Speed flashbulb system, versus electronic flash...

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Dean Taylor, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. Dean Taylor

    Dean Taylor Member

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    hello

    Please enlighten: is there any reason why a Speed owner would want to purchase/use the original flashbulb lighting device--versus buying an electronic flash? Are the bulbs they use readily available?

    thank you!

    Dean
     
  2. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Aside from nostalgia, the answers to your questions are "no" and "yes".
     
  3. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    Flashbulbs are the only way to do flash in combination with the focal-plane shutter. The FP shutter will not sync with an electronic flash.

    There are flashbulbs available which are more powerful than electronic flash, also. (in case you need extreme amounts of light).
     
  4. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    Flashbulb are available if you're J. Paul Getty or Warren Buffet. I remember when a dozen 5B's were about a dollar and a quarter, and you could get out cheaper with the M2's and an adapter. Actually flashbulbs give a better effect than the flat-looking electronic flash pictures. I think the electronic flashes give film its reciprocity problems and make the pictures look dull. But then, with an adjustable electronic flash on manual, you could use it for fill-light, and to drag your shutter speed so people weren't white ghosts standing in a pitch-black room that wasn't all that dark in the first place. With a bulb, you had to use the f/stop the computations demanded, and that put people in very dark rooms, except for the guy picking his nose standing 6 feet behind the bride and groom.
     
  5. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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  6. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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  7. Shootar401

    Shootar401 Member

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    I have enough flashbulbs to last the rest of my life. Roughly 3,000 or so. Mostly edison base, with about 500-600 Press 25's & 5B's And 2 unopened cases of Bantaom 8's. I used about 100 or so a year, mostly when I want to try something different or have a style I want to mimic.

    I have 4 more tupperware cases filled with bulbs.

    photo-1.JPG
     
  8. nicholai

    nicholai Member

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    Uh... I dunno what to say. I guess "holy shit" will suffice.
     
  9. hgernhardt

    hgernhardt Member

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    **drool**
     
  10. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I have in excess of 800 clear and blue flashbulbs for my Speed Graphic.

    Strobes can make the photograph look flat. Flashbulbs appear to have more life than strobe partly because the source has more volume.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 2, 2013
  11. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    I think they look better than electronic flash as well...
     
  12. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Thanks Henry for the explanation

    pentaxuser
     
  13. ambaker

    ambaker Subscriber

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    I don't know that I can say that I can tell at a glance, the difference in lighting from either.

    However, I did acquire a stock of bulbs over the last couple of years. I like using them with my press cameras. Somehow a modern strobe just does not seem fitting.

    I've also found that when shooting people, they get quite a kick out of it.

    For me, I enjoy it as part of the process. It makes me think more about the image I want to make.

    But, is it "better"? I can't say that I can see it in the results.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
     
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  15. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Flashbulbs were/are often used in large reflectors. And they put out a deliciously large amount of light.

    Electronic flashes are often designed to be as small as possible. That means smaller amounts of light pumped into smallish reflectors.

    The size and the shape of the reflectors and the quantity of light emitted by the source makes a big difference on how the photos appear.

    Flashbulbs in a large reflector
     
  16. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

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    As far as I know, Congress has not passed any laws prohibiting the use of flashbulbs. I have two or three thousand squirreled away. A few years ago, on eBay there was a guy selling cases of Press 40 bulbs and I got seven cases of 120 bulbs for fairly cheap. There are still lots of M-2 and M-3 bulbs available. Press 25's and #5's are common but run about $1 per bulb. If you want something specialized, like the bigger focal plane bulbs or infrared bulbs, they can be quite expensive.
     
  17. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I am confused again. I've had a reply from an APUGer( Henry Finley) telling me why you can't electronic flash with Speeds other than on the B setting and yet you have managed it.

    Were there Speeds that were usable with electronic flash. There must be a difference between what Henry Finley is referring to and what you are referring to.

    Is there a simple explanation that reconciles what seem to be irreconcilable statements? The only one I can think of is that you did it on the B setting but this would seem to pose great if not impossible difficulties unless the scene was pitch black and the only illumination was the flash so opening to B and shutting it again resulted in no other light reaching the film

    Thanks

    pentaxuser
     
  18. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    There is nothing like peoples' reaction to a press camera using flashbulbs.
     
  19. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Henry is correct that electronic flashes cannot be used on a Speed Graphic with a focal plane shutter except with the B setting for both the focal plane shutter and the lens shutter. However an electronic flashes can be used on a Speed Graphic with a lens shutter and the focal plane shutter on O.
     
  20. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Interesting, I didn't know the Speed Graphic didn't have an equivalent to the 35mm world's SLR flash sync speed, like 60, where the first curtain opens, syncs and then second curtain closes...

    Lens shutters would solve that problem, certainly.

    I sometimes use flash bulbs with 4x5 rangefinder, because I am shooting a Grafmatic with 6 shots. Maybe I am prepared to shoot 24 shots max if I am ambitious, for any one excursion.

    A small flashgun with a handful of bulbs is reasonably lightweight and fairly convenient for the purpose. I'm not taking that many pictures, so the fact that I only have a few total flashes is not as significant when shooting 4x5.
     
  21. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    The most powerful handheld electronic flash does not produce as much light as the tiniest "Peanut" bulbs.
     
  22. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Graflex used a moving slit curtain. The slit was fixed sizes. It is one moving curtain, not two independent curtains.

    Lens shutter solves the problem only if that shutter supports X-synch. Many, if not most, do but there were some shutters that did not have synch except that improvised using a solenoid... and that can't fake a X-synch.

    EDIT: what Serius refers to as "O" setting on the Graflex focal plane shutter is FULLY OPEN - meaning the opening is 4 inches on a 4x5 camera. That is not a shutter speed setting, per se, but a way to keep the focal plan shutter curtain out of the way when using a lens shutter.
     
  23. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Flash bulbs meant for focal plane shutters had a longer burn time to accommodate the moving slit. Electronic flash cannot do this, AFAIK. I think the bulbs were labeled FP or something similar.
     
  24. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    If I remember correctly, FP bulbs were bayonet-base, gas filled fast peak bulbs designed to be used with X sync at faster shutter speeds. Regular flash bulbs didn't work well at high shutter speeds because you only got to use a small part of the burn (and thus got a low guide number).

    There were long peak bulbs designed for focal plane shutters; I think they were all screw-base.
     
  25. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    I understand FP to stand for focal plane. However, regarding X-sync- I have several cameras with separate sockets for X sync and FP sync.
    So it would appear they were not designed for X sync.
     
  26. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Sunpak makes, or made, the 120J flash, a bare bulb with large parabolic reflector, to emulate bulb-type flashes. Anyone I've talked to who has used one has loved the quality of the light from it, compared to regular strobes. Prices on used units have remained strong.

    Some other companies made similar units.