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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Boston, MA
    Multi Format

    Need a crash course on M-Sync Flash && Graflex Graflite

    I have a 2x3 Crown Graphic on the way from the 'Bay, and the seller included a Graflite setup with the camera (check it out http://www.ebay.com/itm/280896848185...#ht_553wt_1139 ).

    I've only even dabbled with X-Sync flash photography (most of what I do sits still for my exposures of 1/2" - 10' +), and have NO idea where to begin with using this relic. I guess my most basic question is whether there is a resource online somewhere which can walk a modern photographer through using these things? I Googled to no avail.

    A few more specific questions:

    The seller included both 5" and 7" reflectors. What is the difference between these in practical terms?

    How specific are the bulb types to the flash unit? He included some No 11 bulbs, will they take anything else (I'd like to pick up a bunch on ebay, but I want to get the right type).

    How does one calculate the guide number for these things?

    AND finally, is there any actual benefit (beyond being really cool and nostalgic) to using flash bulbs over X-Flashes? Would I be better off just strapping a Vivitar flash gun on there?

    ~ Michelle

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Penfield, NY
    X-sync is for electronic flash - the flash fires when the shutter is fully open. M-sync is for flashbulbs - the flash fires before the shutter is open so that it reaches maximum light intensity when the shutter is fully open.

    The 5" reflector is for 5 and 25 flash bulbs; the 7" reflector is for 8 and 11 bulbs (IIRC) - it's been years (close to 55) since I used flashbulbs with my 23 Speed Graphic.

    I've looked at flashbulbs on ebay a few times out of curiosity, and they were expensive.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    Multi Format
    In short, the 5" reflector is for the flash head that fits Nr 5/Nr 25 bulbs (bayonet base) and the 7" reflector is for the flash head that fits the Nr 11 (and larger) bulbs with screw base.

    Guide numbers are printed on the flash bulb packaging... or readily availalbe on the internet. Antoher source is the Kodak Photoguides of the 1950's 60's and early 70's. The Kodak guides have flash calculator to help with GN vs distance as well as the effects of shutter speed.

    Bulbs give a big flash and that is their benefit. You can do the same with a strobe, of course... but those small bulbs really pack a lot of light in them.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Medium Format
    Try these resources: http://graflex.org/ and http://lommen9.home.xs4all.nl/index.html. Both sites have a great section on flash photography. Steven.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Bombay, NY
    Large Format
    Okay...the midget reflector comes in two styles--a 60 degree smooth bowl, and a 45 degree bowl that has a dimple in the center. When I used these, I used Sylvania Press 25's With what today would be called 200 speed film I shot from 10 feet at f32. These are very powerful bulbs. You can buy them on e-bay for about a dollar apiece, if you look a little. The screw base bulbs mostly have very high guide numbers, because films were slower in the 1930's and they are more expensive.

  6. #6
    Leigh B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Maryland, USA
    Multi Format
    If you choose to use the bulbs, be VERY careful when removing them.
    They get quite hot, and should be left alone for a couple of minutes to cool.

    Originally there were three categories of flashbulbs, Slow, Medium, and Fast, abbreviated S, M, and F on the shutter.
    The S and F bulbs fell out of favor, leaving M as the only choice, and the only flashbulb setting on later shutters.

    The X setting is for instantaneous flash (electronic strobes).

    You may find a letter V on some shutters, at one position of the sync lever.
    This sets the self-timer and has nothing to do with flash.

    - Leigh
    Last edited by Leigh B; 08-01-2012 at 12:07 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    “Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.” - Plato



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