Some basic questions about a Bronica S2

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Kirks518, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. Kirks518

    Kirks518 Subscriber

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    Hi. My first post here, and I just need some basic MF help.

    A friend of mine asked me to sell his (deceased) father's camera equipment. I buy & sell lots of 35mm and digital stuff, but I'm unfamiliar with medium format equipment.

    Before I sell anything, I like to verify it's operation. One thing I was having trouble with, was getting the shutter to fire. The advance would just wind and wind, and never stop. Then I read that film needs to be loaded in the camera for it to fire. Is this correct? There were 4 rolls of film in the bag (all expired no later then 1970), and when I loaded a roll, it seemed to work. I know you're probably saying I answered my own question, but I just wanted to confirm that this is the correct way for it to operate.

    I'm thinking about taking one of the other rolls and doing a little shooting with the camera to make sure there are no light leaks etc. I've used film before that was expired by 30 years, with decent results, so I wouldn't think there would be too many problems with 40 year old film. Is there a trick to loading the film easily? Sorry, if this is incredibly basic, I just know nothing about MF.

    Oh, the equipment is - Bronica S2, Nikkor 75mm, Nikkor 200mm, Waist level VF, Prism VF, and 2 6x6 backs. All of it is pretty close to new condition, which is cool.
     
  2. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    Yes, the camera needs to be loaded with film in order to fire the shutter. When you do fire the focal plane shutter it is going to be loud but that is normal with these cameras. :D

    Google Bronica S2 PDF or Bronica S2 instructions. The original instruction manual is available as a PDF for you to look at. It has instructions and pictures on how to load the film. It may seem daunting at first but the S2 is actually quite easy to load after you have done it a few times. No tricks needed!

    The S2 and earlier Bronicas have softer brass gears in them than the later S2a and EC models. Because of this it is recommended to advance the film with the knob instead of the crank so you don't strip these gears.

    I used to own an S2a and several EC's. You are going to love that 75mm Nikkor. It's a great lens!
     
  3. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    I also used to own an S2A and used it for nineteen years with no problems. It was pretty loud. I had the 75 mm Nikkor and a 150 Zenzanon lens and both were very sharp ... i really can't tell a difference between the sharpness of those old negatives and those taken with my Hasselblads. I had purchased that equipment through the military exchange and sold it for what I had originally paid having essentially used it for free.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  4. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    Yeah, but you get to stick your nose up in the air when you shoot your Hasselblad. :laugh:

    (I own a 500cm)
     
  5. Kirks518

    Kirks518 Subscriber

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    Thanks all. I'm hoping I can find the time tomorrow to run a roll through it. Should be fun.
     
  6. binglebugbob

    binglebugbob Subscriber

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    your S2 may be working fine, but it's a good idea to test it because 1.) it dates to 1965 and 2.) the S2 initially had a lot of problems with jamming that were corrected with the S2A. The S2 didn't have a good reputation. I don't know if there were upgrades available for the S2 or not. If there was, yours may have had them installed.

    Flash sync was very slow, but the Nikkor lenses are superb. There was also a 50mm Nikkor wide angle. After the S2 and S2A, there was the EC with electronically timed shutter, and after that, the ECTL with TTL metering. (then Bronica went to the ETR with leaf shutter.) The backs for the S2, S2A were not compatible with the EC and ECTL, but the lenses were. I had an EC "back in the day" and liked it, but repairs were pricey (it was complicated) and it was difficult to find an independent shop that would work on it.
     
  7. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    RE: Testing a camera with 40 year old film.

    If results are good, you'll know both camera and film are OK. But if results are not good, you won't know whether fault is camera or film. Usually best to stick to one variable at a time.
     
  8. Kirks518

    Kirks518 Subscriber

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    ^ True, but wouldn't light leaks be apparent, even with 'bad' film? I figure unless the film won't expose, or has been exposed, I should be able to tell a light leak from bad film. No? I have access to new film, (local place actually carries MF film) so worst case, I get a new roll.
     
  9. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    Probably, as long as light leak significant enough and the film not too badly fogged. But a more subtle light leak may not be evident if the film is significantly fogged. I think a lot depends on how the film was stored. I assume it wasn't refrigerated.

    In my opinion, to sell a camera and stipulate it's condition based on results from 40 year old film is not wise. But if you're looking to establish the most basic operation (i.e film advances and shutter fires), then perhaps OK. Just my opinion.
     
  10. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    +1

    I'm a small time Ebay Seller of mostly medium format and large format camera equipment. If someone gave me some rolls of 40 year old film, I would shoot it for fun. For testing cameras that I plan on selling I use a new roll.

    If everything works great then don't forget to put in the sale description that you ran a new roll of film through the camera and the spacing was great, the lenses were sharp with beautiful bokeh, blah, blah, blah. :smile:
     
  11. Kirks518

    Kirks518 Subscriber

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    Ok, so I shot a roll of expired (by 43 years) 120 Pan through the camera. I was guessing at exposures, as I didn't have my Sekonic handy when I took them. I also picked up a roll of fresh film when I picked up the negs/CD, so I'll probably be running it through soon.

    Below is are 4 examples of how they turned out, unprocessed. They have close to zero contrast, and kind of cruddy overall. Is this a film problem, a photographer problem, or a camera problem. I realize it'll be guess-work, but just looking for some opinions on where the major problem appears to be. I'm leaning towards the film.

    Thanks for all the help!
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    Well the film is 43 years old. I have never shot film that old but I have seen old color film that produced faded, off colors and lack of contrast.

    Try running a new roll through it and see what you get.
     
  13. Kirks518

    Kirks518 Subscriber

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    Well, grabbed my daughter yesterday, and a fresh roll of Ilford B&W, and shot the roll. I guessed metering (again), but I think I did a lot better. They came back looking just fine. Here are a couple of samples. If you want to see the whole roll, it's here. One photo looks like there were light leaks, but it was the first frame, and I had to load the film twice, as I'm not very smooth with 120, so... yeah. :whistling:


    F1000003_zpsd074ad14.jpg
    F1000009_zps8a6f440e.jpg
    F1000007_zps4c2a0b10.jpg
     
  14. Kirks518

    Kirks518 Subscriber

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    Nobody?
     
  15. Kyle M.

    Kyle M. Member

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    My S2 tends to leak light through the darkslide slot a few frames out of a roll, I simply keep a piece of electrical tape over the darkslide slot and load the camera with the back attached. The only lens I have is the Nikkor 75mm F2.8, and it is one of the sharpest lenses I've ever used rivaling the Mamiya-Sekor lens on my RB67.