Bronica SQ 6x6 Camera Body
               Bronica SQAi ImageBronica SQ-B Film Camera Image


The Bronica SQ camera was introduced in October, 1980. Bronica made it's reputation creating innovative 6x6 cm square format cameras; many medium format "firsts" were of Bronica's design. The SQ was the first 2-1/4 square to use a mechanical/electronic leaf shutter lens. It was based on the ETR operating system, with a single electronic timer in the body controlling the Seiko #0 shutter in each lens. This provides for the maximum accuracy, and consistency of exposure between each and any of the lenses; yet the maximum simplicity and reliability in the system as a whole, with a mechanical shutter that can be used without battery power.

Changes to the SQ system over time were far less frequent and involved than in previous Bronica model types. What follows is a listing of the changes, and the compatibility between accessories for the evolving models.


SQ-B:
The SQ-B maintains the fine degree of engineering inherent in all Bronica cameras and will accept most accessories from the higher specified SQ-Ai. With the co-existence of high quality manufacturing capabilities from Zenza Bronica, coupled with a tried and proven camera system, the SQ-B allows an inexpensive introduction into the world of Bronica 6x6cm photography. The SQ-B is a high performance, manual single lens reflex camera and will become a hard working tool for the discerning photographer.

SQ-Ai: Based on the earlier SQ-A Series, original Bronica mechatronic technologies developed during a history of manufacturing medium format cameras has resulted in a state of the art union of mechanisms and electronics. The development of this "system" camera copes with the tremendous diversities possible in image expression. The resulting SQ-Ai is a medium format single lens reflex camera incorporating original Bronica "system" technology which answers the high image technique
capabilities expected by the professional photographer. The "system" camera has always been a Bronica philosophy, ever since the founding of the company. Through years of developing medium format single lens reflex cameras, based on the "system" concept, the SQ-Ai is now the result.

 

SQ Introduced October 1980

DESCRIPTION: Modular 6x6 cm. camera system; full system leaf shutter lenses; 120/220 interchangeable film magazines and inserts, Polaroid, 35mm wide & normal back; Interchangeable finders, manual metering with waist level (MF) or eyelevel (ME). Patented speed grip allowing "35mm" style handling, with winding, firing, grasping, and hot shoe all on the grip.

 

ACCESSORY COMPATIBILITY:

LENSES: All S, PS lenses, teleconverters; extension tubes and extension bellows made for SQ, SQ-A, SQ-Am, SQ-Ai, and SQ-B (note: the PS designation indicated a redesign of the entire lens line, starting in 1986).

BACKS: All SQ & SQ-i 120, 220, 35mm normal (24x36mm), 35mm wide (24x36mm), and Polaroid.

INSERTS: All 120 and 220 inserts can be installed on any SQ roll film back (note: never put 120 film on a 220 insert, and vice versa).

FINDERS: All SQ waist level, non- metering eyelevel prisms, and manual metering finders. Note: the SQ Auto finders cannot be attached to the SQ body; there is a defeat pin that prevents it. The manual finders have 6 contact pins; the auto finders have 10.

GRIPS: The Speed Grip S; the "L" grip, and the "T" grip ( both discontinued in '79). No motor drive was possible for the SQ.

SCREENS: No changes have ever occurred in the screens, so all S screens fit all S cameras.

MISCELLANEOUS: All rubber eyecups for the Prism (eyelevel) finder "S", ME and AE finder "S" are universal (#1714). The 45DS and AE-i auto finder take their own. Diopters: same as eyecups; AE-i and 45DS have variable diopters that have two optional helper diopters. Filter thread sizes of lenses are 67mm, except 40 mm S/PS, 500mm S (95mm), PS50 (77 mm), PS110mm ( 72mm) and PS 500 (122mm).

 

SQ-A Introduced January 1982

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 backs were modified slightly, with the ISO dial for the original backs having white and orange numerals, and the new with silver. The dark slide 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 January 1983

The SQ-Am was a "motorized only" SQ-A body. Because the SQ cameras, to date, used mechanical shutter releases, adding a motor would be somewhat clumsy to synchronize (the original ETR motor faced this dilemma, and was somewhat fussy to install), and slower. For this reason, it was deemed preferable to integrate the motor into the body. The SQ-Am used six AA batteries to drive the motor, while retaining the small 6 volt battery to power the operating system of the shutter and meter. It ran at two frames every three seconds, and achieved approximately 60 rolls of 120 film per battery set.

All accessories for the SQ, and SQ-A fit the SQ-Am, with the obvious exception of the Speed Grip. A dedicated 9 volt pack using six "C" cells was offered to power the motor for extended periods (#BQ1826) ; the remote 6 volt camera battery (for shutter timing) would be possible to use modifying the battery compartment door
slightly.

It is important to note at this point, that in 1986, a complete redesign of the SQ lenses were being formulated at this time. The GS-1 camera, introduced in January 1983, was the first camera and lens system built in the new Bronica factory, which was equipped with the newest and most modern lens testing and assembly gear available in the world. The PG lenses were such an improvement in design and execution over their already high quality and much heralded ancestors, that it became evident that this new approach should be incorporated in all of the Bronica lenses. The "PS" series, a 6x6 version of the "PG" lenses, were phased in beginning in '86, and eventually becoming the current line. All "S" and "PS" lenses are compatible with all SQ style cameras. Also, the "PE" lenses were added to the ETRSi camera line in 1992, adding the more advanced "P" (Pro) series capability to those cameras.

 

SQ-Ai Introduced October 1990

After much debate and request from the loyal Bronica users worldwide, several key technological improvements were incorporated into the new SQ-Ai. Perhaps most prominently was an add on motor drive, the SQ-i motor, requiring an electro-magnetic release on the body. Also featured was a connection port for off-the-film plane flash control. The adapter designed for the Metz units was the Bronica SCA 386. Flashes from Quantum, Lumedyne and Sunpack also will dedicate to the SQ-Ai.
Because this system required a small circuit board to be added to an already fully packed body, more room was created by flattening the battery compartment slightly. This mandated a change from the 6 volt single battery to four 1.5 volt cells (note that the voltage requirement did not change).

The body also incorporated a multi exposure warning in the viewfinder, a 16 second calibrated shutter speed, and a "B" (bulb) setting on the shutter speed dial.

While the backs between the previous models and the SQAi are fully compatible, the newer backs were modified slightly at this time. The ISO dial was relocated to the rear of the back, rather than on the top, so that the speed setting could be seen better with a prism attached. The ISO range was also extended to 6400.

All accessories for the SQ, SQ-A, and SQ-Am were compatible with this body, with several exceptions. Because of the new motor drive and its connection to the body, the winding crank was changed to an SQ-Ai only model. The SQ and SQ-A cranks cannot fit, nor can the Ai crank fit the older cameras. Also, the motor drive itself cannot be used on any body but the SQ-Ai. The remote power pack (#1654) for this motor is different than the SQ-Am (#1826), and the electromagnetic release cable is a 3.5mm plug ( #1655), instead of the 2.5mm model (#3655).

A new auto prism finder, the SQ-i AE, was introduced in January, 1996. This finder would attach and couple to the SQA, SQ-Am, and the SQ-Ai bodies. It featured auto or manual, spot or average metering, an LCD low power draw display, a variable diopter, 4 stops more sensitivity than its predecessor, a built in eyepiece blind for long auto exposures, and an exposure memory lock

SQ-B Introduced February 1996

While all of the remarkable advancements were being added to the SQ-Ai, it became clear that the medium format market required a price sensitive square format system for students, as well as the seasoned pro who needed no bells and whistles. Thus, Bronica introduced the SQ-B camera. It was sold as a kit; with body, back, 80mm PS/B lens, and waist level finder included in a single package, since then it is available a la carte. The SQ-B was nearly identical to the SQ-A, but had no contacts in the viewfinder area. Any SQ type prism could be attached, but
because no power could be supplied to the finder, no metering capability would occur. Also, because the finders couldn't meter, the back supplied with the SQ-B has no ISO dial. The shutter speed range was the same as the SQ-A, with 8 seconds to 1/500. The SQ-B retained the mirror lock-up feature of the SQ-A.

The 80mm PS/B was optically identical to the PS version, but the A/T selector switch was eliminated. In short, everything that could be removed from the SQ-Ai comfortably was, to make the camera as cost effective as possible.

All of the lenses, finders, screens, backs, inserts, and the speed grip for the SQ cameras fit the SQ-B. The winding crank, battery, battery compartment door, and remote battery pack are the SQ and SQ-A type.

 

 Specifications Bronica SQ

Type

6x6cm format lens shutter single lens reflex camera, w/interchangeable lens, film back, finder and focusing screen systems.

Frame Size

55.6x55.6mm

Film

120 roll film (12 exposures); 220 roll film (24 exposures); 135 cartridge-loaded film;
and Polaroid Land film. (Exclusive film backs for each film type.)

Standard Lens

Zenzanon-PS 80mm F/2.8 lens; interchangeable type; 6 elements in 5
groups; multi-layer anti-reflection coated; 50.7 angle of view; F22 minimum aperture; and helical focusing from infinity to 80cm.

Filter Size

67mm diameter for PS 65mm to 250mm lenses; 77mm diameter on PS 50mm lens; 95mm diameter on PS 40mm and S 500mm lenses; 122mm diameter on PS 500mm lens; 32.5mm diameter on Fisheye PS 35mm lens.

Lens Mount

Exclusive four claw Bronica SQ bayonet mount.

Focusing

Helical focusing system built into each lens.

Shutter

Electronic control SEIKO #0 between-lens leaf shutter; shutter speeds 16 to 1/500 sec.
plus B (bulbs) and T (time); intermediate settings not possible.

Film Winding

Film winding crank; one complete forward revolution or ratcheted winding action.

Mirror Lock Up

Mirror lock-up possible with switch lever on the side of camera main body for a single
or continuous picture taking.

Multiple Exposure

Multiple exposure possible with lever on main camera body.

Film Back

Daylight loading interchangeable type; exclusive film backs SQ-i 120 (12 exp.), SQ-i 120J (15 exp.) SQ-i 220 (24 exp.), SQ-i 220J (30 exp.), SQ-i 135N, SQ-i 135W and Polaroid Film Back S; with ASA/ISO film speed dial on Film Back SQ-i, SQ-iJ, SQ-i 135 and ASA/ISO film speed switch on Polaroid Film Back S coupling to the finders with built-in exposure meter, when attached.

Finder System

Interchangeable finder system; 94% of actual field of view (remains unchanged with different finders); choice of six optional finders, or Waist-Level Finder S, AE Prism Finder SQ-i, ME Prism Finder S, MF Finder S and Prism Finder S and Prism Finder 45D S.

Focusing Screen

Interchangeable type; standard screen has
Microprism/Split-Image.

Flash Synchronization

X-setting (up to 1/500 sec.); auto-flash control based on direct light measurements at the film plane are possible with optional SCA System Adapter.

Battery Checking

Red-colored LED lights up within screen area when battery check button is depressed, if there is sufficient power; also doubles as shutter closing signal.

Battery

Four 1.5-volt alkaline-manganese batteries; also powers AE Prism Finder SQ-i, MF
Finder S and ME Prism Finder S, when attached. (LR44x4 pieces).

Dimensions

92mm(W) x 109mm(H) x 179mm(L) (SQ-Ai main body with standard lens, Film Back SQ-i 120 and Waist-Level Finder S).

Weight

1515 grams (SQ-Ai main body with standard lens, Film Back SQ-i 120 and Waist-Level Finder S).