When were re-usable portable flashes introduced?

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by hoffy, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Having another ‘bored’ moment at work today…..

    When were re-usable portable flashes introduced?

    Lets assume that it was before the mid 60’s. Lets also assume that it is indeed 1965. I have just purchased a brand new Koni-Omega Rapid and have decided that its finally time to ditch my bulbs. What flash would have I more then likely purchased with my Koni?

    Cheers
     
  2. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I guess it's a honeywell strobonar
     
  3. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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  4. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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  5. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    Stroboflash existed in the 1950's. I shot with used one around 1965, that had been donated to our high school by a pro after he surplused it.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I was working with a photographer in the late 1970s who had an old (at that time) Metz 202 as well as a then current Metz 402.

    I would bet that the 202 would have been current in the 1960s.

    My original Vivitar 273? was purchased by me in or about 1974. It certainly wasn't the first common electronic flash.
     
  7. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I have Braun Hobby EF300 that looks well thought out. It dates to 1968 in its manufacturing marks inside the case.

    The coiled rubber cord fell to flakes when I tried to extend it after it was gifted to me, unused for about 25 years, after a few decades of being well used.

    It certainly does not look like a prototype or even a second generation unit. So I would easily put 'battery powered condensor based' units to the early 60's. Not that they were mass market. They had to put out a big whomp to be useful and supplant the light output of flashbulbs of the day. An M2 or M3 is a lot of light in a small package.

    The best resource to answer the question would likely be the adverts section in the front of the older BJP annuals.

    You certainly know you are using this thing after the pack hangs on your shoulder for a while. But you do get a guide number of 60 in metres, or 30 at half power, and an option for wide or narrow beam spread.

    My EF300 still works well after replacing the pack to head lead, and sourcing a replacement for the oem 2 of 4V each wet cell batteries. (I went with Hawker Cyclon 2V 5Ah AGM lead acid cells, and built a case under the original pack to house them).

    Yes, I carefully allowed the capacitor to reform on reduced voltage for quite awhile before trying to discharge it.

    I still use this pack for theatre show shots, during dress rehearsals with the head mounted on a light stand, as one of the usually 4 flashes I use to light the stage.
    I have fitted it with a newer battery bank - 2 6V 10AH and 2 2V 6 Ah. Heavy- but it keeps the stand stable when hung as a sandbag substitute.

    The thing fires over 160 shots in a night on full power, and still recycles in under 8 seconds by the end of the night. I fire it by a Wein strobe through. The other three run off Cactus radio strobes, but the EF300 has a synch voltage approaching 600V on full power.
     
  8. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    A high school classmate put one together from a purchased kit circa 1957 or so. It involved a shoulder bag like case and used batteries rather serious in both voltage and price as I remember it; a capacitor or two the size of beer cans (well maybe not quite!)

    I'm thinking I bought a little Honeywell unit around the mid-sixties. Having semiconductors that could handle enough juice to drive an inverter allowed getting away from the bazillion cell high voltage batteries.
     
  9. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Some good info there guys! I always thought that electronic flashes were sealed units. I never realised that the likes of the Stroboflash were open.

    I am thinking of trying to locate something that is period correct for my Koni-Omega (this is instead of trying to find and use a Crown/Speed Graphic kit, which will have to wait for another day). Full fowarding to today, what of these vintage flashes would be the easiest to use, mainly in relation to batteries and the like?

    Cheers
     
  10. SafetyBob

    SafetyBob Member

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    Prof_Pixel, thank you for that link for the flash, that is the exact outfit the guy who mentored me had when I started really taking pictures in High School for our year book. I got the same flash outfit attached to my Yashica 124G that the school had. I had to have never been used at all when I got it. Although it may have been a few years old, I think I was the first to use it. With ASA 400 film and that strobe, I recall coming up the usable B&W photos half the length of our football field. Wow the memories that is bringing back. Thank you so much!!!

    Bob E.
     
  11. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning, Hoffy;

    This goes back earlier than that. Doctor Harold Edgerton of MIT had developed a light to do that back in the 1930s, and a book on how the flash was used in photography was published in 1939. I think I can find it to get the exact title if needed. The original General Radio Stroboscope used a red Neon flash tube. Harold Edgerton did a lot of work with the Atomic Energy Commission in photographing such things as nuclear explosions. It has been around for a while. I seem to remember that the Xenon flash tube was coming into greater use in the 1950s. I know that by the 1960s, "electronic flash" was making great inroads into photography, but the small and lighter flash bulbs were still going strong. We were still using AG-1, M2, 26, FlashCubes, Flip-Flash and similar things well into the 1980s. They were a lot smaller and much lighter and gave a lot of light output in comparison with the electronic flash units commonly available. The flash units that had similar lighting output in comparison with the flash bulbs we commonly called "potato mashers," because that is what they looked like, and they were big and heavy, and the best way to operate them was with an external 510 volt battery pack for a really short recycle time. I did have a Heiland-Honeywell model 600 Strobonar in the late 1960s, and I think it came out either in 1966 or 1967, so it will be a proper period piece for use with your Koni-Omega. Any one of that series from the 65C through the 882 will fit well with your K-O. By the way, I do have a K-O Rapid-M here with the 5.6/58mm WA, the 3.5/90mm Normal, and a 4.5/180mm Telephoto lenses.
     
  12. MDR

    MDR Member

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  13. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    My late cousin had one of these when I was in high school - probably about 1954. Used it with his Rollei.
     
  14. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    I bought a second-hand Braun-Hobby 100 in 1953. It used a rechargeable (and heavy) lead-acid 4 volt battery and was rated at 100 watt-seconds. At the time it seemed to be a wonderful improvement over flash bulbs.
     
  15. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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  16. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    From the Braun website: In 1952, Braun enters the field of modern electronic photo technology. First product is the “Hobby” portable electronic flash unit.

    As an aside: one of the problems (besides size and weight) of the early electronic flash units was they put a fairly high voltage across the X-sync flash contacts, often resulting in contact pitting.
     
  17. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I can remember my father had a Braun flash which took four (I think) 90 volt radio batteries carried in a separate leather case.

    This would have been about 1968.


    Steve.
     
  18. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Begosh, it's still in my possession!

    _apE8901_HoneywellStrobonar100.jpg

    The plastic mounting foot suffered an injury long ago, and years later the "welded" repair (with a soldering iron) gave out on that. A couple of years ago I found it wouldn't run -- likely a deteriorated electrolytic cap sitting like a slug on the inverter circuit. I thought I had tossed it, but there it is - a cute paperweight. It ran on two AA cells, was not a power house, but worked for my infrequent use. It came with an adapter cable that plugged into an earphone style jack on the side near the foot and allowed using it with PC fittings for non-hot shoe cameras. (Looks funny today to see a hot shoe with one little contact in the middle!)

    I believe I got it sometime in the 1960s, but can't pinpoint a date. I was using a Honeywell Tilt-a-Mite with bulbs for a while on the Konica FP I bought in 19-aught-63.
     
  19. Dan Quan

    Dan Quan Subscriber

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  20. Griz

    Griz Member

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    From the April 1982 issue of Popular Photography:

    [​IMG]
     
  21. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

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    I have a couple of Crown Graphics that were from the late 1940's and the Kodak Flash Supermatic shutters have both "X" and "M" sync.
     
  22. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    There were fast peak flash bulbs that used the zero delay of X-sync