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  1. #1
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Kodalite IV flash?

    The other day I found a lovely little Brownie Hawkeye Flash at my local thrift store. Now I'd like to outfit it with a compatible flashbulb unit, and the only one that looked in good condition was a Kodalite IV. It's not a big unit, about the size of a large hand. There are some bigger ones but they are rusty and one has leaked batteries in it. I'm tempted to get the Kodalite because it's cheap and in good condition.

    Does anybody know if...

    * I need special AA batteries for it? There are some old (but not leaking) Rayovac ones in it that have a "Photoflash" mention. Would ordinary ones do the job?

    * What is the difference between M2, 5 and 25 type bulbs. Yes, I scoured the net about them, and J&C sells them, but I couldn't find a clear distinction between them. Which is the strongest one?

    I'm pretty excited about this: 120 film on the load spool with a 620 takeup spool is a go; I got three extra 620 spools, and now if I can outfit a flash on it, I'll be a happy camper for Christmas photos!
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  2. #2
    Whiteymorange's Avatar
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    I don't have my reference material with me right now, but here's what I remember sbout those three flash bulbs. Correct me If I'm wrong, folks...:

    M2 is, I think, an instantaneous flash with a long period of sustained light, primarily for focal plane shutter use.
    5 is the most common bulb out there with the bayonet mount, good for middle distances and for most situations. There is a blue version of it for daylight film- can't remember that number... 11?
    25 is a bigger, brighter bulb, for maximum coverage in terms of distance and wide angle work. Sort of thing you'd use in an auditoreum.

    Not gospel, just the product of an often faulty memory. I'll try to get an early 60's guide to you by tomorrow.

  3. #3
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whiteymorange

    M2 is, I think, an instantaneous flash with a long period of sustained light, primarily for focal plane shutter use.
    So in my case, this could be a good fallback, provided that the Hawekeye has a rotary shutter just behind the lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Whiteymorange
    5 is the most common bulb out there with the bayonet mount, good for middle distances and for most situations. There is a blue version of it for daylight film- can't remember that number... 11?
    25 is a bigger, brighter bulb, for maximum coverage in terms of distance and wide angle work. Sort of thing you'd use in an auditoreum.
    J&C has blue bulbs identified as 5B and Press 25B; clear bulbs identified as #5 and Press 25. So I could buy either #5 or 5B and be fine for close distance situations. Do you know if "Press" is the only type of 25?

    Quote Originally Posted by Whiteymorange

    Not gospel, just the product of an often faulty memory. I'll try to get an early 60's guide to you by tomorrow.

    Awesome! Muchibus thankibus!
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  4. #4
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Okay, minor correction on flashbulb types:

    M bulbs are those with a "midget" base, round with a groove at the end and a central contact. There were M2 and M3, and there was once an M5 as well (same light as a #5, but with a midget base), though I haven't seen them still around the way M2 and M3 are. The #5 and P25 are bayonet base, similar to a car taillight bulb. There were also AG-1 and AG-3 "baseless" bulbs ("AG" for "all glass"), with the latching form molded into the glass envelope and the contact wires just wrapped around the glass at the bottom. M3, #5, and P25 are Type M bulbs, 20 ms ignition time and 25 ms burn time, for use with M synch. M2 are classed as "MF" bulbs along with AG-1 and AG-3; a faster igniting, faster burning bulb (IIRC, 15 ms ignition and 20 ms burn), type MF bulbs can be used with X sync at 1/30, while Type M require 1/15 to get the full burn on X sync. Most M synch shutters made after about 1955 are actually MF, and work perfectly with M2 bulbs as well as M3 (they can cut the tail off the M3 burn if the speed is set too fast, but you normally shoot at 1/30 anyway with a bulb). Type FP bulbs have ignition of 30 ms, and burn of 125 ms, so as to provide even light during the entire travel of a focal plane shutter (of the Speed Graphic type); the most common and the only ones I've seen on eBay recently are #6, same guide number as a #5 but with the long burn. There was also a Type F bulb -- I recently saw a box of them go by on eBay, looking a bit odd because they're filled only with gas, no magnesium wire -- they had effectively instant ignition and something like 10 ms burn, and were for use with F synch (though they also work with X synch and shutter slower than 1/100), found on only a few press camera shutters (the bulbs were mainly of use to stop action, and vanished about a week after xenon flashes came out because only press photographers ever used them, and they switched to strobes as fast as they could get their shutters converted to X).

    Now, you may run into trouble attaching that Kodalite IV -- I don't recall if it has the screw and post terminal the Hawkeye Flash accepts. If it does, modern alkaline cells that fit the clips will work fine; the old "photoflash" carbon-zinc cells had a high pulse current at the expense of overall capacity, but modern alkalines have still higher pulse current (meaning they'll fire the bulb just as positively) but also much higher total capacity -- they're just plain better. If the Kodalite IV doesn't mate the Hawkeye's flash terminals, keep an eye on eBay, I see the Kodak flash units with screw and pin terminals every now and then, going for $5. With no electronics in them (most didn't even have a capacitor, depending on big, low-voltage cells to fire the bulb instead of a small battery at higher voltage with a capacitor to provide higher current for ignition), even if they're badly corroded you can cut out the really bad bits and solder in brass or copper strips to replace the parts you removed.

    If you can get them to answer e-mail, Cress Photo (www.flashbulbs.com) has much better prices on bulbs than J&C Photo, and you can easily beat both by setting up a search on eBay and being patient. Do watch the shipping costs on eBay, though...
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

  5. #5
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Donald,

    Thanks a lot for the historical summary!

    The Kodalite IV does have the screw and post terminal, and I tried to mount it on another Hawkeye in the guy's store and it fits. Now more questions:

    Can Midget and Bayonet bulbs fit in the same flash unit, or I am limited to one?
    Is the number (3,4,5) just related to the power of the flash or does it affects the socket size as well?
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  6. #6
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Okay, correction -- looking up guide numbers, and discovered that #11 was the smallest M synch screw base bulb, not a focal plane as previously suggested.

    Quote Originally Posted by mhv
    Can Midget and Bayonet bulbs fit in the same flash unit, or I am limited to one?
    Is the number (3,4,5) just related to the power of the flash or does it affects the socket size as well?
    It depends on the flash -- I have one here, a Gold Crest BC-7 (a near-clone of a Honeywell Tilt-a-Mite) that accepts bayonet, midget, and AG bulbs all in the same socket, but I'm certainly glad I didn't work on the line that assembled that socket! The only Kodak flash I have is one I bought for my Pony 135 (uses a bracket that goes on the tripod mount, and has an ASA sync cord), and I don't recall if it can use a bulb smaller than a bayonet, but there *are* adapters. I've got one flash (from an Ansco Pioneer 620) that has a screw base to bayonet adapter; there were also adapters from bayonet to midget and AG, from screw to midget, and from bayonet to the Phillips PF series baseless bulbs that were sold in Europe contemporary with the AG bulbs here. I'd love to get a bayonet to midget adapter, since I have a couple flashes that use only bayonet bulbs, but while I have a bunch of M2 and M3, I don't have a single #5 in the house.

    Some of the numbers are related to the total light output (area under the light curve) of the bulb -- an AG-3 is similar power to an M3, though the AG-3 usually has a lower guide number because it's normally used in tiny reflectors (like the one I have for my Minolta 16 MG) instead of big bowls. Likewise, the M5 is the same light output as a bayonet #5, and in the same reflector has the same guide number (but M5 usually got only a 3" reflector, while bayonet bulbs often had 6", so the guide numbers look different). However, once you get numbers bigger than #11 (which was a screw base), the relation starts to break down; as well, there were #6, which were long burning focal plane versions of #5. A P25 does not give more light than a #11 (there was also a P40); I'm not sure where the number for that one comes from. For the ones with a direct relationship, I almost think the number was the number of grams of magnesium (or equivalent, since a few bulbs used zirconium, magnesium/aluminum, or other metals instead of plain magnesium) inside the envelope. If the oxygen in the bulb could be maintained at enough pressure to provide complete combustion, that would be a very linear relation to total light output, and if the wire diameter was constant, the burn time would be constant as well. In general, the relation between number and power seems to have started around 1950; older type bulbs (starting with the introduction of electric flash photography in the 1930s, as opposed to "flashlight" photography using photoflash powder, magnseium ribbon, and flash sheets) were given number or other designations more or less at random.

    Number relates to socket size only in that it took a bigger bulb envelope to hold more magnesium and oxygen, and there was a limit to how big an envelope it was practical to mount on a given base. So, you see AG-1 and AG-3, but never an AG-5 (even if they could have made an AG base on a 5 size bulb, it would never have fit in the tiny flashes that used the AG series bulbs). Likewise, you see M2, M3, and M5 (which is quite visibly bigger than M2/M3), but never an M1 (too small, and also wasn't practical with common film speeds at the time the midget bulbs were introduced), and never anything bigger than a 5 on a midget base. Even bayonet base couldn't accomodate a #11 bulb (they were the size of a 40 W household lighting bulb, and used the same socket).

    BTW, if you ever use older bulbs that aren't plastic coated, use extreme caution -- it was *very* common for bulbs, especially small sizes, to explode on firing, prior to the advent of plastic coating. Kodak used to sell a plastic hood to put over the reflector of the Kodaflash units; it was clear on one side, to protect against bulb fragments, and if you turned it around it was matte to act as a diffuser for close shots (essentially, allowed opening up one stop from guide number calculation by spreading the light more, which in practice let you cut your distance by 30% at the same opening). By the mid-1960s, practically all bulbs sold in the USA were coated, and a shattered bulb was something you'd see only if (as I once watched a teen photogapher do in the early 1970s) somone peeled the coating off a bulb -- as when converting a blue bulb to clear to get the extra little bit of guide number on B&W film.
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

  7. #7
    Whiteymorange's Avatar
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    Thanks for the corrections, Donald. The info I gave was not accurate in lots of ways - most of which you've made right. I still don't have the westinghouse pamphlet with me but I do have a 1949 GE publication and it makes things clear as mud. First of all, there's no #25 listed at all. Closest is the #22, a much larger, screw-base bulb. This is what I was thinking of when I spoke of auditorium shots. The small bit about flash in my Kodak photo guides give similar guide numbers for #5 and #25. They give the same guide numbers for the M2 as well, but only for 1/30 of a sec shutter time, where #5 and #25 are listed as working with synch speeds of up to 1/100 of a sec. for shorter distances.

    The confusing thing is in the M designation. Donald is correct in saying that these are midget bulbs, but GE calls all bayonet bulbs midget bulbs (car taillight style.) The M also stands for a class of bulb, the ones which need "M" synchro settings on the lens, having a peak light output some 20 milliseconds after they are fired. In 1949 at least, they had a peak output of 1,150,000 lumens, a flash duration at half-peak of 13 milliseconds and a color temperature of 3800K. The 5B was much less bright, with a peak of 530,000 lumens and a duration of 7,000 milliseconds, but it had a color temp of 6000K.

    The Focal-plane shutter I was thinking of was the #6, which topped out at 640,000 lumens but held it's half peak for 30 milliseconds.

    I would second Donald's warning about flash bulb explosions. A man who gave me an old Busch Pressman spoke of doing a close up portrait of a famous visitor to his school during a ceremonial dinner in the early '50s and filling the man's soupbowl with shattered glass in the process.

    I'll happily send you the Westinghouse data when I get it if you'd like. I have a few data booklets published for photographers but they're at school and I'm home for a T'day break. Just PM me. If your camera was made in the 50's, #5 bulbs will work just fine as long as you remember to set your aperture and shutter speed by the correct guide number.

  8. #8
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    *gasp* Holy Canole gentlemen, that is an entire treatise on bulbs!

    OK, let's say what I'm going to do: when I have some spare time I'll go get that flash unit and maybe another one if it's in decent condition. I'll order from J&C some M2, 5 and 25 bulbs and just see which ones fit where. I'll shoot some pictures with my Hawkeye using them, hoping I don't get blind in the process, and report back here with the results of the experiment.

    Grosso modo, from what I can understand, there is a non-zero chance that at least one of these bulbs will fire, create light, and do so in time to expose a square of film. Technically, that counts as a picture

    Edit: In the case that I have a type of bulb that does not fit my flash unit, what would be the safest way to dispose of it? I wouldn't realy care to send it to J&C, b/c of the shipping &c.
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  9. #9
    Whiteymorange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhv
    In the case that I have a type of bulb that does not fit my flash unit, what would be the safest way to dispose of it? I wouldn't realy care to send it to J&C, b/c of the shipping &c.
    Ah! Now here is the problem... If I understand the rule of Unexplained Equipment Acquisition ( "How the hell did I get so much stuff??") what you do when you have bulbs that don't fit your flash is you go out and buy a flash that fits your bulbs ... which then requires you to buy a camera to fit the new flash. Probably this camera will take a size film that you don't normally shoot, and when you do shoot it, the possibilities hinted at by the new format will make you want to go out and buy that wonderful old ------ camera that everyone talks about being the best for this format. But then you'll have to buy new flashbulbs to fit!

    Better move to a bigger house, this stuff is addictive.

  10. #10
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Yep, Whitey's right, mhv. You'd better send me both the Hawkeye and the Kodalite IV, otherwise next thing you know you'll be broke, divorced, and you won't even be able to sleep in your car because it's protecting your cameras! I'm already in so deep, I won't notice another stray camera and flash unit...
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

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