Bronica SQ problems

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by mooseontheloose, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    So I just received my "new" SQ-A from fleabay (so many problems!!!) and I'm trying to make things work, rather than send it back, but I'm getting really frustrated.

    Are there any special tricks that I should know about when trying to take off the lens, or remove the back, or take off the prism? I have the manual and know what all the little buttons and levers are for, and am trying to follow the instructions, but nothing seems to work. I don't know if it's just me, or the camera ("in perfect working condition"). Before I send off another complaint to the seller, I thought I would ask here first.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Ian Cooper

    Ian Cooper Member

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    You can't remove the lens (catch on the left of the body) unless the camera has been wound on, thus recocking the shutter. The mirror doesn't automatically return to the viewing position after exposure, this also only happens when you wind on, so it can be an easy way to tell what state the camera is in - if you can see through the viewfinder, then the lens is recocked.

    You can't fit a lens to the camera unless the shutter has already been recocked (you can trip the shutter manually with the lens off the camera, I think it is detailed how in the manual)


    Dependant upon the age of the back, you can only remove it once the darkslide has been inserted correctly. There is a little pip at the one end of the slide which disengages the interlock mechanism. For this to work you need to make sure the darkslide is the right way up (the symbol on the slide should match the symbol on the body). If this is the case then just pressing the release button on the left of the camera will allow the bottom of the back to swing out and the top of the back can be unhooked.

    I think the darkslides for the interlock have a grey handle, whilst the older non-interlocked backs have a darkslide with a black handle. I haven't tried swapping them, but I suppose trying to use an older slide with a newer interlocked back might not trip the interlock so wouldn't let you remove the back. My camera's not to hand at the moment to experiment.


    I only use the waist level finder on my SQA, so can't help about prism issues, but the waist level can be removed at anytime by depressing the catch on the right hand side of the body and sliding the finder towards the rear of the camera.
     
  3. David Henderson

    David Henderson Member

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    If you can tell us precisely what aspects of the camera operation don't seem to work it would help to generate useful answers. What won't it do?

    Put lens on/take it off?
    Fire?
    Take back off?
    Remove insert from back whilst mounted on camera?
    Load film?
    Cock/wind on?
    take a meter reading? (If prism is of a metering type
    Remove/refit prism?
    Run a battery check?
    Achieve focus?

    Frankly if one starts along the lines of "how do I make a Bronica work" we'll all be here all day, so clues will help.
     
  4. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    David - I thought I was being specific: when trying to take off the lens, or remove the back, or take off the prism? I never make random general posts like what you've suggested. Sorry if it wasn't a bit more clear, it was pretty late last night when I posted.

    Ian - I have cocked the shutter, and pressed the lens release lever but nothing happens. I can't rotate the lens in any way, shape, or form. It seems strange to me that it's so firmly attached to the body. (This is the same issue I have with the prism).

    And it appears that I won't be able to remove the back at all until I get a darkslide -- one was not provided with the back at all. (did I mention there were issues?) I thought perhaps one could remove the back without the darkslide but I guess not (it's not really clear in the manual). Opening the back and removing the insert is not the problem. It's just removing the entire back that is.
     
  5. asp.artist

    asp.artist Member

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    With my SqA I just open the back, pull out the inset and load the film. No Darkslide needed, which is good because I don't have one. I've had no problems with the view finder. But these cameras a different than your usual slr, even odder than a tlr. they take some time getting used to.
    Anne
     
  6. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    I know that the lens release lever needs a fingernail assist. You push quite hard and you'll feel a small "click" as the lens is unlocked. It took me a little getting used to when I first got one. The finder release is similar. They're great cameras but a little idiosyncratic. The back? - No way, no how without the darkslide. As you point out, however, you can still use the camera by opening the back and loading the insert.

    Does seem strange that you have the same problem with the lens and finder releases though.

    Bob H
     
  7. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    As BobNewYork suggests, the release buttons for the lens and the viewfinder are sometimes a bit reluctant to operate. The motion is a good eigth of an inch (3 or 4 mm) when they're operated. You might try pushing the viewfinder or torquing the lens opposite to the direction for removal and operating the release buttons to see if the internal catch is hanging up a bit.

    At the bottom of the darkslide slot is a separate little slot where the interlock tab from the darkslide slips in. The tab is about a sixteenth of an inch long and not quite as wide. The slot looks a bit narrow for a typical paperclip, but a little sliver of something pushed gently in there about 1/16 inch should allow removing the back.

    Since you have a manual and it sounds as though you're in tune to how it should work, I would be inclined to send it back rather than torment yourself too much. At least put the onus on the seller to make it right or explain. There's more SQ-A fish in the sea...
     
  8. Shangheye

    Shangheye Member

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    This may be obvious and you know it, but the lens turns the opposite direction to the normal SLR lenses when Putting them on/off the Bronica. Also...you are using the right switch? On my SQ Ai they are identical but on opposite sides of the body...and I still get them confused. K
     
  9. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    Good point. Did that all the time - even after 15 years of regular use! I know - it's that little nut behind the lens !:D
     
  10. David Henderson

    David Henderson Member

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    If there's no darkslide the back won't come off. A back without a darkslide doesn't really qualify as "perfect working order" in my book because whilst you may be able to load film by taking out the insert, the use of interchangable backs is an integral part of th camera's design and function.

    Assuming there is no film in the camera you need to activate the multiple exposure switch on the upper rhs (looking from back to lens) of the body before you can cock/wind on the camera with no film in it. Don't ask- its a Bronica thing. When activated the multiple exposure switch points forward. When off it points up. You can't get the lens off without cocking/winding on. If you have film in the camera , and you can cock/wind on and fire but not release the lens when cocked, you have a faulty camera. If you have no film in the camera but have activated multiple exposure , cocked and wound on the camera and you can't release the lens , you have a faulty camera.

    "I can't get the prism off" is in some respects the oddest. The switch front right affects only a tiny post and I'd imagine is spring operated and independent from the camera's function.
     
  11. jolynned

    jolynned Member

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    Rachelle, my Sq-A is very reluctant to release the lens. So much so that I have to press the lever past the point of what feels safe. However, if you're having all of these issues with the back, lens and prism, I'd send it back for a refund.
     
  12. vdonovan

    vdonovan Subscriber

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    The prism can be tricky too: you push the latch and then you need to slide the prism housing backward. (Or is it forward?) This is the simplest component, with no interlocks, so you should be able to get if off no matter what else is going on.

    You definitely can't remove the back without a slide.
     
  13. Peter Black

    Peter Black Subscriber

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  14. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    Wow - thanks everyone. I'm at work at the moment so I can't check all these things out right now. However, part of the problem may be my reluctance to push too hard on a system that is new to me. The last thing I want to do is break something while the seller is totally at fault. According to him/her, the camera was recently serviced so I wasn't expecting all these issues. This is my 21st camera (!) and certainly not my first SLR or medium format camera (although it is my first MF SLR) so I'm pretty good finding my way around cameras. However, as some people have mentioned, the Bronica may just take a little while to get used to.
     
  15. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    While I'm not sure how much can be accomplished by removing the back without the darkslide in, I confirmed my earlier post. Pushing in through the little slot below the darkslide slot does release the back interlock. The 1 mm wide jeweler's screwdriver shown here worked nicely.

    [​IMG]


    (And yes, the grody combination shown is from my backup components, currently assembled with a pinhole body cap.)

    DaveT