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  1. #1

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    New flashbulb shipment, unexpected find.

    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. #2

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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. #3
    benjiboy's Avatar
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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.
    Ben

  4. #4
    DBP
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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. #5

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

  6. #6
    fotch's Avatar
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    Flashbulbs? What a novel idea. Have not used them for years, and then some, although I still have some on hand.
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

  7. #7
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Sattler View Post
    Curious, please explain why you use flash bulbs instead of electronic flash?
    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.



    Ken
    Last edited by Ken Nadvornick; 03-24-2014 at 12:23 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  8. #8
    fotch's Avatar
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    chick magnet
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  9. #9

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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.

  10. #10
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shootar401 View Post
    Girls love to pose for photos with the Speed.
    Aye... and with the Crown.



    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

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