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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i hope you all are continuing to stay safe. a lot of people are going full tilt back to their version of normalcy. i’ve continued to keep my social interaction very small, and i hope you all are as well. without a doubt, this has made me realize that i am extremely blessed to be able to work at home – as much as it sometimes can get to my mental health – my income hasn’t stopped, and i can work in a safe environment. for that, i am extremely thankful – almost thankful to the point of feeling guilty. i’ve been finding joy in those moments that i give myself to go out, be in my own head, and create images. if i have a day off, or work gets done early – i’ve been just picking a spot on google maps, and driving there with a camera. this playlist is something i put together that sort of captures what i’ve been listening to in those moments.

the earth is not a cold, dead place

when i think back on the last month and a half, i can’t seem to remember one particular thing. it’s been a consistent rush of feelings: anger about not being able to see my daughter as consistently as she’s used to, being scared for my girlfriend’s well-being who was still in new york when things started getting really bad, sadness over the strained relationships with all of my grandparents and their safety during this, anxiety over the security of my job that i’ve been at for not even three months, and even feeling like a selfish jerk for having anxiety over that when so many of my friends (and even family) have been furloughed or laid off from their jobs. usually, it’s easy for me to look back over my last few rolls of film and remember all of the memories that accompany the images. the good and bad ones, but right now even though it’s hard to feel how those memories felt, i see the happiness in my daughters face, the genuine smile on my face when i’m next to the girl i love, and the hope that my newly married friends have for their future together. these were all taken over the last two months from a variety of cameras: bessa r3m, olympus mju, fuji gas645 on a bunch of different film stocks.

if anyone wants or needs to talk, i’m here. just shoot me an e-mail: ryan at thelendingside (dot) com. stay well (and stay home).

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i want to be better about this blog, so here’s my attempt at starting to get back at it. i found an olympus mju for $0.89 cents and i thought it would be fun to use in new york city while i was visiting my girlfriend. i crossed my fingers that it was in working order as it was the only camera i packed, and 5 rolls later i was nervous that i had made a really bad judgement call by exclusively using this completely untested camera that i found at the bottom of a bin full of cheap sunglasses and old phone cases. well, it works perfectly. my two cents: what a great camera to use for capturing memories. it feels so effortless to use and enjoy, there are no bells and whistles but who cares, it’s a tool meant to be used. here are some of the images i made with it, captured on fuji superia 400 pro.

thanks for looking and reading, or just looking. and please, listen to alicks – mu1 .

locations the images were captured at in no specific order: domino park, mr. taku ramen, toy tokyo, coney island, chinatown, shane’s apartment, marcy ave station, west village

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thursday

i walked in my door at 9:45pm. thursday’s are the long days, and the bittersweet ones. spending time with avery is always one of the highlights of my week, but dropping her back off with mom is always hard on me. when i got home tonight, i took 3 aleve’s with a beer and i started thinking about how funny life is. there’s a sun kil moon line from sunshine in chicago that goes, “my back, it fucking hurts, but otherwise i’m fine”, and lately that’s how i’ve been feeling. life has been good to me, i’d even go as far as saying it’s been great. i’m progressing in my career and becoming more and more of a nerd as the days go by. focusing on being a better dad and appreciating my time with avery to the fullest, while also not beating up myself for the things i can’t change. and emotionally, without throwing shade, i realized that i’m happier this way. without the strain of an unhealthy (sorry) relationship that i’m not committed to because thing’s just weren’t right. i don’t want to have to force myself to just believe that things are right. anyways, these four images were taken on one of those thursdays. capture with a fuji klasse w with fuji superia 400. i printed these on 8.5×11 archival paper and framed them on glass-covered clipboards as a donation for cherry bomb media’s stimulating the senses art show. which was a fundraiser for impact academy, a great school in tampa that provides amazing services for children and teenagers who are on the spectrum.