Old cubes and bulbs

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Truzi, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    My maternal grandmother died a few years ago, and the family is still cleaning out the house (don't ask). Although I thought I had all the photographic equipment in the house, I recently found more that has sat for several decades. My grandfather was the family photographer, and he'd not used any of this since he purchased his (now my) Sears KS-2 in the early 1980s.

    I found the body cap for the KS-2, the box for a flash he had in the camera bag, and what I think is a box of projector lamps. Most of what I found are flash cubes. There is a full display box of GE Magic Cubes my aunt had purchased from the company store (she'd worked for GE) and a lot of loose magic cubes. I have used flash cubes and bars when I was a kid. These will be nice for the Instamatics I'm trying to resurrect (though I bought an electronic flash for those).

    The interesting thing I found was a Canon J-3 Flash Unit. It takes both AG and PH bulbs; cold shoe with PC cord. Again, it's not that I need this (I've an electronic flash with PC sync), but I just have to try it out sometime - probably on my Ikon Contessa and Voigtlander Vitessa.

    These are before my time, though when I was very young I remember a few family members using old cameras with bulbs. If I know that side of the family, there are some bulbs stashed away somewhere.
    Is there a preference between AG and PH bulbs? Any general advice?
     
  2. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    I'm not entirely sure of your final question. You seem to be asking the deal between AG-1 or 1B (blue) bulbs and the number 6. Obviously, size and power. As I recall the 6 and 26 were focal plane shutter bulbs, and the AG-1 typically was used in the small cameras and the Polaroid Swinger, as an ordinary M sync setup. There's little other I can think to say about the 2 without expounding just to sound off with my brilliance and vast photographic knowledge. (where on here is a smiley symbol of a smiley choking?)
     
  3. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    I'm not sure if this link will help:
    Canon J-3

    It's a curiosity to me, not essential, but I will use it with 35mm cameras. Since I've never used actual flash bulbs, I'm just looking for a little advice.
     
  4. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Flashbulbs do BEAUTIFUL work. The pictures have a depth and brilliance, (and color, if a B bulb). The difference between them and electronic flash is as profound difference between a Technicolor movie, and a videotape. There's guide numbers and equations that can be easily found to arrive at proper camera settings, that takes the trial-and-error out it from your first try. Use them frugally, as you can't just walk into the drugstore and pick up a dozen like you used to. I used to buy them with my grocery store bagboy money back in the early 70's. Didn't get my first electronic flash till Dec 72. I thought it made color flat in comparison. (it actually does). And I'll contend to this day that electronic flash is the cause of more reciprocity problems than most people never consider. It's a flat look. I never liked it.
     
  5. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Truzi,

    Since you have so many, you have got to try this little prank.

    Crack one of the Magicubes open, gently pry the little bulbs out, and toss them up in the air one by one.

    "Some" will flash on impact.
     
  6. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Heresy. Each one should be treasured and used to its full potential. Go to the Family Dollar and buy some snap caps or even butane lighters and throw them down if you want a thrill. Not flashbulbs.
     
  7. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    For anyone else, true, but for Truzi, who has a full case plus some loose ones... It can't hurt to have a little fun.

    I actually used to carry a few of these backpacking, with the idea that the individual bulb could be fired off if I wanted to get a flash picture, and I wouldn't have to carry the weight of a flashgun or batteries for it.

    I later adapted a flashlight to fire AG-1B bulbs. Which I used to take pictures of bears trying to get our food in Kings Canyon. Too bad I didn't have film in the camera.

    That night was a lot of fun, and it's all just memories now with no proof. Except those bears' childrens' childrens' children have probably heard the story a thousand times.
     
  8. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    OK. the situation is settled. Truzi is to send the box to me and I'll see to its proper utilization. I'll gladly return them if desired in a slightly used condition, with great appreciation and regard.
     
  9. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    Take the negatives if they are any!

    Bulbs: I used it with Polaroid and some other old cameras, they are beautiful and strong. Much stronger than small build in flashes that i used, so people were surprised and complained that I will blind them :smile:
     
  10. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    You could probably use either bulb, depending on what you find. The PH bulb probably has a little more light output than the AG.
    Bulbs with "B" in their name have a blue coloring for use with daylight balanced color film.
    I've never heard of AG bulbs, only AG1's but based on your link and the picture of the top of the flash, an AG1 should work.
     
  11. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    They used to have a colour dot and if it changed colour they could be a hazard to fire for moisture ingress.

    But don't fire one without a shield they could always explode even new from box.

    Tossing them up in air without their normal cover iffy.
     
  12. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    Been there, done that. When I was a kid I took most of my electronic toys apart to see what made them work. I did the same with some flash cubes and magic cubes, and that is how I learned how each worked.

    I've never seen anything larger than a 4-pack before, so am tempted to just keep them for posterity, especially since I have electronic flashes that will work. I will use them, however, just for the nostalgia. I will use them slowly.

    Of course, they are old... I may have to test them:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rm8m0fh8nIo
     
  13. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Back when I was a boy, about 48 years ago, I wanted to know what made the magicube flash. So I used a bent paperclip and fiddled with the bottom of hte cube. I think I'm still blinking from that experience.
     
  14. DmaalaM

    DmaalaM Member

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    The portrait camera: Polaroid Big Shot is a really fun camera that uses Fuji FP-100C instant film but can only be used with Magicubes. Otherwise comes out very underexposed. I have a stash hoard of cubes myself. Just thought I'd mention a very fun camera to use with your case of cubes. Might as well keep a four pack of cubes for memory sake and use the rest to make more memories rather than keep a case full of bulbs ya know. my 2cents.
     
  15. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    As I expected, I have unearthed some unused blue ag bulbs, as well as one large bulb (PH 5?).
     
  16. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    PH#5 would be the same thing as the Sylvania Press 25s. Originally known as "midget" bulbs, they were the standard press photographer's tool for decades. I have just under 1,300 of these that I use with my 4x5 Crown Graphic. As Tom said, beautiful light. Since they are so long-burning, there is no ultra-sharp strobe effect. Much more natural looking.

    They have a Guide Number listed as variously in the range of 200-240, depending on your shutter speed.

    If you should reach the stage of actually trying them out, you might take a peek at a simple little Windows-based command line utility I uploaded to the Articles section here a while back. It's something I've used for years to generate flash-to-subject distance tables for various flashbulbs and electronic flashes when used manually.

    Like APUG in general, it's a little bit arcane. Just a simple character-based interface. But that's all that is really needed. I simply print the tables out and stick 'em on the backs of my antique cameras and flashbulb attachments for reference.

    Flash-to-Subject Distance Calculator Utility

    Here is a sample run for a GN 220 flashbulb, used with Ilford FP4+ at box speed, and broken out to a resolution of 1/3-stops. Because the GN is expressed in feet, the distances in the table are also in feet:

    flashsample.jpg

    (There is a major upgrade coming soon, as I have added a significant number of new things from my ongoing wish list...)

    Ken
     
  17. chip j

    chip j Subscriber

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    What kind of projecter bulbs are they? I may be able to use them in my Durst enlarger.
     
  18. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    I'm not sure on the projector bulbs, I only had a passing glance and didn't get a good look; haven't been back at the house for a while. I had assumed they were for my grandfather's (now my) slide, 8mm, or super8 projectors, but my aunt seems to think they are not related to photography (and she'd likely know, she had worked for GE and kept the family supplied in various bulbs for years).
     
  19. vsyrek1945

    vsyrek1945 Subscriber

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    I somehow just came across this thread so long after it appeared that the OP may have long since attempted flash photography with the J-3 Flash Unit and AG-1 flash bulbs.

    I had some experience with that combo, since the J-3 was the first flash unit I got to use with my FTb back in the early 1970s. The FTb would only sync with AG-1 flash bulbs at 1/30 sec. or slower; I'm not sure if the same restrictions apply to the shutters on the Contessa or Vitessa. I believe the AG-1 bulb units use M sync, not FP nor F.

    Using an AG-1 clear bulb with High-Speed Ektachrome Tungsten in the FTb one evening after a sever ice storm during the mid-70s I took a shot of a house from across the street that was framed in ice-encrusted branches hanging near my position; not only the nearby icy branches, but also the house some fifty feet distant was nicely lit by the miniature flash bulb.

    Thanks and regards,
    Vince