Bronica SQ-AM

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Nancy Giroux

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Nov 25, 2004
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Hi
This is my first post over here. I have visited several times, though. I started shooting 35mm a long time ago and then went digital. There have been many times that I miss film. So, recently, I purchased a Bronica SQ-AM body off of Ebay and picked up a lens and back at KEH. I got the camera for a song and a dance, so I figured I had very little to lose. I found the manual on line, so that has been helpful in figuring out how to put this camera together.
The motor seems to work fine. Everything looks to be in good condition.
I loaded the film into the film back according to the manual. When I pressed the motor drive, the film does not advance from S to 1. Does anyone have any suggestions or pointers they can share with me.
Thanks so much!
Nancy
 

dschneller

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Sorry Nancy, I'm not familiar with the -AM but I use the manual advance version an SQ. After loading the film you need to advance a number of frames to go from S to 1 since 120/220 film has a long paper leader. The motor drive may only advance one frame at a time and may not automatically go to the first frame of the film.

Dave
 

Bob F.

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Like Dave I only have the manual wind version of the SQ-A, but obvious possible culprits are the batteries. There is a manual here: (http://www.butkus.org/chinon/bronica_sq-a/bronica_sq-a.htm) which is probably the one you found already but I list it just in case... There is says:
G. Upon loading the film, set the mode selector switch to Sm or Cm and depress the drive button, which will place the first frame into position for taking the picture.
It also says you can wind the film to the 1st frame manually (obviously it is better to use the motor):
H. When the film back is detached from the camera main body for film loading, the manual film winder is used for advancing the film. The film will stop when it is in place for the first exposure, with the exposure counter also changing to "1 ". However, it will be possible to rotate the manual film winder and, therefore, it should be rotated 2 or 3 times more, in order to take up any slack in the loaded film.
Other possibilities are to play with the camera settings: try it with the darkslide inserted and again when removed. Try with and without a lens attached. Also check that you don't have the mirror-up lever engaged; ditto the multi-exposure lever: the SQ-A can be temperamental about such things...

Sorry if you have already tried all this....

Good luck, Bob.
 
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Nancy Giroux

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Dave and Bob
Thanks so much! I will try the suggestions. The shutter seems awfully loud when I trip it.
Is that normal?
Thanks again
Nancy
 

bon-jip

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I only have a SQA but the mirror ”slap” is distinctive. Try locking the mirror up (if this is possible on the SQAM) and listening to just the shutter.
 

dschneller

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Yes, the mirror does make quite a distinctive sound, I found it quite loud myself the first time I tested the camera. I soon got used to it, and as bon-jip suggests you can use mirror-lock-up if you are worried about mirror vibration.

If you want to get used to the camera, run a roll through the camera and keep the spools and paper backing. You can then use this 'test' spool to become experienced with the operation of the camera without wasting any film. :smile:
 
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Nancy Giroux

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I appreciate your help!
dschneller.... I already wasted a roll of film trying to figure this monstor out. LOL
As I was shooting frames, a red light was going off at the top of my viewing screen. The manual says that this means somthing is not right. Now, I have to figure out what that is.
The film appeared to be loaded properly according to the manual. I believe I put the lens on correctly, but if the film window is telling me that the film is not advancing, and I am seeing this red light, something must be wrong. I was able to advance the film with the crank, but the red light went off every time I tripped the shutter. The manual is a bit difficult to follow and not all that descriptive. I'll keep plugging away, just thought I should mention I am seeing this red warning light.
Thanks
Nancy
 

Bob F.

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The light is dual purpose: It is only a warning light if it stays on. At other times, it flashes every time the shutter closes (at least, it does on my SQ-A) - useful when you are doing an 8 second exposure and you are not sure how long that is or using the mirror-lockup feature (the shutter itself, being a leaf shutter, is very quiet) - the flash lets you know you can wind on.

Can you wind the film on when the back is off the camera using the little manual crank (fiddly, I know). If so then this implies the film is loaded into the back correctly, iliminating that possible cause.

Although the film advance indicator does not move, is the film actually being advanced by the motor drive? The indicator may be broken but film is being advanced correctly. In which case return the film back to where you bought it.

Are you sure you have a 120 back and not a 220 version?

It may be worth searching out someone locally to you that has experience of this type of camera and see what they think if you still don't get anywhere...


Good luck, Bob.
 
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dschneller

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Bob is correct, the light blinks when the shutter closes. Check the small finger crank on the film back to see if it moves when the camera advances to the next frame. Just like on a 35mm camera when you racket the film lever you will see the film rewind knob move. Develop the roll you have already taken, it may lead you to discovering what the problem is. And who knows, you may find you took a complete roll of usable pictures. If not return the back to KEH.
 
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Nancy Giroux

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Ok...you guys have been extremely helpful. I will follow all of your suggestions and see what happens. I definetly have an SQ 120 back. The red light goes off after each trip of the shutter, so that's good news. I'm going to put another roll of film through and watch the crank. I can manually crank it and the number does move, it just doesn't move with the shutter or when I press the motor drive, although I can hear the motor drive and it sounds like it's working properly.
I truly appreciate your help!
Nancy
 
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Nancy Giroux

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dschneller...I took your advice and rerolled the paper backing. What a great idea. It is really letting me see what is going on. I can pop the back off to see if the film is advancing. After close examination of the film back and the camera body, I see that there is a metal sprocket wheel thingy on the film back that moves with the film advance knob. I also see that on the camera body, there is a spot for this metal sprocket wheel to fit into. There is also a little metal sprocket wheel thingy in this slot on the camera body. The wheel in the camera body moves when I press the motor drive. It looks to me that this is how the motor drive moves the film advance on the film back, but for some reason these wheels are not working together. Since the numbers move on the back when I hand crank, I'm guessing it's an issue with the body??? I think the camera will operate fine if I just hand crank to the next frame without relying on the motor drive. Does this seem like I'm on the right track? I've done tons of searches for the SQ-AM on line, but there is very little info about this camera.
Nancy
 

dschneller

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Not being familiar with the AM myself I can't offer any more advise other than what Bob F. suggested. If there is an experienced person in your area who can help you out. It does seem odd that the indicator will advance under hand cranking but not under the motor drive.

The original manual may be found at tamron's site. I can't find a free manual for the motor drive.
www.tamron.com/assets/pdfs/SQ-Ai.pdf

Dave
 
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Nancy Giroux

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Thanks Dave! I will follow your advice and find someone in my area to take a look at it. Meanwhile, I think I will shoot a roll using the hand crank to see what I get.
Nancy
 

bon-jip

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Well that is the disadvantage of being on the wrong side of a time zone, seems I have missed the fun. No doubt I only would have repeated Dave and Bob anyway.

I do have one shot in the dark though Nancy. Have you checked the multiple exposure lever? If this is activated the film will not be advanced after the shutter is pressed. The sound of the motor (and I am guessing here) could just be the shutter being cocked.
You said that there is a slot for the wheel on the back to fit into and you can see the cog on the body turning, on my SQA the multiple exposure lever lifts the drive cog back into the body. When the lever is set to single exposure (upright) the teeth of the cog actually come out of the body. If the wheel is inside but turning this could be the problem.

I hope you can decipher some useful information out of the above. I only just understand it myself! Mail me if you think this could help but you need me to be a little clearer, I also have a link to a SQAM manual online but I think it is probably a digital version of the one you already have.

Hope you get shooting soon.

Jason.
 
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Nancy Giroux

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WOOOHOOO! Jason...that was it! The camera was set to multiple exposure. I just tried this out with the fake paper roll of film that was suggested earlier and it works great. Thanks so much for your help!!!!
I can't wait to shoot my first roll. Everything seems to be in good working condition!
You guys are awesome!!!
Nancy :smile:
 

dschneller

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Way to go Jason! Have fun Nancy, your going to love medium format. :smile:
 

titrisol

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JFYI Bronica has the manuals fro free download.
Tamron.com then choose Bronica and there you'll find them
 
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Nancy Giroux

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Nov 25, 2004
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The link for the manual is very helpful. I'm printing it out now.
Thanks all!
Nancy
 
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Nancy Giroux

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Nov 25, 2004
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Hopefully I will have something post worthy in the futue. I have been browsing the galleries here and I am in awe of the talent.
Again, I truly appreciate your help!
Nancy
 
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Nancy Giroux

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Nov 25, 2004
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131
Shooter
35mm
I just want to bump this back up to thank all of you for your help. I got my first roll of film back today. I had it scanned low res to a cd to see if I could handle this monster. I'm thrilled to say the camera is in good working condition. I have a lot to learn, but I actually got a couple of decent shots.
Thanks again!
Nancy
 
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