A Love Letter to the Bronica ETRs: A Beautiful Camera

Do you remember your first medium format camera? If you’ve never had a medium format camera that shoots film, I recommend that you get to eBay and go hunting. They’re a magical experience. Anyone who says they don’t ever need to shoot film is clueless. It’s synonymous to a coming-of-age experience that teaches you and helps you evolve into a new person. After all, no one stays in that post-college stage of their life for long. (If they do, people around them tend to end up leaving.) Photographers have to grow. And perhaps more than any other camera I’ve used, the Bronica ETRs taught me precisely this lesson. 

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Why We Need a Beautiful, Retro-Style Digital Camera with a Top LCD

There are many times where I just want to look down at the screen and shoot.

Think about the schools of thought which use dedicated cameras. They use either the viewfinder to shoot or the LCD screen. And the LCD screen is used in a variety of different ways. Time and time again, I really just want the old-school medium format style magnified finder. You, of course, know what I’m talking about. It’s when you look down into the camera, and there is a hood with a magnification prism. It’s standard on TLR cameras and things like the Mamiya RB67. But I really think that it’s time that digital camera manufacturers make one. Follow me into a dream, if you will!

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Tamron, This Is the Best Time to Resurrect Bronica

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Dearest Tamron,

You’ve made some of the biggest strides of any lens manufacturer. Congratulations. You should be proud. In some eyes, you’re overshadowed by the swath of products Sigma has. But you’ve got loads of fully weather-sealed and small lenses for incredibly affordable prices. No one else has that. You provide value in a market for passionate photographers. It’s time you let your wings spread and embrace your history. There is no better time than now to bring back the Bronica brand.

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HVSQ Ver. 2 Lets You Shoot Instax Square Film with Various Medium Format Cameras

The HVSQ Ver. 2 is an interesting contraption to consider if you want to shoot instant film, specifically Instax Square film, with your medium format camera.

Instant photography is very much alive, albeit with limited film options. Because of this, we’ve been seeing some bright minds coming up with accessories like instant backs to help increase our options for cameras that can accommodate the instant films available today. Instant backs that allow you to shoot Instax films using Hasselblad cameras have been particularly popular in recent times. The latest of these is the HVSQ Ver. 2, the second version of the Instax Square film back made by Shenzen-based photographer John Yang for the Hasselblad V-System.

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Shooting with the Unusual Bronica RF645 Medium Format Camera

Curious about the Bronica RF645 and want to know if it’s a medium format film camera for you? Alastair Bird shares his experience in his quick review video.

Thinking of getting into medium format film photography and looking for a camera with which to start your journey? One of the newer cameras you might want to check out — but most likely haven’t heard of — is the Bronica RF645 rangefinder camera. If that just piqued your curiosity, we bring a new video by Alastair Bird that will serve as your quick introduction to this interesting camera.

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Ryan Struck Photographs Adventure with Kodak Aerochrome Film

All images by Ryan Struck. Used with permission.

One of the things I really enjoy doing is follow up interviews with photographers to share how they’ve grown and made themselves into success stories. In the case of photographer Ryan Struck you’re going to have a giant smile on your face. We interviewed Ryan years ago about the lifestyle surfing work he does on the East Coast. The last time I saw him, he packed up and left New York and moved about. He’s back now, and Ryan is showcasing a special project that he did called World & Color. This project showcases his travels to various places and is shot with the elusive Kodak Aerochrome film.

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Brock Saddler Shows You How to Hack the Bronica ETRS to Shoot Fujifilm Instax Mini Film

“Not for the Bronica unfortunately, unless you could possibly bring the tripod mount into it, rigging something to the back to hold it in place,” says photographer Brock Saddler (follow him on Instagram) about his Bronica ETRS hack when I asked him about whether or not he’d still need to use the rubber bands. “…something for the next person to think about.” Brock is amongst the many photographers and hackers we’ve interviewed here on the Phoblographer. His hack specifically has to do with the Bronica ETRS. Last year, we interviewed him about hacking his Bronica ETRS to shoot Fujifilm Instax mini film and he was still in the process of refining it. But he got really close to making it absolutely perfect.

Brock, unfortunately, has no plans to make it commercially viable. “This was just something to do on a rainy day,” he tells us. And to that end, he’s given us permission to share his post on how he did it.

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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.

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Three Affordable Medium Format Film SLRs for the New Photographer

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.
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The Best Medium Format Film Cameras for Shooting Landscapes

While today’s digital cameras and a bit of smart editing can help you create pretty awesome landscape photos, I genuinely believe that very little can beat great good old 120 film when it comes to image quality. The process is much more involved and requires you to get a lot more right in the camera, but the results will be very worth it if you’re willing to do more in the beginning and much less later on.

There are loads of great medium format film cameras but if you’re into film then you probably can’t beat these.

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Andrew Tomchyshyn: Shooting Square Format Film

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All images by Andrew Tomchyshyn. Used with permission. This post is being done in collaboration with the subreddit: R/Analog.

Photographer Andrew Tomchyshyn represents part of the new generation of photographers that explore the older forms: he’s a 25-year-old photographer who has been shooting film since 2005. From 2007-2014 he has shot almost exclusively 6×6 using a dear Bronica SQ-A. “I mainly shoot landscapes but like dabbling in other areas as well. I would describe my photographs as lonely and containing a sense of adventure,” says Andrew about his work.

Andrew lives in Japan now and is hoping to develop new styles since access to nature is a bit tougher for him, but his work clearly demonstrates that the square format wasn’t just for Instagram.

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The Five Best Introductory Film Cameras

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Figosa Vintage Leather Adjustable Strap (4 of 10)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 4.0

Every time a photographer wants to start to experiment with film, new excitement stirs. But at the same time, it’s always wise to take a great educated guess as far as what camera you want to start out with. For starters, consider not only the camera system but the lens system–just like in digital photography. Figuring out what films you want to work with is another headache but one that is significantly easier to do than what camera you’re working with.

For this reason, we’ve come up with our list of the best film cameras for any photographer to start out on.

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Three Medium Format Film Rangefinder Cameras We Love

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer LCDVF Fader ND Mamiya (8 of 11)

There is almost nothing better than having the benefit of a small rangefinder camera body and the large negative area of medium format film. While this isn’t available yet in a digital edition, lots of photographers want it. But those who want this also know how incredibly good lots of the medium format film rangefinder cameras are.

Indeed, most folks talk about the SLR cameras because they’re cheap; but there are lots and lots of film rangefinders that would possibly make you put down your digital camera and keep it in a box somewhere to gather dust once you see the incredible quality that these cameras are capable of.

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Essentials: The Medium Format Beginner

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essentials Medium Format Beginner (6 of 6)ISO 1001-125 sec at f - 4.0

Essentials is a brand new series where we round up specially curated kits for different photographers in different situations. Other items could surely be substituted, but these are what we personally recommend.

Medium Format photography is what many shooters yearn to do. While the digital counterpart is extremely expensive, its film predecessor is probably more affordable than most digital setups overall. An excellent kit can be had fairly cheaply and you’ll be rewarded with images that aren’t totally possible with most digital cameras.

So why make the move to medium format? Besides the obvious benefits of a significantly larger negative area, medium format film blows its 35mm brethren away in terms of not only overall sharpness but also in color depth, tonality, and more. And with the right lighting, it will beat anything that your DSLR might be able to produce.

Ready to take the plunge? Here’s our essential kit for the person ready to step up.

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