Ok, I know I’ve promised a couple of people a weekend update. It’s going to be a bit longer…it’s really not worth the wait…but I don’t have ANY photos to go with it. And since the whole point of the weekend was photography that just doesn’t seem right. The chemicals are cooling right now so I can process the film I shot and Amy will hopefully give me her memory card tonight. So this is just a place holder post.
The reason for the placeholder? I added a new skill to my resume just now. Camera repair! I recently bought a Bronica ETRS off ebay for $45. The camera is gorgeous, looks like it’s been in it’s original box it’s whole life. But – something was wrong. I could remove the film back with the darkslide out…and the shutter wouldn’t release. Not wanting to make it any worse but now having everything except a body I placed another order, this time to KEH, for a new body…and while I was at it a $10 “ugly” finder, a $10 “ugly” speed grip and a $30 “Bargain” 150mm lens to go with the $50 “Bargain” body.
The new body from KEH works great. I found that my $10 ebay special film back sometimes skips frames…but for $10…what are ya going to do. I’ll just keep my eyes open for a deal on a back in better condition…I want 2-3 more anyway.
So tonight with the original and much nicer looking but locked up body sitting on my desk teasing me I figured “What the heck”. It’s broken already…let’s see what’s wrong. Working the winder and various levers and catchs I thought I had a pretty good idea what may be wrong with it. There was one lever that appeared to be behind something it should have been in front of….it was part of the lens release mechanism but seemed to be connected to the film back detection levers. So I took that side off first. Examining the workings I pretty much determined that yes – that piece was what was causing the problem.
But couldn’t get it back into it’s proper position without releasing the shutter…which I still couldn’t do from this side. So I screwed it back together and took the other side off instead.
Figured out the other shutter interlocks on that side…but still couldn’t release the shutter. Decided to put two and two together at that point. Took the other side back apart again so both sides were now bare…and manually triggered the safety while pressing the shutter…ca-chunk. It worked, the shutter released! Recocked the shutter…and pressed the shutter without manually overriding anything…ca-chunk – it worked again!
Put the sides back and and dry fired it a few more times…it works great! What’s more is I think I know how it happened. I think that if you cock the shutter while holding the lens release back this could happen. I didn’t test it while I had the sides off…but I’m going to avoid doing that just to be safe 😀
So here’s the guts of my now repaired camera:
That was where I found the problem. The little round thing with the spring around it is part of the lens release. There’s a little lever that’s supposed to be captured by the groove on that deal. It was behind it instead. This is after I fixed it so you can’t really see the lever that was misplaced.
This was the sideview of the problem area. The lever that was misplaced is attached to the brass bar near the bottom. The entire thing was supposed to be pushed more forward. Pushing the grey bit on the right towards the lens tricked the camera into thinking the film back was properly seated and the darkslide was removed. That should be the default position…but the lever was stuck against the round thing which kept it from returning to the default position. Pushing the grey bit forward was the key to releasing the shutter and allowing things to reset properly!
And this is the other side, the infamous winding mechanism which is apparently one of the first things to go on these cameras. Figuring out how the shutter release worked from here helped me figure out how to solve the problem. But I now know the problem could have been solved entirely from the other side. Still neat that I got to see this.
So – I now have two working ETRS bodies. I’ll probably keep this one and re-sell the KEH one…or I may keep it as a spare. We’ll have to see what happens!