Bronica D

Bronica Z

Bronica Deluxe Ads (from 1959)

Bronica Deluxe vs. Hasselblad 1959 ad

Bronica Z Manual
Special Thanks to David Brown!
Bronica D Manual
Special Thanks to Michael Beard!

Stephen Gandy's Bronica D Camera Review Page

The Bronica series began with the rare model Z camera developed by Zenza Bronica (after founder Zenzaburo Yoshino) in 1958 (and produced through 1961). The model Z Bronica had several world's firsts to its credit:

Bronica Deluxe ("D")

The Bronica Deluxe, or "D" model camera was introduced in 1960 by Zenza Bronica. As the forerunner of an unbroken series of 2 1/4 square SLR cameras, it incorporated many design features still not found on competitive equipment after more than 16 years.

The Deluxe is easily recognized by the following key features:

  1. Focusing mount integral part of body
  2. No advance crank on right side
  3. Focusing scale on upper part of advance/focus knob
  4. Speed dial on outside face of advance/focus knob
  5. Self-timer scale on left side of body
  6. Double exposure dial on right side of body
  7. 3 stud male bayonet fitting on bottom of camera body
  8. Focus lock lever on right front of body

The Deluxe has double exposure capability, shutter speeds to 1/1250th second, a 2-10 second self-timer which also allowed timed long exposures of 2-10 seconds, and a locking lever to lock the camera's focusing mount at any desired point.

All small bayonet mount Auto-Nikkor and Zenzanon lenses fit the Deluxe, as well as all five "S" series prisms and hoods. The S2A grips, however, will not fit due to the bayonet fitting on the camera base, and a special tripod adapter #81502 was required to use either of these grips.

Features of Deluxe

Other unique features distinguish the new Bronica*
*so original they're protected by more than 60 patents

Source: Bronica Ads

Bronica Deluxe

[Source: November 1962 p. 171 Popular Photography Camera Annual Buying Guide]

Bronica D

Special thanks to Mick Doe for providing this review information!

Source: British Amateur Photography Magazine Fact-Sheet
(See Cameras - The Facts - A Collector's Guide 1957-64 for originals)

Bronica (1959 Deluxe?)

three lenses - 75mm f2.8, 50mm f3.5, 135mm f3.5 Nikkors, all autodiaphragm
focal plane shutter - 1-1/1250th seco and 10-1 second and Bulb; FP, M, F and X synch
built-in self-timer; ground glass focusing, instant return mirror, filminder backs
89x86x135mm in size, 1,400 grams with standard 75mm f2.8 lens

Bronica Camera Inc. - Anglophoto Limited 880 Champagneur Montreal PQ in Canada
Caprod Limited 111 Fifth Avenue New York 3 N.Y. in U.S.

photos of flash gun attachment which is round with flash foot holder on top and sliding bar;
tripod attachment (round knob)and penta-prism viewfinder for 1959 (first model)

Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999
From: Jose Menendez
Subject: Re: [Rollei] off topic: bronica

GrEgoire_Vandenschrick?= wrote:

> This is may be off-topic, but you all could give
> some comments...
> I'm interested by the early slr bronica camera, as
> the Z and D model, could
> you say me if it is easy to find, what is a honest
> price to pay for this and
> what can I expect from these cameras, are they
> reliable, are the optics good
> enough to work with (in comparison may be with the
> planar 3.5)?
> Thanks for your ideas in this matter.
> Greg
> Gregoire Vandenschrick,

Dear Greg

The early Zenza Bronicas Z and D are wondeful cameras and very interesting from the collector point of view; really original and inovative for the time (1959).

As picture takers they have a doubious fame on reliability but in my short experience with a model Z that I own, I found very satisfactory results, and the lenses I used are exquisite in all aspects: the normal Nikkor 2,8/75mm and the Nikkor-P 4/200mm tele.The performance is fantastic.

This cameras are not easy to find but the prices are not too high either.

If you can find one in good working order you will enjoy it without any doubt.


Date: Thu, 11 Oct 2001 10:07:51 -0500
Re- Bronica Z


The first model Bronica, known as Z into Deluxe, was a high precision
largely handmade camera.

It evolved with minor changes throughout its life. It was discontinued as
being too expensive to make and the later models were simplified.

I have had several of them and have one now (which I have had for over 20
years) that works perfectly.

Ken Ruth, of Photography on Bald Mountain, is one of the best camera
technicians in the US.

He earned his way through college using that early Bronica to take photos he

When it dropped into the Pacific, he stripped it down and overhauled it. He
still has that camera and it works perfectly.

There is nothing wrong with that camera, and it has such additional hidden
features as-

1- Auto first frame loading like Rolleiflex Automat.
2- Retractable pressure plate when advancing film and then pressing forward
for flat film plane.
3- Very sharp groundglass - excellent for critical focusing.
4- 4X Nikkor magnifier in Waist Level finder.

The list of known features is even more amazing.

Although this looks like a grey Hasselblad - it has no further similarity.
It is Zenzaburo Yoshino's dream camera (took over 10 years to develop) and won awards for him - and is a true landmark camera in the history of photography.

Its bad reputation is not deserved. It is now a high priced collectible.

- Sam Sherman

From: Bob Shell>
Subject: Re: [camera-fix] Re: Kalimar Reflex
Date: Thu, Oct 11, 2001, 

> From: "Mark Stuart">
> Date: Thu, 11 Oct 2001 > To:
> Subject: [camera-fix] Re: Kalimar Reflex
> Yep, the Bronica Z (1958) was the first.  But the next was the Fujita
> 66SQ of 1960 (and the Kalimar Reflex of the same year adopted it that
> year, but later); the 660 came out in 1963.

Of course if you confine your list to cameras that work, Fujita wins, since
no Bronica Z ever worked long enough to finish a roll of film! g>


Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2001 From: Peter Caplow To: Robert Monaghan Subject: Bronica Z or D Hi Bob, Just when I thought I had this whole Z versus D thing figured out, along comes something to confuse me again. A current Ebay auction for a Z at;=1287802768 has an addendum saying that the seller's friend, Roger Phillips, The Bronica Collector, insists that it's really a Deluxe type 1. I compared the pictures of the camera being offered to a) Stephen Gandy's wonderful Cameraquest review of the D at and b) Your Bronica D Manual page at [updated link - old address was at old site at]. The pictures of the right side of the D in Gandy's review show the large round knob on the right side of the film back mounted quite close to the top of the back (just like the camera being auctioned off on Ebay) while the pictures in the Bronica D Manual have the same knob exactly centered on the side. Were there 2 versions of the magazine made for the D? It's already getting a little hazy, but I think that I thought that the knob placement was a way of distinguishing between the Z and the D. If that's not the case, how can one tell them apart? Peter Caplow

Note: Information above abstracted in part from:
AD-180B5M Dated 5/74 Titled Bronica Product Guide