My New Medium Format Bronica ETRS Camera and Channel Update Video on YouTube
I am pleased to announce that the first of two completed YouTube videos will air this Saturday the 12th of June 2021. The first is a straightforward channel update apologising for delays in the arrival of new content and talking about the major addition to my roster of cameras; the Bronica ETRS. I also talk about my ambitions for being able to move into high quality printing. At the moment there are two possibilities. First an Epson A2 photo printer. This would represent a substantial investment of about £1000, plus of course the cost of paper, ink and any other consumables. To justify such an expense, I would need to be doing a fair amount of printing which currently I am not. However, I do intend to address this. A second attractive option is to go the whole hog and institute a traditional wet darkroom. Initial costs for this would be lower as there are many secondhand enlargers on the market, plus the Intrepid Camera company who made my 4x5 camera also now make an adapter which converts it for enlarging negatives from 35mm to 4x5inches. There is also a compact 35mm/120 enlarger coming from them in August. Cost for any of these options is low initially, but there are extensive external costs for not only equipment, but also making adaptations which will allow my work shed to function as a darkroom. Not a simple task. Then there are chemicals and consumables such as paper. Overall the cost would probably equal that of a printer. The advantage of a wet darkroom would be the authenticity, quality and durability of a true photographic image. Plus the fact that as they represent those qualities, it would be possible to charge a premium for a wet print over a Giclée, or Inkjet print. Decisions, decisions.
New Camera Announcement
The BIG news though is the arrival of this beast below, the Bronica ETRS 6x4.5 Medium Format Roll Film camera. For those not entirely familiar with the nomenclature, I'll explain. Medium format simply means a camera that takes pictures which are larger than those of either a full-frame digital camera, OR a camera that takes 35mm film. Large Format cameras such as my Intrepid 4x5 MkIV on the other hand typically takes single sheets of film. some medium Format digital cameras exist such as the Fuji GFX range or Hasslebad cameras, but they are typically expensive to very expensive. Medium Format Film cameras on the other hand while not cheap are more affordable, although many are decades old now and potentially unreliable needing regular maintenance to keep them running. These days all Medium Format cameras use rolls of film that are 6cm in width, although this was different in the past with a plethora of formats being available from the 1930s to the 1980s. since then the number of cameras has gradually decreased until as of now there are only niche cameras in production often produced by startup companies such as intrepid, Chroma and so on. Fortunately for modern-day lovers of this format, these cameras were used extensively for weddings, portraits, college and university work so there are many available still on the second hand market. Sadly though because of the increasing interest in film as an antidote to bland digital offerings the prices have been rising. so, what would have cost £100-£150 three years ago now costs around three times the price. Que sera as they say. However I felt the need to add this option as it still gives a high quality negative, but with more flexibility than large format. It took quite a while and numerous cameras were considered, but budget, requirements and availability made it a challenging process. I finally located mine, a Bronica ETRS similar to the one shown below about 30miles away and went to view it. Unfortunately the camera although presentable was not fully working. Not all was lost however as the problem turned out to be a flat battery and after the correct one was fitted all was well. I therefore bought the camera at a reasonable price and although it has clearly had much use, it seems to function entirely as it should with a sharp lens and no missing parts. I did buy the separate grip for it which has transformed the handling and now using it is a joy. The viewfinder is massive compared with any digital camera and everything feels built to last.
I will go on to review this camera and having now put a few rolls of film through it I do now feel confident enough to do that. That however is the subject of another BLOG and YouTube video. In the meantime click here or the camera below to watch the YouTube video of my Channel Update which will be online from Saturday June 12th at 18:00..