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Please help a newbie with flash options

 
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KilgoreTrout



Joined: 30 Apr 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Central PA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:45 pm    Post subject: Please help a newbie with flash options Reply with quote

Hello, Everyone . . .

My father was a skilled photographer who owned several vintage cameras, including the Graflex Pacemaker Speed Graphic. He passed away last year, and his widow recently turned his equipment over to me. I possess only a fraction of his knowledge and skill when it comes to photography generally, and especially when it comes to this equipment specifically.

I am familiar with Google, and have been trying for some time to learn about the equipment and the various things I can do with it given what's available today. I have made some progress, but there are a few matters that have had me chasing my tail for awhile, and I'm hoping that someone here who has been more immersed in this world than I can set me in a more productive direction.

There's a great deal I have yet to learn about the Speed Graphic, but what's got me puzzled right now are the options I have with flash photography. First, let me show you what I have:

Here is the front face of the camera:



Here is the side view:



Here is a view of the bulb receptacle on my Heiland flash unit:



Finally, here is the Heiland from the side, for better identification:



So, the first thing I'm confused about is the flash sync plug on the lens vs. the plug on the side of the camera. Are they the same plug? Can they be used interchangeably?

As for the flash unit itself, I believe I understand correctly that the best choice of bulb for this is a #5. I've visited the site everyone seems to point to regarding flash bulbs, and WOW, they're not cheap. I'd like to try using them, but I don't want to go through hundreds of dollars just to get my feet wet. Are there alternatives I could use while I am familiarizing myself with the camera?

Two other things:

1) I've read that it's a good idea to use a test lamp to verify that everything is in working order, but I can't seem to find any. Any advice here?

2) Although I'd love to use the authentic flash, I think it might be a good idea to buy an electronic flash that would work with this camera, but I can't put my finger on the best options for this. If I find great flash ideas, I can't tell if I'd be able to use them with this camera. If I find references to flashes that work with the camera, I can't tell if they're really good. I'd really just like to defer to someone who knows more about this than I do.

I appreciate any advice you're able to offer here. I really tried doing my homework on my own, but I'm not feeling confident enough to trust myself alone with this.

Thanks a lot!
KT
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3229
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The most confusing thing about Graflex is they were not consistent and terms for their equipment is a word play on their name.

The shutter on your camera is a Kodak Flash Supermatic rebadged Graphic Supermatic. It has Bi Post flash sync terminals.

The Heiland flash appears to have Household sockets.
Therefore you need a Bi post to Household flash sync cord.

These were common types of connectors in the era.
http://www.paramountcords.com/ is a good source for sync cords.

Some useful links:
A instruction manual for the camera http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/graflex_5.html
A instruction manual for shutters used on these cameras http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/graflex_11.html , page 12.
Lots of manuals via the Graflex Manuals link http://www.southbristolviews.com/

As for electronic flash any Metz or Sunpak handle mount flash can be used with this camera and provide enough light output to illuminate the film format. Smaller shoe mount flash will work if adapted to the shutter's flash sync but their light output would not be great enough to illuminate the area covered by the lens/format.
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1442
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As usual, 45PSS gives good advice: follow it!

FYI, the photo you labelled "bulb receptacle" is not where the bulb goes, but rather is the place where you would insert the reflector, typically 5" diameter. The reflector contains the socket where you insert the bulb. As there were different styles of bulb base, be sure your reflector will accept the bayonet-base bulbs, as on the #5/5B types. Incidentally, this base is the same as an (older) automotive tail light bulb.

I have used a Vivitar 283 electronic flash successfully with a 101 Optar on my Century 2x3, with no coverage problems. You will need the bi-post to household synch cord from Paramount.

I happen to have 90+ #5 and #5B flashbulbs waiting for my use with my Graflite 2-cell flash. Once they're gone, they're gone---I'm not buying any more!
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KilgoreTrout



Joined: 30 Apr 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Central PA

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, 45PSS and Henry! This will help put me back on track.

One thing about the flash, though, Henry:

The reflector I have doesn't have a socket. It just slides over the end of the flash base and has a setscrew, leaving the "socket" I pictured exposed at the bottom of the reflector. If what I have is the correct reflector/base combination, are you saying I need some kind of bulb adapter? Or is my reflector likely not a proper match for my base?

And I return to edit with a question for 45PSS:

Regarding the modern flash brands you mentioned . . . Of course I would need a cord to sync it with my shutter, so that would be Bi Post to . . . PC? That's what I frequently see referenced, anyway. Also, the prongs on the side of the camera--I'm going to take a stab at this--are they a Bi Post connection for a flash sync with the focal plane shutter?

Thanks again!
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1442
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must confess that I'm not familiar with the Heiland flash you have, only with the Graflite; my advice about bulbs there was evidently incorrect!

The flash contacts are the two prongs on the side of the "Graphic" shutter; the synch cord you want is one like this one: http://www.paramountcords.com/proddetail.asp?prod=1-1S&cat=48 . The household socket is marked "shutter" (as far as I can tell from your photo) on the Heiland.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3229
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The bi post flash connector on the rear of the camera body are for the camera's focal plane shutter. The only type of flash that will produce usable photos are FP flashbulbs. At 1/1000 second shutter speed it takes the shutter .02 seconds to expose the negative in landscape mode, at 1/30 second shutter speed it takes the shutter .05 seconds to expose the negative in landscape mode. An electronic flash has a flash duration of .01 seconds at full power. The flash contacts on the curtain are before the slot in the curtain so an electronic flash will have fired and dissipated before the exposure begins. A FP flash bulb will be reaching 2/3 of its peak by the start of exposure and fall just below 2/3 of its peak by the time the exposure ends.
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1888
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

45PSS wrote:
.An electronic flash has a flash duration of .01 seconds at full power.


Typically much shorter than that, Charles. I can think of only one really slow flash for amateurs, Agfa's largest potato-masher type the Agratronic 643 CS. Its full power flash duration is 1/200th of a second, with the power turned down or the unit set to automatic flash duration can be much shorter.

Were you thinking of monster studio flashes that typically aren't used with 2x3 Speed Graphics?

Re the big Agfatronic, so much for my dream of getting good depth of field and well-stopped motion and minimal illumination from ambient when shooting hummingbirds. Off-the-shelf flashes won't do, alas.
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SYNCHROJAMES



Joined: 12 Jun 2007
Posts: 36
Location: SAN DIEGO CA

PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2014 9:45 pm    Post subject: Flash options Reply with quote

Hi KT-flashbulbs are rather pricey compared to original sales prices. However, I would suggest checking out Pacific Rim Camera. They carry lots of Graflex components, and are where I bought almost all of my flashbulbs, No. 5's, as well as the screw base that would work on your heiland. The cost was around $15.00 for a box of 5's, more for the heavy artillery. Not as high as other sites I've seen-$30-$60 per box of 5's. It would also be a good place to look for an adaptor that has a screw base on the bottom and a bi-pin socket on top for 5's. Some are mounted with a reflector, some just the bulb holder. I have one of each, so they exist out there somewhere.

Good Hunting!
James
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KilgoreTrout



Joined: 30 Apr 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Central PA

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again, everyone. You've been very helpful!
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SYNCHROJAMES



Joined: 12 Jun 2007
Posts: 36
Location: SAN DIEGO CA

PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2014 9:54 pm    Post subject: flash options Reply with quote

Hi KT-I was just on the Pacific Rim site and they have listed both the adaptor I mentioned for $10, and a right angle Heiland flash head which is exactly what you need for $15 ( the reflector also adjusts for distance), plus a good supply of #5 bulbs at the same price I mentioned-$15 per pack of 12 bulbs.

James
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