This camera wins the prize for loudest shutter mechanism. It sounds like a jack in the box popping open when you release the shutter. The only other camera of mine that compares for sheer loudness is the Asahi Pentax 67. But even the Pentax doesn’t have nearly as long of an echo in the box after the initial explosion. You really have to hold, fire and hear this one to appreciate it!
The Bronica C was released in 1964 as a budget version of the more sophisticated model S. The main difference is that the C doesn’t have a removable film back. This camera has a focal plane shutter and one unique thing is the lens. It is the standard Nikkor-P 75/2.8 but the focusing mechanism and the lens are two separate parts. This particular focusing mechanism can accept a 50mm, 75mm, 135mm or 200mm lens so there are all sorts of color coded markings.
Even though this was a budget model it is actually a rather attractive body. The leatherette is a rather unusual medium gray color on a chrome base. Many casual observers will mistake it for a Blad and if they ask I’m always happy to inform them that it’s a Bronica.
I paid about $6 for this camera. It’s in perfect working condition and relatively clean too. The guy at the store just didn’t think it had any market value…
The more I use this camera the more I like it! Who needs a Blad when $6 will get you one of these? And the photos I get from it are really quite nice. Look here. to see some samples.
I found a reasonably clean copy of the 200mm lens in the junk bin for $30!
I finally broke down and bought a new standard lens for this camera. The one that came with it has a couple small moldy spots. I’ve taken it apart and cleaned what I could and then let it sit in the sunlight for quite a while so I’m pretty sure the mold is dead, but it still bugged me. So the other day I saw three copies of the standard lens on the shelf and took a close look at all of them. I finally settled on this one, which is the later P.C version which has multi-coating. It cost a little over 5,000 yen ($60) which is tens times what I paid for the camera and original lens, but still is pretty reasonable for a clean standard lens.
I guess buying the 75mm got me on a role. Today I finally pulled the plug on a beautiful Nikkor-O.C 50/2.8 that’s been sitting on the shelf at my favorite store for some time, just begging me to take her home.
And now I’ve completed the lens set, picking up the Nikkor-Q 135mm f/3.5 lens today for about $65. It isn’t in perfect condition as there are a few light scratches on the front element but it will work just fine for me. On medium format 135 is a great focal length for portraits and close ups. I’ll be running some film thru it pretty soon, although I don’t know what I’ll be shooting yet. Although each of my lenses represent different versions, these four focal lengths (50mm, 75mm, 135mm, 200mm) are the only ones offered at the time the Bronica C was released.