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Using Flash Bulbs in 2019
Old 04-16-2019   #1
Ste_S
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Using Flash Bulbs in 2019

I've got a couple of folders (Zeiss Ikon Nettar, Voigtlander Vito II) that I'd like to try flash bulbs with. I know relatively little about them - the closest I've got previously was using flash cubes and flip flash in the 80s/90s.

I presume I need a 'M' type unit and appropriate bulbs, any pointers for what I should be looking out for ?
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Old 04-17-2019   #2
Malcolm M
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These people claim to be the world's only manufacturer of flash bulbs.
http://www.meggaflash.com/
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Old 04-17-2019   #3
Ste_S
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm M View Post
These people claim to be the world's only manufacturer of flash bulbs.
http://www.meggaflash.com/
I have seen them, from what I understand they're for cavers who need the power from a bulb flash ? That they don't list prices on their website indicates that they're probably going to be expensive items for a niche market.

If I do try it I guess I'm going to be limited to old bulbs
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Old 04-17-2019   #4
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There are plenty of NOS bulbs on eBay. Look for a Honeywell Tilt a Mite and get some M3 bulbs. Be aware they are available in both clear, for B&W, and blue, for color film.

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Old 04-17-2019   #5
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They produce a "softer" light output with longer duration due to the combustion characteristics. As the material ignites, the "fire" starts slowly at first, producing low light output, increasing rapidly to a peak, then, declining as rapidly as it rose, to low and zero light output. The duration of the light produced can be from 4 milliseconds to 2 seconds, depending on the type and design of flash bulb. This can help to produce photos with more definition with the use of smaller grain film with smaller aperture settings.

From the above website, and would be the reason I would use them.
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Old 04-17-2019   #6
ChipMcD
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I'd be careful buying a flashgun on eBay, altho' the Honeywells are not expensive. I looked at these just for fun. All of the units I saw were listed as untested or "as is." You are talking devices that are likely at least 40 years old, and they could be 50 or 60 years old. It's questionable whether the capacitors in them would still work. If you are into electronics tinkering. it might be possible to find a modern capacitor that would fit.
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Old 04-17-2019   #7
madNbad
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When you find a flash, it's going to need a new battery. The Honeywell uses a 15 volt 504 which is still available.
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Old 04-17-2019   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChipMcD View Post
I'd be careful buying a flashgun on eBay, altho' the Honeywells are not expensive. I looked at these just for fun. All of the units I saw were listed as untested or "as is." You are talking devices that are likely at least 40 years old, and they could be 50 or 60 years old. It's questionable whether the capacitors in them would still work. If you are into electronics tinkering. it might be possible to find a modern capacitor that would fit.

Capacitors and funky old battery types. I have a flashbulb unit that uses a 22.5volt battery in an odd size that's long not available anymore.

You might end up revampng one of these old flashbulb units to modern capacitors and battery types. Requires some modest electical engineering skill, but nothing really difficult. Just need to know a few parameters and then search out components that can meet your needs and fit inside the old unit.

If you're not the tinkering/maker type, then I would recommend comprehensive research into the candidate flashbulb units available. Look for one that uses batteries you can purchase today, and the more recent the better.

Also remember that you may need to revitalize an old capacitor with repeated charge-discharge until it reaches its full "capacity". Sometimes the capacitor has simply given up, and a new one is the only solution (or seeking out another flashbulbunit).
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Old 04-17-2019   #9
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Where are you? I've got a box of bulbs if I can find it and you are welcome to them. Mostly the smaller later ones, not the big round ones with what looks like steel wool in them.
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Old 04-17-2019   #10
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I've got thousands of bulbs of many types. You set to M, usually 1/30th sec, test at 10ft with specific film ISO, and with a specific flashgun and reflector to compute your guide number. Then when you shoot at a specific distance you can compute your f/stop. f/stop = Gn/distance
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Old 04-17-2019   #11
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There are plenty of older flashguns that do not have a capacitor. They only require flashlight batteries and nothing else. If you get one that uses Edison screw base bulbs you can always get adapters to use smaller base bulbs. Why complicate things?
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Old 04-17-2019   #12
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I'll occasionally use an old Brownie Hawkeye flash attachment with #5 bulbs; this would be for open flash so I don't have to synchronize with the camera.

Back about 20 years ago, I bought out the last of the bulbs from a few local old-timey camera shops; typically the boxes were in cartons covered with decades of dust! I usually got them for dirt cheap.
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