bronica gs-1: test rolls

with the constant fluctuation of prices on older film cameras, a camera you had your eye on for $500 last year could be selling for $1200 this year. sort of funny (and frustrating) how that works. last year i had my eye on a mamiya rz67, that was without a doubt on my radar because of william verbeeck, but when the time finally came around to commit to a larger medium format camera the prices spiked a little too high for me to pull the trigger. i started looking into other 6×7 modular camera systems that checked off most of my wants for a medium format camera that i’ve planned to primarily use for tripod-supported portraits and long-exposure shots.

so, onto my checklist:

  • a little less hyped, and hopefully a little less expensive
  • a nice lens for portraits – the 100mm 3,5
  • an affordable lineup of other lenses
  • somewhat compact and not super heavy
  • allowed for a shutter release cable for long exposures
  • had some multi-second shutter speeds available for quick night shots – the gs-1 goes up to 16 seconds on the dial

being honest, the bronica gs-1 was not even a system i was familiar with. i started my research, and posed the question “you know any good 6×7 systems that aren’t as expensive as an rz67 but just as good?” to my good internet homie austin. right away, he suggested i look into the gs-1 system as a very viable option that was a fraction of the cost, and had everything i was looking for. i was familiar with some of the other 6×4.5 bronica systems and loved some of the results that my friend gabe got with his sq-a on our trip to iceland. i found it hard to find a lot of information/videos/reviews of the gs-1 system – especially by the sort of new-age analog photographer that wears brands like noah, beat up air force ones, and a north face purple label gore-tex parka. come on, we all know the type. a lot of these dudes have really honed in on analog photography and i do enjoy a lot of the video’s they’re creating. i’ll be honest, i was bummed that i couldn’t find a video like that about the gs-1.

so next thing i know i’m checking ebay and found a gs-1 kit that was meticulously rated and tested by a small camera shop in toyota, japan. everything was in working order, and i was sold. it was cheap enough to break even if i decided it wasn’t for me (but i love it already). i’ve put 5 rolls through it in about a week, and so far i’ve had two of them developed and scanned. my daughter and i drove around brooksville aimlessly and checked out a few spots that i haven’t photographed in close to ten years, so here the results.

these images were captured on kodak ektar 100, shot and metered at box speed on a bronica gs-1 with the zenzanon pg 100mm 3,5.

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