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07-21-2014, 12:52 PM   #1
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old flash bulb technique ok with dslr ?

The first flash photography used one shot bulbs that could induce near temporarily blindness but packed a big guide number for the size of the unit. Can I use this with my K- 50 to cover or supplement my Vivitar 285 for very large spaces without costly and bulky strobes?












Auto 110
ME super
LX
K-50

07-21-2014, 12:58 PM   #2
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Not controlling it on the camera, right?

If it's external and super bright, you can use bulb mode on timer and just let it record the light it receives...old school!
07-21-2014, 01:26 PM   #3
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I would not know how to do it camera controlled if a camera does not offer seperate X and M synchro, except if you would use exposure times longer that the added values of bulb delay and M-flash exposure time.
There must be a delay of about 1/30 sec (I think) between bulb ignition and shutter activation, and for focal plane shutters a minimum exposure time of 1/25 sec.
This means for a DSLR exposure times of about 1/8 - 1/15 sec. The scenery would get light of the flash only during the second half of that time, and the peak of it would be after roughly 75% of the time.

And you would have to find out about voltage and current the camera electronics would have to suffer. Probably not much, but I don't know.

Have you googled for it? I don't think you are the first one investigating about this possibility. I remember there had been special (more expensive) bulbs with GN near to 150 for 50mm FF and ISO 100. This is multiple times of what the strongest consumer flashes can offer.

EDIT:
For a perfectionist solution, have a look here:
Using a Vintage Disposable Bulb Flash Unit with a New Digital Camera.

But I don't think this is the kind of solution you were looking for .

EDIT 2:
Also have a look here (you are not alone!):
Cress Photo - Flashbulbs.com

Last edited by RKKS08; 07-21-2014 at 01:52 PM.
07-21-2014, 01:46 PM   #4
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Flash bulbs require either M or FP sync, depending on the type of bulb. Your camera only supports X sync. Edit: This is not quite true in that you can use X sync with M bulbs, but only at relatively slow shutter speeds (e.g. 1/30s).

On cameras that support FP (many Pentax film SLRs), you may use FP bulbs at the X sync speed and higher. M bulbs may only be used a fairly slow shutter speeds.

On focal plane shutter cameras that support M sync the maximum shutter speed may be as great as the X sync speed, depending on the bulb.

With leaf shutters, M sync may be used at all shutter speeds with M bulbs.


Steve


Last edited by stevebrot; 07-21-2014 at 03:48 PM.
07-21-2014, 01:55 PM   #5
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@stevebrot
That's correct, but you would have to calculate GN for every exposure time shorter than the time suggested by the producer of the bulb.
07-21-2014, 03:11 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by RKKS08 Quote
@stevebrot
That's correct, but you would have to calculate GN for every exposure time shorter than the time suggested by the producer of the bulb.
That is essentially correct for M sync. Unlike electronic flash where the duration is very short and flash instantaneously very bright, guide number with bulbs is influenced by both bulb size and shutter duration. Increasing the shutter speed beyond the recommended range would decrease the guide number. The actual flash duration was about 1/50s so the general rule of thumb was to shoot at 1/30s or 1/60s and use the guide number from the box.

I used to shoot M3B bulbs with my Singlex TLS (M sync) back in the day at 1/60s. I did fill flash on occasion, but not often because bulbs were expensive and tended to fill one's pocket. They were also a fire hazard if discarded too soon into the trash. It was a good day when my parents gave me an electronic flash for Christmas 1971.

Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 07-21-2014 at 03:30 PM.
07-21-2014, 03:12 PM   #7
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A concern???

QuoteOriginally posted by RKKS08 Quote
@stevebrot
That's correct, but you would have to calculate GN for every exposure time shorter than the time suggested by the producer of the bulb.
Be aware that flashbulbs typically were fired by a fairly heavy current, which was handled easily by the traditional metal contacts in leaf and/or mechanical focal plane shutters. The B/C flashes used a capacitor to store charge from a battery to deliver a big "jolt" to fire the bulb more reliably. Whether the internal circuitry of our computerized cameras can handle that is another matter. I don't know, but I think that an interface of some sort might be a good idea.
07-21-2014, 03:22 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by grhazelton Quote
Be aware that flashbulbs typically were fired by a fairly heavy current, which was handled easily by the traditional metal contacts in leaf and/or mechanical focal plane shutters.
That is true, though I believe the larger flash guns employed a relay of sorts to avoid arcing inside the camera My flash gun in the early 1970s was not large, but I seem to remember something about an electronic trigger to discharge the capacitors.


Steve

---------- Post added 07-21-14 at 03:25 PM ----------

BTW...I just found an online resource. How does flashbulbs.com sound? They have tables with guide numbers for various bulbs and shutter speeds using both X and M sync.

http://www.flashbulbs.com Bikini pics do not view at work!!!


Steve


Last edited by stevebrot; 07-21-2014 at 05:03 PM.
07-21-2014, 03:49 PM   #9
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Oh geez, while that site is technically safe for work, you might want to not follow that link in the workplace, depending on who sits around you.

Nothing lewd, just from a distance it looks like you are surfing the web for bikini pics, rather than researching flashbulbs, which is arguably a more politically correct way of wasting company time and internet resources. To make things worse, one of their links plays alarmingly loud music!
07-21-2014, 05:04 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tanzer Quote
Oh geez, while that site is technically safe for work, you might want to not follow that link in the workplace
...fixed...added stern warning...


Steve
07-22-2014, 07:53 AM   #11
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Last week I got (for nostalgic reasons, I must be crazy) an Ihagee Exa500 with the stock Domiplan and the leather case - which had exactly been my main photographic tool from 1973 till 1981. Now the Exa500 had only one outlet for flash (my Exakta VX1000 had offered separate ones for electronic flash and bulb flash). But the Exa500 has markings for both kind of flashes - these are exposure times of 1/60 for electronic, 1/15 for bulb.

So I would think one should try whether 1/30 sec would work, or 1/15 is really needed (for focal plane shutter of a DSLR). This may depend on the bulb used, delay time may vary between manufacturers.

EDIT:
In case someone wonders why I didn't shoot Pentax during the seventies:
At that time a Spotmatic had been my dream - but I was a student with a fairly tight budget, and a Spotmatic body cost > DM 600. Whereas, when GDR needed western money, I bought (new!) an Exa500 (complete set as described before) for DM 199, and an Exakta VX1000 body (with magnifying waist level finder) for DM 128. And I expanded this by cheap used items (35mm and 135 lenses, tubes, additional pentaprism VF for the VX1000, and some more things).

Only after 3 weeks travelling in midsummer heat through southern Italy in 1981 I finally hated the usage of a seperate light meter enough to switch. I sold all east german things to another student, and bought first a new Porst (K-mount re-badged Cosina, functionwise a true Pentax ME clone), and then a used ME Super.

Last edited by RKKS08; 07-22-2014 at 09:43 AM.
11-04-2020, 10:25 PM   #12
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Wow this thread is still available. Was wondering about this question. Doing a little research of availability of flash bulbs yr 2020 and still can purchase. I have a small bulb flash unit with open out umbrella that takes a 15V small battery which charges a capacitor. Switch has to handle fairly high current beyond what I'd expect a DSLR can handle. Should be easy to make an interface to fire with modern DSLR. The light output of these are great even outdoors in the day.
11-05-2020, 09:51 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by John in OZ Quote
Wow this thread is still available. Was wondering about this question. Doing a little research of availability of flash bulbs yr 2020 and still can purchase. I have a small bulb flash unit with open out umbrella that takes a 15V small battery which charges a capacitor. Switch has to handle fairly high current beyond what I'd expect a DSLR can handle. Should be easy to make an interface to fire with modern DSLR. The light output of these are great even outdoors in the day.
Cress Photo – Flashbulbs.com – Bulbs and alot more!


Steve
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