New flashbulb shipment, unexpected find.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Shootar401, Mar 23, 2014.

  1. Shootar401

    Shootar401 Member

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    I just picked up my 4th load of 500 flashbulbs. I go though about 50-100 a month so this is a much needed supply. Unfortunately this time they came packed loose and a mix of types in one box. I sorted out the B type bulbs and now are faced with sorting out the 26's and 5's. the Sylvania bulbs are marked with the bulb model on the glass, but the G-E are not.

    Seems like there could be a mix of 5's and 26's and no way to designate which one are which other than to guess. The G-E Mfg. specs for each bulb states they they are the same physical size.

    Anyone have any ideas?
     
  2. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

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    I'm new to flashbulbs, so probably not a lot of help compared to your experience. I got bag of bulbs last month that looked like #5's, but saw a couple were marked as 6's (IIRC - the GE focal plane version).

    I had a number of slightly different looking bulbs, so sorted by the exact look of ever detail. Then can try one of each type before shooting that batch. There is still the potential for a problem, but I haven't had one so far. It does appear that all of my GE #6's were marked on the bulb.

    I could not see any obvious difference between the #5's and #6's. They looked different, in general but that seemed to be down to exact vintage. You'd think the difference is filament or wire would be obvious but I couldn't spot it.

    BTW, what do you shoot with all those bulbs?
     
  3. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    The last time I used flash bulbs was about fifty years ago,they were Phillips PF 100 that were as big as 150 watt light bulbs and had a very big guide number of around 220 as far as I remember.
     
  4. DBP

    DBP Member

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    Looks like the guide numbers for 26 are close to the 5 and the 25, so I'd treat them all as 5s and let the latitude of the film cover the difference.
     
  5. Loren Sattler

    Loren Sattler Subscriber

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    Curious, please explain why you use flash bulbs instead of electronic flash?
     
  6. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Flashbulbs? :blink: What a novel idea. Have not used them for years, and then some, although I still have some on hand.
     
  7. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    I'm not the OP, but I'll give some reasons from personal experience...

    First, the quality of the light is markedly different. This is primarily because of the much longer "burn" time of bulbs. At the shutter speed you choose you get the same exposure effect as natural sunlight because the light is present during the entire time the shutter is open. What you don't get is the strobe effect of ultra-high-speed xenon flashtubes producing maximum, clinical sharpness at 1/10,000-second bursts of light. Click here for an example of that maximum sharpness. The platform was in free fall at the moment of exposure. Such sharpness is appropriate for some subjects, but not for all.

    Second, using bulbs allows you to vary the GNs by varying the shutter speed. The higher the shutter speed, the lower the GN, because of the lower slice of the total bulb output that is caught on the film. Electronic flashes which implement a "power ratio" feature can simulate that same performance. But not all units have this feature.

    Third, the output from portable bulbs is generally higher, and in most cases much higher, than portable electronic flash units. Studio lighting trumps this, but with all of the disadvantages of equipment bulk and weight. The lowly Sylvania Press 25 and its cousins are rated by various manufacturers between GN 200-240 (tungsten, in feet) for 1/100-second shutter speeds at ASA 100. This surpasses just about all portable electronic units, including the monster Sunpak 622 Super handle-mount. (Rated by Sunpak at GN 200, but like almost all portable electronic units is actually a little less than that in the real world.)

    Fourth, when paired with older (antique?) cameras, bulbs affect almost total compliance from potential subjects. Most have never seen them, let alone seen them work, let alone been photographed by someone using them. It's like an amazingly alien magic trick to most. I always reward my subjects with the offer of either a scan or print, AND the used bulb popped from its reflector (after it cools). I suspect many are more interested in the burned bulb than the photograph it made possible. Go figure...

    Fifth, and not least important, the display and use of ultra-cool vintage flashbulbs and equipment is a highly effective chick magnet. Mostly because the guys are way too embarrassed to admit their ignorance about them. And the girls are often genuinely curious, and not afraid in the least to just walk right up and ask questions.

    :tongue:

    Ken
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 24, 2014
  8. fotch

    fotch Member

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    chick magnet :cool::cool::cool:
     
  9. Shootar401

    Shootar401 Member

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    I did notice that the wire was "stuffed in" the bulb a little differently in the 26's than in the 5's. If that is due to settling, batch, machine or year of mfg I have no clue.

    I think Ken nailed it as to why I use them, the quality of light is so much better IMO to electronic flashes. Besides with certain bulbs I can shoot from bulb setting to 1/1000sec. Yes, that isn't a typo 1/1000sec. I have 2 Speed Graphics and a Rolleiflex which, just doesn't look right with out a flashbulb.

    A few months ago I was out doing some shooting in Central Park around 11pm, shooting my Speed loaded with HP5, with a #3 bulb at 1/30 sec I was able to get a property exposed negative of a building around 200 feet away at f/8. Try that with a single electronic flash, or two, or 5.

    Girls love to pose for photos with the Speed. :smile:
     
  10. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Aye... and with the Crown.

    :smile:

    Ken
     
  11. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Another important factor regarding the quality of light is the reflector shape and size.

    Most portable electronic flashes cast light that is highly directional, designed for maximum throw. The reflector size is smaller than flashbulb reflectors, and is rectangular rather than round, giving a "shaped" throw and a sharper more point-source effect. Light is projected outward with less bounce within the reflector and less diffusion.

    The round flashbulb reflectors are larger for the amount of light put out, are usually deeper and are curved differently.They create a larger light source to begin with, which gives a nicer look. The full conical shape of the light coming from a bulb reflector means there is more reflected fill from below and above if surfaces are reflective (if there's enough distance to allow reflected light to hit the subject). Flashbulbs put out enough light to give reach yet provide a softer light with more gradual edge cutoff, especially true with bulbs that mount with their tops pointing toward the subject. It is a treat to look at old news photos and see the different quality of the light, including daylight fill.

    That's why the (discontinued) Sunpak 120J is in such demand. It mimics a flashbulb setup with a large round pebble-grain-finish reflector and a round bare "bulb" in the center. It's a nice unit, with the reflector movable forward and back for regular or wide angle coverage plus bounce and swivel, and multiple power settings enable a longer flash duration. It's the closest I've seen to a flashbulb setup, nicer than most diffusers or bounce reflectors, IMO.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 24, 2014
  12. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Very good points. I use one of those standard 5-inch reflectors with the Press 25s. That's huge compared to an electronic unit.

    I also have a very nice sample of one of those 7-inch reflectors and a box of full-sized General Electric #22 bulbs. But I don't use those as often as they are just too powerful for anything reasonably close. A pair of them might work well for Grand Coulee Dam, though...

    Ken
     
  13. Shootar401

    Shootar401 Member

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    I have 2 cases of #22 bulbs, they work great in a 7" reflector with Arista Ortho Litho film when shooting at 6-12 ASA
     
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  15. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

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    To answer the original question, some of the older GE bulbs had a number stamped in ink on the metal base, either a "5" or "6". Also, Westinghouse made #5 bulbs that looked like the GE #5.
     
  16. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    If they made "reusable" flash bulbs I would consider them, but piles of bulbs and waste it's too much to juggle without making it not as fun... Lol.

    Still I have a bunch of them, but no flash unit device to fire them...
     
  17. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Juggle, indeed... ejecting a hot flashbulb into your hand so you can quickly load the next will teach you something about juggling... :D
    Sticking it in a pants pocket usually isn't the greatest idea, BTW...


    I'm sure somebody will buy the ones you have if you want to get rid of them. And for a "reusable", you might really like the Sunpak 120J. They give a nice result from what I've seen. I don't use flash much or I'd get one. You can even get replacement flash tubes from B+H for about $25, in case you break one or manage to wear it out. Or there's the Quantum Qflash- still made, I believe, unlike the Sunpak- both are priced pretty reasonably used.
     
  18. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Thanks,

    I generally use studio strobes and I'm very happy with them.

    Thanks though. I'll play with them someday... :smile:
     
  19. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Subscriber

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    We just unpacked a large supply of old bulbs from a donor. Some are pretty big
    bulb1.jpg
     
  20. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Whitey is that you??? Where's your beard??

    And OMG that's huge! That would be great for wet plate action photography! Haha
     
  21. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Subscriber

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    Nope. Not me. Another gear-head working at the warehouse. One of the other guys made this display of the variety shown in flashbulbs we found in that one box.
    No 5 Bulb display..jpg
     
  22. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Cool! Is that one on the left a UV bulb!?? Good for what? Wet plate or tintype or something?
     
  23. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

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    Looks like a #5R (Infrared).
     
  24. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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  25. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Ogle Winston Link bulbs??

    :cool:

    Ken
     
  26. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    That's a Link to a new train of thought...:wink:
    Ogle them I will...