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  1. #1
    atenlaugh's Avatar
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    Beginner's lighting question

    Hey all,

    I'm currently looking to get into studio and a little bit of on-location portrait lighting (probably an Alien Bee package), with a Mamiya C330. I have something of a stupid question, but it's making me quite curious.

    I'm under the impression that with a non-electric camera, one still only needs a Sync on your lens or camera...in the words of an Apugger, "...they will all work with virtually any camera capable of manual exposure control - as long as the camera or lens has a sync connection." - lots of things stated such as this, whereas nothing that says "you may need this", in conversation, books, so on...

    However, my internal 'logic sensor' says that that doesn't make sense, that to have a B you need an A. So my question is, with an all-manual camera, what else do I need? And if it is simply magic, how does it work?


    Thanks!
    Nate Davis

  2. #2

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    You need a sync cable with the right bits at each end to connect the light to the camera. No idea what Alien includes but I'd be suprised if they don't provide a cable.

    Other then that. You'll want a flash meter.

  3. #3
    blansky's Avatar
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    Exactly.



    Michael
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  4. #4
    JBrunner's Avatar
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    Alien Bees units provide a standard 1/8-inch Stereo Plug to PC-connection sync cord with their kits. (Good product for the cost, by the way.)

    You only need too connect to one unit and the other units will slave to that one via photocell sensor. To your eye, and for all intents and purposes, they will fire simultaneously.

    The 1/8 bit is for the light. The PC end fits the socket on your camera. If your camera has only a hot shoe you can get an adapter to connect the cable to the hot shoe.

    Your camera does not supply anything except to trip the contact when the shutter is activated. Manual cameras do this mechanically.

  5. #5
    atenlaugh's Avatar
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    I know how everything connects, and all of that...and I have all of the necessary equipment and know-how (I've been doing photography for several years, now). It was more of a HOW it works question.

    This partially answers it:
    Quote Originally Posted by JBrunner
    Manual cameras do this mechanically.
    But what sort of contact is it? It's not eletrical...what impetus does the light 'read' to know when to go off?

    I get the feeling either this question isn't asked very often (and taken at face-value) or is way more obvious than I'm imagining!
    Nate Davis

  6. #6
    blansky's Avatar
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    It's magic.

    The same as when you put an exposed print in a bunch of chemistry and a picture emerges.

    It's all magic.

    And it's not wise to try to delve into how or why it happens. Just be glad it does.


    By the way. I'm not a very technical person.



    Michael
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  7. #7
    JBrunner's Avatar
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    It is basically switch,inside the lens or camera body, a connection activated by the tripping of the shutter. It completes the circuit of the sync cord. It is essentially an electrical contact, that is activated mechanically, like when you switch on a light. The electricity (low voltage) comes from the light. When this low voltage circuit is closed, it activates the the high voltage side of the strobe. This all happens very quickly. Somebody with a better engineering background than I could explain the exact particulars, but thats it, pretty much. You can also activate the strobe by touching the end of the sync cord to your tongue, if you are into that sort of thing.
    Last edited by JBrunner; 05-29-2006 at 02:50 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: obtuseness

  8. #8
    atenlaugh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBrunner
    This all happens very quickly. Somebody with a better engineering background than I could explain the exact particulars, but thats it, pretty much. You can also activate the strobe by touching the end of the sync cord to your tongue, if you are into that sort of thing.
    No, not at all, on either account! I just wanted the basics, to make sure I was doing things correctly. I'm only technical to a quite limited point...so, thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blanksy
    It's magic.

    The same as when you put an exposed print in a bunch of chemistry and a picture emerges.
    I'm somewhat humbled by this. That's what I get for being obsessive.
    Nate Davis

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by atenlaugh
    I know how everything connects, and all of that...and I have all of the necessary equipment and know-how (I've been doing photography for several years, now). It was more of a HOW it works question.

    This partially answers it:


    But what sort of contact is it? It's not eletrical...what impetus does the light 'read' to know when to go off?

    I get the feeling either this question isn't asked very often (and taken at face-value) or is way more obvious than I'm imagining!
    Inside the lens on your mamiya is a contact that closes when you fire the shutter completing the electrical circuit from your flash sync cord. The flash sync cord has 2 wires in it that of course connects to your flash unit and camera and firing the shutter effectively connects those 2 wires together momentarily when the shutter opens. Beware there is a lever on your mamiya lens whith the letters b and x - be sure the pointer is on the x. The b setting is for old style flash bulbs and if you have it set on b when using modern electronic flash, the completing of the circuit will not synchronize with with the peak of the electronic flash burst and you will get no, or only a partial exposure. Hope this helps.
    Tim Jones

  10. #10
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBrunner
    You can also activate the strobe by touching the end of the sync cord to your tongue, if you are into that sort of thing.
    Be very careful with this suggestion. Many older flashes have a "low voltage" triggering circuit which is not that low voltage! :o

    I have a couple of old Metz 202 flashes that could give you a bit of a surprise if you tried this.

    By the way, an older fully mechanical camera like a Mamiya C330 (which has an electrical synch circuit) can handle high flash trigger voltages easily, but many newer, more "modern" cameras have synch circuits which are both electrical and electronic, and they can be damaged by those high voltages.

    As an example, I use my Metz 202s with my Mamiya C330, but my Mamiya M645 Pro or M645 Super might be damaged by those flashes.

    Also by the way, I don't have my Mamiya C330 with me, but I think the synch switch on the lenses gives you a choice between "X" (for electronic flash) and "M" (for M class flashbulbs).

    Have fun!

    Matt

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