Steve's Web Site

A History of my Photography

Bronica EC-TL


<< PREVIOUS   HOME   NEXT >>

 

Bronica EC-TL

Bronica EC-TL with Waist level finder and 75mm f2.8 Nikkor

    Bronica was one of the companies that made copies of the early Hasselblad focal plane shutter 6 X 6 cameras. They had some weird designs (one early feature was a drop down mirror which required a shutter for the viewfinder). They kept going though and their cameras improved with each model. They had two thing going for them: they were much less expensive than Hasselblad, and they used Nikon lenses. By 1975 they had developed the first 6 X 6 camera with built in TTL metering. Not only that but it had aperture priority automation as well and yet still used the lenses from the earlier models.

Right side of camera showing the shutter speed know with ASA setting, Film wind knob with crank, on the back is the 12/24 exposure selector, and the D/A double exposure/ film advance control.

    I received the EC-TL as a Christmas present in 1975. While my sister was looking at it she managed to break the lower mirror the very first day. The EC-TL had a split mirror with the larger upper portion rising to block the viewfinder and the smaller lower portion dropping to clear the path for long focal length lenses. I never did get it fixed an now the parts are no longer available. Update I was able to purchase a used corpse of a Bronica EC and it had an intact lower mirror so my Bronica now has both mirrors again.

Left side with the sync socket, accessory shoe, mirror up lever and dark side slot. The top of the dark slide is visible in the holder on the back.

    The camera has an electronic shutter and shutter speeds from 1/1000 to 4 sec. The flash sync speed is 1/40 sec and a manual 1/40 and bulb are available even if the battery fails. There is a row of LED's across the top of the viewfinder. These LED's light numbers on the viewfinder screen. They are different colors depending on safe shutter speed (green), slow shutter speed (yellow), out of range (red). They are activated by a button on the front which also stops down the lens to shooting aperture while metering.

Top view showing the cropping marks on the focusing screen, the shutter speed knob and on the back you can see the film counter and the opening button and interlock

    The designers at Bronica went crazy over interlocks. The dark slide in place prevents the camera from firing and is also use to release the back so you can't remove the back without the dark slide. You can't accidentally double expose a shot but you can do it deliberately. You can't fire the camera without film in the camera and in shooting position. You can also pre-fire the mirror to reduce vibration when using a tripod.

EC-TL with prism finder and 150mm f3.5 Zenzanon lens

    Bronica used a unique system in their early cameras where the focusing mount stayed on the camera and the lenses were what is called a short mount - just an iris with no focusing or shutter. After the EC-TL they went to leaf shutter lenses with focusing mounts, but that is another story. You could remove the focusing mount and replace it with a bellows. This bellows had tilt and shift capabilities as well as infinity focus and gave the photographer limited view camera capabilities. I never had one though and they fetch a good price on the used market.

Right side with prism finder and 150mm lens

    After receiving the camera I was able to purchase a 150mm lens, a second back and a prism finder. This gave me two backs, two lenses and two finders. A few times I was able to locate used wide angle lenses for this camera the price was too high for the use I thought I might get out of them. I took the camera on a Western Pacific Cruise in 1976 but only used it aboard ship. It was just too dangerous to take ashore in most third world counties. The camera has not aged well, the leather is peeling off ,the foam rotting and if it breaks parts are not available.

Here is a front view of a 50mm f3.5 Nikkor lens for the Bronica.

    Well after years of looking and waiting I finally purchased a wide angle lens for my Bronica and at a low price as well. Where else but eBay. This is a 50mm f3.5 Nikkor-H. The H means it is a six element lens. As with my other Bronica lenses it is a short mount - no focusing mount on the lens, the single focusing mount on the camera handle most lenses. In fact on many of the earlier Bronica cameras the focusing mount was permanently attached to the camera.

Here's the 50mm lens mounted on the camera showing its large diameter.

    Nikon made a wide range of lenses for the early Bronica cameras. I know of a 40mm, the 50mm, 75mm, 135mm 200mm lenses al produced by Nikon for the Bronica. Bronica also made a focusing mount that took the Nikon 400mm, 600mm, 800mm and 1200mm lenses made for their 35mm cameras. These lenses all used a Nikon focusing mount for use with the F lens mount and a different Bronica focusing  mount for use with the Bronica cameras.

Here we see the 50mm lens on the left and the 75mm lens on the right. The 50mm lens uses 82mm filters while the 75mm uses 67mm filters.

   The EC-TL was the last model with this lens mount. The next model the ETR had focusing mounts and leaf shutters integral with the lenses. A practice they continued with later models. As a result the price of their lenses sky rocketed and even a simple extension tube was a major investment.

Bronica Extension Tubes

Bronica Extension tubes mounted between the focusing mount and the lens.

    The best way to describe the extension tube system used for the early Bronica camera up through the EC-TL is to say that they are just plain weird. There is no automatic coupling for the aperture lever so you have to stop down meter them. the lens mount on the focusing mount for the camera has an inner screw thread that some of the tube use for mounting. others use the lens bayonet mount. I think Bronica preferred you buy a bellows for close ups which came in two different models.

Side view showing the different components.

    The set of extension tubes I purchased on eBay also included a lens reversing ring for 67mm filter size. This fits the 75mm Nikkor lens. If you mount one of the rings on the lens in it normal position it can be used to open the iris for focusing.

this shows the lens mounted in reverse with the extension tubes.

 

Cambron 2X Teleconverter for Bronica

The Front of the teleconverter showing its large bayonet for mounting the focusing helicoid.

    Bronica in its early days sold enough of its medium format cameras to inspire third party vendors. Komura made a number of lenses to fit the early camera and this teleconverter which caries the brand name Cambron is probably made by them.

 

Side view of the Cambron teleconverter.

    One problem with using a teleconverter on an early Bronica is the requirement to fit the teleconverter between the focusing mount and the camera. Cambron is the house brand of a camera store in New York City that I believe is no longer in business. I purchased some items from them in the 1970's during a vist to New York City including a prism finder for my Bronica.

Cambron teleconverter mounted on the camera behind the focusing mount.

    One feature the teleconverter has that the extension tubes lack is coupling for the automatic iris on the lens.

<< PREVIOUS   HOME   NEXT >>