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  1. #1
    cooltouch's Avatar
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    Loading a Bronica ETR-series insert

    I recently bought an ETRSi outfit. It came with an early style 120 back and an Ei 220 back. I haven't used the 220 back yet, but I bought an Ei back shell to replace the early one, which was damaged, and I'm still using the early 120 insert.

    I've only run two rolls of film through it so far, and I'm having spacing issues. I have read that, with other cameras, spacing problems can occur if the film wasn't loaded optimally. So I'm thinking this might be the problem here.

    With both rolls, the first frame was partially exposed prior to it being taken. Also with both rolls, frame spacing varied from an overlap of maybe 1/32" to gaps of over 1/2". Because of the large gaps on one roll, I got only 14 exposures.

    I know it was my own clumsiness that led to the partial exposure of the first frames. I thought I was being careful, but I guess I wasn't being careful enough. I was also conscientious about taking out all the slack I could before loading the roll into the insert and before loading the insert into the back.

    The manual mentions that the preferred method of loading film is with the back attached to the camera, and using the camera's film wind crank to advance the film to the start position. I haven't tried this method yet, but it seems to me that it shouldn't matter whether it's done that way or with just the insert alone.

    Because the spacing differences appear to be occurring on a random basis, I don't know what to think. Maybe this old insert is worn out and needs repair? The gear that engages a gear in the body doesn't show any significant signs of wear -- and neither does the gear in the body -- and it doesn't slip at all when I turn it. So, I dunno.

    So if you have any tips to pass along, I'd sure appreciate it.

  2. #2
    AlexG's Avatar
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    The spacing on my EI backs are all over the place. It's not that bad though. The pictures seem to alternate between close together and farther apart. I'm guessing it's just an age problem.


    How bad is the spacing?

  3. #3
    cooltouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    The spacing on my EI backs are all over the place. It's not that bad though. The pictures seem to alternate between close together and farther apart. I'm guessing it's just an age problem.


    How bad is the spacing?
    Well, as I mentioned, it varies between about a 1/32" overlap to over 1/2" space between frames. There isn't a pattern to the spacing variability that I can see.

    I can detect absolutely no slop in the mechanism when I turn the film crank handle and hold on to the insert's film crank. I'm assuming there is a pawl of some sort that drops into place to stop the crank after advancing the film. I'm guessing that this could be a problem. But before I decide whether that's it or not, I'm gonna shoot at least one more roll. I just loaded a roll of Ektar, and this time was very careful not to let any slack get into the roll as I loaded it onto the insert. I feel confident that absolutely no light reached frame 1 and that slack was minimized.

    One thing I just now noticed is, with the film loaded and the back in place on the camera, I can rotate the film crank on the insert counter clockwise (the direction the film will turn). The gear in the body is spring-loaded, which allows for the back's gear to slip by. Something else to watch for I suppose.

  4. #4
    wiltw's Avatar
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    Bronica E inserts are not fussy about loading to achieve good spacing. Inserts need not be mounted on the body to load, to achieve good spacing. When I used to use my Bronice ETRSi for wedding coverage in the 90's, I never loaded inserts on the body, they were removed from the backs while off the body, and loaded. Your inserts are in need of servicing.

  5. #5
    cooltouch's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback, wiltw.

    Today I noticed another issue with this back, probably related. I don't recall this happening when I exposed the first two rolls, but it is now. I have to take maybe six or seven exposures before the film will advance past frame 1. I checked this by opening the back up inside a changing bag, and was able to confirm that the film had not advanced. I did this check, respooling and the reloading the roll of film several times before finally, in exasperation, I just kept taking exposures on frame 1. After about six or so, it advanced to frame 2. Once it started advancing, it appeared to behave normally. I've shot about half a roll so far, and I guess I'll see soon how this works. But this new wrinkle is most annoying.

    I'm very much a fix-it-yourself person, and I've repaired cameras, lenses, flashes, and motor drives in the past. So, I'll probably pull up the leatherette and have a closer look as to what's going on with this back and see if there's anything I can do to fix the problem. I've located an ETRSi repair manual, but so far haven't been able to find a repair manual for the ETR backs. If you know of a source, or if you can provide any tips on this sort of repair, I'd appreciate your passing along the info.

  6. #6

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    Anyone can make a Digital print, but only a photographer can make a photograph.

  7. #7
    cooltouch's Avatar
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    Thanks, Paul. And thanks for the follow-up over at the repair forum. I'll open it up after I've finished the roll I have loaded right now. I plan on going out in a while and shooting some, so I should be able to get to this maybe later today. I'll let you know what I find.

  8. #8
    cooltouch's Avatar
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    My apologies for resurrecting a stale thread, but since I started it and didn't do the follow-up the way I promised, I felt I should add at least one more post for closure reasons, if nothing else.

    This ETRSi looks like it was dropped. The prism finder had a small crack on one corner of its base. The plastic frame the finder fits into had a crack at one spot, and the back was broken at a support for one of the film guide rollers, and the roller was actually hanging away from its pin's socket. Or whatever it's called. I was able to repair everything using super glue, and now the camera and back are fully functional again.

    The repair to the back fixed both the spacing issues and the problem with it not advancing to the first frame. Don't really understand why it fixed the advancing problem, but I'm not complaining



 

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