Zenza Bronica S2 SLR

Zenza Bronica S2 SLR Camera

The Bronica S2 camera is a high-quality, Japanese-made camera. Even though it has the nickname the poor mans Hasselblad it is in many ways more superior in its build, quality and sharpness. The Bronica S2 was first introduced in 1972. The Bronica S2 6×6 camera taking 120 and 220 medium format film. The Bronica S2 camera is functional, and easy to use though much heavier then it’s counterpart cameras, therefore I think my Bronica S2 pictured here in this blog, works much better as a studio camera on a tripod then it’s counterpart cameras, or even my Hasselblad V series  500CM.

Bronica S2 SLR Camera

The Zenza Bronica S2 lens is unique, and features a wide-angle lens, and the Bronica also has interchangeable view finders. The mount and mirror design are unique. It has an extra-long telescopic lens, too, which results in sharp pictures.

Bronica S2 Camera tripodWith the Bronica S2 camera, loading film is easy. For many years, the Bronica S2 camera was used by professionals for wedding photographs and portraits. In fact, Bronica S2 cameras are still widely used by professional photographers. It is more affordable than other cameras, another great feature of the Bronica S2 camera is its mechanical shutter and mirror. The lower part swings downward, and the upper part swings upward, this not only permits the use of deep-set lenses, but also means that the “mirror shock” of the mirror is in opposite directions, so a mirror lock-up is not needed. Zenza Bronica S2 accessories are easy to find. Used Bronica S2 cameras are still in high demand. Instructional manuals and repair manuals are readily available, if needed.

Bronica S2 Instructions

Zenza Bronica S2 SLR Manual

The Zenza Bronica S2 is the Ultimate 6cm x 6cm single lens reflex camera. with interchangeable film back magazine, it permits the change of film type in mid-roll (black-and-white to color or color to black-and-white, indoor to daylight etc…) and the shooting of several rolls of film without reloading. Either the 12 exposure 120, or the 24 exposure 220 roll film can be used on the S2.

  • Shutter:  Vertical running focal plane shutter. B, 1 to 1/1000, “X” (1/40), “T” (Time).
  • Film Back:  Removable by inserting dark slide. provided with newly-designed film holder and switch lever for 24 exposure 220 roll film.
  • Standard Lens:  Nikkor 75mm F2.8 lens.
  • Diaphragm:  Fully automatic diaphragm. Provided with depth-of-field preview button.
  • Mirror:  Flip-down, instant return, fully automatic mirror system
  • Viewfinder Hood:  Detachable type with magnifier. Interchangeable with Prism Viewfinder or Magnifying Hood.
  • Focusing:  Helicoid mount system. Entirely detachable.
  • Flash Synchro:  Automatic switch-over synchronization system. FP class bulb synchronization at all shutter speeds except “X”. M class bulb synchronization B, 1 – 1/125. F class bulb synchronization B, 1 – 1/15. Electronic Flash syncronization “X” (1/40). B, 1 – 1/15
  • 24 Exposure Device:  By the simple flip of a switch for 24 exposures.
  • Camera Body:  Made of 18-8 Stainless Steel.

Instant Return Automatic Mirror:  The reflex mirror of the Zenza Bronica incorporates an original and exclusive mechanism. not found in any single lens reflex camera. Instead of moving upward, the Bronica instant return mirror slides down and forward. allowing the use of wide-angle and other deep mounted lenses. After exposure the mirror instantly and automatically returns to viewing position.

Zenca Bronica Mirror

Interchangeable Film Back Magazine:  You need not carry two cameras when you want to use black-and-white and color films at the same time. The interchangeable film back magazine of the S2 is removable from the camera body. After taking each picture, you can exchange one film back magazine for another preloaded magazine. Various types of film can be simultaneously used on one Bronica S2 camera. Due to the perfect automatic operation of the film back magazine with the camera body, the inadvertent double exposure is prevented and the film will be advanced only after exposure.Bronica S2 Film Magazine

Bronica Shutter speed and ExposureExclusive Highly Efficient Shutter:  The Zenza Bronica vertical focal pane shutter incorporates a special stabilizing device, insuring uniformly balanced exposure across the large 6×6 film area, even at high shutter speeds. B, 1 – 1/1000. “X” (1/40

24 Exposure Setting Device: When the 220 roll film 24 exposures can be obtained. This is an original device adopted by the Bronica easier than of other 6×6 cameras to use this particular type of film. By the simple flip of a lever, you can use the 12 exposure 120 roll film or the 24 exposure 200 roll film. (Further information is explained in Exposure settings Device below).

Zenza Bronica S2 Map

  1. Viewfinder Hood:  Made of light, durable titanium, provided with 4 power magnifying glass.
  2. Synchro Terminal:  Automatic switch-over synchronization which is coupled with the shutter speed. The flash terminal accepts a standard connecting cord (German type).
  3. Helicoid (Detachable Type):  Specially designed for sturdy mounting of all lenses without vibrations, also permitting minimum focusing distances.
  4. Shutter Dial:  The red, white, green and yellow colors of shutter dial numbers are color codes for flash synchro photography.
  5. Dark Slide:  When the dark slide is in the camera, the shutter will work even if the shutter button is pressed.
  6. Manual Depth-Of-Field Preview Button:  By pressing this depth-of-field preview button, the depth-of-field can be visually checked on the ground glass before exposing.
  7. Focusing Hood Retaining Lock:  Interchangeable with Prism Viewfinder or magnifying Hood.
  8. Helicoid Release Button:  When using bellows Attachment for close-up photographs, or long focal length interchangeable lenses (400mm and over) already fitted with a helicoid focusing device, the camera’s helicoid mount can be removed.
  9. Film Winding Crank:  Folding type.
  10. Aperture Ring:  Mounted on lens.
  11. Shutter Button:  Provided with safety lock. Shutter release lock device can be used for “T” exposure.
  12. Film Counter:  Automatic resetting type.
  13. Film Type Indicator Mask:  Accepts end of film boxes. An indispensable device for the S2 camera when using interchangeable film back magazines.
  14. Switch Lever For 24 Exposure Film:  Flip lever with automatic indicator for 12 or 24 exposures.
  15. Cable Release Socket:  Sockets provided both on shutter release button and under camera body.
  16. Manual Film Winder:  This winder advances film in the film back magazine for loading.
  17. Camera Strap Stud:  Exclusive quick-snap design with safety lock, for fast, easy attachment or removal.

Removing The Film-minder Back:

Insert the dark slide into the film-minder/magazine back. Hold the camera in the left hand. With the right hand, hold the film-minder back with thumb on the protruding edge of the dark slide. Press the dark slide inward with the thumb. This will release the film-minder back from the camera. Remove the back by tilting and lifting it off the open hinge at the bottom. Note: The dark slide is only necessary for removing the film-minder back from the camera and should be withdrawn after back is attached to the camera.

Bronica magazine

How to Load film magazine on the Zenza Bronica S2

Bronica User Manual

  1. Lift film indicator frame and press hood-lock to the right, and back will spring open.
  2. Press the two knobs together and lift film holder out.
  3. Insert empty take-up spool in top and fresh film spool on bottom. Spools are inserted by pressing out against spring pressure plates on left side.
  4. Draw leader paper down and across film pressure plate making sure that the leader paper is black side out.Bronica User Manual
  5. Insert paper end in take-up spool and wide one turn.
  6. Press to knobs together and insert film holder into film back making sure that the film holder studs snap firmly into place.If film holder is not yet in position, turn film winder slightly and push film holder again until it snaps into place (Be sure to turn manual film winder in direction of arrow.)
  7. Advance film with manual film wind on film back until film start mark matches red dot on holder.
  8. Close back making sure hood lock covers the red mark.Bronica User Manual
  9. The film indicator frame is designed to accept the end flap of the empty film box to indicate the type of film loaded in the film back.
  10. Only even numbers will show in the exposure counter window after the number “8” appears. Odd numbers are indicated by a line.
  11. After taking last (12th or 24th) exposure, wind forward until indicator in film counter window does not move.
  12. Open back cover and take out film holder by pressing the two knobs together.

How to User the Zenza Bronica S2 

Bronica User Manual

  1. To cock shutter and advance film, turn crank clockwise until it stops (Be sure to keep turning the crank until it stops, even if you hear a sound halfway. The sound means the shutter is wound, but the film is not advanced yet. Pressing the shutter button will result in a double exposure).
  2. Turn to desired aperture (“f-stop”): align to white dot. Intermediate apertures may be used between the”click” stops.
  3. To open focusing hood, slide hood lock to the right. To close, press down sides, then back and then the cover.
  4. Magnifier rises when cover is pressed towards back. Press magnifier down into place before closing hood.Bronica User Manual
  5. Focus by rotating helicoid while observing image on ground glass.
  6. Focusing scales for standard 75mm lens and 200mm telephoto lens are shown in white and scales for 135mm telephoto and 50mm wide-angle are in red. The four red dots to the right of infinity mark (∞) show the infinity points when using infra-red film.
  7. Depth-of-field scale for all lenses are also shown. Line between f8 and f4 represents f5.6.
  8. When the preview button is depressed, the diaphragm is closed down to the preselected aperture. The depth-of-field can be visually checked. (Critical focusing and viewing are done with full aperture.)

Bronica S2 Cable ReleaseCable Release:

Having selected the shutter speed and diaphragm aperture, advance the film by turning the film winding knob clockwise to a firm stop. Focus the lens and you are now ready to make an exposure. To avoid camera movement, it is desirable to use a cable release when a slow shutter speed is used. Cable release sockets are provided both on the body release button and below the depth-of-field preview button.

Bronica S2 Time exposure & Safety LockTime Exposure Device:

When “T”(Time) exposure is desired, set the shutter speed dial at “B”, depress the body release button and turn the tip of the button counter-clockwise to lock it in place. This will hold the shutter open. To close the shutter, turn the tip of the button clockwise.

Safety Lock:

The body release button has a safety lock. When the camera is carried with the shutter cocked, it is best to set the safety lock. To set the safety lock, rotate the tip of the release button clockwise. When the red dot is in outside position, shutter is locked.

 

 

Making Double or Multiple Exposures:

Your Bronica has a buildt-in protection against inadvertent double exposures. However there are times where deliberate double exposures may be desired. Firstly after making one exposure, insert dark slide and remove the film-minder/Magazine. Secondly turn the winding crank until the shutter is wound. Replace the film-minder on the camera body and withdraw the dark slide. You can now make a second exposure.

Exposure Setting Device:

The 120 roll film allows 6×6 (2.1/4″ x 2.1/4″) exposures. Twenty-four exposures can be obtained on 220 roll film. Picture (A) shows lever position when using 220 roll film. Keep pressing switch lever lock button and move lever until indicator arrow points to “12” mark. After the 12th exposure the film advance crank will wind remaining film continuously onto take-up spool with no resistance. Picture (B) shows lever position when using 220 roll film. Switch lever lock button should be also pressed to move lever until arrow points to “24” mark. In this way the film winder crank will stop at every number exposure until 24 before becoming “free”, allowing the remaining film to be wound up on roll.

Bronica S2 Exposure Setting Devise Manual

Flash: The Bronica flash terminal accepts a standard connecting cord (German Type P.C.)

Zenca Bronica S2 Flash

Using Neck Strap:

The shoulder strap has coupling connectors at each end. Place these coupling connectors over the cameras strap studs on each side of the camera and press in, then adjust strap length. to remove, lift or raise the metal wings on camera stud and simultaneously lift off the coupling connector.

Zenca Bronica S2 Neck Straps

Interchanging Lenses:

To Remove Lens: (A) Extend lens by turning helicoid to closest focus position. (B) Press bayonet lock with thumb, and twist to left. (counterclockwise), Remove lens by pulling straight out. To Mount Lens: (C) Line up red dots on lens and mount. Insert gently to full stop. Twist to right (clockwise) until bayonet lock snaps closed. The interchangeable lens system of the Zenza Bronica Model S2 can be used with earlier model bayonet type Bronica cameras, The screw thread (diameter 57mm, pitch 1mm) shown in picture (C) is new with Model S2 and permits extension tube set and certain very long telephoto lenses to be mounted.

Bronica S2 Interchangeable Lenses

Auto-Nikkor Lenses:

The use of Nikkor optics represents an assurance of picture quality offered by no other 2 ¼ square SLR. Indeed, it is only natural for cameras so meticulously designed and engineered to be identified with the finest lenses available.
All Nikkor lenses for Bronica S2 are equipped with automatic-reopen diaphragms.

Bronica S2 Auto-Nikkor Lenses

Komura Lenses:

Selected by professional photographers for a variety of reasons: Practical in-between focal lengths, high lens speed, exceptional mechanical and optical performance and fine picture quality. Eight different lenses, five with automatic re-open diaphragms. All are supplied with lens hood and leather case. Komura/Bronica lenses are moderately prices.

Bronica S2 Komura lenses

With this broad array of fourteen high quality lenses to draw upon, the Bronica user need never be stumped for lack of the right lens, in any situation.

Using focusing hood:

The focusing hood of the Zenza Bronica Model S2 can easily be removed and inserted. It is possible to use the prism finder for eye-level focusing or the outdoors magnifying hood which is adjustable for individual eyes. [n.b., using a +/- diopter range on magnifier]

(1) Press upward the focusing hood retaining lock on the front of the camera body name plate and remove.
(2) When inserting the focusing hood match the two tips on the back side of the focusing hood frame and the two holes on the back side of the focusing hood.
Press down and lock the front side of the focusing hood.

Using Focus Hoods (Bronica S2)

Using Focusing Hood:

The focusing hood of the Zenza Bronica Model S2 can easily be removed and inserted. It is possible to use the prism finder for eye-level focusing or the outdoors magnifying hood which is adjustable for individual eyes.

(1) Press upward on the focusing hood retaining lock on the front of the camera name plate and remove.
(2) When inserting the focusing hood, match the two tips on the back side of the focusing hood frame and the holes on the back side of the focusing hood. Press down and lock the front side of the focusing hood.

Using focusing hood (BronicaS2)Zenza Bronica S2 SLR

Thank you for your Interest and hope you found this Zenza Bronica S2 SLR Manual helpful, and if you are a lucky new owner of this model and have found one in good condition, I hope you have just as much pleasure as I do taking pictures with this quality craftsmanship Bronica S2 Camera for many years to come.



Comments

Zenza Bronica S2 SLR — 26 Comments

  1. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    The Shinkodo Works was Yoshino’s precursor production base and funding source for what would later serve his Bronica camera and photographic equipment manufacturing; later consolidated under the

  2. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Brian, nicely done article on the Zenza Bronica S2. I worked at the finest camera store in western NY in the 70 s selling this camera new and used. Seemed to have some recurrent mirror issues to the point that the owner of Photogenesis wouldn’t buy used Zenza Bronica S2 s. The optics, especially the Nikkors lenses, were brilliant. 120/200 film in the same backs was sweet too. I borrowed a couple of them and liked them lots but succumbed to the Hasselblad sirens’ call for a dozen years until the amazing SQ replaced the S2. The Zenzanon lenses were so much more contrasty than Hassy’s; corner sharpness on the optical bench was measured remarkably close to center values at wide open aperatures! Got all my Blads sold, bought the SQa and SQam (motorized film advance like the lunar Blads) and a full complement of lenses. Never a problem. Ever. This was shooting volume like schools, proms, etc. with average of 1000+ shots/week. If you are looking at a 2 1/4 for shooting, don’t overlook proceeding models of Bronica.

  3. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    I have two ETRS-I’s with dim mirrors/finders and I’ve also looked through a friend’s Bronica C (also very dim finder). Is it true that Bronica’s in general have mirror “issues” ?

    • Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Hello Ken

      I have had a few had a few Zenza Bronica Cameras, but not the ETR, yes the mirror may be a bit dim, but I really like that all camera have their own personality and flaws to overcome, even high end SLR’s have their own imperfection and personalities.

      • Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        thanks a bunch Brian , I also really enjoyed your work : gorgeous portraits , such lovely light in colour and black and white Although I now only use digital capture, I have a fair sized archive of 35 mm and roll film negs and am frustrated by the results I get with my Epson V700 with the 35 mm. I can’t afford sending them off to drum scanning service and have been experimenting with using a camera as a scanner which is looking promising. ( when I am finished experimenting I’ll share the results , don’t expect something as thorough as our Keith would produce !) What scanning method do you use ? PS I loved my Mamiya twin -interchangeable-lens camera but did sell it to switch to digital.

  4. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Hello Michel R Fiege! Well first, you need to consider which type of film you will be using. Basically there are two types of films you could use, either the 120mm (a.k.a medium format film) or the regular 35mm film. This shouldn’t be a problem since medium format cameras such as Holga & amp; Diana can be modified to take a 35 film, and to me that’s an advantage. I haven’t tried the super sampler yet. It looks mighty fun but I wouldn’t recommend it a lot since there aren’t much of modifications you can do to it unlike the Diana. As for the fish-eye camera, I would suggest getting a instead of the whole camera. This way you can have both a regular and a fish eye camera at the same time. Assuming that you live in Kuwait, keep in mind that medium format films aren’t very accessible here. As a matter of a fact, I only found one place that still sells 120s but they only had one kind film & unfortunately it was Fuji pro 160.Since you’re new to photography, I would suggest either getting a or a with their (just in case you wanted to use a regular film) and get your film supply from .If you have any more questions, feel free to ask. I’d be glad to help a future fellow lomographer -Nada

  5. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Hi, thank you so much for this informative page! I especially appreciate the photos and videos showing how to insert the rollfilm in the s2.
    I’ve just bought an s2a from Ebay with 2 lenses (and a 3rd, 50mm on sale) and it looks fine, buy I have one question (hope it’s not dumb!) – I do have the dark slide but do I need to use it if not changing backs? I’m used to simply opening the back to add roll film as the video shows here.
    Thanks!
    (Also, I have a Minolta Multi Pro and a Minolta 5400 for scanning, I know how hard they are to find but they work great for me)
    Thanks again, Rosemary

    • Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Hello Rosemary
      No it is not a dumb question, I only use the dark slide when I am changing magazines if I want to shoot B&W Film or colour or use a different ISO, I dont take it off changing roll as the attachment inside the magazine is easy to take out and insert without taking off the magazine, Hope that helped your query?
      Sincerely Brian 🙂

      • Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        Hi, thank you so much for this informative page! I escipeally appreciate the photos and videos showing how to insert the rollfilm in the Zenza Bronica s2.I’ve just bought an s2a from Ebay with 2 lenses (and a 3rd, 50mm on sale) and it looks fine, buy I have one question (hope it’s not dumb!) I do have the dark slide but do I need to use it if not changing backs? I’m used to simply opening the back to add roll film as the video shows here.Thanks!(Also, I have a Minolta Multi Pro and a Minolta 5400 for scanning, I know how hard they are to find but they work great for me)Thanks again, Rosemary

  6. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Hi Mr. Camera,
    interesting write up. A friend just got the S2 on ebay. I’m looking forward to see the results. I am using a Hasseblad 500CM with very good results. I develop the film myself using a German special developer and scan with a canon 9000 and Nikon 8000ED. I used to use Silverfast but am highly disappointed with their upgrade and pricing strategy. I have tried Vuescan for the flatbed scanner and love it ….

    • Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      @ Hello Dirk, I do have a Hasselblad 500CM which is really sexy looking but I personally like to use the Bronica S2 at home in the studio, it is heavier in weight and you have to wind it more then the hasselblad but the mirror action (slipping forward and downwards) counteracts and reduces mirror noise to a minimum that hasselblad creates shootting at or under 125, unless you lock up the mirror. But out around town the Hasselblad wins but in a studio or on a tripod the S2 is my favorite SLR.

  7. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Brian, nicely done article on the S2. I worked at the finest camera store in western NY in the 70’s selling this camera new and used. Seemed to have some recurrent mirror issues to the point that the owner of Photogenesis wouldn’t buy used S2’s. The optics, especially the Nikkors, were brilliant. 120/200 in the same backs was sweet too. I borrowed a couple of them and liked them lots … but succumbed to the Hasselblad sirens’ call for a dozen years until the amazing SQ replaced the S2. The Zenzanon lenses were so much more contrasty than Hassy’s; corner sharpness on the optical bench was measured remarkably close to center values at wide open aperatures! Got all my ‘Blads sold, bought the SQa and SQam (motorized film advance like the lunar ‘Blads) and a full complement of lenses. Never a problem. Ever. This was shooting volume like schools, proms, etc. with average of 1000+ shots/week. If you are looking at a 2 1/4 for shooting, don’t overlook proceeding models of Bronica.

    • Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      @ JR Arsenault, Thank you for your words, I must say I love shooting with the Bronica S2, but I haven’t had the pleasure of using the Bronica SQ yet, so if you say it is amazing! then I have no excuse and I must have a go. Thank you Sincerely Brian

  8. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    thanks a bunch Brian , I also really enjoyed your work : gorgeous portraits , such lovely light in colour and black and white…
    Although I now only use digital capture, I have a fair sized archive of 35 mm and roll film negs and am frustrated by the results I get with my Epson V700 with the 35 mm. I can’t afford sending them off to drum scanning service and have been experimenting with using a camera as a scanner which is looking promising. ( when I am finished experimenting I’ll share the results , don’t expect something as thorough as “our” Keith would produce !) What scanning method do you use ?

    PS I loved my Mamiya twin -interchangeable-lens but did sell it to switch to digital…. 🙂

    • Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      @ Christophe, I must admit that I also use my flatbed Epson V700 to scan my medium format images, I have found the Silver Fast softwear really bad, but get my desired result when just using the Epson Scan Ice Tech, so much better 🙂

    • Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      @ Christophe, I do scan my film and I have started printing analogue with the pictures that I have fallen in love with during my time taking pictures, I just love the whole magic involved in putting your personal mark on a image, Yes so both 🙂 By the way I had a look at your personal website and I love your images. Sincerely Brian

  9. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    I had one S2 SLR and later one SQ body version. Both bodies never gave up on me.
    The lenses had excellent quality in color and sharpness. When I started doing more studio assignments and editorial work I moved to Linhof and Mamiya RZ 6×7 as the rectangle image had a better cropping ratio to magazine publications.
    Now I wish I would have never depart from my Zenza Bronicas but I had to invest into new digital equipment.

  10. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    I’ve still got mine!
    Couldn’t bear to part with it, beautiful design, handled really well and the images were quite acceptable for the time.

  11. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    yes I had one as well. Unfortunately I was hooked on my 35mm and never really invested the time and money in using it. Used it for 1 year then sold it.

  12. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Really Great manual for The Bronica s2 camera and you came out the the clearest and easy to follow details, thank you a million great site!

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