Question about Shanghai Seagull 4A-105 Medium Format Camera

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Film advance I bought a seagull 4a-105 camera and the film advance never seems to be consistent. Often times the frame counter numbers are not centered in the viewing bubble. When I go to have the film processed, I have had as many as six to seven frames either double exposed, or no exposure in the frame. The best that I have managed out of 12 frames is 8 frames done correctly. I followed the directions and threaded the film to where the arrows align with the marks, but still the problem persists. Is the film winder the culprit? If so, how can I repair it? The camera cost me $217 new, and I can't justify spending $200 to repair it when I could buy a used Yashica online. Any help or advice is appreciated.

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I hate to tell you this, but you're better off buying a used Yashica Mat online. Send it to Mark Hama (look him up online) for a pre-use servicing - he used to make them in Japan, and is based now in the U.S. I have one and a $40 Holga just for knocking around with. Those Seagulls are notoriously inaccurate with their calibration on all fronts.
Alternatively, if you're not going to discard the Seagull, get a roll of uncut exposed film that you don't mind running through the camera again and gauge how many turns you'll need to advance the take-up reel to clear the previous frame. If you can do this without looking at the viewing bubble, you're set from here on in.

Posted on Sep 17, 2010

I bought a seagull 4a-105 camera and the film advance never seems to be consistent. Often times the frame counter numbers are not centered in the
viewing bubble. When I go to have the film processed, I have had as many as six to seven frames either double exposed, or no exposure in the frame. The
best that I have managed out of 12 frames is 8 frames done correctly. I followed the directions and threaded the film to where the arrows align with the marks, but still the problem persists. Is the film winder the culprit? If so, how can I repair
it? The camera cost me $217 new, and I can't justify spending $200 to repair it when I could buy a used Yashica online. Any help or advice is appreciated.

Posted on Apr 22, 2008

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My camera's frame counter always displays an "S" instead of moving through the frame numbers. Camrea is Fuji gw690iii. Can you advise? Many thanks.


Either the mechanism that controls the movement of the counter is damaged, or the film is possibly not being wound at all.

These cameras have fairly low recommended service intervals, and it's highly recommended among those who know and use them to have it done on time if not early. The optics on them were AWESOME - the body mechanics often left a lot to be desired.

I'd just start looking for a qualified tech now, or give KEH a call Monday morning for input.

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My Mamiya C330 Pro only gives me 4 photos per roll


A few things to consider:
-Loading: Make sure you are not over loading the film before you start to shoot. I have sometimes turned the film advance too many times and end up cutting down on the amount of usable film.
-Are you loading the film in a dark area and careful to close up the back just after it has started to load to avoid exposing it?
-Shooting: Are you metering properly when shooting? Obviously underexposed images won't develop. You should consider a hand held meter.
-Shooting: Are you advancing the film more than it needs to be after you take your shot? Watch the film counter and feel for that click as it hits the next frame. I have advanced past the next shot many times by accident.
Hope that helps, Matt

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I just bought new Lomo Fisheye2 camera. I read the instruction first before i will do anything to my camera. Once i read everything, i just follow the instruction step by step. Putting AA battery and...


If your film was TOTALLY blank then it's been bleached due to a processing error. By totally blank, I mean that there are no frame numbers or other film markings on your blank film. Otherwise, you simply have an unexposed film.

First, operate the camera with the camera back open, hold the camera up to a bright light and operate the camera as you look into the back of the lens. If you see a brief bit of light coming through as you operate the shutter then the shutter is admitting light into the camera and so you should have got some kind of an image unless you failed to correctly load the film (very common).

Unfortunately, there's no way to tell unless you try another roll of film. Once the film is loaded, turn the rewind crank gently to take up slack film and take a few pictures; each time you advance the film the rewind crank should turn a little. If it doesn't then the film has not been correctly loaded as the film leader has not engaged onto the take-up spool. If so, open the camera and re-engage the film. If it clearly has engaged, then the take-up spool is failing to rotate when the film is advanced: try taking a few shots and winding on the film with the back open. If the film is not advancing then you have a faulty Lomo. This is extremely common as it is a plastic toy camera with atrocious build quality and materials and is the FishEye is only designed for paltry ten rolls of film lifespan.

A final check for film which has not advanced through the camera is if the rewind is extremely short when the film has finished.


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This is due to a poorly manufactured and designed camera: it IS a Holga, after all...

What's happening is that the film advance is allowing the film backing paper (which has the numbers printed on) to slip relative to the film. All you can do is to learn when to compensate by advancing the film a little more than the numbers indicate.

Given that most Holgas are only designed to last for around ten to twelve rolls of film (they can last far longer though), you might not have to put up with the fault for much longer.

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The battery in the film back is only used to supply power when the back is off the camera, when it is on the body power is supplied by the six batteries in the body so try them and also make sure the film insert is properly seated.

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There is good chance that the back needs a spring replaced. I've seen them fail many times.

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This is not the best solution as it indicates a faulty film back. The film should advance without resorting to activating the film-wind release lever. That is only for intentionally advancing a partially exposed roll of film. Make sure the multi-exposure lever is not engaged and that the counter does advance and the red mark disappears as you advance to an unexposed frame.

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It's a common problem in the 645 - if you want to do it yourself, without a permanent fix, put a DROP ( not a lot ) of lighter fluid, or rubbing alcohol on the tip of a fine screwdriver and apply it to the gear you use to rewind the camera, and turn back and forth a few times. If that doesn't loosen it, it'll have to be disassembled.

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