Bronica ETRSi Revisited


I can’t help it but the problems I have with my Bronica ETRSi kept me busy all day long.

Bronica ETRSi loaded with Ilford Delta 100 Strange how some parts of the image are repeated yet I took only one single shot
Bronica ETRSi loaded with Ilford Delta 100
Strange how some parts of the image are repeated yet I took only one single shot

This photograph is kind of a key-image. It seems like a double exposure but it isn’t. I shot only one frame so the repeating castle windows cannot be caused by two half overlapping images. Yet I can relate to the possibility the film advancing mechanism has become faulty. But it does not explain…

Strangely a plausible explanation had been lying in front of me for many days without me noticing it.

I showed the two scans (previous post) to my colleague and friend S. who is a keen amateur photographer and who makes amazing work. He mumbled something about bad film transport but could not explain the double exposure either.

Then I emailed a few scans to P. from whom I had bought the Yashica Electro 35 and who also repairs mechanical camera’s as a hobby.

We exchanged a few messages and then came clue one. He asked me if I had used another lens.

That made me think.

So lets rewind to past Friday. The first two rolls of 120 I had shot where perfect. I started a fresh one but finished it only a few days later. Except for the first frame everything was a gooey mess of overlaid frames and so on.

What had changed?

I like to use telephoto or wide-angle lenses and for an inexplicable reason I am not that fond of a standard lens.

So I had the 150mm on my Bronica during the first 2 films I shot past Friday. I started the 3th film with a long exposure and changed the lens for a 75mm. That is the standard lens for 6 x 4,5″ like 50mm for 35mm and thus one I had not used for years. That film contained another clue but that I did not see until this evening while writing this post. Yes I know, I can be an ignorant and stupid person.

Yesterday I loaded a new film and used a 150mm for the first shot and it came out perfect. I used the 75mm for images 2 – 9 and they were a mess and then I must have misfired 10 and 11. For the perfect captures 12 to 15 I used the 150mm again. This I consider being clue number two.

Could it be that simple?
A faulty lens causing bad film transport and double exposure like images?Could it really be that simple?

Then I had an aha moment.

Last week my colleague S. showed me two captures he had made early that morning with his Nikon D810 and a very expensive lens. It was an image of the morning sun illuminating the buildings surrounding our office. I liked them both and one of them had a part of the image shifted like a double exposure.

That was my third clue.
The partial shift in his image was not caused by the lens but because of the double glass of the windows.

I could not wait to get home.

Back home this late afternoon I loaded my camera and set it on a tripod pointing towards a table in my living room.

I measured the light, took a pen and a piece of paper.

2x with the 150mm
1x with the lens cap on

2x with the 200mm
1x with the lens cap on

2x with the 50mm
1x with the lens cap on

2x with the 200mm and TTL metering (just for fun)
1x with the lens cap

2x with the 150mm and a macro extension ring
1x with the 200mm

I did not use the 75mm lens.

Then I developed the film and after fixating it I opened the canister. My hands trembled and in my mind I had my fingers crossed.

Except for the blank shots, those with the lens cap, every negative was perfect. No mess, no streaks, no double exposures.

Could it really be the 75mm lens?
I shook the lens, look at it, turned it around but I couldn’t see anything wrong.

Then I went back to film 3 with the first image being perfect but then everything else was a mess.

Yeah, I had missed something and boy was it so very obvious. The answer was right there and I had not seen it.

Halfway the film I changed lenses for just one shot. It was the only one that was okay except for the first one on the film.

Hell do I have a beautiful paperweight. A 75mm f2,8 Zenzanon-PE that cost me a fortune back in the early ’90.

So I do know why but not how.

The Bad, the good and the ugly Bronica ETRSi
The Bad, the good and the ugly
Bronica ETRSi
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10 thoughts on “Bronica ETRSi Revisited”

    1. Stephan,

      Glad to hear your Bronica is alright! (Sorry to hear about the lens though!)

      I do not know much about the Bronica system…are they leaf shutters?

      I suspect your problem may lie there…

      Nicely deduced!

      All the best,
      Mark

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      1. Hi Mark,

        Thank you πŸ™‚ I should have seen this before, one almost completely ruined film except for one shot with a different lens.
        Yes, they are lead shutters but I am not technically enough to even attempt repairing the lens. Fortunately it is the one I use the less. So yes, I am very happy it is not the camera.
        Thank you for stopping by.
        Kind regards,
        Stephan

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  1. I’m obviously a bit late here, I realised immediately that you had a sticking leaf shutter as I have had the same problem. It probably happens at speeds below 60th.

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    1. Hello Andrew, thank you for stopping by and your feedback. Indeed, it is a sticky leaf shutter and fortunately it is not the lens I use the most on the Bronica. I am wondering, did you find a solution? Is it something one can repair or is it more specialised work?
      Kind regards,
      Stephan

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      1. My problem was with an old Mamiya RB67 lens which I don’t own anymore. It only happened in the cold weather, but was fine in summer. The other time was with an old Rolleiflex, and these often have this problem. I had a camera repairer look at it and he sorted it fairly easily.

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