Bronica SQ

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Japanese medium-format SLR (edit)
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The Bronica SQ series is a line of 6x6 medium format SLR camera system introduced in 1980. Production of the last Bronica SQ-Ai model (including lenses and accessories) finished at the end of September 2003, with sales continuing until inventories were depleted[1].


The Bronica SQ is a 6x6 medium format SLR camera that replaced the Bronica EC as their 6x6 format camera from August 1980[2]. The SQ is often said to mean square.

Similar to the 6x4.5 based ETR series that came before it, the SQ uses a leaf shutter based lens design. They are not compatible with the older series of focal plane shutter cameras. The lens system has a Seiko manufactured electronic shutter with speed of 8 sec. to 1/500 sec. plus T, and the focusing helicoid, built into each lens. The sync connector is located on the front of the camera by the lens mount. Since it's a leaf shutter based camera system, flash sync is available at all speeds.

An interchangeable back system was incorporated that has the ability to use 120 or 220 (12 / 24 ) exposure film backs. The backs contain a ISO speed dial setting that is coupled to metered finders. Since the body and back need to be synchronized, make sure to wind the film crank completely before attaching the back. The film back also contains a crank, useful for setting the film start index. The main film crank can be removed to attach a winder or speed grip. The shutter release button can be locked with a twist of the collar to prevent mistaken exposures. The film back adopted some of the dark slide features of previous models. The camera will release the back when the dark slide is inserted and release button pressed.

The shutter cannot be released with the dark slide inserted. Unlike the older Bronica models, when the film back is detached from the body the dark slide can still be removed. The shutter cannot be cocked without film, but use of multi-exposure mode will enable you to cock it and test fire the shutter. The lens cannot be removed or attached without cocking the shutter. A red LED will illuminate in the viewfinder during shutter fire. The light will go out when the shutter fire has completed. Observe that the cocking pin colour is green on both the lens and body before attaching or removing the lens. If they are not, manually cock the shutter on the lens or body.

A battery check button is located by the shutter knob along with a cable release socket. The camera is powered by one 6V PX28A battery located in a compartment at the base of the camera. A 1/4 inch tripod socket as well as a flash sync connector for accessories are also on the base.


In 1982 the SQ-A was released with mirror lockup and a new view finder system now supporting auto exposure. The newer AE finders are not fully compatible with the older SQ cameras, they are unable to mount properly because there are now more electronic connector pins. The film back dark slides are now locked when not attached to the camera. The new dark slides are now grey in color.


Introduced in January 1983, the SQ-Am is an "integrated motor-drive only" version SQ-A body (in other words, the SQ-Am has no manual film advance). Up to this date installing the accessory motor drive to the SQ series of Bronicas was a tricky and somewhat unreliable process. To make a reliable motor-driven SQ, therefore, the motor was incorporated into the body of the SQ-Am. The SQ-Am uses six AA batteries to drive the motor, in addition to the a small 6 volt battery to power the camera's shutter and meter. The drive runs at two frames every three seconds, with the batteries lasting for approximately 60 rolls of 120 film.


The SQ-Ai was a slightly updated SQ-A, announced at the 1990 Photokina, with availability in the US from early 1991[3]. The camera has the ability to use a motor drive. The drive is specifically for the Ai and does not function properly with other SQ models. Also OTF metering is possible. TTL automatic flash requires the use of the SCA connector located on the shutter side of the body for attachment to a SCA flash adapters. When multiple exposure mode is enabled, the right of the viewfinder now displays an square indicator. A longer shutter speed of 16 seconds is added to the body, along with a traditional bulb mode shutter setting instead of just T, but it drains battery power while in use. The 16 second and bulb modes does not work with the ME or MF finders. This camera switches to 4x LR44 batteries that are held by a battery holder. The backs changed slightly, with the ISO dial on the back instead of the top. This makes it much easier to view and change the ISO settings with larger finders. The ISO has increased and can go up to ISO 6400. Exposure compensation is also on the newer (SQ-i) backs. It allows adjustment of up to 2 EV in 1/3 increments.


The SQ-B is a simplified version of the SQ-A. It is sometimes called SQ Basic. It was made in 1996, making it the newest camera in the SQ line. The main difference with the B model is when mounted the light metering functions in prism finders are not functional. The film back also lacks the ISO dial; since a dial does not serve a purpose of coupling to the meter which will not function. The often bundled lens 80mm PS/B lens does not have a T mode. The T mode will function on lenses equipped as such. Does not have bulb mode, since the SQ-A did not have it either. The motor drive accessory also will not function with this camera.



See Bronica lenses for a list.


  • Waist-level finder
  • CdS MM (prism) finder (SQ)
  • CdS MF (chimney) finder (SQ)
  • Prism finder
  • Prism finder (new)
  • ME prism finder
  • MF (chimney) finder
  • AE prism finder
  • AE-i prism finder

Focus screens

  • Microprism / split image (standard)
  • Microprism
  • Split image
  • Matte spot
  • Grid
  • Microprism / split image 135
  • Matte 135


  • Lens hood bellows
  • Auto bellows
  • Extension tube 18 and 36
  • Tele-converter
  • Close-up lens 1, 2
  • Focusing lever


  • SQ 120 back
  • SQ 220 back
  • SQ 135N 35mm (24x36mm) back
  • SQ-i 120 back
  • SQ-i 220 back
  • SQ-i 120J 6x4.5 back
  • SQ-i 220J 6x4.5 back
  • SQ-i 135N 35mm (24x36mm) back
  • SQ-i 135W 35mm (24x54mm) back
  • Polaroid back (CB102)
  • Polaroid back (CB103)


  • SCA 386 adapter


  • Polaroid tripod adapter
  • Motor Drive SQ-i
  • Speed grip
  • Remote cord SQ-i
  • Crank (SQ, SQA, SQB)
  • Crank (SQAi)


  • Cold battery pack
  • Cold battery pack (4xAA)
  • Battery pack (SQAm, 6xC)
  • Battery pack (SQAi, 4xLR44)


A lens- or leaf-shutter camera, the SQ-series will synchronize flash at all available shutter speeds. Lenses are designated 'S' and 'PS'.

Lens Lens construction Filter diameter Overall length Minimum focusing distance Weight
Zenzanon-PS 35mm F3.5 Fisheye 11 elements in 8 groups 32.5mm (rear filter) 91mm 0.28m 960g
Zenzanon-S 40mm F4 11 elements in 8 groups 95mm 83mm 0.4m 660g
Zenzanon-PS 40mm F4 11 elements in 8 groups 95mm 67.5mm 0.4m 650g
Zenzanon-S 50mm F3.5 10 elements in 8 groups 67mm 62mm 0.5m 560g
Zenzanon-PS 50mm F3.5 10 elements in 8 groups 77mm 61.7mm 0.5m 590g
Zenzanon-PS 65mm F4 9 elements in 7 groups 67mm 69.6mm 0.6m 665g
Zenzanon-S 80mm F2.8 6 elements in 4 groups 67mm 52mm 0.8m 470g
Zenzanon-PS 80mm F2.8 6 elements in 4 groups 67mm 52mm 0.8m 490g
Zenzanon-S 105mm F3.5 6 elements in 4 groups 67mm 60mm 0.85m 540g
Zenzanon-PS Macro 110mm F4 6 elements in 4 groups 67mm 79mm 0.66m 685g
Zenzanon-PS 135mm F4 6 elements in 4 groups 67mm 79mm 1m 755g
Zenzanon-S 150mm F3.5 5 elements in 5 groups 67mm 61mm 1.5m 590g
Zenzanon-PS 150mm F4 6 elements in 4 groups 67mm 74mm 1.5m 750g
Zenzanon-PS 180mm F4.5 9 elements in 8 groups 67mm 96mm 1m 865g
Zenzanon-S 200mm F4.5 5 elements in 5 groups 67mm 97mm 2.5m 740g
Zenzanon-PS 200mm F4.5 7 elements in 5 groups 67mm 107mm 2.5m 870g
Zenzanon-S 250mm F5.6 5 elements in 5 groups 67mm 129mm 3m 870g
Zenzanon-PS 250mm F5.6 7 elements in 5 groups 67mm 150.2mm 3m 1010g
Zenzanon-S 500mm F8 7 elements in 6 groups 95mm 255mm 8.5m 1890g
Zenzanon-PS 500mm F8 11 elements in 10 groups 122mm 307.5mm 8m 3760g
Zenzanon-PS 50-100mm F4-5.6 Aspherical 12 elements in 10 groups 95mm 102.5mm 1.5m 1010g
Zenzanon-S Variogon 75-150mm F4.5 15 elements in 13 groups 93mm 152mm 1.8m 1800g
Zenzanon-S Variogon 140-280mm F5.6 17 elements in 14 groups 93mm 221mm 2.5m 2000g


Bronica SQ SQ-A SQ-AM SQ-Ai SQ-B
Year 1980 1982 1983 1990 1996
Speeds 8s - 1/500 8s - 1/500 8s - 1/500 16s - 1/500 + B 8s - 1/500
Mirror Lock-up X O O O O
Motordrive X X built-in optional X
Power 1x PX28 1x PX28 1x PX28, 6x AA 4x SR44 1x PX28

Meter finder SQ SQ-A SQ-AM SQ-Ai SQ-B
CdS MM prism O X X X X
Cds MF chimney O X X X X
ME prism O O O- OX
MF chimney X O O O- OX
AE prism X O O O OX
AE-i prism X O O O OX

O: works X: not work O-: no 16s or B mode OX:mount no meter



  1. End of Bronica production message from Tamron (archived)
  2. PHOTOGRAPHIC INDUSTRIES vol. 41 no. 9 '83 p. 77
  3. Popular Photography, January 1991 p. 54


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