Bronica S problem: advancing flim, skipping frames

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by IloveTLRs, Dec 4, 2007.

  1. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    I just got a Bronica S (NOT an S2) the other day and I'm having some problems with it.

    The biggest problem I'm having is loading film. Sometimes I'll put the film in, close the back and advance waiting for the counter to reach "0". For the first 3 films I put in, the counter didn't advance and I ended up winding the film from one spool to the other :mad:

    I just put a roll of Tri-X through over the weekend and while the pictures came out fine (exposure, focus) frame 12 was blank because two exposures were done over each other (around frame 4.)

    I'm wondering if I've got a lemon here, if it just needs basic oiling or I'm doing something wrong? I've read that before the S2, Bronicas used brass gears which could be seen as an Achilles Heel.

    Any advice, insight, etc. would be appreciated ... :smile:
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Sounds like a problem with the back more likely than with the camera, but you should send both in to be checked out. The usual recommendations for repairs in the U.S. are Frank Marshman, whom I use, at Camera Wiz in Harrisonburg, VA and Koh's Cameras on Long Island (www.kohscameras.com), but I suspect there's someone closer to home in Japan.

    I don't know if there are other Japanese participants on the Bronica forum on Yahoo!Groups, but you might ask there for service recommendations in Japan.
     
  3. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    Thanks for the advice. I know a few camera places downtown who might be able to help me out.

    Perhaps switching backs would fix the problem ...
     
  4. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    Another question: are backs from the Bronica S2 compatible with the S?
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, S/S2/S2a backs are all compatible. There were earlier backs that were 120 only, but all of mine are 12/24 backs that switch between 120 and 220.

    EC and EC-TL backs and backs for the later SQ system are not compatible with the S-series.
     
  6. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    Thanks! That's what I thought.
    I'm going to go for an S2 back and see if that fixes things. If it does, I'm all set. If not I'll get it looked at and have two backs anyway :smile:
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Bronica stuff is pretty cheap these days. I got most of my backs (I have five, plus a parts back that I converted to a groundglass back) for around $80 each some years ago, and they're probably less now, so you can afford to use the Zone system and have two speeds of color or shoot all day without reloading, if you want.
     
  8. wclavey

    wclavey Member

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    I have a Bronica s2a and when I was first learning to use it, I found that if the film carrier was not seated squarely in the back so that both of the levers snapped back into place, then the film counter did not engage correctly... sometimes it wound all the way thorugh and never registered on the counter and sometimes it never engaged the winding mechnism at all and you would wind & wind and the film never moved.
     
  9. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, there was a 645 back. It's one of the few S2a accessories I've never owned. They don't come up too often. It's a horizontal back. There is a 90 degree prism that might make verticals less awkward with such a thing, but the prism is kind of dark, so I never considered the 645 back to be terribly practical. Better to shoot 6x6 and be able to crop horizontal from anywhere in the frame.
     
  11. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    What are these levers you speak of? :confused: Maybe the S back doesn't have those ...
     
  12. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    There are two pins, one on either side of the insert, that snap into the back. If they aren't snapped in all the way, the back won't work properly.
     
  13. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    I have the 12-only back (120.) One thing I noticed is that the manual says you can advance the film manually by using the dial-looking thing on the side (winder?) On mine it does nothing; it just spins freely. Every so often it seems to catch, but mostly it does nothing so I was thinking maybe the gears aren't catching. This was one of the reasons I was thinking that the back is kaput.

    I have an S2 back that should be coming this week. We'll see if that fixes the problem (I hope it does ... )
     
  14. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Well, then the gears might not be catching, but the insert still needs to snap in. If that's your problem, then you won't need any repairs.
     
  15. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    Sorry to keep rehashing this ...

    It was my understanding (I think from the manual) that if the back latch won't close (moving the lever from O to C) then the film carrying apparatus thing isn't inserted properly. I've tried pushing quite hard and there have been no snaps; the film carrier came out a little and the back closed properly. I have been practicing with a roll of backing paper (no film) put onto a spool. Loading is fine, advance seems to be ok and the shutter is fine.

    My new back should be coming tonight, hopefully it will end this ongoing conundrum :D
     
  16. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    Well, I got the S2 back tonight. It looks to be okay. The seller has had the light seals re-done, and I put test roll of backing paper on a spool through and it went no problem.

    The other back I have must be broken, then. Thanks for the help :smile:

    I wonder if should bother asking about having the original back looked at? Repairing it would probably cost more than getting another one (about $50 in the case of the S2 one I got.)
     
  17. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    In today's market, it probably makes sense just to buy more backs if one has a serious winding problem that might cost more to fix than a routine CLA.

    What you might do with the bad one, as I have with one of my "parts" backs, is convert it to a groundglass back. Just get a groundglass of suitable size and epoxy it matte side toward the lens to the film rails. I used a spare S2a groundglass that I had left over after upgrading both of the S2a's I had at the time to SatinSnow glass. I use it for macro work and sometimes with the tilt-shift bellows and occasionally to check the film plane focus against the focus in the finder, to make sure it isn't drifting.
     
  18. wclavey

    wclavey Member

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    Since it seems that the OP's original question was resolved, I won't feel too bad asking a follow-on question here...

    David: On the S2A, the fresnel lens is in the light path between the mirror and the gound glass (...I just pulled mine out and looked), meaning that the fresnel effect would affect the final position of the ground glass if it were removed. When you replaced the original ground glass with a Satin Snow, did you keep the fresnel or remove it? If you removed it, did you make adjustments in the ground glass position?

    I have done the foam replacement myself on this body and I am familiar with assessing and adjusting the ground glass position, I was just interested in your experience. Thanks.
     
  19. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It's been a while since I've taken it apart, but as I recall the fresnel sits in a recessed position below the groundglass, and the matte side of the groundglass rests on rails or maybe it's a rail on one side and two metal supports on the other side with springs pushing up on the glass, and then the frame clamps it all down, so the fresnel does not affect the position of the groundglass, and the focusing surface of the new groundglass is in exactly the same position as was that of the old groundglass. Dave Parker also happens to be a classic Bronica shooter, so he tested it on his before I bought my glass from him.

    When the foam in the groundglass frame deteriorates, of course, the springs below the groundglass push up on the glass, and the foam isn't able to press down on it anymore, so that it is no longer in registration, which is the cause of the common focus problem with the older Bronicas.
     
  20. wclavey

    wclavey Member

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    Thanks. Your description is accurate to my s2a and to the repair manual I have.

    I was under the impression from other threads I have read about fresnels that the fresnel lens altered the focal distance by about 33% of the thickness of the fresnel... So, for example, if a fresnel is 1.8mm thick and in the path to the ground glass, the fresnel actually optically shortens the path by 0.6mm (shifts the focal point forward by 33% of 1.8mm), so that removing the fresnel, even if the gg is held in the same position, would make it so that the image focuses at a different place.

    But it has been a while since I read all that - - I will need to review it. Thanks for your quick response.