For the first time this year, I dragged out the handsome bulk of my Bronica SQ-A. It’s an early model that is very manual and my particular camera looks to have had a hard life. Much of it is worn to bare metal and there are a few significant dents.
I was given (!) the camera, an 80mm and 150mm lens by a guy at work. I’ve since replaced the 80 after it developed a fault, and added a 40mm – a crazy looking lens with a domed front element. I’ve only shot maybe 20 rolls through it in 7 years as I always seem to choose something lighter to carry around. The camera and lens alone are not too bad, but add in a couple more lenses and backs and it becomes prohibitively heavy.
That is of course unless you’re going to shoot from one spot, close to the car and using a tripod as I did this week. As I previewed in my previous post, I loaded my very favourite film, Fuji Neopan Acros 100 and took pictures of the River Soar as it thundered over a couple of local weirs.
I’ve never used the camera for long exposures, so tried a few, including 2 shots using a 10-stop ND filter – one an 8 second exposure, the longest selectable on the camera, the second 26(ish) seconds. I enjoy using the ‘black glass’ on my digital camera (you can see the results here) and creating very long, daytime exposures, but this is the first time I’ve tried it on film – but that’s what this project is all about, right?
The Bronica doesn’t have a Bulb mode. Instead, a switch on the lens (that can only be moved after loosening a screw) is used to select T(imed) mode and has to be switched back to end the exposure. Rather than risk camera shake, I threw my wooly hat over the lens before attempting to move the switch – it seemed to work.
For the rest of the roll, I experimented with a slow-shutter speed and Emily at the playground. I held the camera against part of the frame of the roundabout and span us (gently) around. I didn’t hold much hope of these working well with the massive clattering mirror movement that accompanies each shot from the Bronny, but they did. And better still, no-one was sick during the making of these pictures!
My 52 rolls so far: