Zenzanon 80mm ps how sharp

The Zenza Bronica SQ system,

or the Swedish cube in Japanese.

The Zenza Bronica SQ cameras are single-lens, medium format single-lens reflex cameras with a central shutter. The five models:

were built from 1980 to 2004.

The SQs offer everything you would expect from a medium format SLR camera:

  • Interchangeable magazines, including Polaroid
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • exchangeable adjustment discs
  • different viewfinders
  • extensive accessories
  • Motor drive

In contrast to the Hasselblad 500/2000 (or the V series), an SQ needs electricity. Without it, the closure only delivers 1 / 500th. It happened to me twice that I didn't notice a dead battery. Pressing the battery test button would have prevented that without any problems. Especially since the batteries for all models are also available today.
But you cannot expose the paper leader with an SQ.
The second thing you can do wrong with an SQ is to put an untensioned lens on the camera.
Otherwise, operating an SQ is child's play.

The cameras

The five variants are very similar. The differences lie in the slowest shutter speeds, exposure metering capabilities, and mirror lock-up. The SQ-B is an SQ-A [i] with remote exposure metering.

The motor drive of the SQ-Am creates two to three exposures per second. An external motor can be attached to the SQ-Ai.

The closure

is an electronic Seiko central lock, with a 1/500 sec. as the shortest time. Depending on the camera, the longest is 8 seconds (SQ, SQ-A) or 16 seconds (SQ-Ai).

All lenses also offer a T mode: Loosen the screw, slide the slide on the lens to the side, release the camera and to end the exposure, slide the slide back again.
The SQ-Ai also offers the much more convenient B mode.

The seekers

As expected, there is a light shaft finder with a magnifying lens. There is also a fixed magnifying glass viewfinder and prism viewfinder with and without exposure metering.
The screen shows 94% of what comes on the film.

The lenses

There are two series, Zenzanon-S and Zenzanon-PS. If I get it right, the PS are improved versions of the S variants. Partly visually revised, and with improved compensation.

The focal lengths range from 35 to 500mm. There are two zoom lenses: 75-150mm / f4.5 and 140-280mm / f5.6.

My experiences with the PS 4 / 40mm, S 3.5 / 50mm, S 2.8 / 80mm and the S 3.5 / 150mm are excellent. With all four lenses, the sharpness over the entire image field, the peripheral light fall-off and the bokeh are without defects.
The PS 4/40 produces very little distortion.

My only point of criticism is that both the S and the PS have too few aperture blades. They lead to somewhat angular points of light in the blurring. I cannot say whether this is the case with all 22 lenses.

The Zenzanons that I know are on par with comparable Zeiss lenses from the Hasselblad.

What is not possible in the SQ system, due to the mandatory central shutter, is a lens like the grandiose Hasselblad Carl Zeiss T * Planar 110mm f2.0. The diameter of the Seiko clasp is simply too small for that.
Apparently there are no third party lenses.

Zenzanon-S lenses

Zenzanon PS lenses


A 500C / M feels more valuable, consists of less plastic and sounds better. Nevertheless, I've been a big fan of the SQ system for decades: I get a performance comparable to Hasselblad / Zeiss for a fraction of the price. My Bronicas have never let me down in all these decades. Apart from the insufficient number of aperture blades, the lenses are without defects.

SQ-A is available second-hand, with a light shaft finder, 6 * 6 120 magazine and [P] S 2.8 / 80mm for € 300. The most common focal lengths are used between 150 and 300 € s on eBay.

My recommendation is to buy an SQ-A or SQ-Ai. SQ or SQ-B make no sense to me. Unless you need a second die for hopefully little money.

Instructions for use SQ-Ai
Instructions for use SQ-A

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