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Bronica SQ light seals


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I've made my own seals for my cameras for years...not hard, lots of suppliers out there. One who puts together kits he historically sold on Ebay is Jon Goodman aKA Interslice. I think you need to contact him directly these days though. Try Googling his name, I'm sure somebody has his email address.
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I've sold all my SQ stuff, but after a bit of arm twisting Jon Goodman did sell me a couple of sets of back seals probably two years ago.


Actually, I should say that-I think it was just more that he said he needed to dig the dies out and wasn't overly inclined to do it unless I was ordering a few sets.


Jon's products are as good as any, but I found the Bronicas probably a bit fiddlier than anything else I've done. You could probably do fine if you had bulk foam of the correct thickness, but Jon's instructions also save the day.


The email address I have is jon_goodman AT yahoo.com (remove the spaces and the AT, and replace it with an @)

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Unless my SQ-B is radically different from early SQ bodies, there are no light seals other than interference channels between the body and the back. The seals that can cause leaks if faulty or missing are at the hinges of the shell enclosing the film insert that together comprise the film back. I did replace the hinge seals on a pristine SQ 120 back I got a few years back. Used thin adhesive-backed sheet foam cut to fit on the back's outer shell, Easy DIY job.
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The reason Bronica film backs developed a bad rep for light leaks is due to their light seals not being very well thought out at all. Depending which generation of SQ or ETR film backs you own, they can be a bit of a fussy nightmare when their foam degrades enough to cause leaks. Many owners give up in defeat after multiple attempts at DIY seal replacement, so at times it can seem most of the used backs floating around for sale have leaks.


The problem is Bronica apparently tripped on the carpet, banged their corporate head on a stone wall, and completely forgot everything they ever previously knew about film magazine practicalities when they transitioned from the focal plane S2 and EC series to the leaf-shutter ETR and SQ cameras. The back seals on professional interchangeable medium format backs were subject to very hard use and wear, so most camera designers tried to minimize the number of seals required, and make them as easy to replace as possible. In example, this is about the ONLY thing Hasselblad did not make an absolute hellish hash of: Hassy magazines essentially just have a single seal at the dark slide slot, which is relatively easy to DIY make and replace (theres a semi-permanent velvet seal on the other side, but it lasts for fifty years).


Bronica, for whatever inexplicable reason, took the opposite approach with some versions of the SQ back: the damned thing has something like a dozen little bits of foam in random places, of different sizes and thickness, several in areas that are very tricky to remove/replace cleanly (the seal by the latch hooks is especially tricky in terms of thickness and pliability). If you're unlucky enough to have the most convoluted back version, seal replacement could be rather an ordeal.


A good illustration of the multiple seal locations can be found on Dave Thomas' Bronica SQ page. Here are direct links to the back seal pics from his website:


Back Hinge Light Seals by Dave Thomas




Back Opening Light Seals by Dave Thomas

Edited by orsetto
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