What to look for on Bronica ETRS?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by paul_richardson|9, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. Hey,
    Off to look at an ETRS tonight, just thought I'd quickly ask to see if theres any common problems/faults to look out for? Comes with an AE II viewfinder (so I'l take some batteries to make sure that works), speedgrip, and 75mm lens. Would it be worth taking my dslr, to check metering against, or do you think its not worth the hassle?
  2. I don't know the ETRS well enough to know what to look for in that model.<br>But (and you probably know this) be careful drawing conclusions from meter comparisons. Look for consistency more than a precise match. If there is a discrepancy, it needs to be constant and as long as the difference isn't huge, the meter will be fine.
  3. Paul,
    Use the DSLR to check CONSISTANCY of the ETRS metering over a range of EV's. All metering sources will give slightly different EV's. What is important is that any differences remain relative over a range.
  4. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    For the $250 you'll pay for an ETRS kit, why bother worrying about the meter being accurate in comparrison to a DSLR? Looking a gift horse in the mouth.

    Make sure the camera works n fires properly at all speeds. Is the case cracked indicating it's been dropped? Any brassing or paint wear indicating it was a heavily used camera? Lenses are clear of fungus? Seals in the back rotted? Corrosion on the battery terminals? Smells musky inside?

    If the prism meter isn't working you will get a hand held meeter or a new prism for $20. Besides most meters in MF are never accurate to a DSLR or even to a hand held. You want consistant, repeating the same info reliably in the same situation.

    Most MF cameras have no meters, they were expensive professional's cameras. Meters were an afterthought to appeal to amatuers to broaden the company's market sales.
  5. "Besides most meters in MF are never accurate to a DSLR or even to a hand held. "

    If you mean that no two, different meters give exactly the same reading, i'd agree.
    But accurate the meters in most, if not all, MF cameras absoluetely are. No worries there.

    So if you get to know your meter, know it's metering charateristics, there is no reason why you couldn't use the meter in the ETRS's AE prism at all. So it's worthwhile to check it for defects.
  6. Yeah thats true, thanks for the replys!
    I've been looking for a battery for it all day, to no avail. My friend has the same camera and told me that the shutter will only fire at 1 speed without a working battery. Chances are the battery will be dead in the camera im gonna look at (its been handed down), should I offer slightly less on the basis I cant try all shutter speeds?
  7. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    Buy a battery for it and test it out. More than likely it'll work fine, they are tough cameras and if you are getting a good price, run like hell!
  8. Fires at about 1/500 without battery. Check that battery holder isn't all corroded. Open the back and see if the film plate and rollers aren't all worn. Use the multi ex lever on the side with back off and a flash with pc cord to check the lens and sync. Also note that on an ETRS, SQ, GS the film back mechanism controls the film spacing, not the body like a Hasselblad, so if the adjustment is off, the film spacing and counting will be off, this is hard to check until you develop your roll, are there more than one back. Good Luck
  9. "Also note that on an ETRS, SQ, GS the film back mechanism controls the film spacing, not the body like a Hasselblad"

    Not really helpful information for Paul Richardson, but it's the same with Hasselblads: the magazines contain the spacing mechanism, and all the body does is give it some motion, to use as much of as it needs.
  10. Q.G. ?? On the Hassie after frame one the magazine freewheels, the body stops accordingly. On the Bronica, the body freewheels until the back engages the stop after each frame. You're an expert, and I think I'm not to shabby, so what point are we at odds here?
  11. Thanks for the help! Ending up going maplin and got a battery for £3, gonna brush up on the manual before I go aswell so I know how to properly work all the functions.
  12. Dave,

    Apart from the hooks the magazine sits on, and the hooks and latch that locks the magazine on the camera, the entire interface between a Hasselblad magazine and a camera consists of a pin that senses whether the slide is out and trips the 'exposed' signal, and a single gear in the camera that meshes with a gear in the magazine.
    That gear in the camera always makes one full turn when you turn the camera's wind crank or knob.
    It does that whether there is a magazine attached or not, whether there is film in the magazine, or whatever the frame counter may be at. There is no way the camera can know about any of those, nor adjust when you put on a magazine with a different frame count.

    So what happens is that the gear in the camera does what it does (make one complete revolution, always), and the spacing mechanism in the magazine disengages the gear in the magazine that meshes with the one in the camera (or rather: another gear in the magazine that rides piggyback on that gear in the magazine) when it - the frame spacing mechanism in the magazine - 'knows' it should do so.

    So "the film back mechanism controls the film spacing, not the body" also in a Hasselblad.

    When there are frame spacing problems, it's always the magazine's fault. Never the camera.

    And i would dare to say that this (spacing controlled by mechanism in the back) is how it works in all cameras that have interchangeable magazines.
  13. Q.G., I guess after reading your explaination, where I'm thinking a little differently is that, as you indicated, the Hasselblad body always-and-only makes one revolution. That's the key point for me in our discussion.
    Even if the back isn't working quite right, the body will only crank through that one time even though. But, on the Bronica, there is no fail-safe for this of any kind, so if the spacing mechanism and "stop" fails, the body will just crank away as if the film is finished.
    Overall in my personal experience, a broken Bronica back will just either miss and over space allowing considerable slipping (I've had this several times), or just fail and wind through (less so). On the Hasselblad I have had only two back problems. In both cases the symptoms were different, in one case it simply jammed and wouldn't wind or anything, in the other it wouldn't allow the trigger to depress, thus no shot.
  14. 2 meters = 2 different readings
    3 meters = 3 different readings
    I'm convinced that this is a nearly infinite series.
    So long as the meter is not just plain broken, you can adjust very quickly to its peculiarities, with some practice shooting, as QG says.
  15. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    I think thats an averaging meter. You're going to have difficulty setting up a dslr to match that in terms of the metering algorithm and lens coverage. I don't know what film you're planning to use, but its not a great meter for use with critical material like slides.
    Rather than look for specific faults, here's what I'd look for
    • Clear evidence that all the camera's functions work. Take a roll of film
    • The opportunity at least to put a couple of rolls through the camera and get these processed before the sale becomes final.
    • Ideally a handbook
    • Ideally some evidence that the camera has been serviced this side of the millenium
  16. Ok, so it wasnt the ETRSi, was infact the ETRS, hed just used some stock photos!
    Couldnt figure out how to get it firing though, possibly just my lack of knowledge, but wasnt gonna risk it until ive done some research on internet. Anyway, flicked the level on RH side (holding camera asif using it), which allowed it to wind on. Upon pressing the shutter button, nothing happened, but it could be wound on further.
    Any ideas how to fire properly? Also, is there a lock or somethign for the viewfinder, seemed a bit loose, but I guess its just a clip or something?
  17. Paul,

    ETRSi-s are cheap today. So if you expected an ETRSi, why not look elsewhere to get one of those?
    Anyway, Butkus.org has a manual for the ETRS online that may be helpful.


    I see what you mean.
    With Hasselblad cameras and magazines, spacing problems only become obvious when you have developed the roll and see that they are there.
    There are a couple of things that can create spacing problems (both too little and too much space between frames), all except two require no more than a slight adjustment - often no more than a tightening of screws - in the back (one of the other two requires replacing a nylon stop, the other that you load the film correctly). But you do not get to notice any of these problems while using the camera and magazine.
    And a magazine can also (not that it does often enough that i could not have said it never does) jam mid wind, blocking the camera until you have taken the magazine off. That's something you obviously will notice right away.
  18. It was listed as an etrs, just the stock photo suggested it was an etrs-i.
    After doing some more reading around, Im more inclined towards the SQ series now anyway, as you can swap between 6x6 and 645. I have a broken SQ-A body only coming in the post, so I should wait and see if that is fixable.
    I've not seen any complete SQ kits within my budget though (£150~), as far as I can see, I would need to increase it to around £200 to that setup.
  19. I just bought an ETRs, my first MF camera. Until I put film in it, the shutter would not fire. The multiple exposure lever
    did not help.
  20. I think it might not have fired, 'cos I forgot to take the darkslide out. Gonna email the seller and tell him to try it, and let him know Im not longer interested in buying it (gonna hold out for an SQ instead).
    Picked up a battered SQ WLF from rockcameras for £22.50, figured at that price I might aswell get one. Even if I end up getting a complete kit camera kit that includes a WLF, I can always stick it back on ebay. The cheapest ones I could find were still like double the price, so looks like a bargain.
  21. Martin Gomez: That's strange. My ETRSi fires even without a back attached when I flip the multi exposure lever. The shutter colar has 2 positions on my ETRSi. Up locked, 45deg for SpeedGrip trigger, 90deg body and grip trigger. The body won't fire on the first 2 positions. Maybe you did not do all steps properly ?
  22. Could be...I started shooting film in it almost immediately, and it works with film in it. I'll try again, and RTFM.n thanks
    for your post.

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