and tolerances of the camera/lenses for accurate focus. But it can be done. Since the adapter plate is $895, you might consider a Phase One AF camera instead to use older Mamiya manual focus lenses.


Steve Hendrix
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Steve Hendrix
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MFDB: Phase One/Leaf-Mamiya/Hasselblad/Leica/Sinar
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bcooter
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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2011, 07:57:11 PM »
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I have come across a 2006 posting in a forum relating to "Hasselblad digital back + Adapter = Bronica digital", the forum mentioned something about having to sell
the house to buy one.

What's the position in 2011 regarding Leaf or Phase One?

I could trawl through websites for the answer but I wondered if anyone had gone down this road. I've noticed that Bronnies and PE lenses are considerably cheaper than Maniya 645 pro's
and the equivalent f/l lenses.

The Bronica had a removable finder, Leaf Seiko shutter lenses, and a detachable motor.  The mid level motor that used AA batteries was the best and the system was very good.

Shot a million ads with this and had mine modified to take some of the lubricant out of the lenses so they would focus fast.  Bronica also had high eye level finders, auto finders, etc.  It was a real complete system that was left to languish under many owners hands until Tamron finally let it die.

The only repairs I ever required was the lenses need some grafite on the return spring every year or so, which cost like a buck to have done. 

The lenses were sharp, had a slight soft wrap and much less contrast that a lot of lenses, i.e. Contax.  They also had twice the build quality of the early Mamiya 645 lenses.

For digital I went to the Contax because it had a digital interface and didn't require a sync cable.  If you use the Bronica and shoot people I would suggest a back that doesn't require that  wake up cable.  I think that limits you to an older Aptus.

Also if you look around there are real camera repair centers that can calibrate your lenses to match the focus of your back and adapter.

BTW: etrsi (645) lenses will not work on the SQ (square).

IMO

BC
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Steve Hendrix
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2011, 08:13:07 PM »
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The Bronica had a removable finder, Leaf Seiko shutter lenses, and a detachable motor.  The mid level motor that used AA batteries was the best and the system was very good.

Shot a million ads with this and had mine modified to take some of the lubricant out of the lenses so they would focus fast.  Bronica also had high eye level finders, auto finders, etc.  It was a real complete system that was left to languish under many owners hands until Tamron finally let it die.

The only repairs I ever required was the lenses need some grafite on the return spring every year or so, which cost like a buck to have done. 

The lenses were sharp, had a slight soft wrap and much less contrast that a lot of lenses, i.e. Contax.  They also had twice the build quality of the early Mamiya 645 lenses.

For digital I went to the Contax because it had a digital interface and didn't require a sync cable.  If you use the Bronica and shoot people I would suggest a back that doesn't require that  wake up cable.  I think that limits you to an older Aptus.

Also if you look around there are real camera repair centers that can calibrate your lenses to match the focus of your back and adapter.

BTW: etrsi (645) lenses will not work on the SQ (square).

IMO

BC


I believe the only digital backs that would require a wake up would be Phase One P/P+ backs with Kodak sensors (20,21,25,30,45) and Leaf Valeo. I don't believe that Leaf Aptus, Imacon/Hasselblad, Sinar, Jenoptik, or Dalsa-based Phase One require a wake up with this configuration.

I've had relatively little hands-on experience with a Bronica camera, but your description already makes me regret their passing.


Steve Hendrix
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Steve Hendrix
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Audii-Dudii
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2011, 08:45:01 PM »
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Any Hasselblad V-based digital back can operate on Bronica SQAi and ETRSi via the equivalent KaptureGroup Adapters:

http://www.kapturegroup.com/bronica/bronica.html

Depending on your back of choice, a wake up cable may be required (Phase One P+ Kodak-based products, Leaf Valeo, but not Aptus).

It's not the easiest path, and the machining of the plate is critical, as is the condition and tolerances of the camera/lenses for accurate focus. But it can be done. Since the adapter plate is $895, you might consider a Phase One AF camera instead to use older Mamiya manual focus lenses.

It's my understanding that last summer I bought the last Bronica ETRSi adapter the Kapture Group had in inventory and at the time, they said the demand for them had dropped such that they had no plans to make any more.  I ultimately ended up deciding to go with a Contax system instead and thus still have the adapter, new and unused, sitting in a drawer.  Needless to say, I will be happy to part with it (along with my ETRSi outfit with a 50mm PE lens) for a very attractive price if anybody reading this is interested in it...
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bcooter
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2011, 12:22:51 AM »
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I've had relatively little hands-on experience with a Bronica camera, but your description already makes me regret their passing.


Steve Hendrix



Years ago the Bronica/Tamron people contacted me, but I kind of realized it was a camera line that did not have any money development.   Contax was then the darling of the 645 world with autofocus, a few people tried the Pentax and the H-1 was on the horizon.

I asked about Bronica making autofocus and they said it couldn't be done with leaf shutter lenses.  Obviously Hasselblad proved them wrong.

I look at those cameras sometimes when we move stuff around in storage and I feel a slight twinge of sadness that they are dormant, but what's done is done and there is no going back.

I think in some ways we all lost out when digital came about, especially for medium format.  At the time few people could understand a $30,000 "digital film back", fewer still could understand why if you bought a back for a Mamiya it wouldn't work on any other camera. 

Costs and usability really hurt medium format and I believe that if a camera like the $13,900 H4 was around at the time of the first 1ds, Canon would not have grabbed most professional photographers, though the real nail in the coffin was how quickly the wedding guys adopted digital.

That had to take a big bite out of the medium format world.

I believe that if digital backs had been priced like the Kodak DCS backs, had a functioning lcd, a real usable 800 iso and easily worked on any camera platform a lot of the now defunct medium format cameras would still be going strong and still be developed.

But most people have to keep in mind that during the early days of digital, most successful photographers, labs and clients only viewed digital as a passing fad.  Maybe Apple and Canon could see the future, but I don't think anyone really believed the transition to digital capture would happen as quickly as it did.

It seems like one day we were shooting film, the next day we were all trying to find a way to process out 5,000 files and understand color space, profiles and monitor calibration. 

But the past is just the past and the only way to go is to move forward, though our options are less than they were, the professional nature of digital has improved.

Now I'm working RED files for dailies and it reminds me so much of the early days of digital stills  The software is buggy, the files are great, the workflow is all over the place and like stills it seems like there will never be a standard, but I'm sure like stills, almost overnight film will go away in a heartbeat and the cinema guys will be buying hard drives like cheap bottled water.

When it comes, it comes quickly.

IMO

BC
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yaya
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« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2011, 04:14:26 AM »
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I have come across a 2006 posting in a forum relating to "Hasselblad digital back + Adapter = Bronica digital", the forum mentioned something about having to sell
the house to buy one.

What's the position in 2011 regarding Leaf or Phase One?

I could trawl through websites for the answer but I wondered if anyone had gone down this road. I've noticed that Bronnies and PE lenses are considerably cheaper than Maniya 645 pro's
and the equivalent f/l lenses.

Kapture Group is One option if they still make the adapters

Silvestri is another option, might be a bit cheaper: scroll halfway down this page
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alanscape
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« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2011, 07:18:38 AM »
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Thanks to all... food (a banquet!) for thought.

The situation is that I am perfectly happy with my small (Nikon DX) format system and despite what some may say, there's no point in upgrading from 12 to 16mp...
... sorry this is another story altogether.

I have used and owned all the medium format marques but I loved my Mamiya 645 pro, I can get a re-furb. (less the wlf/prism) for 450.00 or a 645AF for the same (no lens).

I don't need AF and I don't shoot full-time professionally any more so considering this I was thinking of...Body 645 AF, Lenses, 55-110, 105-210 and the 50mm shift....these are lenses
that I've owned before and considering that the equipment is all from a local UK (Scotland) dealer, he may give me a deal... around 1,000.

Now it comes down to the back...here my total ignorance rears its ugly head (I didn't succeed as a pro. for 50 years without asking questions!)...pay 5,000 for the back (new) or get a ZD used for the same money, (22mp is enough for me).

Your patient replies are most gratifying.
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yaya
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« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2011, 12:09:31 PM »
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If you buy a Mamiya make sure it's an AFD and not AF (the latter is for film only)

Yair
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alanscape
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« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2011, 06:12:33 PM »
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Thanks... it's an AFD II that I've been looking at today... no lens but with 22mp back. I assume that all the older MF lenses work.

The only thing I wondered about was whether the 50mm shift was OK... I read somewhere that older manual PC lenses caused the sensor to have a fit but they used to
say that linear polas shouldn't be used on matrix and AF systems, I've always found linear filters to be better.

I use a 1974 issue 35mm f/3.4 non-AiS PC on my D300 and it's fine.
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ondebanks
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« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2011, 04:46:46 AM »
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I believe that if digital backs had been priced like the Kodak DCS backs ...


BC, the Kodak DCS backs were digital backs (in fact, still are...I use one). So your statement makes no sense to me: if digital backs had been priced like digital backs?

Apart from that, I agree with your sentiments above. Well, apart maybe from one other thing - about Bronica lenses having twice the build quality of M645 lenses. Hmmm...if that were the case I wouldn't have been able to snatch up "broken/not working/for parts/repair" Bronica PS lenses more easily than M645 lenses. From what I've seen, and I've been deep inside the guts of both types, Bronica lenses are no better built than Mamiyas (not to be taken as a criticism of either: I mean they're "equally good" not "equally bad"). Anyway, the Bronicas I've tried are optically very good, especially a late PS design like the 65/4, and I've had fun squeezing 6x7 - 6x9 cm images out of the "officially" 6x6 cm PS lenses, by remounting their size 0 lens cells in shutters/barrels on my Mamiya Universal.

Ray
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ondebanks
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« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2011, 04:56:29 AM »
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I don't need AF and I don't shoot full-time professionally any more so considering this I was thinking of...Body 645 AF, Lenses, 55-110, 105-210 and the 50mm shift....these are lenses
that I've owned before and considering that the equipment is all from a local UK (Scotland) dealer, he may give me a deal... around 1,000.

Are you talking about Ffordes? Yes, their range and pricing are very decent.  1000 would be a cracking deal on the kit you described.

Now it comes down to the back...here my total ignorance rears its ugly head (I didn't succeed as a pro. for 50 years without asking questions!)...pay 5,000 for the back (new) or get a ZD used for the same money, (22mp is enough for me).


Right now Ffordes list a ZD (the integrated camera, not the back) + 80mm AF for 2,699 in Ex++ condition. Sounds like a good deal, as long as you are aware of the limitations of the ZD regarding long exposures and ISO.
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ondebanks
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« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2011, 05:39:38 AM »
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If you buy a Mamiya make sure it's an AFD and not AF (the latter is for film only)

Yair

While I would absolutely agree that nowadays one should spend the extra 100 $// for the AFD, I think that for the sake of forum accuracy, I should point out that the Mamiya 645 AF can be used with at least 1 digital back, the Kodak DCS 645M. The user manual for this back is here. On pages 89-90, 92, 126-129 and 137-139, where it compares usage of the back with the 645AF, 645AFD, Contax 645, and Hasselblad H1, it identifies some limitations and inconveniences with the AF which do not arise with the AFD. But interestingly, the AF's limitations are mostly shared by the Contax 645 as well, and that never stopped Contax users from embracing the Kodak back (see e.g. Michael Reichmann's reviews here on LuLa). In fact, one of the more annoying issues, overheating, was unique to the Contax.

Ray
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alanscape
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« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2011, 07:08:05 AM »
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Many thanks to everyone for their contributions... it's now time to save and hopefully prices fall as savings increase pro rata...Hmmmmmmmmm (I'm economic with my humour).
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yaya
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« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2011, 08:07:46 AM »
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While I would absolutely agree that nowadays one should spend the extra 100 $// for the AFD, I think that for the sake of forum accuracy, I should point out that the Mamiya 645 AF can be used with at least 1 digital back, the Kodak DCS 645M. The user manual for this back is here. On pages 89-90, 92, 126-129 and 137-139, where it compares usage of the back with the 645AF, 645AFD, Contax 645, and Hasselblad H1, it identifies some limitations and inconveniences with the AF which do not arise with the AFD. But interestingly, the AF's limitations are mostly shared by the Contax 645 as well, and that never stopped Contax users from embracing the Kodak back (see e.g. Michael Reichmann's reviews here on LuLa). In fact, one of the more annoying issues, overheating, was unique to the Contax.

Ray

The original AF did not have all the contacts/ PCB and the serial protocol required for communicating with a digital back. If you put a back on it all you see on the display is "--"
There are some bodies out there (yours included I assume) that were upgraded by Mamiya but the only way to check it is to try it with a DB
Hence my suggestion to look for an AFD

Yair
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ondebanks
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« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2011, 04:42:18 AM »
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Yair,

No I use a regular AFD, so I'm not speaking from experience of using the AF with a digital back. But the Kodak manual says nothing whatsoever about the AF needing to be upgraded by Mamiya prior to being used with the back. It seems that they really are talking about using their back on a stock, original AF. Unlike with the AFD, there is no 2-way serial communication, so tethering, intervalometer, metadata setting by the back, error messages etc. are all impossible (this is all made clear in the pages I pointed out); but the shutter release button on the AF does have the ability to prepare the Kodak back for a shot and then capture it. It may not work with your Leaf backs.

I am merely being bloody pedantic, and would never recommend an AF body for digital purposes. Cheesy

Ray
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« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2011, 07:02:17 AM »
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alanscape, if you have not already done so, and you are still interested in the Bronica route, you may want to have a read of this thread:
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=24863.0

About just past halfway, I posted unboxing photos of the Silvestri Bronica SQ adapter, plus info/photos of my setup in case it might be helpful (encouraging?). The Kapture Group adapter should be quite similar, I imagine. Cost was around US$875 including shipping to Malaysia. Yes, it's an expensive sliver of metal, but at least it can bring your Bronica back to life in the digital age. Personally, while Phase backs are nice, I'd 2nd going with a Leaf Aptus to avoid the need for a wake up call.

Personally, as a Bronica user, I'd say that if you're going to buy into a system now, I wouldn't recommend the Bronica. Get a Mamiya 645 AFD. If you've already got an extensive Bronica setup, and want to get some good use from it, the adapter and a digital back will bring it back to life.
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