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12-02-2015, 09:04 AM   #16
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From the flash itself
The camera is just a switch
QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
Yes, but where's the power coming from?


12-02-2015, 09:26 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by titrisol Quote
From the flash itself
True, and I've acknowledged that above, but if you could enlighten me as to the flashbulbs I'd be very grateful.
12-02-2015, 12:42 PM   #18
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For flashbulbs the separate flash unit had its own batteries, anything from D cells to a couple of AA cells. The bulbs were just small glass lamps, sealed with oxygen and a wad of either magnesium or aluminum shredded foil. It only took heating from a few volts to ignite the foil in Oxygen.
With age the oxygen would tend to leak out and air in, and then the bulbs would fizzle and just glow instead of the fast-burn flash you expected.
You used to need quite a pack of the egg-sized bulbs for a shoot, and often one bad would ruin a shot on a roll of film. Then they came out with the smaller M2 bulbs, the still smaller AG1 bulbs, and the 4-sided flash cubes, as film got faster and not as much light was needed.
12-02-2015, 01:12 PM   #19
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Very educational and informative; thank you.

QuoteOriginally posted by TomB_tx Quote
and the 4-sided flash cubes
These are the ones I remember, plus a mad-crazy setup for the Polaroid that had a bank of five double-sided 'cubes' adding up to ten shots (so one flash-bar, one film cassette), and halfway through you had to unplug the bar and flip it around. Did even the flash cubes have their own tiny power source?

12-02-2015, 02:16 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
Very educational and informative; thank you.



These are the ones I remember, plus a mad-crazy setup for the Polaroid that had a bank of five double-sided 'cubes' adding up to ten shots (so one flash-bar, one film cassette), and halfway through you had to unplug the bar and flip it around. Did even the flash cubes have their own tiny power source?

The original flashcubes did not have their own power source. Batteries were still needed.

Along about 1971 or so, the Magic-Cube was introduced. These looked almost identical to the flashcube, but they required no battery. There was a little piezo-electric device at the base of each bulb. There was a piece of spring wire that was pushed up and over a little hook (by the camera). The spring wire then struck the piezo-electric device, which created a small amount of current to fire the bulb.

when they first appeared, I was working in the camera department of my local J.C. Penney store (yes, they had a photo dept.). I carefully pried the clear plastic cover off of a Magic cube and gently removed the foil reflector. I was trying to figure out how the thing worked. Apparently, while doing all this, I jiggled the wire and set of all four bulbs simultaneously. Unfortunately, being curious, I was holding it about four inches from my eyes.

I couldn't see for about ten minutes. For a while, I was afraid I might have done real damage to my eyes, but I recovered.
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