Even with the likes of Fujifilm, Hasselblad and Pentax lowering the medium format digital bar in terms of pricing, the fact is that for the majority of us these cameras and systems are still very much out of our reach financially. But getting that medium format look doesn’t have to be so expensive, it just means taking a step back in time and shooting on film.
Don’t get me wrong, you can still spend a ton of money on a medium format film setup – just take a look at some of those Contax 645 kits running around. But if you want to keep things relatively affordable, there are some great options out there that will give you that medium format look in a great package for less than the price of a point and shoot digital camera.
Bronica is a brand many may not be familiar with if you have only known digital photography, but back in the medium format film days Bronica was known for their medium format systems. The SQ series is a 6×6 format body (you can find 645 backs, but they are rare) that is close in resemblance and function to many old style medium format bodies of the day. A modular box, with interchangeable focusing screens and viewfinders, very reminiscent to the classic Hasselblad 500 series. These bodies are built like tanks and thanks to not having brand recognition these days, are very affordable.
Similar to the SQ series, the Bronica ETR series was older, but featured the more standard 645 format. These bodies can be kitted out with grips, metered viewfinders, and fun things like 35mm film adapters. But at their core, with the body and a waist-level viewfinder, these are some of the simplest and most enjoyable medium format film cameras that you can easily get your hands on today.