Bronica or Zenza Bronica (ゼンザブロニカ; Zenza buronika) was a Japanese brand of professional medium-format roll-film cameras, based in Tokyo, Japan. Over a period of 47 years, the company produced a variety of SLR and rangefinder designs that proved popular with both amateur and professional photographers.
| Bronica SQ-Ai|
image by Rachel Rayns (Image rights)
Bronica cameras first appeared in 1958, when its founder, Zenzaburō Yoshino (in Japanese: 吉野善三郎, b. 25 January 1911 — d. 23 November 1988), introduced a camera of his own design, the Bronica Z, at the Philadelphia Camera Show. Because Yoshino had invested nearly all company resources into production of the camera body, he sourced the Bronica's lenses from an established Japanese optics and camera manufacturer - none other than Nikon (Nippon Kōgaku Kikai). With its superb, precision-ground Nikkor lenses, the first Bronica became an instant success.
Bronica SLR cameras employ a modular design: the major components of the camera — lens, body, film back, and viewfinder — are separate and interchangeable. Bronica cameras were mainstays of wedding and portrait photographers for many years, and their relative affordability made them popular with amateur photographers as well.
As the company expanded, Bronica would later introduce lenses of its own design, along with continued refinements and new models of the Bronica SLR, in different rollfilm formats. A rangefinder model, the RF645 in 4.5×6cm format, was also introduced in 2000. Tamron, a large Japanese lens manufacturer and a supplier of lens elements, eventually acquired Zenza Bronica Ltd. Zenzaburo Yoshino died in 1988.
The Bronica GS-1 was discontinued in 2002. Production of the Bronica SQ-Ai (including lenses and accessories) finished at the end of September 2003, with sales continuing until inventories were depleted. The last Bronica camera, the RF645, was dropped in October 2005. Secondhand Bronica cameras are still widely used by professional and serious amateur photographers, in no small part due to the superior image quality of medium format film over smaller film and digital sensor formats.
Focal plane shutter SLR (6×6)
- Bronica Z
- Bronica D
- Bronica C (December 1964)
- Bronica C2 (May 1965)
- Bronica S (April 1961)
- Bronica S2 (July 1965)
- Bronica S2A
- Bronica EC (April 1972)
- Bronica EC-TL (June 1975)
- Bronica EC-TL II (October 1978)
- Bronica 6×6 focal plane Overview of the focal plane models
Leaf shutter SLR
- Bronica ETR (March 1976)
- Bronica ETRC (November 1977)
- Bronica ETRS (October 1978)
- Bronica ETR-C (October 1978)
- Bronica ETRSi (December 1988)
- Bronica SQ (August 1980)
- Bronica SQ-A (January 1982)
- Bronica SQ-Am (August 1982)
- Bronica SQ-Ai (December 1990)
- Bronica SQ-B (April 1996)
- Bronica GS-1 (April 1983)
- Bronica RF645 (November 2000)
For available lenses see Bronica lenses.
- Bronica Users Group (BUG) at the Yahoo Groups site
- Tamron statement of termination of Bronica camera business and seven years of support (October 2005).
- PDF instruction manuals of many Bronica cameras, booklets and accessories: showing available lenses and viewfinders available.
- Michael Fauscette's review of the Bronica RF645
- Bronica MF Cameras hub page, formerly at Robert Monaghan's Medium Format Photography Megasite (medfmt.8k.com; archive copy dated 8 May 2006 at Internet Archive)
- Bronica EC-TL at Classic Cameras by RaúlM