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  1. #1

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    Bronica SQ-am film advance in very low temperatures

    I intend to use my Bronica SQ-am in very low temperatures and 40 centigrades below the freezing point is not uncommon here in northern Norway where I live.
    I'm worried about film getting brittle and tear or crack when the motor winder advances frames in these temperatures, and I'm wondering if its possible to advance the film manually and very carefully at low speed by using the advancing knob located in the film-back. Is this possible at all, and will it cock the shutter?
    I have experience with advancing film manually with my ETRSi in 20 centigrades below zero, and I noticed very small cracks in the edge of the film roll, so 40 below really worries me taking into account that the SQ-am winds the film rather fast.

  2. #2
    glbeas's Avatar
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    I would worry also about static discharge at those temperatures with a fast winding camera. Is there a good reason for not using the ETRSi this time around?
    Gary Beasley

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by glbeas View Post
    I would worry also about static discharge at those temperatures with a fast winding camera. Is there a good reason for not using the ETRSi this time around?
    You're absolutely right. At those temperatures the air is extremely dry and static discharge will be a problem also. Yes, I could use the ETRSi, but it would be nice to override the usual operation of the SQ-am. Wether the back counts the frames or not is less of a problem, as long as I can advance the film very carefully and slow and cock the shutter. Also the SQ-am has a prism-finder with an exposure meter built in which is handy in some situations.

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    Why don't you shoot a couple rolls and see what happens?

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    With the camera set to "multiple exposure" it will not wind the film. That takes you halfway where you want to be.
    Next thing would be to advance the film manually after each shot.

    I don't know whether you can use the manual wind on the film back to move on to the next frame. There probably isn't a stop, so watching the frame counter advance would be the way to tell that the film is in position for the next frame. But will it work?

    Can't you run a test film through the thing? Or even an 'empty' backing paper?

  6. #6
    glbeas's Avatar
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    Another item to consider is the life of the batteries at such low temperatures. Most extreme wintertime shooters do better with a manual wind if the mittens permit it. I have used an SQAi with an optional external AA battery pack that can be tucked under the clothing to keep them going. I wonder if such a thing exists for theSQAM?
    Sounds to me you need to ask Santa for a metering prism for the ETRSi.
    Gary Beasley

  7. #7

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    I do have a testroll that I use for instances like this, and the multiexposure-mode lets me cock the shutter as much as I wish. I'll see when I get home from work if its possible to advance frames by using the knob on the film back. If it is I'm home free. Would be nice to operate the SQ-am completely manually in low temps since this camera has a few nice features that I would not miss out on. The square format is one thing that I would like to be able to use under any condition.

  8. #8

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    One of the reasons I love my Hassy, simplicity.

    Mike

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by glbeas View Post
    Another item to consider is the life of the batteries at such low temperatures. Most extreme wintertime shooters do better with a manual wind if the mittens permit it. I have used an SQAi with an optional external AA battery pack that can be tucked under the clothing to keep them going. I wonder if such a thing exists for theSQAM?
    Sounds to me you need to ask Santa for a metering prism for the ETRSi.
    Yes, the SQ-am has a socket for plugging in an external power pack. The power packs are easy to make at home too. My DSLR dies on me after five minutes in those temperatures. Photography under circumstances like these are very little about photography and very much about just planning for being able to shoot at all.
    Forty centigrades below the freezing point is no joke. Last winter I brought an extentioncord for the electrical engine heater on my car outside and it took just a few minutes for soft rubber insulation to get hard as bone. I could have placed the cable vertically up into the air if I wanted to. Ten years ago we had minus 53 here, and the rubber insulation fell off the elecrical system of cars and started fires.
    Now, that's seriously cold. But when you do get to shoot the images are wonderful. The cold brings out all the beauty that nature has to offer and colors are out of this world.

  10. #10

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    Had spent 2 hours in the forest with -10C today, that was fine. But -40C and I would probably fail way before my ETR-Si does

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