5 Square Format Cameras You’ll Love to Get Your Hands On

Lead photo by Reinis Traidas

The Square Format is an absolutely lovely format when it comes to shooting photos. It delivers a really nice symmetry that can sometimes be very difficult to work within when it comes to creating photos. But for many years, it was the standard on Instagram. Square Photos also seem to have a special charm about them; and I strongly suggest that every photographer try it.

Here are a number of our favorite square format cameras.

Lomography LCA 120

As the smallest camera on this list, it’s also perhaps the one that you’ll want to carry around with you the most. This camera has a wide angle lens on it and only allows the photographer to have control over the ISO and the focusing. If that sounds like a problem for you, know that it’s also got a fantastic light meter in most situations.

My only issue: loading this camera is such a pain and takes so long.

Pentacon 6 TL

Photo by Fabrizio Sciami

The Pentacon 6 TL is a camera that was made in East Germany years ago. It uses a number of lenses; some made by Zeiss and some by Schneider. The lenses are beautiful and the Pentacon 6 TL differs from the original Pentacon 6 in that the TL allows for the use of a TTL prism. They’re fantastic and very durable cameras though they’ve surely been used and beat up quite a bit. They’re known for having overlapping frame issues which can be avoided and otherwise you just may not be a fan of the film advance needing to basically do a 180 degree turn.

You’ll get over that though!

Bronica SQ-A

Photo by Hugh Ingram

Bronica cameras like the Bronica SQ-A and the SQ series are built very tough–and it’s incredibly easy to fall in love with. The lenses can hold their own with many modern lenses and the system is pretty simple to use overall. The Bronica SQ-A and the SQ series are all made of metal but aren’t overly heavy. The reliability of the cameras is also incredibly high due to how well built they were.

Even better, Bronica cameras are pretty damned cheap.

Pro Tip: One of the best things about the square format is how much symmetry there is available within the scene. They’re still great for both mobile and desktop.

Hasselblad 500C/M

Photo by Jussi

What would this list be without one of the most famous medium format cameras ever made? The Hasselblad 500C/M series are some of the best made and more popular. It has to do not only with the lenses, but the mechanical reliability that the system offers. The Hasselblad 500C system can also be used with a digital camera back and many photographers aspire to get their hands on them. If you get the chance, do it–and don’t look back.

Mamiya C330

Photo by Andrea

The Mamiya C330 is a bit of a rarity in that there really aren’t a whole lot of interchangeable lens TLR cameras. But not only is this camera fantastic, but it’s also fairly compact. I’ve personally seen shutter jams with this camera, but with other photographers who carefully maintain their Mamiya C330 cameras, I’ve seen absolutely stellar performance.

Pro Tip: Medium format is really big. So at f4.5, you’ll be getting the equivalent depth of field of anywhere from f1.8 to f1.4 on a 35mm full frame camera depending on the format size.