Bronica GS-1 – equipment experience

This is a commentary and review on the range of Bronica GS-1 equipment I own and use, and my experience of it. See also Bronica GS-1 – 22 years of use and my original comparison with alternatives.

Bronica GS-1 body. Robustly built. The only exception was the mirror-up lever, the end of which broke early and was not worth fixing because I could still easily use the remaining part.

Zenzanon 100 mm f3.5. A lovely lens, even when used at maximum aperture. See samples.

Zenzanon 65 mm f4 wide-angle for Bronica GS-1. My favourite lens, providing razor-sharp images of every blade of grass. See samples.

Zenzanon 150 mm f4 semi-telephoto for Bronica GS-1. Portrait, macro, or a long standard for landscape. See samples.

2x extender for Bronica GS-1. Optically good but prone to camera shake. See samples.

Flip-up viewfinder for Bronica GS-1. Standard on the camera, and very useful when travelling light-weight or doing low-level pictures. (Except for portraits, most pictures are landscape layout.) Getting used to the reversed image does not take long, and the magnifier is excellent for sharp focussing.

Prism viewfinder for Bronica GS-1. Heavy, but invaluable for every-day use, especially when on the top of a tall tripod. The light metering I use as a double-check for my hand-held light meter. I don’t recall ever using it on automatic – the film is too expensive to justify trial and error.

Film back 120 6×7 for Bronica GS-1. Works fine, but I have two niggles. Positioning the film correctly at the start is a fiddle to be learnt – the first films I received had tears in the first frame. On the back there’s a plastic socket to hold a piece of cardboard with the film-type – the thin plastic quickly broke on all 4 of my film backs. The film size is 55.6 mm by 69.0 mm. (120 rollfilm can only manage 55-56 mm across its width. So a 6×6 gives about 55mm x 55mm.)

Film back 120 6×6 for Bronica GS-1. I started using this to save film cost, using 6×7 for the widest angles and for the best pictures. A change of focussing screens is almost essential, to one that shows the vertical lines edges for 6×6 (and 6×4.5) format.

Bronica electronic cable release. The spring stopped working. After the second one failed I switched to another make because the socket in the camera is a standard fit.

Bronica 72mm close-up lens CU-1. Hardly used. Good glass, but no better than other options. Given the camera shake of the 2x extender, I’m glad I use close-up lenses rather than extension tubes.

See also:

© Blog post is copyright Adrian Cowderoy, 2011. All rights reserved.

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