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  1. #1
    Fragomeni's Avatar
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    Kodak Commercial Ektar 8 1/2in Acme Synchro Shutter - Multiple Flash Applications

    I have a Kodak Commercial Ektar with Synchro Shutter that I would like to use with both flash bulbs (m) and modern electric flash (x). The lens/shutter assembly is equipped with a bi-post and a dial that lets you select the type of flash being used i.e. (m) flash bulbs, (f) fast, and (x) electric.

    I will use this lens on my 4x5 field camera but for the purposes discussed here it will be used on a modified Speed Graphic press camera. The camera is equipped with a vintage flash gun that takes 25 and 25b bulbs. I am making a mountable flash mount that will house a modern electric flash via hot shoe. I would like to be able to use both flash applications (bulbs and electric) with this lens.

    Excuse my naivety but I am accustomed to using flash bulbs on this camera with a different lens assembly by connecting the flash gun via an ac plug with a bi-post connector (male connector) to a solenoid (fixed to lens board) with bi-post receiving holes (female connector) that is connected to the shutter lever and engages the shutter when the button on the flash gun is depressed.

    In order to use the Ektar with my flash gun do I simply get a different chord with a female bi-post connector and connect it to the Ektar's male bi-post and fire away or is there more to it? I do have such a chord but it is brittle and falling apart so I can't really use it to try. I've connected this cord to the flash and the lens but when I depress the button on the back of the flash gun nothing happens with the shutter.
    In regard to electric (x) flash, how do I use this lens with the electric flash that I plan to mount to the camera? I assume I need a bi-post adapter or adapter cord that will allow me to connect a regular pc cord to the lens. Are these difficult to find if this in indeed the solution? Also, does this work in the same way as it does using bulbs and the other lens connected to the solenoid i.e. connect flash and lens via cord, depress button on back of flash gun and flash goes off and engages the shutter simultaneously?

    If someone could offer some insight it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
    Francesco Fragomeni
    www.FrancescoFragomeni.com

  2. #2

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    I'm sure some of the folks here can help you answer these questions, but you might also check at graflex.org. http://graflex.org

    Peter Gomena

  3. #3
    Fragomeni's Avatar
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    I'm sure some of the folks here can help you answer these questions, but you might also check at graflex.org.
    Graflex.org doesn't offer clarification directly to the points I am asking about as much of my questions deal more specifically with the Ektar lens and the manner in which the flash (not specific to Graflex) interacts with the lens. If I've somehow missed the answers to my questions on graflex.org please provide a link to the specific pages that I should read. A more realistic source of possible answers would be a manual for the Kodak Ektar Acme Synchro Shutter Lens that I have but I haven't been able to find one of those online yet, hence, I was hoping that someone could offer some insight.
    Francesco Fragomeni
    www.FrancescoFragomeni.com

  4. #4
    Greg Davis's Avatar
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    Once upon a time I had purchased a lens with the bipost plug and wanted to attach strobes to it, so I bought a cable from www.mpex.com and got a cable that had female bipost on one end, and a standard PC Sync on the other. I remember it working fine.
    www.gregorytdavis.com

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  5. #5

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    You need to get a cord that is bi-post to whatever-your-strobe-requires (could be standard PC/household, or in the case of vivitay/sunpak a proprietery connector) on the other end. www.paramountcords.com is generally the best source since they make up whatever you need.

    Do not use the solenoid to trip the shutter but use a cable release instead. don't forget to set the synch to 'x' and cock the synch (I'm not sure this is totally required if using X but won't hurt.)
    Last edited by BrianShaw; 08-16-2010 at 10:00 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: original URL would get you to the movie studio.

  6. #6
    rmolson's Avatar
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    If I remember my speed graphic and flash guns of the 50’s you could fire the solenoid from the flash gun and it would trip only the shutter and not the flash bulbs. The bulbs would be tripped from the bipost connector at the shutter, This was a feature of Graflex battery cases but not Heiland battery cases. The feature was much prized by news and wedding photographers, as it allowed removing the flash gun from the camera and raising it above the camera to get somewhat better lighting other than the flat on the camera lighting.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by rmolson View Post
    If I remember my speed graphic and flash guns of the 50’s you could fire the solenoid from the flash gun and it would trip only the shutter and not the flash bulbs. The bulbs would be tripped from the bipost connector at the shutter, This was a feature of Graflex battery cases but not Heiland battery cases. The feature was much prized by news and wedding photographers, as it allowed removing the flash gun from the camera and raising it above the camera to get somewhat better lighting other than the flat on the camera lighting.
    Interesting point... I think you might be correct. I was thinking specifically of the solenoid when being used with a non-synch shutter, in which case the solenoid delay would be introducing the required "M-synch" delay. That is likely an erroneous assumption in the case of the OP's question.
    Last edited by BrianShaw; 08-16-2010 at 09:55 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Know how to spell but typing correctly is a challenge!

  8. #8
    jp498's Avatar
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    Paramount is the way to go for the electronic flash adaptor cord. http://www.paramountcords.com/

  9. #9

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    As I understand it (maybe I don't!) you want to trigger your shutter via a solenoid and connect a flash to a bi-post connector?

    The two things are quite separate functions. The bi-post flash connector on the shutter is just an earlier type of connector. This was followed by the co-axial flash socket and then by the hot shoe. They are just ways of connecting the wires - the shutter closes the contacts when it is operated, firing the flash, the exact timing being dependant on the setting of the M,F or X. You need a bi-polar connector on one end of the cable and whatever fits your flashgun on the other. If you have a suitable cable but it is 'crumbling' - any competent electrician or electronics hobbyist with a soldering iron could probably replace the wire as long as the plugs aren't the moulded on type - alternatively buy one from paramount or mpex.

    Firing the shutter from the solenoid is an altogether different function and just complicates things. I bet there are very few flash guns around in working order that still have this function (to fire a solenoid). The big advantage of the solenoid is that you could use a none-synchronised shutter with a flash gun (because this can fire both the shutter and the bulb), but you don't need this. I think the suggestion to leave this out and use a cable release is a wise one.
    Steve

  10. #10
    Fragomeni's Avatar
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    As I understand it (maybe I don't!) you want to trigger your shutter via a solenoid and connect a flash to a bi-post connector?
    Not quite, at least not exactly how you describe it but I may have just misunderstood what you wrote. I don't think MY understanding if what I was trying to do was completely there either I typically use a flash gun that triggers a solenoid simultaneously (which triggers the shutter) with the flash when a button on the flash gun in pressed. I was under the assumption that connecting my flash gun to the Kodak Ektar lens's bipost via the appropriate cable would allow me to tripper the shutter of the lens with the flash when the same flash gun button was pressed. Clearly I didn't think this through before I asked as the solenoid is a mechanical device and the bi-post simply sends a signal.

    I bet there are very few flash guns around in working order that still have this function (to fire a solenoid).
    I've actually come across more then I can count and I've never met one that couldn't fire a solenoid. If the flash gun can fire the flash then the electrical signal from the battery is being conducted and transmitted so as long as there is no short in the outlet in the flash gun there should be no reason for it to fail to fire the solenoid.

    I think the suggestion to leave this out and use a cable release is a wise one.
    This is exactly what I've decided to do. When set up with this particular lens the flash (x) will be connected to the bi-post via the appropriate cable (I'll probably either make one or order from Paramount) and the shutter will be tripped by cable
    Francesco Fragomeni
    www.FrancescoFragomeni.com

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