My Old Braun Hobby flashes

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by pentaxpete, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. pentaxpete

    pentaxpete Subscriber

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    Thought I would show you my 'Braun Hobby' unit from the late 1950's-'60's that I use to take many of my 'Indoor Photos' . They came out in the 1950's and were used by all the newspaper photographers -- when you see the Beatles coming down the steps of the Aircraft in USA there are all the news snappers with their ROLLEIS and the black Braun Hobby units with the strap over their shoulders ! My FIRST Braun was bought in the Canadian Maple Leaf Store in Iserlohn, Germany in 1957 when I was there in the British Military Hospital as a Path Lab Technician-- it cost £ 14-00 when in England with all the taxes it cost £ 39-00 ! It had 'lead-acid ' wet-cell accumulators and could also be run off the mains .. I wore out the cells then they were all discontinued BUT I could still run it off the mains indoors. Then many years later I got a second flash head , then I was GIVEN some more Braun units and saved some from being DUMPED by a Photographer I was visiting. There are differences in all the power packs I have when they are opened up -- small improvements by the Germans. The flash duration is 1/1000th second and when more than one head is plugged in of course the power is shared
    [​IMG]
    Braun-Unit by pentaxpete, on Flickr
     
  2. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Braun, a electronics company, got into the photographic field by designing an electronic flashlight. The predecessor to your model, which was revolutionary due to its all-plastic construction.
    Later they extended their involvement by buying the cine-camera manufacturer Nizo.
     
  3. snapguy

    snapguy Member

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    Beg to differ

    I fear I must beg to differ with the notion that "all" news photographers used the Braun electronic flash. I worked for 11 newspapers and the world's largest wire service beginning in the 1950s and I never owned or used a Braun. The strobe of choice was the Honeywell Heiland. I still have one. By the way I photographed the Beatles on their two tours to California, as well. A number of "celebrity" photographers did use the Braun in those days and it was good unit.
     
  4. wombat2go

    wombat2go Subscriber

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    Pete: Interesting. My project at the moment is to non destructively modify a Graflite by fitting a small Pentax flash in the reflector
    A question about the flashtubes in the Braun : are they removable and do you know the part number?
    It occurs to me a better, more "period correct" mod would be to add such a flash tube to the Graflite.
     
  5. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Braun have cancelled their photographic goods long ago. I'm quite sure you would not get any spares from them, let alone such old part.
    You better either look for such old flashlight to take off the tube, or consider spares from current studio strobes manufacturers or have a tube custom made.
    I'm not sure any tube will work with any kind of circuit anyway.

    You might install let's say three small tubes to form U if that looks more contemporary.
     
  6. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    I had one of these in the mid-1960's that I used extensively as a high school yearbook photographer. Full power, half power switchable, lead-acid wet cells. Depending on how you rotated the reflector (which means which side of the camera you had the flash head on), you got "wide angle" or "telephoto" spread. And you could remove the reflector entirely and shoot bare bulb, which was great indoors. The thing weighed a ton, and I always wished I had a GN Nikkor, but I got a lot of great shots with this flash. And yes, snapguy, the other HS photographer had a Heiland Strobonar -- so much more modern than my Braun!

    I do feel that today's photographers are missing out on a lot by using flashes with such small, if not tiny, reflectors -- entirely a point source, no "spread" of light from a large reflector. It's time to just off my Honeywell Flash-mite and uncover my flashbulbs.
     
  7. snapguy

    snapguy Member

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    Ooops

    I fear I may have opened my yap without fully engaging what there is left of my brain. It happens. I was talking about press photographers and the Beatles in the U. S. I suspect the Braun flash units were more popular in Britain than here. I looked up a photo of the Fab Four taking off for their tour coming over here and there were what looked like a few Braun units, others I could not identify and one Speed Graphic with flashbulbs. I seem to recall celeb photogs from Great Britain who would come to Hollywood for things like the Beatles and the Academy Awards would favor Braun units.
     
  8. frank

    frank Subscriber

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    I have a similar Metz unit.
     
  9. AgX

    AgX Member

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    The flashtube is located asymmetrically on the handle. By turning the handle 180° on can switch between two distances of the tube to the reflector and thus gain two lighting-angles.
     
  10. pentaxpete

    pentaxpete Subscriber

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    Thanks for all your interesting input -- yes the Braun WAS more used here in UK as the American units attracted a huge Import Duty + Purchase Tax worse than the German ones ! Also- German made was easier to get repaired as Germany is much closer to UK than USA !
    I HAVE taken off the plastic surround for the actual tube -- it has very delicate thin wiring attached going down into the black handle and inside the handle is a mass of wiring and other things I don't understand, maybe resistors. Where they plug into the power pack sometimes the solder has deteriorated and I have managed to re-solder the connections. I have 6 units -- all retrieved from people who were going to dump them or who had died. I plug them in occasionally to keep the capacitors good.